GOP Racism

What else do you call this?:

Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell has declared April to be Confederate History Month in Virginia. He will thus issue a proclamation honoring soldiers who fought for the South in the Civil War. . . . McDonnell decided to remove anti-slavery language from the proclamation. . . . [F]ormer Gov. Douglas Wilder, an African-American who has been supportive of McDonnell and who declined to endorse his opponent last year, has expressed his dismay over McDonnell’s failure to mention slavery in the proclamation.

Get it? The Republican Governor of Virginia thinks it’s good politics to express nostalgia for the Confederacy even as he displays indifference to its context. It makes you wonder: why is a party boastful of its “Christian” character so hell-bent on promoting the callousness of the heart?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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8 Responses to GOP Racism

  1. andrewclunn says:

    I will agree with you on this one. The Republicans seem about as tongue in cheek in acknowledging the history of slavery and civil rights in this country as the Democrats are to dismiss Afrocentrism. Sadly, elections are popularity contests, not contests of argument or debate. And as a result racial allegiance will beget bigoted candidates.

    As someone born in the South myself, I take issue with the assertion often made that the war was about slavery and that was it. That is a gross over-simplification and reflects a “history is written by the winners” approach to historical revision. However, to deny that it played a major role is a very different form of historical revision. Neither of which is acceptable. And if I or any other person wishes to be taken seriously when we criticize it when it reflects the biases of our political opponents then we need to hold ourselves accountable as well (if not even more so.) This is, quite clearly, racism.

    • santitafarella says:


      I agree that elections are too frequently won or lost on heuristic cultural associations (“I like NASCAR and so does my candidate!”) but I think that your Afrocentricism parallel is completely wrong. Afrocentricism was first and most coherently attacked in the liberal magazine The New Republic (way back in the 1980s). And it was a liberal classicist who wrote the most well known book debunking it. And I’ve never heard of any liberal who takes Afrocentricism seriously. By contrast, evolution denial and young Earth creationism are taken seriously by most Republicans. If Afrocentricism played as prominant a role in Democratic politics as anti-evolution politics does in Republican politics, then you would have a point. But it doesn’t.


      • andrewclunn says:

        I wasn’t bringing evolution into it at all. And I wouldn’t claim that Afrocentricism is a prevalent as white supremacy in America (the huge disparity between the number of whites and blacks in this country ensures that.) They aren’t even equivalent comparisons. I was drawing a parallel regarding historical revisionism. In that regard I would point you to this documentary.

  2. G.I. Joe says:

    It’s troubling to me that statements and actions by our elected officials such as these are becoming more and more frequent. Racism is very much alive and well in the youth of America, I would describe it as thriving. And those in charge would have it no other way. Divide and conquer, there will be slaves, albeit slaves working at minimum wage, in this new American empire that the Republicans and top Democrats crave so much. The original American dream has given way to a pursuit of money and power at the expense of it’s middle and lower classes. How do you feed into racism after MLK jr. and others worked so hard to destroy it? Show the minorities how they are supposed to dress and act, what they are good at and what they are not good at, in other words show the extremes and make it the norm for all. If you are black you must dress a certain way, if you are Mexican you must dress a certain way, if you are White you must dress a certain way. Our youth seem to be the biggest purveyors of these stereotypes that they see on TV. They lack education and tolerance and having a politician come out and say something like this, having the white tea party anger, and having a half black president that seems to polarize(divide) more than unite is very troubling indeed.

  3. santitafarella says:

    G.I. Joe:

    A little statistic: the riches 1% of Americans earns more income each year than the poorest 95%. Put another way: if the Average American makes 30,000 dollars a year, the average person in the top 1% makes 3 million dollars a year. Let that sink in and you have the real division of the country: which group are you in? I’m in that 95%. I have a little shitty blog. People from the top one percent own Fox News and the other the media outlets. They decide what’s important in the news and how it will be spun. It’s the way the world works. Our democracy is largely a game of media manipulation between contending elites: how to keep that 95% compliant and onboard.

    This is why I regard the tea-party as so ridiculous: it is a movement driven by the 1% (Fox News, Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh etc.) that pretends to channel the outrage of the 95%. In fact, the movement is in the service of a particular segment of the 1% (and they are laughing).

    The reality is that, to many in the 1%, everyone in the 95% is disposable. The disregard of those coal operators to the safety of their coal mine is a recent example. Take the fine; don’t make the repairs.


    • G.I. Joe says:

      I am very much aware of the gap and racism is one of the many distractions that those in control use to divide us the 95%. Those tea party idiots exist because our president is of color, but I have a strong feeling that Obama was set up to fail, much like Jimmy Carter in the late 70’s, willingly or unwillingly. Obama is a member of the skull and bones after all, and he did vime out of basically nowhere to grab the nomination behind a ton of money and media support. Divide and conquer, divide us (the bottom 95%) make us mad at each other over our two party political differences whilst the top 1% keeps taking money out of our back pockets and takes away our avenues for education. We are so brainwashed that healthcare reform to help the citizens of this country that some cry socialism and start throwing bricks and shooting guns, yet a 700 billion bailout that went directly to the top 1% doesn’t register but a blip in the outrage department. At the end of the Bush administration another GOP president in 2012 seemed like a impossibility, now it almost seems like a certainty and that is very troubling indeed.

  4. santitafarella says:

    G.I. Joe:

    Barack Obama makes me smile. I’m much more optimistic about him than you are right now. My wife said today that she still can’t believe he’s president—it’s so life affirming.

    Obama is not Carter at all. Health care assures his place in history, and even if he were to lose his reelection in 2012 (which I doubt) he is using his time in office to point the country in the right direction (at least in many important respects). Obama won’t be a footnote in the history books, and his presidency is not a failure.

    Obama is a pragmatist, and he’s nudging the country in directions that historians will recognize, 75 years from now, as being right and historic. If reactionaries manage to unseat him, they are just delaying—not stopping—the progressive trends that Obama represents.

    Also, demographically the country is changing. Republicans, in my view, are in the position that the Republican Party was in in California in the 1990s. They could demagogue their way into office on immigration etc. for a while, but the demographics of the state began to overwhelm them and now they struggle for relevance.

    Obama is the nation’s future. The tea party Republicans are full of sound and fury, and may win a few more election cycles on reactionary energy, but they are on the decline, and—in terms of the trends of history—signify little or nothing.


  5. Roger Salyer says:

    It is really unbelievable that those who would wear tolerance on their sleeves are the same people who would deny a people the recognition they deserve in their own States and communities. If a Black History Month can be declared in Virginia, then so can a Confederate History Month. Virginia is a Confederate State, and loyal Virginians are a Confederate people. They may be a people who lost a war, but it is really the victors who don’t seem to be able to get over it. We are not going away. If you want to make us enemies of the state, then that will be your choice.

    That Barrack Obama is president also makes me smile. It shows how low we have sunk, and how ridiculous the situation is. But his day will fade, and the day following will truly be the one that is life-affirming. History will march on, and hopefully over, Barrack Obama.

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