Angry White Man

"Affirmative action is a stain on the American soul."

A Stereotype Flip in which a white person (usually a man, as the title suggests) sees himself as a victim of injustice or unkind behavior at the hands of minorities or turncoat whites.

The type first appeared in large numbers in the mid-1960s, when "affirmative action" became official government hiring policy. This meant that a white person could experience "reverse discrimination" by being turned down for a job in favor of a member of a minority group, since the place of employment had quotas to fill and there already existed a proportionate number of whites. Now that affirmative action has been reformed so that economic status is taken into account as well as race, it isn't much of a controversy anymore — so the ire of the Angry White Man has shifted to less tangible targets.

He's frequently exasperated by overly generous attempts to incorporate minorities into the modern American cultural fabric (or not-so-modern, for that matter); media stereotypes of whites as stupid, unfashionable, and/or "un-ethnic"; the supposed scapegoating of white people for everything that goes wrong in the world; or just the general feeling that he soon might be the Last of His Kind. In fact, the very thought of homosexuals, women, and ethnic groups enjoying the same comforts as him is enough to make him cry oppression.

Will as often as not be played for comedy. If not... watch out!

Figuratively, the character doesn't have to be white, or a man. The trope can apply to any type of character who is constantly railing against discrimination.

The original prototype was probably Archie Bunker of All in the Family — although, in fact, he was a lot less angry than many of his successors.

Examples

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    Comic Books 
  • In Final Crisis, Grant Morrison introduced an Alternate Universe where Superman is black which has popped up in his DC work since. The Lex Luthor of that universe is still white, though. Whenever they clash (as seen in v2 issue #9 of Action Comics, Lex has to point out that he doesn't hate Superman because he's racist, he hates Superman for all the other reasons Lex hates Superman.
    • Of course, Superman's an alien, so Lex's hatred of him can be interpreted as xenophobia no matter what colour Superman is.

    Live-Action TV 

     Western Animation 
  • Eric Cartman occasionally invokes this trope, but in the episode Ginger Kids plays this up to its fullest when he believes he's turned ginger.

    Real Life 
  • Due to many workplaces taking an affirmative action stance regarding employment opportunities, it's now harder for white men to get office jobs due to competing with both white women and various ethnic groups. This in turn has led to many white men believing that there's a conspiracy against them.
    • Of course, all workplaces have a diversity quota, so some white men can find work, just not every single one.
  • This is the focus of sociologist Michael Kimmel's book Angry White Men, which takes a look at everyday Joes that feel passed over due to affirmative action, racists, gun-toting right-wingers, Domestic Abusers, and misogynists.
  • Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock recently spoke out about how comedians can't appeal to the younger generations because they get more and more politically correct. Given Seinfeld's fame and success (and probably his white maleness), most people who disagree accuse him of being too vain to take criticism.
    • Cracked write JF Sargeant raised a fairly sound argument about how minority groups aren't becoming more sensitive, they're just being taken more seriously. Unfortunately he felt the need to call Seinfeld a talentless piece of shit just to get his point across, which just made him come across as jealous and self-righteous.
  • Charlton Heston's views on political correctness and diversity swung wildly over his lifetime. He was a Civil Rights supporter during his heyday, but during his later years he made some comments that could easily be portrayed as intolerant (see the page quote). Not helping is that some genuinely bigoted people paraphrase him to rationalise their intolerance.