The UC Santa Barbara shooting has gratefully faded from news coverage, but I’d like to consider it again in light of how we as a society tend to view shootings or acts of terrorism (notably the UCSB incident was never reported as “terrorism” but more often as “massacre”). A perhaps different perspective through the lens of how institutional expectations of masculinity, as well as the intersectionality between Asianness, sexism, and racism, played a role in the shootings:
The first I heard of the UCSB shooting was on Saturday, when I saw a Facebook reference to a “massacre” in Isla Vista. I’m from northern California, went to college at a UC in SoCal, and so I know that Isla Vista is the town right next to UC Santa Barbara. I googled “Santa Barbara killings,” fully expecting to see a photo of a white male suspect pop up–“massacre” is a word our media tends to reserve for white men.
I bring this up not to detract from the misogyny that was at the heart of the killings, but to show how deep it goes: Rodgers’s hatred for women was inextricable from his hatred of Asianness, which he considered a mark of effeminacy, a lack of masculinity.
The point, anyway, is this: We will have failed to learn from this tragedy if we ignore the ways in which racism and misogyny came together in a deadly way on Saturday at Santa Barbara. It is completely true that Rodgers’ actions were the logical culmination of the patriarchy that infuses our society, but it is not the complete truth: white supremacy was just as foundational.