May 18, 2014

Nineteenth Century Raciology Comes Back to Welcoming GOP

The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault (1819)
Racism is a pillar of today's Republican and Tea Parties.

American right wingers and myriad know-nothings feel a need to dress up their ugly appeals to racism in the cloak of academic research or at least the appearance of a reasoned argument.

Republicans' near-constant appeal to racism and their collection of racial taunts that comprised Mitt Romney's 2012 Republican general election campaign are apparently not sufficient.

Racists need a sense of security, a psychological justification, an authoritative purpose to legitimatize their pathological racial contrivance from whom they need to take their country back.

Nicholas Wade fulfills this need in his A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History (Penguin Press, 2014), along with Charles Murray, Jason Richwine, the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, hate Radio, and Fox.

Wade attempts to bring back the conception of race as a legitimate means of the classification of human beings who, in Wade's view, have a range of intelligence and character differences associated with their "race" that Wade maps out.

It's an old and ludicrous argument properly met with scorn and derision. See Jonathan Marks at In These Times, for example.

There is no need to grapple with Wade; it's akin to arguing biological evolution or climate change with a fundamentalist. Waste of time.

"(I)rrational, unscientific and demonstrably nonsensical," racists longing for purity from unclean, foreign others should be exposed and denounced, not given the legitimacy of drawing serious conclusions, as Norman Cohn reminded the world some 50 years ago.

It is worth considering Wade's conclusions—echoing nineteenth-century racist anthropology—and asking, "What social or ideological needs do they serve," as Noam Chomsky notes of nonsense like Wade's in Chomsky's classic 1971 update of his dismantlement of B. F. Skinner and behaviorism, 14 years prior.

Exposing Wade, George Will, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, the whole bunch of race baiters is easy.

It has been clear since Nixon's Southern Strategy, and Ronald Reagan's infamous racist dog whistles sounded when Reagan kicked off his 1980 general election campaign at the Neshoba County Fair a few miles from Philadelphia, Mississippi and declared "I believe in states’ rights."

States' rights. Sound familiar today?

The White Party has made the calculation that white racists are necessary to its political coalition and minorities need to be further marginalized.

The GOP welcomes racists into the ranks of their party provided they use properly coded language in polite racist company; openly racist chatting is fine unless the racism is exposed a la the Scott Walker emails.

As for Nicholas Wade and his comrades Limbaugh, Walker and the more subtle Paul Ryan with his concerns about the large "urban" vote in 2012 and the "tailspin of culture in our inner cities," even as the five GOP justices on the U.S. Supreme Court continue their program to dismantle efforts combating racism using the same rationales and rhetoric as that assailing Reconstruction (see Raskin, Z Magazine; May 1995), Wade's work of Reconstruction-era raciology should be noted and understood for its service to the Republican Party and racism.

1 comment:

  1. A roundup of all reviews of Wade is at: