Racist Iowa Republican Steve King asks why racism has such a negative stigma


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/10/racist-iowa-republican-steve-k.html


OK. “Western civilization” I can see someone honestly wondering how it might interpreted negatively.

But holy fucking shitballs, “how is white supremacy bad?”



I think it depends on usage? How is one defining said “civilization” and how is it separate from the rest of Afro-Eur-Asia… in some cases, it can be short hand for European supremacy, after all. In the case of history, it was taught to the exclusion of other parts of the world, except with regards to European colonialism, which was seen as an inevitability of history. It was a case of Europe being a region of history and the rest of the world not having history. Given how interconnected the early modern and modern era has proven to actually be, when you look at it from the perspective of the global south and how much agency non-Europeans actually had in the past 500 years, and how LITTLE of that time Europeans actually dominated the world, I think it was good that we shifted away from the US history and Western Civ model to US in the World and World history model…

But that’s just me! :wink:


Everyone has known this about Steve King for a long time. The real story is the people who keep voting for him - he’s their kind of guy.


I’m so damn sick of the apologists for the Republican party. Prominent Democrats don’t say shit like this and if they did they’d get drummed out right quick.


Western Civilization has its baggage for sure and is very much built on racism… but has good and bad and we can acknowledge, fix, and move away from the bad to something new and better.

White Supremacy/Racism in general that shit needs to die in a fire.


Re-watching that clip reminded me that Henry Gibson looks like Steve King. I can picture King marching around with a megaphone saying the same shit.



As @Mindysan33 notes, it’s all about context and usage. Unfortunately, racists like King and alt-right groups like the Proud Boys are trying to appropriate the term (with whatever baggage it might have) and conflate it with the other two (which are all baggage).

A more aggressive news outlet would have pressed King on that and not let go, but the NYT is still operating under the old normal of America rather than the new normal.


Well, the teaching of western civ does come from a time when the teaching of history itself was pretty racist, so there’s that…


But, but…“Both parties are the same!”



Definitely. I doubt any of these clowns has read a work of American history published after 1939.


The Republicans have been the Party of Racism since 1973. They are just more open about it now that it’s all they have besides giving our money to the rich.


Such a classic example of right-wing “weasel semantics,” speaking of “white nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization” as if the three were synonymous – thus making it the opponent’s job to split semantic hairs for them.


Exactly. The alt-right are generally pretty stupid, but that seems to stem from focusing so much time and effort on studying rhetoric and persuasion (and misdirection), rather than really studying the issues. Which makes sense, because their beliefs simply can’t hold up to any kind of genuine scrutiny. So, weasel-words and marginal cleverness in presentation…


It is indeed pretty clear that King et al are not using ‘Western Civilization’ in the sense of ‘that history class you vaguely remember from high school’ (because actually knowing some history is anathema to these ignorant klumniks) but as an ideal that is opposed to and excludes that which is not Western (Asian, African, Semitic).




Agreed, but he also specifically mentions learning western civ as a kid in his comments. It really was how world history was taught, honestly up to about the 90s or so (probably later in some places). I’d say there is probably a 20 year lag (maybe it’s shorter now) between what academic historians are doing and what is being taught in HS. In academia, you start to see a shift to a more inclusive view of US and world history beginning in the late 50s and early 60s, but that model doesn’t get adopted for wide use in public HS until… the late 70s and early 80s, perhaps?


Like the Ringmaster said about the new guy, “Who the fuck is this clown?”


You need to excuse him. Steve King has a brain like a cantaloupe. Smooth - unblemished by a single wrinkle.