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Angry White Man

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Gareth: Yeah, I work hard, I earn my keep. But unfortunately, the history books are full of just people who toil and fight for worthy causes and the freedom of others.
Tim: That's the most profound thing you've ever said, mate.
Gareth: And you do all that, only for foreigners or women or the disableds to take advantage of it.
Tim: Yeah. Could I withdraw my last comment?

A Stereotype Flip in which a white person (usually a man, as the title suggests) sees himself as a victim of injustice or unkind behaviour at the hands of minorities or turncoat whites. (Note: this is not a judgement of the value of the trope, merely a statement that it has been used many times in fiction and a list of the examples thereof.)

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 "discrimination" by being turned down for a job in favour 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 what he sees as overly generous attempts to incorporate minorities into the modern American cultural fabric (or not-so-modern, for that matter) at his expense; 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 occasionally just the general feeling that he soon might be the Last of His Kind. In more extreme cases, 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! Unsurprisingly, it is also extremely common for these kinds of characters to suffer from a bad case of Moral Myopia. They will decry any (real or supposed) injustice that they and other white people may face, no matter how minor; but they will never bat-an-eye when another group, particularly a historically marginalized one, faces a similar or worse situation. In fact, they might even support and/or take part in marginalizing said group, all while still blaming them for their predicament.

Taken seriously, it is usually the result of some combination of (real or perceived) Flawless Token, White Guilt, and Persecution Flip. White Hair, Black Heart is the more eviler version (with "evil" being more an emphasis, though evil white people don't need to be this trope). The Right-Wing Militia Fanatic is the militant version of the trope. Compare Sub-Par Supremacist.

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

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 color Superman is.
  • This combined with Pretty Fly for a White Guy was Hotstreak's characterization in the Static comics. The animated series reimagined him as just a delinquent bully. In the possible future of Milestone Forever, he even rants about how the entire world is against white men while launching flaming swastikas.
  • Rorschach from Watchmen seems to hate everyone who isn't either himself, the Comedian or an idealised version of what he imagines his father is like. After discovering that his mother was a streetwalker, he developed a Madonna-Whore Complex towards all women, seeing young girls and wholesome women as victims while women who embrace their sexuality are sluts who have it coming (though his disdain from his mother is more due to her abusive nature.) He makes a note of investigating Ozymandias' sexuality, not making it clear why that's necessary. He also subscribes to a newspaper that peddles racist, nationalist viewpoints. Considers the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be unquestionably good, but the bombing of New York to be evil. The movie adaptation plays around with this characterization, as while some of Rorschach's prejudices are downplayed, his Jerkass personality is more blatant with Jackie Earle Haley playing Rorschach like an angry terrier with an exaggerated Napoleon Complex.

    Film 
  • Against the Wall: Gung-ho National Guardsman Yates goes on a racially charged rant about how raiding Attica will be a necessarily line in the sand to get minorities to stop taking things from hard-working, law abiding Americans like himself.
  • Late in the film Borat, the title character hitches a ride with some frat-boys. They go on about how minorities technically have an advantage in the US and that women are inferior to men. Two of them sued for defamation and tried to prevent the film being distributed on DVD, despite saying these things of their own free will and being treated fairly well in comparison to some of the other participants.
  • William Foster, the villain protagonist of Falling Down. Not a very racist example, though — the Neo-Nazi he encounters disgusts him, and one gets the impression that his non-white victims were killed more for their attitude than ethnicity; he would likely also have murdered them if they'd been white and acted as they did. That said, he is not completely without racist prejudices either; most notably when he rants at a Korean-Store Owner. Foster hurls some racist slurs at him saying that South Korea is freeloading off of American foreign aid (even though that was the South Korean dictatorship before the 1980s Gwangju uprising that liberally spent American aid all on themselves, and did not distribute any of that money to its starving people either unemployed or in working-class). And while we do not hear him express misogynist attitudes or see him hurt women, his ex-wife is terrified of him and unsurprised that he has finally snapped, implying past abuse.
  • In the The House That Jack Built, the titular character at one point launches into a furious rant about how he, as a man, is being treated unfairly by society, and women in particular. That Jack is a remorseless Serial Killer who is shown to predominantly prey on women (and despite his protestations otherwise, clearly prefers reminiscing about his female victims over his male ones), and is delivering said rant at a defenseless Bound and Gagged woman as he is preparing to kill her slightly undercuts his message.

