Of course not. Glenn 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.
A sociologist or a liberal who might be studying “white culture” in college (with nuance and careful to make distinctions 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 with Glenn Beck. Rather, it functions as code for a string of anti-black stereotypes. In other words, the right’s use of the phrase “white culture” sets 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 habitually set upon blacks.
As for Glenn Beck being “aw shucks” innocent of his own uses of language, that too is bullshit. Beck is not dumb. 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 casting doubt upon, and trying to destroy (without any serious regard for truth) the reputation of another human being.
To counter Beck’s yucky karma, I offer this: