Tuesday in Mooseville – Steve King (R[acist]) IA-04 Answers His Own Question and Doesn’t Even Know It 1/15/19

White fragility on display.

 

Iowa Rep. Steve King is facing criticism after he defended white nationalism and white supremacy in an interview. “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said to The New York Times. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?” (bolding mine) Iowa Rep. Steve King under fire for remark on white nationalism and white supremacy

I haven’t read the full NYT interview, because I avoid the NYT like the plague. So when the news of Rep. King’s abhorrent comments came out, I initially only heard about the first part of his comment and not about the second half, bolded above. When I finally did, it was a full-blown smack-my-head moment. It is obvious to me, and to anyone not invested in white nationalism, that the reason he (and most of us) learned about the merits of “our” history in the classroom is because our country is built on the existence and promotion of white supremacy. In previous years (especially pre-2008), much of the language and goals were coded, but it wasn’t always that way any more than it is now. Perhaps Rep. King would have benefited from reading some of the primary sources which make explicit the embrace of white supremacy as a guiding principle. I doubt knowing history — unprotected, unhidden, and unvarnished — would stop Rep. King from being an out-and-proud racist at this point, but one can hope for others.

John Calhoun on the specter of equality

…But when once raised to an equality, they would become the fast political associates of the North, acting and voting with them on all questions, any this political union between them, holding the white race at the South in complete subjection. The blacks, and the profligate whites that might unite with them, would become the principal recipients of federal offices and patronage, and would, in consequence, be raised above the whites of the South in the political and social scale. We would, in a word, change conditions with them–a degradation greater than has ever yet fallen to the lot of a free and enlightened people, and one from which we could not escape, should emancipation take place (which it certainly will if not prevented), but by fleeing the homes of ourselves and ancestors, and by abandoning our country to our former slaves, to become the permanent abode of disorder, anarchy, poverty, misery, and wretchedness. John C. Calhoun, Address to the Southern People, U.S. Senate, January 22, 1849 (p. 286)

A “Christian” defense of slavery

…The parties in this conflict are not merely abolitionist and slaveholders–they are atheists, socialists, communists, red republicans, Jacobins, on the one side, and the friends of order and regulated freedom on the other. In one word, the world is the battle ground–Christianity and Atheism the combatants; and the progress of humanity the stake. One party seems to regard Society, with all its complicated interests, its divisions and sub-division, as the machinery of man–which, as it has been invented and arranged by his ingenuity and skills, may be taken to pieces, reconstructed, altered or repaired, as experience shall indicate defects or confusion in the original plan. The other party beholds in it the ordinance of God… James H. Thornwell, The Rights and Duties of the Masters, May 26, 1850

It doesn’t get much more explicit than this.

The equality of all whom God has created equal (white men) and the inequality of those He has made unequal (Negroes and other inferior races) are the corner-stone of American democracy, and the vital principle of American civilization and human progress. Dr. J.H. Van Evrie, “Subgenation: The Theory of the Normal Relation of the Races–An Answer to ‘Miscegenation’,” 1864 as found in “The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The ‘Great Truth’ about the ‘Lost Cause’, edited by James W. Loewen and Edward H. Sebesta, p. 74

More from Van Evrie, once described as a “professional racist.”

Stripping off the skin of the negro, he [ed. the author, Van Evrie] proposes to demonstrate to the senses, as well as the reason, that he is not a black white man, or a man merely with a black skin, but a DIFFERENT AND INFERIOR SPECIES OF MAN;– that this difference is radical, and total…–that the physical structure of the race is necessarily and perpetually linked with corresponding faculties, capabilities, wants, necessities, in short, with a specific nature, and is thus designed by the Almighty Creator for corresponding purposes, or a social position harmonizing with those wants, etc.;–that therefore all the charges against the social system of the South being based on false assumptions, are themselves necessarily false; –that so-called slavery is neither a “wrong” nor an “evil,” or is its extension dangerous, but that it is a normal condition, a natural relation, based upon the “higher law,” in harmony with the order, progress, and general well-being of the superior one, and absolutely essential to the very existence of the inferior race. J.H. Van Evrie, “Negroes and Negro ‘Slavery,’ the First an Inferior Race–The Latter, Its Normal Condition,” 1853; a pamphlet with a written endorsement by Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War (June 3, 1853) as found in “The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The ‘Great Truth’ about the ‘Lost Cause’, edited by James W. Loewen and Edward H. Sebesta, p. 75

A bit more Van Evrie, because his pseudo-science is still heard today.

