Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega
Chicago, Illinois, USA
September 11
A (Sometimes) Respectable Negro
Editor and Founder of the blog We Are Respectable Negroes He has been a guest on the BBC, Ring of Fire Radio, Ed Schultz, Joshua Holland's Alternet Radio Hour, the Burt Cohen show, and Our Common Ground. His essays have been featured by Salon, Alternet, the New York Daily News, and the Daily Kos. The NY Times, the Daily Beast, the Utne Reader, Washington Monthly, Slate, and the Week (among others) have featured his expert commentary and analysis on race, politics, and popular culture.

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Editor’s Pick
MARCH 6, 2012 1:14PM

Rush Limbaugh and the Crisis in White Conservative Manhood

Rate: 55 Flag

The 2012 Republican primary season has featured many head-scratching moments. From audiences that cheer the macabre and the cruel, a fratricidal nomination process in which the front runners seem intent on destroying one another, and a collective descent into madness where the most fringe Right wing values such as nativism, conspiratorial Birtherism, old fashioned white racism, and puritanical Christian theocratic identity politics are on full display, it seems that the bizarre has become the new normal.

Since the election of Barack Obama, the Tea Party GOP has embraced a kamikaze-like politics in which they are willing to destroy the proverbial village in order to liberate it. This appetite for destruction has reached a fever pitch during the last few weeks. Rick Santorum and the Republican Party have called for limiting women’s reproductive rights under the guise of defending “religion” from the “tyranny” of the Obama administration. A Federal Judge was caught forwarding an email to his friends suggesting that Barack Obama’s conception was the product of drunken sex between his mother Ann Dunham, and a dog. And Rush Limbaugh launched a viciously misogynistic attack on Sandra Fluke, a private citizen, who dared to testify before Congress in defense of a woman’s right to have equal access to birth control.

On the surface, these incidents appear to be unrelated. They are simply the desperate graspings and mouth utterances of an increasingly fringe and desperate Republican Party which is determined to defeat Barack Obama by any means necessary. However, these events are all symptoms of a bigger problem. In the Age of Obama white manhood—and a particular type of conservative white masculinity—is frightened, unsettled, and terrified of its obsolescence. White (conservative) masculinity finds itself in an existential crisis.

For outsiders looking in, the idea that white manhood is somehow imperiled, would in all likelihood, appear absurd. While non-Hispanic white men are only twenty percent of the American public, they control every major social, political, and economic institution in the United States. In addition (borrowing the language of the Occupy Wall Street movement), “the 1%” are almost exclusively white men. White people have at least twenty times the wealth of people of color: white men possess the overwhelming majority of these resources.

However, from the point of view of embattled white manhood, the situation is very much in doubt. If we reverse our perspective, or “turn the map upside down” as young Marines are trained to do in Officer Candidates School, the sense of crisis being felt by white conservative men is made all the more clear.

The election of Barack Obama has challenged a type of racial self-centeredness and narcissism, what is less precisely known as “white privilege,” which has historically put whiteness--and white men--at the center of all things. The white racial frame assumes white dominance as a given: for many, the symbolic politics of a black man, his wife, and children living in the White House, and doing so with grace and dignity, is simply too much to bear. This reality is an upending of their world, an affront to a very narrow sense of what the “American tradition” is, and what the limits of “common sense” actually are.

White people will no longer be a majority in the United States by the year 2042. China is an ascendant power; the United States is in decline. Women have continued to gain socially, politically, and economically—one is even Secretary of State, and a few heartbeats away from the Presidency. Gays and lesbians are winning their full and equal rights as American citizens. The United States elected its first black president. And ironically, while black folks and other people of color have seen the decimation of their middle class, and levels of unemployment approaching 30 percent or more, it is white people, and white men in particular, who are most pessimistic about their futures and economic security.

At its root, conservatism is ultimately about resistance to social change. When imperiled, conservatism becomes reactionary. In the extreme, conservatism yields to its most base authoritarian impulses. As outlined above, the social and political changes of the civil rights and post-civil rights era are a dagger at the heart of contemporary conservatism--and the electoral coalition that has grounded the Republican Party since the 1960s. The maddening politics on display in the 2012 Republican primary are a response to this reality.

For example, public opinion surveys and experiments have repeatedly demonstrated a close relationship between the idea of who is “American,” and a belief that “Americans” are “naturally” white. The courts and United States’ immigration policy have long reflected this idea, where until the 1950s, a person had to be of “white stock and ancestry” according to the commonsense norms of the “average” white person in order to be eligible for American citizenship. Therefore, if we grant that the national identity of the United States is tied to “white,” “masculine,” confidence and power (see: conservatives’ love of cowboy politics and the “swagger” of men such as George Bush) the rise of China imperils American Exceptionalism as an ideology, one which is inseparably linked to both race and nation.

Citizenship in the United States is gendered—the Constitution had to be amended in order to give women the right to vote. Citizenship is also racialized—Jim and Jane Crow white supremacy were formal systems of racial hierarchy that deemed black Americans as second class citizens, and where any white person, regardless of their mediocrity and low accomplishments, were judged to be better than the most gifted, genius, moral, and brilliant person of color.

Race and gender also intersect. (White) manhood has defined itself by controlling access to women’s bodies. Historically, white manhood has also been validated through efforts to dominate and control the bodies of people of color: in particular, those of African Americans. The American rituals of racialized violence, political exclusion and oppression, discrimination in the labor market, and the violent spectacle of the lynching tree, were/are means through which conservative white masculinity, specifically, and white identity, more generally, were validated.

