In one of my classes, we’re studying colorism in a global context, focusing on the global market for skin lighteners. The horrific violence that just took place in Southern California highlights the dangers of the systematic valuing of lighter skin over darker skin, and a “white is right” ideology. Truly understanding Elliot Rodger’s ‘manifesto’ requires understanding how race, class, gender, sexuality, and mental illness all intersected to shape his view of the world. Terrifying stuff.
Originally posted on Quartz:
I truly didn’t want to read Elliot Rodger’s “manifesto,” in which he told the story of his life and rationalized the horrific acts with which he allegedly ended it in excruciating detail. I certainly didn’t want to write about it. It’s exactly what he wanted, after all: A chance to be noticed, to be recognized—perhaps even to be empathized with.
But after seeing him consistently described as fitting the “typical mass shooter profile” of a young, mentally disturbed white loner, I realized that both the conventional news and much of social media were making a profound and possibly important error. Because if you’re Asian, a single look at his picture is all you need to realize that Rodger was not white.
A little research exposed what should be obvious: Rodger is biracial—the son of British-born filmmaker, Peter Rodger, best known for assistant directing The Hunger Games, and…
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