Clive Bundy and Race

April 26, 2014 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment

The New York Times has an excellent piece on what the Republicans do not understand about race

On Saturday, Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who has risen to prominence because of his dispute with the Bureau of Land Management, held forth about “the Negro,” and how black people may have been better off under slavery than now.

When I read Adam Nagourney’s exclusive account in The New York Times about the remarks, my first thought was: How did Mr. Bundy even get on this topic? It turns out, Mr. Bundy’s mind ran to the condition of black Americans because the activists who have flocked to his ranch to defend his right not to pay grazing fees are almost all white.

The Washington Post later obtained video of his remarks and it quotes him: “Where is our colored brother? Where is our Mexican brother? Where is our Chinese? Where are they? They’re just as much American as we are, and they’re not with us. If they’re not with us, they’re going to be against us.”

Mr. Bundy, weirdly, is onto something here. The rush to stand with Mr. Bundy against the Bureau of Land Management is the latest incarnation of conservative antigovernment messaging. And nonwhites are not interested, because a gut-level aversion to the government is almost exclusively a white phenomenon.

A 2011 National Journal poll found that 42 percent of white respondents agreed with the statement, “Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.” Just 17 percent of blacks, 16 percent of Asians and 25 percent of Hispanics agreed. In 2011 and 2012, the Pew Research Center found that 55 percent of Asian-Americans and fully 75 percent of Hispanic-Americans say they prefer a bigger government providing more services over a smaller one providing fewer services, compared with just 41 percent of the general population.

Conservatives often talk about Republican underperformance with minorities in economic terms: Minority voters with lower incomes tend to see themselves as benefiting from government programs. Or they blame the underperformance on loose-cannon Republican politicians who make offensive statements, as with Representative Don Young, of Alaska, talking about “wetbacks” or Representative Steve King, of Iowa, warning that the Dream Act would give citizenship to drug smugglers with “calves the sizes of cantaloupes.”

Those problems are real, but Republicans’ biggest problem with minorities runs even deeper than economic disparities and racist gaffes. Asian-American voters broke nearly 3-to-1 against Mitt Romney in 2012, even though they have higher median family incomes and higher average educational attainment than whites. Economic prosperity alone will not make racial minorities eager for antigovernment language.

In 2012, when I attended the Republican National Convention, there was one phrase I heard over and over again: “You built it!” Republicans thought this was a clever rejoinder to President Obama’s comments that people should be thankful for the role that government plays in individual success. The comeback was not the blockbuster Republicans thought it would be, because America is not the overwhelmingly white country it once was.

Cliven Bundy gets that. Will Republicans?”

I believe that most of this problem has to do with cultural issues especially for White Americans.  Most of the channeled up support for Clive Bundy comes from the race that colonized most of the west from the Native Americans.  Most of this whites that probably support Clive Bundy have probably strong revere historical accounts of the Old West where landowners rights were superior.  Or they believe in the same principles of the oil barons and other industrialists of the late 1800s and early 1900s that exploited the land for industry and mining concerns.  Most of all of these peoples were white males

Yes, part of this issue has to do with race, but in reality, has to do with historical concentration of economic power at the beginning of the country’s industrial roots in the West.  This concentration of this economic power favored white males and not people of color in this period.  Since conservatives of other ethnic races do not share the same fondness of these historical memories, they are really not interested in Clive Bundys struggle or cause even though they might share the same views of free market capitalism as Bundy.

This is really not about race, but rather shared collective memories that the white race has and therefore, these types of attitudes are generally held more by whites who have more sentimental views about anti-government campaigns. 


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