We cannot forget that power is about more than controlling people’s bodies. Power, is also about dictating the contours of people’s life chances. The retrograde and fringe efforts by Republicans and Christian Nationalists such as Rick Santorum, Rush Limbaugh, and others to deny women their reproductive rights is a direct heir to a type of white manhood (and phallocentric politics), that validates itself through the control of female personhood. The white racial resentment which is the currency of the contemporary Republican Party also draws from this same wellspring.

My claim is not that there is something new about the current crisis in conservative white manhood during the Age of Obama and the Great Recession. For example, during the 1990s, movies such as Falling Down and the rise of “the angry white man” were signals to a sense of upset and malaise in which white men (and white people more generally) were believed to be under assault by immigrants, people of color, gays, lesbians, feminists, and “liberals”--all of who were enabled by an “oppressive” multiculturalism and agenda of political correctness.

More recent films such as Fight Club were efforts to work through the meaning of white manhood in an era of globalization, the rise of the service economy, and the decline of “blue collar” American masculinity. Nixon’s silent majority, and Reagan’s New Right, “working class,” white electoral coalition, were also backlashes against the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement, and a belief that white American masculinity was imperiled

Looking back more broadly, the United States struggled with what it meant to be white, male, and American during the great waves of European immigration and World War One during the early part of the twentieth century. It also worked through changing norms of white manhood as the country transitioned from one that was predominantly rural, to one that was urban, during the same time period. Ultimately, these are old questions that are still with us, and which are reoccurring, resisted, and renegotiated by succeeding generations of white men—as well as women and people of color.

The contemporary Republican Party’s return to the decades-old language of the Culture War is an effort to capture the lie of a past, the myth of the Leave it to Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet America that never was. This America was one of conservative, white, heterosexual, male dominance. From the point of view of conservatives, the gays, women, the poor, and the minorities knew their place. The long history of resistance and defiance by oppressed and aggrieved populations to this racial and social order is overlooked in favor of a comforting lie that puts whiteness, and white middle class masculinity and manhood, at the center of social reality. In the white conservative imagination these identities were triumphant, safe, and never in doubt or challenged.

When Rick Santorum, Rush Limbaugh and their allies suggest that women should be denied reproductive rights, or that they should put aspirin between their legs in order to avoid pregnancy, white conservative manhood is reaching back to this fictive past. Likewise, when conservatives indulge in Birtherism, or wallow in white racism in order to delegitimize President Obama, they are reaching back to this lie of a dreamworld. To outsiders looking in, the claims by Pat Buchanan and Charles Murray that white civilization is under siege and in decline appear to be some type of agitprop theater, what is silly-talk that no reasonable person ought to take seriously.

However, for a particular type of white conservative the threat is absolutely real. The coarseness of the political rhetoric in the Age of Obama, and the Republican Party’s embrace of the most fringe elements of the Right-wing imagination, is largely driven by a desire to protect conservative white manhood and masculinity at any cost.

For them, American civilization is inseparably and irrevocably tied to whiteness, and a very narrow, “traditional” understanding of what is means to be a “man.” Therefore, by this calculus, the suicide bomber politics of the contemporary Republican Party are not insane—rather, they are the necessary and desperate actions of a people who believe that they are facing demographic suicide. The question then becomes: how far will conservatives go to protect a world in which white men and their sympathetic allies (such as Stockholmesque women like Sarah Palin and her “grizzly mom” brigades) are at the center of all things?

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Chauncey, this is heady stuff and while there are elements which make me just a bit uncomfortable (as an aging white man) I think you have managed to put much of the current quest of the conservative elements of especially the Republican/Teabag into perspective. I hate to think that I am an anachronism as a white male but sometimes it seems to me as though I have to fall into the morass that my "brethren" have created for me and suffer "guilt by association".
Like many, I am incredibly frustrated by the changes I have seen over the past 3 years (and for most of the 8 years prior to that of the Bush administration). I doubt that there are any answers anymore because the problems have seemed to become so pervasive that I worry whether we'll ever be able to work out way out.
But I thank you for this; for making me think about these issues in a different way. Well deserved EP, my friend.
Two radio stations have dumped Rush -- why can't the taxpayer? Armed Forces Radio Network, paid for out of the DEFENSE DEPARTMENT budget (and we know where they get their money, don't we?)has refused to end the show. Guess since we're paying for his show that makes him ....something
41% of white men (including me) and 46% of white women voted for President Obama and, I am confident, plan to again. As a middle aged white male I really don't sit around lamenting my position in the world or worry that I am somehow being "marginalized" by globalization. All of us are already marginalized by multi-millionaires who, ironically, come in all colors and persuasions and I am too busy busting my ass to feed my family to worry about it. I think in attempting to prove a broad point this article ends up drawing some specious conclusions and adopts a tone nearly as divisive as the tone of those it critiques. I fear that perhaps that's the point. It is also massively disingenuous to suggest that somehow white men are the unique owners of sexism and homophobia. Are we now going to suggest that the African American, Asian American and Latin American communities are somehow champions of womens and gay rights? Some of the worst examples of sexism and homophobia I have seen have originated from "men of color". These issues are far more complex than this article suggests but I suppose that wouldnt fit the agenda well.
I don't think that white manhood is in any "existential crisis." I'm a little more cynical about the matter. This is about retaining privileges and grasping at even more, very traditional, obvious, selfish stuff. I don't think any of these people are all that frightened. It's drama intended to win over attention and a certain amount of sympathy, and all one gets with this sort of analysis is more self-pity and more attention on them, and so on. The real crisis is a crisis of capital, and cultural politics is a nice distraction for the financial class while they go about undoing decades of working class gains. There's a counter-revolution afoot here and in Europe.

