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Monday, October 16, 2006 

Is the GOP the Party of White Supremacist?

It is funny how the GOP loves to use Martin Luther King Jr's "color-blindness" line from the 1963 March on Washington when it comes to race issues. In fact, the Party recently has been actively recruiting minorities just to show how serious their efforts are to end racism. However, it is not hard to see how white supremacist groups have learned to play the system.

Oh sure they are quick to criticize Dudya when it comes to immigration issues. But don't be fooled, they do share the same right-wing template when it comes to issues of race, immigration, losing their country, and the so-called decline of "civilization."

In Texas, it seems the Wise County GOP has been a breeding ground for white supremacist. Recently, DKos diarist TxSharon exposed the blatant racism within the Wise County Republican Party. It seems that the local Republicans want to make sure that their constituents know that their candidates are white, more specifically, "American European."
The Republican Party in Wise County loves white folks, but not just any white folks. They are very specific in which white folks are acceptable especially when considering those who are running for political office. On their website, they listed the candidates and included the race of each which, without exception, were "American European."
This is the same county where folks from the Wise County Minuteman Project enjoy socializing with the women at the Wise Republican Women's meeting and where county commissioners hung a Confederate flag in the courthouse.

Some people find it surprising but in reality, this is not new, not in my neck of the woods - Texas. It must be noted there is a known neo-Confederates group around Wise County, League of the South. One thing, white conservative Texans love to do is to live in past so long as it's a past that makes them feel good and venerates them as heroes.

If you were to ask the Wise County commissioners why they decided to wave the Confederate flag, they would insist it was merely honoring their Southern heritage. Yet, if you were to ask them about ask them about the issue of slavery, most likely, their answer would be "it's all that was in the past."

Neo-Confederates have a bad habit revising history by shrilling that the Confederate Battle has nothing to do with slavery or racism. Modern day confederates insist that the battle flag only represents the noble and gallant efforts of their ancestors in their fight for "state's rights." However, they ignore the primary reason Texas seceded from the Union.

The notion that the Confederate States fought for such noble principles as defense of homeland, or regional pride, or other similarly abstract notions only speaks to their own self-delusion.

Under the Texas Ordinance of Secession, it stated that Texas had been admitted to the Union
as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery -- the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits -- a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time.
The Texas secession delegates went even further than those in most other Southern states, by declaring:
We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable. That in this free government all white men are and of right to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both the desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States.
They even went so far to specifically refer Native Americans as "Indian savages" and Mexicans as "murderous" bandits.

For modern neo-Confederates to try to pass off their iconography soul purpose of defending "state's rights" with no racial overtones is an attempt to rewrite history, and is akin to saying that the Holocaust did not occur.

Most frightening, this is not just a Texas phenomenon. Organizations such as the League are also involved with other white supremacy groups, such as the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) - a group that propounds its bigotry in the guise of conservative advocacy. One League's founding member, Jack Kershaw, is also a member of the white supremacist CCC.

One of America's dirty secret in American politics is that significant sections of the Republican Party “base” have ties with organizations that consist of racists and neo-fascists. The CCC has been able to maintain its strong connections with extremists by appealing to widespread resentments and successfully attracting prominent conservative politicians within the GOP, such Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott and Georgia Republican Rep Bob Barr participate in their events.
Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, who had spoken to the group five times, once telling its members they "stand for the right principles and the right philosophy," claimed he had "no firsthand knowledge" of it.

Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia, who touched off the brouhaha by delivering a keynote speech at the CCC's national convention in June 1998, said he had "no idea" what the organization stood for.
Lott was forced to step down as Senate Majority Leader after he praised long-time Senator, now deceased, Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential campaign, when he split with the Democratic ticket to run as a third-party candidate on a segregationist platform.

Members from the League and the CCC are also involved with other white supremacy group, American Renaissance, who share the same concern that multiculturalism and immigration as being the gravest threat to white societies in America and Europe.

