Whining About Being White About to Get New Lease on Life

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


From Rand Paul, complaining to a black audience about his reception at historically black Howard University last week:

I think some think a white person is not allowed to talk about black history … which I think is unfair.

Um, yeah. That’s been a real problem for whites. Son of the South Ed Kilgore comments:

Those of us who wondered whether Paul in going to Howard was engaged in legitimate “minority outreach” or just playing to the white galleries, have a lot more reason to suspect the latter motive now that he’s openly posing as a victim of racism against white folks.

….Paul seems to be peddling the highly revisionist take on civil rights history laid out last year in National Review by Kevin Williamson, which holds that Republicans alway were and always will be the party of civil rights while Democrats have consciously switched their white supremacist tactics from Jim Crow to “plantation” socialism. It’s a hallucinatory approach to developments too recent and too well known to fool people about, and for that reason, it’s a line of argument that tends to offend people, particularly those being told they are fools for voting Democratic.

I got an email from a reader along these same lines, basically saying that Democrats didn’t so much bravely embrace civil rights in the 60s in the full knowledge that it would be electorally disastrous, but instead, cynically “started the new racism of political favoritism built upon race. Group think and group privilege. All kinds of statistics about how many of each race attain what social standing and income level.” I thought of this as the Glenn Beck version of history, but maybe I was failing to give credit where it’s due. I’ll refer to this as the Williamson version of history from now on.

This version of racial history has been an undercurrent within the conservative movement for years, but it’s never really been out and proud, so to speak. At least, I don’t think it has. I wonder if the efforts of Williamson and Rand Paul are going to change that? Is this going to become a genuine thing among conservatives, once they decide that a few months of being nice to minorities and the young is quite enough, thank you very much, and they might as well give up on these malcontents? I can’t wait to find out.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate