I’ve been watching Rachel Maddow’s critical response to Pat Buchanan’s essay “What to About Sonia” since she first began covering it. It was in fact Maddow who alerted me to the essay and prompted the post I did referencing this last week. In that first installment of that critique, Maddow criticized the open link between supporting racism and Republican party politics as articulated by Buchanan in that essay. (you can read the essay in pdf using the link on this blog).
Since then, Maddow and Buchanan have discussed the essay in which he argued that affirmative action victimizes white men (echoing some of the arguments made during the Sotomayor hearings by white male Republicans in congress). During this conversation he also argued that “this country was built by white folks” blatantly ignoring both slave and indentured labor during the founding of this country and the important innovations and contributions made be now free people of color. Here are his comments and the discussion unedited:
Those who want to discuss Buchanan’s opinions here are welcome to do so as long as they follow the communication guidelines. He is not alone in his opinions, white Congressmen and women clearly agree with him, and several Congressmen let that be known during the Sotomayor hearings. So his opinion is not just the “fringe” as some have argued but a willingness to articulate white supremacy, defined as the belief that unearned racial privilege of white people in the U.S. is justified and any encroachment on it is an attack on white people as opposed to an attempt to create racial equality, in public and on national television.
Rachel Maddow responded by “correcting the record”:
Honestly, for me, I am less astounded by Buchanan’s opinion, which is all too familiar. I have already spent enough time discussing the racism on the right with relation to Sotomayor and “reverse discrimination” on the blog last week and am working on a paper for publication on the issue as we speak.
Instead, I am featuring this issue b/c of Maddow’s own articulate rejection of racism and unearned race privilege. The fact that she chose to make repeated critique of a senior male pundit on her own network without regard to its impact on her own continued employment displaces a critical “disloyalty to whiteness” that is necessary to ending racism in this country. Given the number of white women in the media spouting racism that we have covered on this blog, including most recently the woman who called the police on her own neighborh, Skip Gates and his taxi driver, for trying to get into his own house, I am glad that Rachel is there as an excessible and mainstream image of how feminism can and does get it right.