RATE - scroll down for pertinent links
This summarizes the problem well! quantumflux makes the point that "men of color" may also be homophbic and misogynistic. That is true, but not relevant. The culture of today's Republican Party is essentially that which existed among Southern Dixiecrats prior to desegregation; a culture that was racist, misogynistic, and homophobic. It was a culture of white men. This culture was exported from the South to the rest of the country by Southern Evangelical Christians like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. The Greed is Good gospel of evangelists like Jim and Tammy Fay Baker, which preached that God favors people by making them rich further shaped the New Republican party. The presence of conservative African Americans who have bought into this does not change the facts. R
Outstanding piece. This is also tied in with the "assault on Christianity." I just had a facebook exchange with an old high school friend regarding a couple in CA who were cited for a zoning violation for essentially operating a church in an upscale residential area. I pointed out that they also would have been cited for serving meals to 30 people twice a week in a neighborhood where people want to park their cars and also pay stormwater fees based on residential usage, but these folks were having none of it. They literally think that Obama and the rest of us "others" want to make studying the bible illegal.
Anyway, I really appreciated your insights. Thanks.
I agree with Toritto: Excellent and well deserving of the elusive EP!
As flux mentions it is very complex. Every word Senor DeVega wrote here is true in my subjective universe, and it is also true there's much more to it ...

White Folks are now approx. 17% of the Earth's population and dropping like the thermometers of Pygmalion Palin's home turf in January. Just the facts m'aam.

What I take away is this, the Right Wing Authoritarian has a tradition of incorporating zero input from outside his group. They also will instinctively turn on their own at the slightest example of deviation from the norm. Should an enemy attack, or even slight them, they will be bent on revenge till the end of time.

Because they NEVER talk to anyone else, they falsely assume others follow this primitive urge, when, in fact, we could care less what they do as long as its elsewhere. They think everyone thinks like they do, and, knowing full well the heinous and lengthy nature of their crimes against humanity, their selfish paranoia has them actually thinking others would form a Klan or Militia and come seek them out for "reparations"- guys, and that's what you are, we simply don't care about you, just get off the field, your game's over.

highly rated and hopefully a seed for honest communication here on OS
Excellent post, Chauncey.

I see this problem as analogous to the USA's political position in the world. We still want to strut around like a peacock, we want to be in charge, we want to tell other countries what to do. We have increasingly less ability to do so as our own bankruptcy looms, so our leaders shout all the louder on the world stage. I've always found it a bit rich that we love to go to other countries (Iran, North Korea, China, India, Pakistan, etc.) and tell them not to have nuclear weapons. Pot calling kettle black, much? We've gotten away for 50 years with telling the world, "Don't do as we do."

Conservative white men are in the same boat. They want to tell the world, "You can't have what we have, because it's ours and we got here first." As the world proceeds on its merry way and ignores them, they only get louder.
You cant help yourself can you Chauncey. Just keep promoting your racism crap.

You just cant get your head around the fact that conservatives don't like Obama period. I would have voted for Condi Rice fro president in a heat beat. Unfortunately she is not interested. She is 10 times smarter than Obama and would beat he snot out of him.

You just keep writing your crap and I am sure Salon will keep posting it.
There is a nexus between far right wing conservatism free market economics, racism, homophobia, and misogyny. Since the age of Reagan, this ideological mix has held sway. And as demographics and the economy have changed, the ideological spear carriers have had to carry heavier and heavier loads.

They are finally reaching their point of desperation, as they see their chances for retaining power being fatally challenged by history. Just as the New Left went through its ideological death throes in the 1970s, the world is witnessing the Old Right turn inward in search of greater and greater ideological purity.

The death of Andrew Brietbart and the humbling of Rush Limbaugh must be calamity inducing to the pure ones. And they can see that their faith in candidates like Rick Santorum are going to lead them into a box canyon to be ambushed by the American voting public.

The doubling down, all in strategy of right wing ideological purism is inducing cannibalism in the Republican Party. White men are truly facing an existential crisis.
White male here; you just thrashed me so bad I'm going into the corner to cry.

hehe. ;)

I suspect a lot of the worst white anxiety is in the over 50 group, and in younger decades the anxiety slowly diminishes, unless they are inheritors of proud Southern traditions. One can see it everywhere in Obama Derangement Syndrome. As Mr. Cole pointed out, there are conservatives that can articulate factual disagreement with our President's actual words and deeds, but the majority use arguments that are outrageous fantasies, disconnected from objective reality in the most obvious ways, targeting some imaginary straw man they have invented in their fevered minds. Claiming that Obama has 1/10 the intelligence of Condi Rice is a perfect example of that ludicrous specie of tellingly emotional hyperbole.

The legacy of Dixiecrats is animating the Tea Party, this is plain to see. The Southern Pride and Southern Resentment and the defenders of "Western Civilization" are scared of an America they don't recognize, an America that differs from the one they grew up in, an America that is beginning to resemble the world at large.

They haven't yet realized that America's greatness does not depend on taking refuge in a sea of white Christian homogeneity. In fact the future of America's greatness depends on exactly the opposite of this, and involves America looking outward to the world at large, rather than withdrawing into a navel-gazing reactionary nostalgic longing for the imaginary order and monochrome simplicity of days gone by.
Your post was remarkably good, Mr. DeVega. A pity that Real Salon stole it, put it on their front page, and didn't pay you a dime for it. Even though nobody pays writers anymore, it must infuriate you that your work is being used to make them money and you didn't even get a cup of coffee out of it.
Great stuff here, and I agree. (My most recent post, Conservatives and Daddy Issues) also addresses this- though more directly from the frame of patriarchal (and historically white catholic or christian) power. I am still stunned that we have to continue to fight this fight, but I am heartened that the tide of reason and equality is in our favor. Ignorance will always be with us, but we are more aware of it, due to the starker contrast of people who are outspoken against it. Radical conservativism is really on the decline.
What crap is that? White male culture produced men like Paul Farmer, Abraham Lincoln and the George Wallace. Black male culture produced MLK, Obama and Willie Horton.
The people feeling threatened are overwhelmingly white and older. The average age of voters in the early primaries was 65. Sure, their vision of conservatism and America is fading and they are fighting it. However, this doesn't mean that younger white men share their views.