    Literature 
  • Blood Meridian has the aptly-named Captain White, leader of The Remnant the Villain Protagonist briefly joins. While everyone under him is motivated by War for Fun and Profit, he's genuinely angry America didn't wipe Mexico off the face of the Earth in the Mexican-American War. He hypocritically states that it's the white man's burden to govern "lesser" races, while simultaneously accusing Mexicans of being godless savages incapable of existing in a civilized society. As vile as he sounds, in this Crapsack World he's one of the few characters shown to have any sort of principles or ideals which is not allowed in this setting, as he suffers a brutal Decapitation Presentation at the hands of the people he sought to subjugate.
  • Molech, the Big Bad from Futuristic Violence And Fancy Suits reads like any random article on Return of Kings, being a misogynist with an ‹bermensch complex who envies how masculine black men are and taunts the female protagonist for being born a "weaker" gender and inheriting her wealth from her father. That last point shows Molech's hypocrisy, as he's almost as rich as she is but doesn't have a job, using his family's trust fund to pay for extravagant weapons and gadgets in his quest for domination.
  • Tom Buchanan from The Great Gatsby casually talks over lunch about how civilization is going to pieces because of non-whites and the "white race" will soon be submerged by them if they don't take action. It's mostly to establish how Tom is a Jerkass.
  • This is an ongoing theme in the Timeline-191 series, particularly during in the books set after The Great War. Many white characters in the Confederacy blame their loss in the war (and therefore all their problems) on the Red Rebellion, and the fact that some black men in the Confederacy are being allowed citizenship horrifies them. The Freedom Party holds that getting white men back into sole control is the only way to fix their country, and it gains power and influence rapidly.
  • USMC captain John Rumford in Victoria is driven out of the Corps for his anti-feminist attitudes. As a civilian, he encounters affirmative action, urban crime and economic decay, and becomes an increasingly embittered right-winger. When an old Marine buddy asks him for help dealing with drug dealers in his neighborhood, he emerges as a Vigilante Man — and eventually, a political revolutionary and leader of a powerful neo-reactionary militia movement.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Archie Bunker from All in the Family fits this trope to a tee. Carroll O'Connor himself stated, "Archie's dilemma is coping with a world that is changing in front of him. He doesn't know what to do, except to lose his temper, mouth his poisons, look elsewhere to fix the blame for his own discomfort. He isn't a totally evil man. He's shrewd. But he won't get to the root of his problem, because the root of his problem is himself, and he doesn't know it."
  • The Boys (2019):
  • The First Lady: Donald Trump and many of his followers are portrayed this way, raging against corruption in the government, which isn't an example by itself but with clear underlying racism/sexism since it's only ever aimed at Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: Attempted Cop Killer Gordon Pratt is a slimy, pretentious racist who blames his own failures on affirmative action and minorities infiltrating the government. During his interrogation, he belts out horrifically racist statements as fact and smugly mocks the black Lewis and Pembleton for their race; the two are barely able to keep themselves from beating the shit out of him.
  • One episode of Louie has a comedian do a series of anti-Obama jokes. Naturally, he gets a pretty awkward reaction from the audience. Afterwards, he complains about how Obama only got elected because of white guilt and that white men have now become one of the Acceptable Targets who aren't allowed to complain about anything.
  • Little Britain:
    • Marjorie Dawes, a privileged white woman who has it in for an Indian woman she frequently interacts with, acting as if her accent is unintelligible when it really isn't. When said Indian woman won the lottery, Marjorie exploded and claimed that as a British native, she's more deserving of a lottery win than some random foreigner.
    • Maggie the food critic. If she samples something that was made by an ethnic person or homosexual, she will projectile vomit on everyone within vomiting range in an attempt to purge herself of anything non-British.
  • One episode of Review with Myles Barlow had the titular character try being racist for a day. He takes it to the absolute extreme, refusing to shop at places with Asian employees, not using an umbrella in the rain because of their Chinese origins and living on a diet of white bread, since it's the only food he could find that's not of ethnic origin.
  • Gareth Keenan from The Office (UK) provides the page quote. While not as malicious as most other examples, he does show a subconscious prejudice towards certain groups of people.
  • Dwight Schrute from The Office (US) displays an antiquated view of his co-workers This chart shows that he's made notes on the number of women, African Americans, homosexuals, Irishfolk and Jewish people who work with him, while straight white men with Anglo-Saxon heritage are considered "normal".
  • The Punisher (2017): O'Connor, a member of Curtis Hoyle's PTSD support group, is a Vietnam War veteran and Silver Star recipient that continuously rambles about how minorities and bleeding-heart liberals have made the country a hellhole and people should go to arms and insults all other veterans in the group as "weaklings" for seeking help for their fractured psyches. Turns out that the guy is a Phony Veteran, having enlisted after Vietnam and never having seen combat, let alone anything that merited a Silver Star. He's only in the group to try to create a Right-Wing Militia Fanatic group (or something similar) and drives the borderline-nutcase vet Lewis Wilson completely over the edge with his hatred, turning him into a domestic terrorist that begins his killing spree by stabbing O'Connor in the throat.
  • Al Bundy from Married... with Children is very bitter towards feminism and political correctness, which he blames for everything from his favorite TV shows being cancelled to his not getting any respect from his family to the generally sorry state of his life. He also has a visceral hatred of the French. That said, Al also has several black friends over the course of the series, who share many of his views and tastes, and join him in his political protests. He did vote for Obama in 2008 to get a $1,000 tax cut.
  • Mike Baxter from Last Man Standing. While the show does make it clear that he's not racist or sexist (his daughter even states that while he'd never outright say it, he is a firm feminist and always encouraged his three daughters to be tough and independent), he does believe that modern society favoring more sensitive men is an attack on masculinity, firmly believes that political correctness has gone too far, and uses his "Outdoor Man" vlogs to push his views.
  • Gregory Sallinger from Season 3 of Jessica Jones (2015) is a sociopathic serial killer that after being exposed to the public tries to portray himself as the underdog victim of a feminist crusade for the mere fact of being a white man.
  • Brent Norwalk from The Good Place is a stereotypical middle-aged white American male who feels confounded by the changes of the modern world. He frequently makes various casually racist, sexist and classist remarks, believes that people rejecting personal responsibility and expecting handouts is a major problem in society while being completely blind to the fact that he got handouts his whole life (he was born into a rich family and inherited the multi-million dollar family business), and generally can't take a hint about learning humility until getting pushed to the absolute breaking point. It's quite fitting that a good Ironic Hell for him would be an eternal sensitivity training and anti-sexual harassment course.
  • Shane Vendrell from The Shield. He's a foul-tempered bigot who loses it when he learns a minority will be added to the Strike Team and spends the rest of the day ranting about affirmative action.