To violate these laws–to say because the Negro has certain general resemblances to the white man, or that the female has some qualities resembling the other sex, that the same rules shall apply to them universally; is not only to fight against progress and the nature of things, but would be a rapid stride towards barbarism. Indeed, in such an absurd application of inherent right or “equality” there is no stopping place in the whole organism of nature. If women must exercise the “rights,” and perform the duties of men, (for the two things are inseparable,) why not children? …The Negro has not only more in common with us than he has with the Ouran-Ourtan, but really has nothing in common with the latter that we ourselves have not, except that he has these common qualities more prominently; but should we therefore attempts, in all respects, to make the Negro our equal, and deny to the Ouran-Outan everything? J.H. Van Evrie, “Negroes and Negro ‘Slavery,’ the First an Inferior Race–The Latter, Its Normal Condition,” 1853; a pamphlet with a written endorsement by Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War (June 3, 1853)

Thought experiment: If slavery was so beneficial, why were white “wage slaves” not volunteering for it?

…The negro slaves of the South are the happiest, and, in some sense, the freest people in the world. The children and the aged and infirm work not at all, and yet have all the comforts and necessaries of life provided for them. They enjoy liberty, because they are oppressed neither by care nor labor.
The women do little hard work, and are protected from the despotism of their husbands by their masters. The negro men and stout boys work, on the average, in good weather, not more than nine hours a day. The balance of their time is spent in perfect abandon. Besides, they have their Sabbaths and holidays. White men, with so much of license and liberty, would die of ennui; but negroes luxuriate in corporeal and mental repose… George Fitzhugh, “Cannibals All! Or Slaves Without Masters,” 1857, p. 30

Where racial amalgamation is viewed as a crime against civilization, aka spurious cause and effect

What a splendid country was Mexico while under the control of the white blood of the pure Spanish race! Now what is it, after the white blood has all become mixed and diluted by amalgamation with the black race? When the black race held its natural position of subordination to the white race, Mexico was one of the richest and most prosperous countries on the globe; but now it is one of the meanest and most contemptible. The white man’s proud and glorious civilization has faded out on the dead plain of amalgamation and negro equality. The white blood has become so muddy and polluted by admixture with the inferior race, that no lapse of time can ever redeem that population from the utter degradation and uncivilization into which it has fallen. Rushmore G. Horton, “A Youth’s History of the Great Civil War in the United States From 1861 to 1865,” 1867, p. 77

TL;DR: The South shall rise again

…the late War was much understood in the South, and its true inspiration thereby lost or diminished, through the fallacy that Slavery was defended as a property tenure, or as a peculiar institution of labour; when the true ground of defence was as of a barrier against a contention and War of races…
…That the question of the Negro practically couples or associates a revolutionary design upon the Constitution; and that the true question which the war involved, and which it merely liberated for greater breath of controversy was the supremacy of the White race, and along with it the preservation of the political traditions of the country…
…That if she [the South] succeeds to the extent of securing the supremacy of the White man, and the traditional liberties of the country–in short, to the extent of defeating the Radical party–she really triumphs in the true cause of the war, with respect to all its fundamental and vital issues. Edward A. Pollard, “The Lost Cause Regained,” 1868, pp. 13-14

  6 comments for “Tuesday in Mooseville – Steve King (R[acist]) IA-04 Answers His Own Question and Doesn’t Even Know It 1/15/19

  1. JanF
    January 15, 2019 at 9:39 am

    Thank you for putting all of this in one place. I think the best thing to come out of the Trump era is the Republican Party dropping the filters on their racism and replacing the dog whistle with the bullhorn. We (most Democrats) knew that the racism was there but a lot of people accepted the plausible deniability that the filters allowed. Now they can’t. Voting for Republicans means that you enable racism which means you are a racist. Period.

    • DoReMI
      January 15, 2019 at 10:05 am

      I am consistently astounded by how little actual history is taught in history classes, and I’m not just talking about the Texas influence on textbook publishing. Up until high school, when her teachers taught almost 100% from primary sources (lack of funds for textbooks contributed to that), my daughter had been taught, in her MI middle school, that the proximate cause of the Civil War was states’ rights, with slavery being a secondary cause. That’s what her textbooks emphasized, so that’s what the teachers taught. She also learned that history was a series of wars, interrupted by lulls where not much happened. It’s a great way to teach passive acquiescence, where everything is a moment, rather than a movement. And I don’t believe that’s an accident.