Rather than talking about an existential crisis for white men, you could be talking about a late life crisis for white male senior citizens.

I suspect the average voter is going to gag at whatever choice the fervent fundies foist on us as Rep candidate and in the next election, the Republicans will rethink their strategy of catering to the extremists.
Great article as usual. It was well-written and made so many good points about how possibly conservative white males may feel threatened. Some of the readers have taken exception to some of the things Chauncey talked about,when he referred to white conservative males specifically. Those of you who are open-minded white males are not included in this critique, so please don't get your boxers in a bunch. I have spent over 26 years outside the United States, and my experience has shown me that the most racist country that I have visited or lived is the US. This may seem like an exaggeration but at the age of 64. I assure you it is not exaggeration. Having lived outside the United States has given me a very clear look at the United States from being outside. Many times people that live in the United States live in a situation where many things are not noticed because they're so common and ordinary that they are not worth mentioning. To an outsider though they stick out and they are glaring. Yes the conservative white male has many hangups and probably many existential fears and they are coming out in a gush since Obama was elected.Rated

I don't think that white manhood is in any "existential crisis." I'm a little more cynical about the matter. This is about retaining privileges and grasping at even more, very traditional, obvious, selfish stuff.


"I don't think that white manhood is in any 'existential crisis.' I'm a little more cynical about the matter. This is about retaining privileges and grasping at even more, very traditional, obvious, selfish stuff. "

"White people will no longer be a majority in the United States by the year 2042. China is an ascendant power; the United States is in decline."

1. Non-Hispanic white people will no longer be a majority by 2042. Self identified "white people" still will.

And even non-Hispanic whites will remain a plurality indefinitely, compared to Hispanics, blacks, or Asians. The fact that they're projected to dip below 50% is symbolically powerful, but otherwise doesn't mean much.

2. You don't explicitly say that China's being an "ascendant power", under its current government, is a positive development. But you imply that it is, by not saying it's a negative (or even equivocal) development, and by mentioning, in the same paragraph, other developments that are certainly positive. (The ascendance of women, gays, and blacks.)

Viewing the ascendance of a non-Western power positively, on the grounds that it will raise the morale of non-whites, is one thing. Viewing it positively even when it's an authoritarian power is another.

3. It's not clear that the United States is "in decline". (Unless we're talking about relative decline as third world countries become richer and more powerful - that, of course, is happening, and rightly so.) If anything, after four or so decades of decline, the United States seems to be starting to correct itself.
I agree with everything in your post. However, I challenge the prediction as to the majority of of the population of the United States being none white by 2042. I think that will occur well before then.

I base this on the traditional racist definition of a white person as being 100% white. Lilly white, white as rice, as the sayings go.

My hunch could be proved by genetically testing a statistically significant sample of people who believe they are white.

It wouldn't surprise me if many of them have some non-white DNA in their lineage. This is a kind of genetic "six degrees of separation". Having one non-white great-great-great-great-great grandparent "blackballs" (pun intended) one from the Lilly White Club.

Excuse the word with a nasty history, but perhaps most "white people" are mulattos.

(About me: I am a 68 year old white widower living in Middleboro, MA. Unlike Chauncey I have no reason to hide my identity from the government so my screen names is my real name and I am easily googled if you add my hometown.)

There are those among us progressives who jump to the conclusion that white bigots hate Obama because he is black without looking deeper. I wonder if they unconsciously hate him because his mother was white (or mostly white - she hash;t had a DNA of her ancestry).

Thus Obama may represent the blending of races that is inevitable.
I read slowly.
I read 2- X's.

I email to my farmer son.
I ask him to not read me.
He's busy in a pea patch.
He need a good 'ole hoe.
Congratulation on a EP.
I bet Alter/Net's happy.
a wonder and try to no worry . . .
maybe Kerry Lauerman reads you.
I hope so. I's buy you 2- 'Fat Tires'
It's a potent New Belgium Beer Ale.
Maybe you can change your Beers.
Ask Ft. Collins Brewers for Beers.
Riding a cruiser to Maryland is no
easy feat!
With the Bay Bridge in sight and
'Fat Tire' Beer Fans in our heart,
We toast Ya with the beautifully
balanced ale.
Crabs and beer never tasted so
editor . . .
fearing the dark
he sings to himself
I'll recommend this.
Maybe just read you.
He's busy in a`hoop.
Hoop tunnel`veggie.
Beer + arugula`Yea!
This is respectful . . .
editor need a bookie
and a IRS accountant
Some really good insight here and well said.

Two things really distracted me from your message though.

This is a painfully mixed metaphor:
Since the election of Barack Obama, the Tea Party GOP has embraced a kamikaze-like politics in which they are willing to destroy the proverbial village in order to liberate it.

And the Secretary of State is not in line to succeed the President. Ever. Ask Alexander Haig.
enjoyed reading and find that it takes time to digest which are signs of a great essay. The fear of the "other' has long been the fear of acknowledging we are "the other" and yet isn't that where we are most successful. Cowboy culture is inherently Spanish/Mexican; our cooking and music cannot have Africa cut out of it any more than Europe. America is alive now- in the 50s it was boring
This piece is completely and utterly fantastic. And oh so true.

