By Elwood Watson
There has always been a segment of Americans harboring rabid levels of hostility and hatred toward non-White Christians. These men and women were largely forced to discuss and reaffirm their racist and bigoted viewpoints with like-minded individuals. For much of our recent history, their outpourings were confined to secret conferences, white supremacist communications, obscure far-right radio programs and the darkest, racially sordid corners of the web.
However, to quote a line from the music of iconic musician Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a changin’.” Such apprehension in engaging in racially inflected behavior has all but evaporated for many individuals who inhabit this political and cultural sphere. Indeed, blunt, acerbic, and outright racially arrogant antics have become the order of the day.
Take Indiana Republican Sen. Mike Braun, who recently stated that interracial marriage is a decision that should be left up to individual states. Realizing he actually stated his true bigoted feelings, he quickly attempted to clarify his remarks, claiming he “misunderstood” the question. No senator, you stated your viewpoint quite clearly. There was nothing ambiguous in what you said or meant.
Even more blatantly racist behavior was on display when a cauldron of Republican senators engaged in scurrilous attacks on Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley disingenuously questioned her “supposed reluctance” to prosecute child predators, while South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham dishonestly referred to the esteemed judge as “a left wing radical.”
Not to be outdone, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn asked judge Jackson “how would she define the term woman.” Ted “Cancun” Cruz, the Texas senator who likes to mix it up with big bird, charged Judge Jackson with being a “strong proponent of critical race theory.” The acidic banter went on and on. MSNBC contributor and USA Today columnist Kurt Bardella said it best: “The GOP senators took off their White hoods!”
We have also witnessed several conservative politicians flexing their political muscle at the local and state levels. They have arrogantly imposed their will by crafting and implementing draconian laws in school districts, targeting transgender youth and alternative sex curriculum being taught in public schools. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ratification of the “don’t say gay” bill is the most politically pernicious example.
Republicans have targeted race-based curricula in public schools with bills like the “stop woke act,” a law supposedly designed to prohibit kids (read white children) from being directly attacked or feeling bad about their race. More recently, these politicians have targeted higher education, disingenuously promoting red herrings such as “critical race theory,” “woke professors,” and other fallacies.
Education is not the only arena where conservatives are flexing their regressive muscles. Right-wing politicians have systematically packed local and state courts with ideologues, passing voting restriction laws in Mississippi, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Arizona, Missouri and other states. Many of these appointees are hell-bent on reconverting America into a nation more reminiscent of the Jim Crow era through voter suppression.
Far right gadfly Tucker Carlson declared, “The Biden Administration is engaged in an unrelenting stream of immigration designed to change the racial mix of the country,” Thus, deviously tapping into the deep-seated racism, xenophobia, and other insecurities of his Fox News audience, particular, older white Americans. This has certainly been psychologically and economically profitable for some opportunistic charlatans. I say some because others, sad to say, genuinely believe in the reductive rhetoric they espouse to their listeners.
The truth is that there has always been a right-wing network comprised of politicians, pundits, radio hosts, journalists, and clergy. This right-wing group has been astute to the insecurities that have rankled the psyche of their listeners, readers, voters, and congregations.
Thus, they have eagerly, and in many cases, deviously capitalized on white fragility and fear. It has become a truly alarming and perturbing state of affairs. Those of us who are committed to a progressive, inclusive society that respects the rights of all American citizens must combat and respond to such vile politics proactively and with fearless ferocity.
Elwood Watson is a professor of history, Black studies, and gender and sexuality studies at East Tennessee State University. He is also an author and public speaker.
Wouldn’t it be nice if this article just stated “Some people normalize racism”. The bullshit that this article tries to represent, that only one side has racist individuals is a falsehood and does nothing but to create division and tries to hide the racism that also exists throughout our society regardless of what your political views are. If you think differently, and believe that it is only on the right, you are the cause of the problem.
Then there is Joe Biden –
“Some Black woman was able to stack the grocery shelf”
“I tell you if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,”
“poor kids are just as bright and talented as white kids.”
“put y’all back in chains.”
Obama is “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean”
“You can’t go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent”
That forced busing to desegregate schools would cause his children to “grow up in a racial jungle.”
Meredith Martin Davis says
We are living in a fearsome time. We must all vote and stay present when the votes are counted. No time for apathy. These racist autocrats are bent on ruining the progress of our Nation. White supremacy is wrong.
I agree with the Professor. They are out of the shadows and front and center.
I fear given half a chance the “Wallace” types would try and reinstate slavery
Oh please, at this point if you claim yourself a republican you are basically stating you are either a racist or you support racism. There is no more denying that fact. The old republican party is completely gone.
As a former Republican, I could not agree with you more. The Republican Party died when Donald Trump became our 45th President. It is now a hybrid party of conspiracy theories, voter suppression, racial hatred and racial antipathy, states rights, white supremacy, lies, corruption, OK with the insurrection on our Nation’s capitol with the aim of overturning a fairly won election by Joe Biden, fondness for fascist autocratic despots around the world including Trump’s and Fox News favorite, Vladimir Putin. Recently Trump asked Vlad for a favor…could you find some dirt on the Bidens?…while Putin is busy murdering the innocent people of Ukraine.
Call me old fashioned but I am not OK with these behaviors and platforms that the GOP has adopted.
Why should any African Americans trust a white person?
AJ: That was the most bigoted statement in this thread yet. My mom, if she were still alive (she’d be about 110) taught me very early on that people are people, and I should take them for who they are, not what others tell me they are. What about that makes me not trustworthy?
The Geode says
…yet you depend on them to exist
The dude says
“Older white Americans” are responsible for the vast majority of today’s problems.
They’ve decimated any safety nets built into the system and maximized their gains from the safety ladder, then pulled it up after climbing it.
Maybe it’s time for them to ride off into the sunset and enjoy all the cushy entitlements and retirement that they voted for themselves along the way, even as they actively, and enthusiastically, worked to make sure that none who come behind them could have the same (cushy entitlements and retirement).
Oh Dude, you are really something! Ageism is okay? That’s another bigotry I’m seeing more and more often. Oh boy, “cushy entitlements.” Oh, you mean the “cushy entitlements” we paid into all our lives? Do you have kids? We paid, though our taxes, your kids schooling, and still do! As an oldster, I’m still paying though I have no kids. Ride off into the sunset, eh? If you worked as hard as we did, you would be in good shape too. Wow, start sewing your own white hood.
Me Too says
I don’t know about any of the other “older white Americans” but I worked and AM entitled to my retirement. I just hope it’s still there when I’m ready to get it. I’ve worked since I was 15 years old and you can bet I’m entitled to it.
I heard there’s a white sale in town—time for new sheets!
@lbr. . . you’ve got to be kidding, right? LOL! LOL! LOL!
Your lord and master trump is 1,000 times worse. . . take a good read EVERYONE. . . this is just a partial list. We must never forget:
VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!
@Sherry – Oh, please! Now tell us about Hunter Biden’s laptop and 10% for the big guy. LOL
Yes vote for anybody but a Democrat because as you can see at the present they have terrible policies.
Inflation 7.9% a 40 year high and going higher.
Energy independence – failure
Border security – failure
Afghanistan – failure
Covid fix – Take the vaccine and you will not get Covid. I will shut down the virus. failure
Supply chain – failure
How those high prices working for you?
apparently “Cult Koolaid” is still affordable! LOL! LOL! LOL!