The Romney Chronicles: Partying Like It’s 1865

romney paryingIn an effort to clarify his racist comments about backward Palestinians and prosperous Israel, Romney let loose with more exceptionalist flatulence at the National Review: “But what exactly accounts for prosperity if not culture? In the case of the United States, it is a particular kind of culture that has made us the greatest economic power in the history of the earth. Many significant features come to mind: our work ethic, our appreciation for education, our willingness to take risks, our commitment to honor and oath, our family orientation, our devotion to a purpose greater than ourselves, our patriotism. But one feature of our culture that propels the American economy stands out above all others: freedom.”

The American dream, and the manifest destiny notion—held by believers and non-believers alike—that the U.S. is the greatest, most just, most civilized, exceptional, culturally and technologically advanced nation on the planet, has always been the genius Milk of Magnesia myth in the midst of terrorism. Suckle the masses on the belief that having a choice of one hundred pair of Nike shoes is democracy and you’ll have them for a penny or a trashy reality show. Snooker them with the bootstraps ethos that anybody—not just privileged white male Harvard dropouts blessed with the advantage of generations of discriminatory entitlement programs—can be Mark Zuckerberg and you’ve manufactured a nation of blissful historical amnesiacs.

sikivuSince the election of Barack Obama, the robotic bleat of American exceptionalism has become legion amongst white conservatives for whom Israel’s apartheid regime is sweet freedom. Opining on Israel’s cultural superiority, Romney also declared that, “America’s culture enabled the nation to become the most powerful and beneficent country in the history of humankind.”

In the white imagination this coupling of power and beneficence is critically important. First, it obscures the tradition of European American social welfare, principally, how whites have systematically benefited from affirmative action policies that built white wealth, institutionalized segregated residential patterns that stubbornly persist today, and rendered black and Latino capital a virtual oxymoron. Second, it suggests that the pursuit of power at the expense of the Other is not just good for the powerful but is good for the Other as well. So what if the taxes of people of color fund sub-standard schools and housing and breaks for robber barons like Romney and the Koch brothers?

Central to Romney’s message is that American power is fundamentally moral. There was a moral reason why white progress and upward mobility were brokered through New Deal entitlement institutions like the FHA, GI Bill, and Social Security; entities which excluded African Americans for decades and are now savaged as evil big government by the white nationalist right.

In Romney’s world the Darwinian influence of American culture fueled suburban manifest destiny for whites, enabling them safe passage and escape from urban ghettoes. People of color who were able to assimilate to Anglo American values took advantage of equal opportunity and prospered; those that weren’t were simply mired in backward ancestral traditions.

As Glen Ford notes in his piece “Romney and the Culture of White Supremacy”:

“White U.S. southerners also insisted, during slavery and Jim Crow, that “their” Negroes were the best off in the world because of their exposure to white folks’ religion and way of life. Left to their own devices, however, Black folks’ innate cultural inferiority – i.e., depravity – would do them in…White liberals also believed in the Culture Demon. In the 1950s and early 60s, it was considered politically correct to describe African Americans as “culturally deprived” – meaning, Blacks are disadvantaged by lack of exposure to white culture. Power has nothing to do with it.” 

Comparing African American wealth to that of the Palestinians, Ford argues, “The 20 to 1 disparity between Israeli and Palestinian per capita income matches the wealth gap between American Blacks and whites (app. $5,000 vs. $100,000 for median Black and white households). The fact that such numbers do not provoke general shock and calls for reparations is proof enough that most whites view the disparity as more a natural phenomenon than evidence of cumulative injustice.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan spoke for white folks of the past, present and future when he posited, in 1965, that a Black ‘culture of poverty’ is what keeps Black people poor – not pervasive white racism.”

sikivu hutchinson

Moynihan, author of the infamous 1965 Johnson administration report “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” is a fitting reference given the blizzard of exceptionalist propaganda fueling the 2012 election. With his nod to manifest destiny and cultural imperialism Romney is set to party like its 1965, or 1865.

Sikivu Hutchinson
Blackfemlens

Posted: Friday, 3 August 2012

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Comments

  1. pigdog67 says

    The author has a Ph.D. and a government job. And appears to be black. The president of the United States is black. Not sure if your article was printed 50 years to late or what. I am white. I work as a contractor and struggle for my daily bread (which is what the Bible says is required of everyone). I do not have a government job and am sure I could not get one. As a white male I experience discrimination in the workplace as my boss is Indian as are all my coworkers. From Genesis 3:19
    In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
    It does not mention skin color there.
    My white biological parents did not look after their children. I was adopted for this reason. This put me at a disadvantage developmentally. I notice that black men (proven statistics) tend to leave the mother to look after the children more so than white men or asian men do. I would assume that puts that family at a disadvantage. Obama’s own father dumped Obamas mother and ran off. She sent Obama to live with his grandmother. And later married a business man in Malaysia. Culture does matter.
    America has become very statist. Perhaps someday everyone can have a government job?
    I think the tide has turned. Lots of white males are discriminated against today.

    • nj says

      I’m not sure where to begin with this comment. I guess the first thing I can say is OH SO SORRY! I don’t want to say its about time but…..Anyway, I will take the high road, at least I will try. I have felt that there is a sense of fear in white men. Well, guess what..in the next couple of decades you will be in the “minority”. I truly feel sorry for you because your fear has fuel such hatred and anger in our country. In summary, just face it and live your life taking care of you and yours. Please stop worrying that the world is not yours because guess what…it isn’t

      • Tyrannus Evisceratus says

        Lol this made me laugh. Do you actually think that in the next few decades white people still won’t own and run the world?
        White people are 72% of the population blacks are 12%. Hispanics are 16%. Guess which two groups don’t get along?
        Yep blacks and hispanics.
        The idea that they are going to unite and take over the country is as rediculous as the yellow peril scare where everyone though that China and Japan would unite and conquer the world. The chinese and japanese didn’t like each other and they still don’t.
        You think whites and hispanics have friction you don’t know friction until black and hispanics start fighting.
        Who is gonna benefit from this infighting? White people.
        Also do you really think white people are going to keep arguing with each other when the possibility of them not having a majority is at stake. Nothing like a common enemy to unite mighty whitey.
        So stop presuming to lecture people or claiming victory you haven’t won anything.

  2. JoeWeinstein says

    Sorry Sikivu, too much BS here. Exactly what Romney ‘racism’ are you talking about? Why is it wrong to draw inferences from the income disparity between Israel and Palestinians when (1) the Palestinians have relatively high per-capita income (outside the oil-rich lands) in the Arab world, and (2) their ‘leadership; has received over fifteen years and billions of western bucks to create a real state – but mainly have managed instead stashed Swiss bank accounts.
    Your ‘apartheid state’ is an epithet that demonstrates merely that you’re trying hard to hew terminologically to a old party line. Israel is not an apartheid state – let alone an ethnically cleansed state – which by the way is what the Palestinian ‘leadership’ insists they need their future state to be. Or are you simply trying to dwell on the obvious point that folks who live in adjacent territories under different (and not always mutually cooperative) regimes – Israel and Palestine Authority – are geographically kept apart? As are Americans and Mexicans.

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