The next question becomes "What do we do about this?" I suggest we continue to work to break the while male normative and bring diversity into the country. We're fighting against some big money, however, and some really crazy people. I worry it could get increasingly violent and repressive here. After all, a bunch of white men in Congress just passed a law prohibiting free speech in an unconscionable way. The reaction of frightened white rabbits has been used as a tool to bring power to a very few and encouraged the development of a totalitarian government in the United States. Pretty soon, the only solution will be one I'd rather not contemplate at all. What can we do to stop this nonsense, sans the violence?
The white wealthy "good ol' boys" are the 1% which has ruined our country.

More than anything, they're afraid of losing money and power and control. They manipulate everything and everybody within arm's reach. They come from affluent backgrounds, they're highly educated, and their wealth includes the Wall Street mentality. IOW, if they can buy it, they own it, and when they own it, we have no say so whatsoever as to what happens to us now or in the future. Keep 'em poor and dumb should be their mantra.
Chauncey, yet another insightful summary, appreciate it.

Conservatives threatened by their own eventual demise "Burning down the Village" indeed.

Desperation is apparent, the current Primary Election Campaign fiasco is symptomatic of that.


Think the term "Coming home to roost" applies, the weight of the burden of guilt they carry is increasing and many have responded by "Lashing Out" at that perceived threat.

Which brings us to the core of their behavior, FEAR is what drives the outward anger displayed by "Fringe" racism.

Combined Fear, Anger, and stupidity, of course. Unwillingness to learn or compromise, failure to overcome Dogmatic principles of Conservative "White" self-aggrandized identity.

Adaptation would require that they LEARN and acquire traits foreign to their "Supremecist" leanings, in order to gain insight into the repression they've imposed on others they'd have to be able to "Sympathize" and have "Empathy" for others, not going to happen.

Since they'll never learn to adapt, they'll never overcome their fears and accept EQUALITY of current minorities. Entrenched Conservative values (Doctrine, actually) won't allow for such adjustment of their current privileged vantage point.

The white majority is finally forced to face the likely outcome of one day becoming the "minority", the prime fear of hate groups (KKK, Skinheads, Supremecists, Neo-Nazis) throughout the U.S.

This subject has been the mainstay of racist propaganda since there has been such a thing, looking at the motivation of Timothy McVeigh, the "Turner Diaries" are prominent and specifically address this "loss of white identity".

How many of today's GOP are following this formula, sewing the seeds of "hate groups" to play on the insecurities and fears of anxious whites, nothing new going on there.

It's an old and proven method, a "Call to Arms".

White de facto "Aristocracy" feels threatened by the changing face of America, the White Minority is an eventuality that Conservatives choose not to accept.

So they're fearful, fear resulting from centuries of forced impoverishment and discrimination against other races, other ethnicities.

Their lack of perspective, inability to compromise will be their eventual downfall, as is being demonstrated during the current "Primary" electoral circus ;-)
This strikes me as similar to a simple inversion of the Republican argument regarding contraception.

1. The charges are unfalsifiable.

2. It's highly subjective.

3. It is unnecessarily complex.

In spite of your assertions, there are plenty of principled conservatives. If you disagree, it is one thing. In fact, I disagree most of the time.

In 7 months, at least 45% of the voters will vote for a Republican candidate.

To blow off this group as bigots is counter productive.

I think part of the popularity of Herman Cain is that Southern conservatives wanted to vote for a black man that shared a lot of their world view.

And, I am less concerned with your article, which has some merit, in my opinion than the mindless 'me too' comments.

The idea that women are a protected minority and need protection from a blowhard calling them sluts -- but it is open season on men. It's just wrong.

Just checked my last comment links, update here for anyone interested in browsing twisted "Turner Diary" propaganda material.

Probably "Required" reading for supremecist book clubs.
Another comment, Chauncey.

Limbaugh is SUCH an inviting target, let's redden his fat A$$ with deserved verbal "lashings" ;-)


Limbaugh’s “Gaffs” are calculated to either incite or outrage, depending on his particular focus that day, they’re NOT as accidental as some may suppose.

His targets are normally large groups By Design, he’s not worried about offending Non-Christians, Minorities (as a group), or Gays for instance since they’re all GOP sanctioned
(Licensed) targets of derision and are attacked Ad Hoc by the entire Right Wing on any given day.

Sub-Groups are also valid targets, hence “Minorities” can translate to “Illegal Aliens” for purposes of a particular rant.

Another tactic? He’ll focus on Members of these groups, of course (Barrack the Magic Negro!) with impunity by NOT directly connecting them to these other “Focus” groups AT THE SAME TIME, so that he can’t be directly accused of blatant (Conspicuous) bigotry.

He concentrates on either selected GROUPS of derision or particular MEMBERS of these groups for any one particular programmed tirade but not both concurrently.

This way he avoids being accused of Bigotry while simultaneously SUPPORTING it.

His legal department and support staff must be VERY familiar with these nuances, and his target audience isn’t smart enough to appreciate the difference REGARDLESS ;-)
Really honest and thoughtful description of the problem at hand. As a white, middle-aged women raised in a Southern conservative family, I am the only liberal Independent in the group. Your essay is uncomfortable for me because it states what I have long thought to be true but always hope is incorrect.

Not every conservative white man is a racist, but there are clearly enough of them to keep stoking the fire of politics based on fear. I find racists within every ethnic group and in every culture, but especially in GOP circles. I think they all do our country an injustice.
Who do those white men think they are?...Whiggers?....wink
WOW...nothing like the fresh smell of bullshit in the morning! Man it just makes me feel like going back home to the FARM and mixin' right proper with all them there other red neck folks!

Don't you guys ever get tired of living under blanket generalizations?What is it? Your own crisis looming over the horizon of the NAACP and the MLK foundation approaching total obsolescence?

