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The Unbearable Whiteness of Being GOP

This week on the National Review Online, NRO editor Jonah Goldberg and National Review’s Editor At Large John O’Sullivan had a discussion about GOP outreach.

“I see that the way we will get the Hispanics and the other groups, the Asians, as part of the Republican Coalition is to get them first part of the great American Coalition. Make them think of themselves, not make but, persuade them to think of themselves primarily as Americans. Restore the overarching, all-encompassing concept of an American identity, which we used to have, which we knew how to bring about and which in the last 20 or 30 years very largely as a result of the democrats wanting to emphasize ethnicity rather than American-ness. We have lost that and frankly one of the reasons we have not regained it and doing very badly at the moment is because the Republicans have neither had the imagination nor the courage to think how they could appeal to these other ethnic groups as Americans and craft an appeal that won them over. They have got to do that.”

Thanks are due to both these gentlemen for this remarkable view into the white conservative mind, where “ethnicity” and “American-ness” are incompatible. And, needless to say, whites have no ethnicity, just American nationality.

And we wonder why Mitt Romney was so shocked to find that enough of us who don’t fit into this narrow view of “American” would vote against him to cause him to lose so decisively. Perhaps he was puzzled as to how to appeal to “other groups” as American.

Josh Marshall was at his understated best when responding to this “Republicans had neither the imagination nor the courage to think how they could appeal to these other ethnic groups as Americans” drivel, saying of the GOP outreach strategy, “this might take a while.”

It’s like getting into a time machine and traveling back to when overt white supremacist politicking was so mainstream, equating American with white was considered the polite way of asserting white racial dominance.

I guess that’s why they think it takes courage “to think how they could appeal to these other ethnic groups as Americans…” When spreading fear and loathing is a staple of your political strategy, there’s always that danger of getting high on your own supply.

Scot Nakagawa

By Scot Nakagawa

Scot is a community organizer, activist, cultural worker, and political writer. He has spent the last four decades exploring questions of racial injustice and racial formation and effective forms of resistance and strategies for change through community campaigns, cultural organizing, popular education, writing, and direct political advocacy.

Scot’s primary work has been in the fight against vigilante white supremacist groups, white nationalism, Nativism, and authoritarian evangelical political movements. In this work, he has served as a strategist, organizer, and social movement analyst. Scot is a past Alston/Bannerman Fellow and the Association of Asian American Studies 2017 Community Leader. He is busy at work on a number of projects, including writing a playbook for anti-fascists, and a primer on race and power. His writings have been included in Race, Gender, and Class in the United States: An Integrated Study, 9th Edition; Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence; and Eyes Right!: Challenging the Right Wing Backlash.

One reply on “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being GOP”

I keep hearing about the GOP’s supposed “soul searching” over this, how to broaden their appeal beyond the white, hetero, wealthy, conservative Christian male demographic; mostly what I hear is not a strategy to tweak/change their message, but just to change the way it’s delivered; i.e., convince everyone else that the concerns of white, hetero, wealthy, conservative Christian men are their concerns as well. I haven’t heard any of them say “well, maybe we should ask these groups what their issues are….”

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