In a nationally publicized case, a wealthy teen-age boy who killed 4 in an automobile accident was not sentenced to a Texas prison for manslaughter, but given 10 years probation. The most focused upon aspect of the trial was the use of the "affluenza defense."
Affluenza is a term used by the psychologist testifying for the defendant teenager, at the disposition phase of the case, to describe children who have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, and make excuses for poor behavior because parents have not set proper boundaries.
The affluenza defense may have had a role in the light sentence for the boy who faced a twenty-year jail term.
Now, there is a new defense for a man in Houston accused of severely battering his wife and who faces up to twelve years in prison. It is called "angry white man syndrome."
"Angry white man syndrome" describes the rage of American men who have been cast out of their dominant roles within the economy, the family and personal life feel.
White men have been demoted from the economic and social dominance they once had. White men's now lowered position has been caused mainly by the success of the movements for economic, political and civil rights for women and minorities.
Psychiatrist Tom Magstadt, testifying at the disposition phase of the Houston trial said:
"The biggest losers in that social revolution were white males who once dominated the home, professions, business, banking, unions, politics, sports, entertainment, higher education, radio and television - well, just about everything worth dominating."
At the trial itself the defendant, Archie Smith, 58, egged on by his defense attorney repeatedly used such phrases as "I'm the head of the household, not that bitch," "Women don't know their place anymore," "It's men who should get the best jobs," "Women don't belong at the Augusta National And the Masters," "The way she talks to me, she asked for it," and "I'd beat the crap out of Gloria Steinem and Michelle Obama if I had the chance."
In the past, such language would have surely led to the conviction of the accused wife batterer. But with the new "angry white man syndrome" defense it might just get the defendant off, just as the "Twinkie Defense" was once successful. The jury in this case is still out.