The liberal website Salon published an article Tuesday blaming Elliot Rodger’s killing spree on “white privilege,” despite the fact that Rodger considered himself “Eurasian.”
“Welp. Another young white guy has decided that his disillusionment with his life should become somebody else’s problem,” wrote Brittney Cooper, who also teaches women’s and gender studies and Africana studies at Rutgers University.
Last Friday, Rodger killed six people and then himself in a murder spree near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Rodger, 22, stabbed three men to death in his home before embarking on a shooting spree across the city. He killed another three, including two members of the Alpha Phi sorority, and injured numerous others by ramming them with his car, a black BMW.
Before the rampage, Rodger left a trail of angry YouTube videos and a 141-page manifesto in which he pinned his motives on his lack of success with women.
But despite Cooper’s claim that this was the work of “white privilege,” Rodger was only half-white.
“I consider myself a sophisticated, polite gentleman, unlike most boys my age,” wrote Rodger at his blog. “My father is of British descent, and my mother is of Asian descent, so that makes me a Eurasian.”
Chin Rodger, his mother, is Indonesian.
But Rodger’s race and ethnic background was lost on Cooper, who last year wrote a similar article tying “white privilege” to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who was accused of murdering Trayvon Martin, a black teenager.
Cooper did not mention that Zimmerman was half Peruvian and half white. His mother is Peruvian, and he also speaks Spanish at home.
“How many times must troubled young white men engage in these terroristic acts that make public space unsafe for everyone before we admit that white male privilege kills?” wrote Cooper at Salon, which, under editor Joan Walsh’s tutelage, has placed an increased focus on racism and the concept of “white privilege.”
Debate has also raged over whether mass murderers are statistically more likely to be white men.
Several recent examples dispel the claim.
Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 in last year’s Navy Yard shootings in Washington, D.C., was black.
And the largest university campus mass murder in U.S. history was carried out by Seung-Hi Cho, who was Asian. He killed 32 at Virginia Tech University in 2007.
In 2004, Chai Vang, an immigrant from Laos, killed six hunters in the woods of Wisconsin.
Nidal Hasan, who murdered 13 at Fort Hood in 2009, was Palestinian.
While Rodger’s online rants and posts provided little insight into his political leanings, the mass murderer did subscribe to the YouTube channel of “The Young Turks,” a left-leaning TV show hosted by former MSNBC host Cenk Uygur.