It is not hard to see the dangers that these groups posed to our democracy by hard right forces such as dogmatic religious movements, regressive populism, and White racial nationalism also are attacking democratic values in our country. The immigration issue does bring out the nationalism in these groups. It is no surprise that white supremacists have been eager to use the Sept 11 terrorist attacks to further their own goals. In fact, some of them have turned Sept. 11 into a marketing tool.

The US has been a majority-white country and immigrant labor in the early part of this century was white, although, as we have seen, ethnic, national, and religious distinctions were critical in that time as the basis for defining immigrants as different, inferior morally and intellectually and, thus, threatening. The current influx from Third World countries faces the added dimension of race, a powerful factor throughout US history. Thus the current sentiment is as much the political twin of the racist history of exclusion of the Chinese as it is the resistance to white immigration.

Truth be told, whenever racism is brought up, these sanctimonious group that quick to brand minorities with the victim mentality label. Such whites insist that minorities are being encouraged to adopt a victim mentality, and to view themselves as perpetual targets of oppression. It is the conservatives who then take on a paternalistic attitude, which they are able to parade themselves as friends of minorities, only concerned about freeing them from the debilitating mindset of victimization that liberals wish to see them adopt.

White denial does not only deal with conservatives or white supremacists, in fact, it has become a widespread phenomenon nowadays. A recent survey from the University of Chicago found that most whites are unwilling to entertain even the mildest of suggestions that racism and racial inequity might still be issues. The survey asked two questions about Hurricane Katrina and the governmental response to the tragedy.

The first question asked respondents whether they believed the government response would have been speedier had the victims been white. To no surprise, more Blacks than whites agreed that the federal government's response would have been faster if the victims of Katrina in New Orleans had been white. However, the next question that was weakly worded was more telling. The second question asked respondents if the Katrina tragedy showed that there was a lesson to be learned about racial inequality in America, only 38 percent of whites agreed.
The differences of perceptions based on an event to which the entire nation was exposed in living color, are staggeringly instructive. Blacks and whites saw the same images, but perceived them differently. The Dawson poll, which included approximately 500 whites and 700 Blacks, shows a 64 percent difference between Black and white perceptions on the federal response to Katrina, and a 52 percent divide on the disaster's significance in terms of racial equality in the United States.
At times, it seems nothing has to do with race nowadays in the eyes of white America. Even the media seems to play down race. For the first time in CBS' Survivor, the contestants were divided into four tribes by race. The only ones who really made an issue came from the minorities groups. A large majority of white folks felt that is was "no less arbitrary to group people by sex than it is by race."

It seems the only time some white people will take a person of color seriously is when they think they are in their face, which some see it as counterproductive because it perpetuates an image of people of color as angry minorities who just want to bitch and gripe. But it is the bitching and griping that actually have a positive effect. In the case of CBS’s Survivor, the firestorm actually ended the ethnic experiment quickly. After two episodes and no explanation, producers quickly abandoned their little segregation experiment and merged the black, white, Asian and Latino tribes into two groups.

Often, deeply felt issues raised by groups whose numbers are in the minority have the power to convert, while issues that theoretically should be in everyone's interest never take hold. It is therefore essential that we address several fundamental questions right now: To point out those overt expressions of bigotry is all fine, but what about the underlying mindset, which gives rise to such acts? And the institutional inequities that make such a mindset seem rational? And which crimes are the ones we should punish anyway: the retail versions perpetrated by lone bigots and hate groups, or the wholesale versions which form the basis of institutional racism, and are the very fabric which comprise the tapestry of American society? And, finally, how are we to take back this country if our issues only receive lip service and are not even widely represented in the movement's leadership and decision-making structures?

We can only take back this country again, unless and until people in the US come to see people of color as their brothers and sisters in a common struggle for economic justice and human dignity nothing will change, or at least, not for the better.


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  • I'm XicanoPwr
  • From Tejas, United States
  • Un Xicano who is tired of the current status quo.
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