Sure you quote few relevant facts on your way ( too many words btw ) down the yellow brick road to Uncle Tom's cabin but man you really lay it on thick with the " Big Bad Fat Bald Old White Guy " thing. Really man you should have left that in high school with your very first experience in journalistic subterfuge.

Do yourself a favor...take a course in MATH instead of Ebonics...I promise the Ghost of the only really great Black Man in American politics will approve. Frederick Douglass....the finest orator/American/ Patriot and gentleman ever to step up to the national podium and show people just how it is done!

You are right about the demographic earthquake taking place.....soooo why is it that the various etho-centric skin pimps are not out there right now preparing the black community for the new future because when PABLO becomes the congressman, the Senator, and maybe the President I'm trying to figure out why the hell he's going to want to cut you a piece of the federal budget for white man's guilt which he will be totally free of.

Martin Luther Who????

Oh you mean the statue of the pink guy over there?

Yeah him.


You write well...but then again so did Hitler.
Tell ya the courage of your convictions?

I don't think so...

This forum doesn't permit open discussion which is why so many intellectual cowards like to hide here...

You could try your hand in a real man's game ( not that you would be familiar with that ) and come to the defense of the lazy race-mimes who get their heads handed to them regularly.

Well, there was centuries of killings and excommunications before the Catholic Church (talk about of old white men!) finally stopped trying to maintain the lie that the earth was the center of the universe. So I guess our old white men will continue their jihad for a few more centuries before they finally concede they lost.
This piece is excellent. I enjoyed reading it... at the same time it made me better informed. I of course agree with this psychology and demographic analysis of conservative white male hysteria. They are creating their deepest fear...their irrelevance.
A lot of the analysis is good, except for the idea that what is threatened is "White Manhood"; the threat is much bigger than that. What is really threatened is the whole American Dream idea of upward mobility, for Blacks and etc. as well as Whites. I'm afraid this widespread hangup on "Race" ( a phoney political term) is blinding people to real problem of the creation and disposition of all this "wealth" that we have been creating; it's a worldwide problem too. I gather that even the Chinese are beginning to face the "Iron Law of Wages" problem.
A long read, but well worth the time; I have thought these same thoughts for a very long time, but have nowhere near your ability to articulate them. Well reasoned and well expressed.
Your emotional and intelligent grasp of the situation is incredible. Unfortunately, your observations will only influence those who who are familiar with the signposts of the so-called "post racial" society that is supposed to reflect American idealism.
I have had great difficulty trying to understand the emotional mentat of poor whites who blindly follow conservative, Republican candidates who consider them cannon fodder and primitive. Without a doubt, someone in academia is going to pursue a research project that outlines the emotional non-evolution of certain primates who cling to a distinct, invisible security blanket that actually renders them more harm than good.
Thank you Chauncey, you are a learned man with keen observations and I personally wish you had a greater platform.
Not much to add but to say that this is awesome analysis, and it makes me wonder if Gail Bederman is doing any update of her "Manliness and Civilization."
“Since the election of Barack Obama, the Tea Party GOP has embraced a kamikaze-like politics in which they are willing to destroy the proverbial village in order to liberate it.”
Well, Chauncy, you have to understand that the “first law of politics” is that for every move there is an equal and opposite, but sometimes even stronger movement.” Ok, not exactly the first law of physics, but you get the picture. The father of the what the media called the “Tea Party” was Barack Obama!
Let me give you my perspective on what this man has done, what he has encouraged, and the results of his actions over the past three years as President of the United States.
President Obama arrived on the scene at just about the bottom of the recession. Most analysts will agree that the economy actually started to bottom out in the summer of 2009. The dynamic business and hard work ethic of American industry was already adjusting to the 2008 collapse of the financial sector and the inability to borrow money. TARP was having a positive impact and If Obama, Pelosi and Reid had not wasted the initial $787 billion in a slush fund for mostly municipal union workers, the economy would have continuedl on its way towards improving.
Instead, we were all fooled by this articulate, charismatic man who offered “hope and change” and if we would just allow him to control almost a trillion dollars of mostly borrowed money, we would never see 8% unemployment! You see, Obama and old Joe Biden, and nobody messes with Joe, put out one of the first of many lies to come that the Recovery Act of 2009 was going to fund all those much needed, and still needed, “shovel ready” projects. And today 8% unemployment is treated by the Obama press corp with giddy delight!
As we all learned, the shovel was ready, but it wasn’t for working on infrastructure, it was used to shovel bull dung on the people of the country. A couple of years later, Obama would laugh as he said..”I guess there were no shovel ready projects!”
Now I don’t know what you saw at the time, but what I saw was a very intelligent, very nice man, an articulate man, to quote Joe Biden, but a man over his head in responsibility and doing “on the job training” as President of the United States. . No question in my mind that Barack Obama is a Type A personality
However,I saw a man stepping into the Oval Office, the most powerful job on the planet, with no work experience other than disbursing money from Foundations supporting liberal causes, working alongside his friend and Chicago neighbor, Bill Ayers. He did serve time in the State Senate but from the record he seems to have been mostly “present” and not very active. The only legislation vote that sings out was the vote and arguments made by than Sen. Obama against a Bill that would have prohibited the murder of babies who survive abortions. And I guess we can agree or disagree on that vote another time.
On February 13, 2009 the new President signed the $787 BILLION Recovery Act, which was subsequently increased. The public never had a chance to read the Bill prior to passage, and it should be noted that an overwhelming majority of the people sent as our representatives to Washington also did not have a chance to read, analyze and really debate the contents of legislation that the Administration claimed would create 6,800,000 jobs by the end of…..2012!
What I saw Chauncy, was almost a trillion dollars (the original amount funded was increase) of U.S. Currency being taxed and borrowed (41 cents of every dollar we spend as a country is borrowed), and used not for “shovel ready projects” but to “save jobs” for Municipal union members. Less than 7% of the Recovery Act funds actually were dedicated to infrastructure spending. That, my friend, is not a black or white issue. To have a negative opinion of the Obama stimulus is not white racism my friend, it is abuse of power.
And Alice Rivlin and others actually suggested that the amount of the stimulus be closer to $1.8 TRILLION! I can’t imagine where the economy would be today if that much had been built into the system, spending is never cut as you know.
“The white racial frame assumes white dominance as a given: for many, the symbolic politics of a black man, his wife, and children living in the White House, and doing so with grace and dignity, is simply too much to bear.”

