Pat Buchanan, a former Republican presidential candidate currently working as a talking head for MSNBC teevee, is an intelligent and knowledgeable white man. He knows history, he knows how the political and governmental systems of America work. He brings insights to teevee news programs. In addition to all these strengths, Buchanan seems to be a likeable guy with a sense of humor.
I say these things in recognition of Pat Buchanan's many abilities. I do not regard him as a wingnut extraordinaire. Naturally, I can't possibly agree with many of Buchanan's viewpoints because to me they can't stand up under scrutiny, but that doesn't mean that I simply dismiss what old Pat has to say.
Having said all that...
Pat Buchanan's racial views, his understandings, his comprehension of racial divides in America are those of a white exceptionalism authoritarian.
Buchanan's take on Obama's speech addressing race....
Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America.
Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.
This time, the Silent Majority needs to have its convictions, grievances and demands heard. And among them are these:
First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.
Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.
My late father had a dash of white exceptionalism sprinkled over his thinking that was similar to Pat's here. My dad used to say similar things about those slave days in America. He used to tell us boys that many slaves were treated very well, taken care of quite nicely by their beneficent owners. Suggestions that slaves in America "had it good" and that whites had somehow done blacks a favor by enslaving them were suggestions I found silly and a bit dishonest. I always thought that the concept that people owned by other people "had it good," was quite a stretch. It simply never rang true.
White authoritarian thinking, the kind Pat Buchanan is afflicted with, demands that white America must be heard from in any discussion about race. The presumption is that white Americans have been silenced, muted, prevented from speaking out up until now. The presumption is twisted up so badly until it comes out, as it did with Buchanan, in a "blacks have refused to be grateful, they refuse to rightly appreciate, what all the good whiteys have done for them."
This is what Buchanan means when he says, "white America must be heard from", if our country is to have a discussion about race. Pat is talking the talk of the old-time white slave owner. I'm sure white slave owners repeatedly tried to remind their captives how much better they had it being held captive in America. I'm certain white slave owners sought to coerce compliance from their captives by repeatedly telling them they just didn't appreciate all that their white owners had done for them. Whites, then as now, somehow, actually talked themselves into believing that enslavement in chains, the trading of humans like cattle, and the mistreatment of blacks for hundreds of years......is just not appreciated enough by blacks.
The shorter, yet more recognizable version of all this is, "blacks still don't know their place". According to Buchanan, and he isn't the Lone Ranger of Race, what whites need to hear is more respect from blacks. More appreciation for all that whites have done to help them out. This is the arrogance and authoritarianism of America's former slave owners. Sadly, it is still the operating principle of white authoritarian thinking, white exceptionalism, today.
Buchanan goes on.....
Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.
Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks — with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas — to advance black applicants over white applicants.
We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude? Link
Blacks do not sufficiently appreciate what majority white powerbrokers, from the goodness of their hearts, have done for black people. According to Buchanan, it's whites who have voluntarily suffered and sacrificed themselves all these years since the 1960's to help blacks out.....it's the white majority who has been discriminated against. Just look at all that the white majority has done for all you blacks......and you blacks have not shown us virtuous and charitable self-sacrificers enough gratitude. Buchanan simply wants some praising of the good whiteys from the ungrateful blacks. That's all he's asking.
Buchanan really believes his own racist horse pucky. I think he can't help himself because he is such a hopeless white authoritarian. His thinking about the ingratitude of blacks resembles the mean-spirited authoritarian husband, home after a tough day at work, losing his temper, kicking some stuff around, raising his voice, frightening his wife. If she says one word in an attempt to attenuate a volatile situation, the authoritarian husband will launch off into an even louder diatribe, similar to Buchanan's, rehearsing all that HE has done for his wife, how hard HE works, what HE has made possible for his wife, etc. 'Look at everything I've done for you and all I hear is bitching, why don't you appreciate and thank me for all that I've done for you?'
Blaming black descendants of black slave victims because they aren't sufficiently grateful to a white race who originally victimized them goes beyond audacious.
Continuing with my authoritarian husband comparison.....the husband comes home a bit more worked up than normal, breaks up some stuff in the kitchen which results in physical injury to his wife. The husband blames the wife for getting in the way or "making" him lose his temper so badly. The following day the authoritarian husband brings his wife a bouquet of flowers. If the wife, just as with Buchanan's blacks, doesn't show sufficient appreciation for the flowers, then she is an ungrateful bitch who never is thankful for anything that the husband has ever done for her.
Pat Buchanan and his ilk have little interest in having a national discussion about race. In the same way that an authoritarian husband doesn't want to have a discussion about marriage relations. What Buchanan demands of blacks, just as white supremacists demanded in the slave owner days, is that blacks know their place and are properly appreciative for all that the white majority has done to help them. That's not an attempt at a discussion......that's an attempt to stop a discussion.
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