    Music 
  • The Ben Folds song "Rockin' The Suburbs" is about exactly this, having been written as a Take That! towards the originators of nü metal themselves.
    Lemmie tell y'all what it's like
    Being male, middle class and white
    It's a bitch if you don't believe
    Listen up to my new CD
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic called the polka from his album Poodle Hat the "Angry White Boy Polka". Most of the songs featured were Nu Metal and related genres.
  • The song "Angry White Guy" by Jim's Big Ego is about the hypocrisy of a rich white elite disparaging the black community while preserving the economic imbalance between them.
    All things being equal, all things being equal
    All things being equal, they're not
    After all, isn't God an angry white guy?
  • Eminem:
    • Eminem's persona is that of a ridiculously talented white rapper who was bullied and excluded in part because of the colour of his skin. A lot of the discrimination he faced was legitimately severe, such as being barred from signing record deals (with even Dr. Dre having to fight with execs to sign him) and being violently assaulted for walking around in majority Black areas. But Eminem's experiences with discrimination led to him becoming a committed anti-racist — while he's matter of fact about what he went through, he also acknowledges that he's part of a majority group who has an easier ride in society than he would if he was Black, and is well aware of the role his whiteness played in his commercial success. Especially in his later career, he emphasises his level of respect to the Black musicians whose innovations inspired him. However, it's not clear this message reached all of his fans, some of whom did see him as an icon for the "oppressed" white man. (His "The Real Slim Shady" still ended up as the closing section of "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Angry White Boy Polka" above. The protagonist from Wanted, a miserable office drone bullied by Black people and women until he becomes an entitled supervillain, was modelled after Eminem for a reason.)
    • Eminem was also abused by women and girls throughout his life, most damagingly by his mother, and a lot of his music involves sometimes vengeful violence against female characters. Eminem has admitted he has issues with women and finds it hard to write about women in a non-misogynistic way, but has spoken out against misogyny in real life (and even in some of his songs), and promoted feminist political causes.
    • Eminem's Slim Shady persona is sometimes this type of character, particularly in his early work. In songs on The Slim Shady LP, Slim beats up both a racist Black and sexually dominating female bully; in numerous other songs he makes fun of Straw Feminists for attempting to censor his lyrics.