Chauncy, if I read every book describing black men in America, I would probably learn a great deal, but still would have absolutely no idea what goes through the mind of a black man every morning when he wake up and look into the mirror and how you really think about the white race. . I doubt you have any clue as to how “whites frame race” other than in generalities based on those like the late great Sen. Byrd who was a KKK Grand something or other, or Mother Theresa who has helped the poor. O see most blacks as no different than me and my family, some are God loving great people, and others are criminals pushing drugs on the young ones in the hood. What are the “white politicians” along with the “black leaders” doing about the destruction of young blacks, boys and girls? I happen to be Italian and we have the mafia to contend with and so do the Russians, Muslim, and every other ethnic group.
So far, Chauncy, I have not seen a black man other than the obvious color of his skin, but a man, a man who while coming from a poor beginning, was able to attend the best schools right through Harvard Law. Truly an amazing story, worthy of Hollywood. Sure would love to know more of those school years and wonder why the President has put them under a dome of secrecy? He couldn’t be hiding anything, it’s only school papers, writings, transcripts, thesis, clubs, friends, organizations….etc. Would love to read his thesis. Michelle’s Princeton thesis is very well done.
Rick Santorum and the Republican Party have called for limiting women’s reproductive rights under the guise of defending “religion” from the “tyranny” of the Obama administration.
Chauncy, that is silly. You can’t believe that ALL Republicans feel that way. Actually, I should tell you that most of the people who are still registered Republicans that I know are not “republicans’ but Conservatives, starting with my wife. The Republican Party is a shell full of politicians that have been locked into their jobs for too many years and believe they are royalty. Too many democrat politicians are of the same mentality. They don’t “serve the people”, they rule, tax, regulate and intrude into the lives of citizens. And that’s why Mitt Romney is having such a tough time “closing the deal.” The “Party” pushed McCain, Dole, and now Romney on us and the Mitt is being educated.
There is zero change that any legislation suggest that would call for limiting women’s reproductive rights could ever pass Congress. Abortion, well that is another topic.
A federal judge was caught forwarding an email to his friends suggesting that Barack Obama’s conception was the product of drunken sex between his mother Ann Dunham and a dog. And Rush Limbaugh launched a viciously misogynistic attack on Sandra Fluke, a private citizen.
I never heard the comment that some judge supposedly made, and who cares anyway? There are actually people who enjoy having sex with a dog, a sheep, or probably even a parakeet. Some humans are very low on the food chain.
“At its root, conservatism is ultimately about resistance to social change.”
Actually, Chauncy, conservatism is about freedom for the individual from the intrusiveness of big government. It’s about the Constitution of the United States and that those who swear to uphold the Constitution live up to their oath. That is not happening under Obama who sees the Presidency as an Imperial Presidency, and not subject to the checks and balances prescribed under the law. Obamacare cost the democrat party control of the House , the loss of Governorships and State Legislatures, sacrificed by the Obama, Pelosi, Reid troika. Thousands of corporations, non-profits and unions, horrified by the demands of this legislation, have received “waivers’ from the Administration. So much for the attractiveness of Obamacare. Again, I don’t see that as a “racial divide”, I see it as an effort by this President to unconstitutionally, take over the fantastic American healthcare system.
“Citizenship in the United States is gendered—the Constitution had to be amended in order to give women the right to vote. “
You do know Chauncy, the Constitution was amended BY WHITE MEN to give woman the right to vote, almost a century ago. I can’t recall any conversation about passage of that legislation in my lifetime. G ood Lord, man? LOL

“Citizenship is also racialized—Jim and Jane Crow white supremacy were formal systems of racial hierarchy that deemed black Americans as second class citizens, and where any white person, regardless of their mediocrity and low accomplishments, were judged to be better than the most gifted, genius, moral, and brilliant person of color.”

I couldn’t agree more with you with respect to the shame of Jim Crow laws across America, but primarily instituted by democratic politicians. Actually, it was FDR that continued the policy of a segregated armed forces, although General Eisenhower, broke the rules and actually put blacks into combat roles. However, it wasn’t until a haberdasher from Missouri signed Executive Order 9981 in 1948 that the services were desegregated
“We cannot forget that power is about more than controlling people’s bodies. Power, is also about dictating the contours of people’s life chances. “
I couldn’t agree with you more, Chauncy. And that is what defines conservative from liberal politics. As I said previously, conservatism is about freedom for the individual from the government being totally involved in his life. Liberals somehow believe that politicians and bureaucrats can do a better job of directing the path for their lives better than they can as individuals. I guess some people never got over the pleasure of suckling on the mother teat. Life was easy, life was good, and all your needs are taken care of. Sorry, Chauncy, but that is not the real world of adulthood, notwithstanding the powerful forces of this Obama government with their nailed boots on our throats.

