Is Glenn Beck a Gateway Drug to White Racial Consciousness?

Is Glenn Beck conservative marijuana? A gateway drug? Baby steps? The first free hit? According to a Salon survey of racist website discussion groups, these are some of the analogies that white power enthusiasts are using for Glenn Beck. Here, for example, is what a Stormfront member with 3500 postings to the site has to say about Glenn Beck:

“Glenn Beck and Alex Jones [a controversial conservative media figure who believes 9/11 was an inside job] are the front line in the war of Ideals we grapple with, they are far from perfect and are somewhat compromised. But every person in the last 2 years that I have introduced to the WN [White Nationalist] Philosophy have come largely from Alex Jones, Glen Beck and the Scriptures for America founder Pastor Pete Peters … Baby steps are required for people like these, but the trio Beck, Jones, Peters are the baby food that feeds potential Nationalists… Glenn Beck is not far behind as his Mormon background indicates to me as most Mormons I have met are not friends of Jews like the Church was years ago. Most Mormons I know are arming themselves, with guns, bullets and food.”

And here’s how another white racist enthusiast for Glenn Beck puts it:

“Beck, Dobbs etc. are like gateway drugs. If it wakes up one person to learn something about whats really going on and that person does the research, looks deeper and deeper into WHO and WHAT is behind all of this, then its a win for the movement. NOBODY in the msm is reporting the stuff Beck does, let him keep talking. It will wake people up, believe me… He is more of a help to us then you may think. Until we have a REAL voice in the msm, guys like him and Dobbs are a stepping stone right into our laps. Its only a matter of time…”


And here’s Katie Couric asking about Beck’s use of the term “white culture”:

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to Is Glenn Beck a Gateway Drug to White Racial Consciousness?

  1. brooks says:

    glenn beck is an idiot, and “supremacists” of any “race” disgust me; but why is talking about “white culture” any more less despicable than seriously discussing “black culture”?

    as far as i can see, beck is attempting to invoke a perceived set of anglo-american values and implying that the president and his supporters might not share these with Real Americans; but not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, this is the best he can do.

  2. santitafarella says:


    You said: “Why is talking about ‘white culture’ any more less despicable than seriously discussing ‘black culture’?”

    Your question only works if you keep the word “seriously” in the sentence. But Beck is not seriously trying to have a dialogue about the subject. He’s not having an exchange. He’s communicating to a base audience in racial code. He won’t even attempt a dialogue on “white culture” with, say, Katie Couric, because that’s not what his use of the phrase is about.

    And “perceived set”? Perceived by who, exactly?

    A sociologist or a liberal who might be studying “white culture” in college (with nuance and careful to make distinctions as between, say, Italian Americans in Jersey and Norwegian Americans in Minnesota) is fine. But that’s not at all how the category “white culture” functions on the far right. It functions as code for a string of anti-black stereotypes. In other words, “white culture” functions to set African Americans into the position of being a shadow to idealized post-WWII Protestant norms (think Ozzie and Harriet). It functions as a racist category, and a locus for prejudice. That’s why Beck won’t define it above because it becomes the inverse of whatever stereotypes some whites set upon blacks.

    As for Beck not being a sharp knife, that is bullshit. He’s Iago deliberately pouring poison into Othello ear. He knows exactly what kind of crap he’s putting into the public square, and, like Iago in Shakespeare’s play, he’s hoping that the poison he’s whispering around will end in the undoing of a black man (Barack Obama).

    To put it bluntly: He hates the Moor.

    Let’s not pretend that Beck’s schtick (or Limbaugh’s, or any of these other haters stoking white fright of Obama) is innocent, or the product of a sincere, emotionally and intellectually vulnerable, inquiry. Instead, it is a thinly veiled, and perhaps even murderous, hostility towards our first African American president, and it is impervious to dialogue or serious engagement. It is a psychologically authoritarian and racist phenomenon, and if we can’t call it what it is, then we will be unable to think clearly about it.

    When you are hearing Limbaugh or Beck, you’re not hearing from a mature, vulnerable person. You’re hearing from an emotionally armored person hell bent on trying to destroy the reputation of another human being (Barack Obama).


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