    Web Original 
  • From Dragon Ball Z Abridged, we have a right-wing anchorman's opinion on why Cell is devouring entire cities:
    "Now the Libs are surely gonna shout racism over this one, but this is just what happens when you elect a dog as king!"
  • The Nostalgia Critic has Meninists, who are a group that's fed up with "wokeness" and attempted to shoehorn their beliefs into a film. Thankfully, Critic was able to talk them down not only once, but thrice.

    Western Animation 
  • South Park:
    • Eric Cartman frequently invokes this trope:
      • In the episode Ginger Kids, Cartman plays this up to its fullest. First he accuses ginger kids of being some kind of vampire-like plague on humanity, then when he believes he's turned ginger he becomes a ginger supremacist.
      • In Pee Cartman's xenophobia causes him to become a doomsayer as he realises that his favourite water park has more Latinos and black people than he's comfortable with. At one point he imagines being persecuted for his race as part of a new world order. This is a parody of the white genocide conspiracy theory.
      • Again in World War Zimmerman, where Cartman treats black people like a plague, to the point where he attempts to kill Token and get off with a light sentence.
    • Mr. Garrison is almost as prejudiced as Cartman; hating gays (despite being gay himself), Mexicans, Canadians etc. He's gone as far as to propose raping Canadians to death to protect America's values.
    • PC Principal is an inversion. His attempts to appear enlightened and sensitive towards other groups is little more than a mask for his intolerance of other white men who don't toe the line.
    • Who could forget Jason's father Robert White? Not only are he and his family are the only ones who support President Garrison but he's also very pissy about how nobody cares about them.
      Robert: You probably never even heard of our family, huh? Well, the Whites have been here since the beginning! Not that it matters, 'cause no one cares about the Whites. Sure, everyone else has problems, but does anyone ask the Whites how they're doing?! Oh, sure you don't!
    • There's also the One-Shot Character, Daniel from "T.M.I.", who's a member of the Tea Party that constantly rants about Obama.
  • Invoked in Bordertown. The protagonist Bud Buckwald is a border security ranger who believes that Mexican immigrants will ruin the US... right before running into some white Spring Breakers making drunken asses of themselves.
    Bud: (After being pointed out as the only white guy at his neighbor's barbecue) "Is that some kind of insult? We're still in charge! We still have the Vice Presidency!"
  • Archer: Mallory Archer. The majority of her employees are white, she's intolerant of gay people and complains about how immigrants do nothing but "drive around listening to rap and shooting all the jobs".
  • Man-Boy from The Powerpuff Girls (2016) is a macho Ron Swanson-wannabe who only turned to villainy because he hates the fact that women and effeminate men exist.


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