It’s no secret that the two party system, more than anything else, is designed to funnel dissent into mainstream discourse so that the U.S. can, at least on paper, preserve the trappings of a representative democracy. This paradigm is why many people were pleasantly surprised by the recent resurgence of Sen. Ron Paul in the presidential primaries. For the first time there is a candidate in the race whose stances radically differ from the norm and who appears to be a serious contender for the nomination.
One of the more interesting aspects of Ron Paul’s platform is his strict adherence to a “color-blind” racial platform, in contrast to Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum’s outright racism. If donning a white hood and calling for the pacification of African Americans is called racism, Gingrich and Santorum could be said to practice “new racism,” a subtler form of discrimination that nonetheless leads to the same outcomes.
What can be made of Ron Paul’s stance, then? The first point to consider is his benefactor list. Paul has accepted donations from Don Black, the leader of Stormfront, a prominent neo-Nazi Web forum. In a recent interview, Paul refused pointblank to denounce Stormfront or Don Black. How is it that such a color-blind person could accept support from a group of white supremacists?
Paul has repeatedly emphasized that he will take contributions from anyone, regardless of their ideology. On the one hand, this makes sense. No politician is able to scrupulously examine the positions of every donor. Still, has American political discourse reached a point where it is unacceptable for Newt Gingrich to have pondered an open marriage many years ago, yet it is tolerable to build coalitions with people who, just several years earlier, were dragging blacks from the backs of their vehicles?
At first Ron Paul’s determination to treat every individual equally regardless of his or her skin color seems admirable. For all we know, he actually holds himself to this standard, and a society without racism is obviously a wonderful thing. But, as usual, the problem is history. America wasn’t created yesterday, but several centuries ago. Along the way we committed genocide — not just once, but several times — against the Native Americans, followed by ethnic cleansing to boot. Remember slavery? That happened too, as did internment of the Japanese (which amounted to internment of all Asians).
When did it end? Did it end when we wiped out 90 percent of the indigenous population? Or did it end in 1862 when we abolished slavery? Did it finally end in 2006 after the nooses were cut down from Jena High School?
No. It did not, and it will never end if we ignore it.
This is the “new new racism,” a mode of thought that ignores the simple fact that we still live in a highly racialized society.
American Nazis have learned how to exploit this new new racism. They are clean-shaven, sprouting slick tufts of hair and void of tattoos. The white hoods have been replaced by power suits. Even their rhetoric has been reworked. They are “peaceable” and “nonviolent.” In their own words, they are “not anti-black” or “anti-Jew,” but “pro-white.”
We are not fooled. We know where this language leads. It leads to pogroms and concentration camps. It has already led once to the mass murder of Jews, blacks, Catholics, gays, transgendered people, leftists, Poles, Roma and the mentally ill. Isn’t once enough?
I know that I will unconditionally reject the support of Nazis toward any of my political goals. Why does Ron Paul not know this too? My guess is that en route to developing his ideas of liberty and obtaining a medical license he never got around to opening a history book — something that I would like my president to do.
Do we have time for him to learn? If Paul is elected I will probably be fine and so will many at this school. But if you fall into any of the groups listed above that might make you a Nazi target, watch out. Ron Paul is probably not a racist, but his platform will inevitably release the shackles that tie the real racists down. It only takes one person to unlock the floodgates, let alone the President of the United States of America.
Boianov is a member of
the class of 2012.