      • bfitzinAR
        January 15, 2019 at 11:39 am

        {{{DoReMI}}} – it’s not an accident. It’s 100% deliberate to keep the quo in its current status. I didn’t start getting nuggets of real history rather than the propaganda until I was in college.

  2. bfitzinAR
    January 15, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Stellar work, as usual. I was brought up in a segregated South. My mother hated it. She did her best and I think that best was pretty good as it was a foundation that led me to question basic ideas about people & bring my questions to her. But so much was just assumed, so many lies were directly taught in school. Some of it was so very much directly taught there didn’t seem to be anything to question. I was in my 50s and Momma gone by the time the cognitive dissonance was loud enough I started questioning the entire system. But still only in bits and pieces. The “woke” part, the slap upside the head jeebus why didn’t I see that before “big picture” of systemic racism and deliberate genocide, didn’t happen until I started reading/following DOV and Aji.

    And the Rs have always been racists. They were abolitionists. They didn’t believe in slavery (mostly) although they made a lot of money off it. But that’s it. They were always just as white supremacy as the Dems even when it was the Dems supporting slavery and the Rs not. After the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts were passed and signed overt white supremacists coalesced in the R party. That’s what the R party is.
    Deplorable. We still have white supremacists in the Dems. I wish we didn’t. But we’ve also got enough BIPOC in the Dems to be able to reach the reachable white folks. rto gives us the numbers on a regular basis. 90% Black 70% Latinx 40% white – that’s what we need to win national & most state-wide elections. (Depending on where, local and some state elections can be swung by Asian-Americans, Indigenous, and other BIPOC.)

    Part of getting that 40% is waking up the folks raised on white supremacist propaganda, showing them that it is propaganda, showing them just how deadly that propaganda is, and bringing them into our “big tent”. Articles/posts like this one are very important to doing just that. {{{DoReMI}}}

    • DoReMI
      January 15, 2019 at 11:52 am

      It’s quite feasible that your education was less beholden to the Lost Cause mythology than say, the education of your son. Based on what I’ve learned from reading James Loewen’s books (and I’m doing this from memory, so all errors are mine), the myths as promoted by the Daughters of the Confederacy and their ilk didn’t really start hitting the educational establishment until the 1930s. But textbooks aren’t completely rewritten when they come out; many textbooks used today are merely revisions-upon-revisions-upon-revisions of the original texts, and the revisions are not done by academics, but hired hands who may or may not have an educational/history background. So a “new” textbook may actually be further away from the original sources and research than those that were used when we were kids…and ours were less subject to the pressures exerted by Lost Cause proponents. It helps explain why I clearly remember being taught that slavery was the key reason for the Civil War, when my daughter was taught states’ rights. (White supremacy, of course, was not explicitly mentioned.)

      But beyond that, yes, having a family that fought against the status quo and encouraged questioning can’t be overlooked. It seems silly now, in the age of the internet, but my parents were inordinately proud of owning a complete set of encyclopedias and many, many books of speeches and writings of politicians. When we had a question they couldn’t answer, we were sent to the basement where the encyclopedias were kept to “look it up.” My sister viewed it as an imposition on her time (it shouldn’t surprise anyone that she’s now a tRumper); I viewed it as being sent to a world of wonder. One of the first things we did when we got married was buy a set of encyclopedias ourselves. Obviously, they were made obsolete once we had access to the internet, but it was my way of opening that world to my daughter.

      • bfitzinAR
        January 15, 2019 at 4:20 pm

        First thing Momma bought when she and Daddy got married was a set of encyclopedias. She kept every college textbook she and Daddy bought during the 2 semesters she actually got to go. (It was a post-war “accelerated” program so she actually had 4 semesters worth of college credit.) She also acquired all kinds of children’s books on natural science, literature, and all kinds of things I remember well but can’t begin to describe. In my first neighborhood our house was known as “the library” – all the kids on the block came to Momma when they needed information for a paper at school. And yes, of course we were sent to look it up when there were questions – although Momma was happy to discuss what we found later once we had looked it up. Encyclopedias are wonderful – you find so much need stuff you weren’t looking for on the way to finding what you were. LOL.

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