For example, during the 1990s, movies such as Falling Down and the rise of “the angry white man” were signals to a sense of upset and malaise in which white men (and white people more generally) were believed to be under assault by immigrants, people of color, gays, lesbians, feminists, and “liberals”--all of who were enabled by an “oppressive” multiculturalism and agenda of political correctness.
The contemporary Republican Party’s return to the decades-old language of the Culture War is an effort to capture the lie of a past, the myth of the Leave it to Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet America that never was
This America was one of conservative, white, heterosexual, male dominance. From the point of view of conservatives, the gays, women, the poor, and the minorities knew their place.
Sorry, I can’t even address such a silly statement. However with respect to your comment about the “myth” of Ozzie and Harriett” and “leave it to Beaver”, I have to disagree.
Those “leave it to Beaver” and Ozzie and Harriett” days, were not, as you describe, a myth to “white” people. Those were the days when a mom could send a child out to play and not worry that some pedophile would kidnap the youngster. Kids could go to a park and play, and not be bothered by drug dealers or pimps. Mom’s would hang out of the windows of their apartments and watch the kids play, scold the ones that were getting rowdy, and worst of all, report the problem child to his/her mother.
Bringing “disrespect” on the family with your action was a felony offense in every household.
“Likewise, when conservatives indulge in Birtherism, or wallow in white racism in order to delegitimatize President Obama, they are reaching back to this lie of a dream world, a world in which white men and their sympathetic allies (such as Stockholmesque women like Sarah Palin and her “grizzly mom” brigades) are at the center of all things?”
President Obama has “delegitimized” himself after three years of actually being in charge of anything other than the family budget, and somehow I believe Michelle was in charge there too. Within three years time, Obama has lost major allies of America, people like Mubarak who, while not the nicest man in the world, was a man who understood Egypt, kept his “promise” of peace with Israel, and the Muslim Brotherhood underground. Today, that country is lost to us, and my guess is the Chinese will move in with civilian and military aid. You might remember a time when the Russian bear was dominant in Egypt, and actually built the Aswan Dam. Obama’s foreign policy was sophomoric, naieve, and just plain wrong.
“Stockholmesque” Sarah Palin? You have no idea how funny you are, Chauncy. Now that’s funny. The last thing I would ever think about with respect to Sarah Palin is that she is a hostage to anyone. Now, if you mean that Sarah is the dominant personality in the room that would make some sense.
Like people of any race, Chauncy, white people are very complex, very different one from another, some good , some bad, some brilliant, and some total idiots. No race, black, white, yellow, red, brown has a monopoly on stupid.
Assholes have always been assholes. Stop trying to analyse them. It just gets the assholes more attention.
Sometimes wonder if you liberals are shooting heroin, dropping acid and smoking pot at the same time.
Lots of armchair psychologists seems to me. You want to assert you generalized analysis on everyone.

Especially that ridiculous horseshit comment about lilly white men. You honestly think anyone is having some identity crisis over this.
I would not be surprised at all if i have some other race in me.
I know there is American Indian. My great grandmother was clearly Indian.
So what. Maybe I can get a special status form the gov.

You guys just cant stand the fact Obama and your liberal ideas simply are not working. Obamacare is the obvious failure. If it is good then why is anyone getting exemptions?

This racist crap is bull. But you guys just keep telling yourself that. It will be your rationalization should Obama lose. You are preparing yourselves in advance just in case.
The white power elite can whine all they like, but my people have been fighting illegal immigration since 1492.
This is the most intelligent & serious article on this topic since w. was given the presidential election by the Supreme Court.
@Malusinka - Color me confused. Willie Horton the left fielder or Willie Horton the bank robber? I was thinking more along the lines of W.J. Cash's book, "The Mind Of The South" and white male, pre-1940 culture; a culture of racism, anti-catholocism, homophobia, and a chivalrous attitude of women. The attitudes of white women, black women and black men were not even taken into account. Hispanic was a foreign concept then. This culture did produce George Wallace and Lester Maddux, but it also produced the Southern Evangelists, who - as I suggested - exported these attitudes as a perverted form of Chrisitanity to the rest of America.

Rush L. is simply the worst expression of those attitudes.

Crap? Yes, that is how I would characterize them.
I meant the bank robber. I was merely picking out the first names that came to mind to illustrate that all cultures/groups have some worthy members and some disgraces.

I don't think that any group has successfully spread the ideas of the South of the 50s to the rest of America. This is a country which elected Obama and is majority white, by a fairly large margin.

The attitudes of the GOP voters (average age nearly 50 and average age of primary voters 65) aren't the attitudes of the average American and not of the younger Americans who represent the future.
Wow! Well done. Ugg in awe.
Excellent analysis, Chauncey. The fear among the white men is pervasive from the 1% trying to hang onto their freewheeling ways to those in the 99% who fear illegal immigrants, a black man in the White House. The GOP plays on that fear and has so warped any kind of reasonable discussion on racism and sexism that they don't believe exist anyway.

Your article should have run in Salon and you should have gotten paid. But the so-called "progressives" are guilty of the same old boy networking and don't even realize it. They can be more cunning and more dangerous because they pretend to be color blind and make their ilk comfortable in their blindness.

Hope you post this article elsewhere and maybe get deservedly paid.
Hey Joe Z. (Idiot at Large),

Post your frenetic ramblings elsewhere, the spam you're selling won't serve the intended purpose of filibuster you're obviously promoting.

We'll simply ignore the lengthy diatribe you've disgorged, reasonable people want nothing to do with that bile.

Agree with Doc William Lee, A$$holes excel in terms of self-promotion ;-)
A fine essay. As an old white male (but not part of the 1%) I feel no threat, only hope from the continuing liberation of various groups that started in the 60s.

I do think a cornered beast is very dangerous, especially when its pockets are so well lined.
Chauncey, nobody is better at getting to the core of matters than you. I agree with everything you have said. I recently wrote an article in much the same vein, but I kept it simple by simply saying they hated their mothers.:)