Pat Buchanan Does it Again: Defending White Male Privilege

In this video from MSNBC (on the long side, 16:08, but worth it), Pat Buchanan ardently defends white male privilege (h/t @kellieparker). And, Rachel Maddow offers a substantial challenge to him:

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I’ve written about Pat Buchanan here before, both here (online) and in my first book, White Lies (Routledge: 1997). In that book, part of what I did was lay out the ways that extremist white supremacist discourse in movement publications was similar to mainstream political discourse about race, and I mentioned then-presidential-candidate Pat Buchanan as one of those examples. I also investigated the ways that gender and race intersected in both extremist and mainstream discourse. In the video clip above, Buchanan goes on about the “white men who built this nation” and I have to say that what came immediately to mind for me was an image from a white supremacist publication (such as Tom Metzger’s “White Aryan Resistance,” or “WAR”) that I included in that book (on pages 34-35). Here’s a bit of the passage:

“The image is of a white man, with airplances and bridges in the background, and the accompanying text reads, ‘White Men Built This Nation, White Men Are This Nation!” (emphasis in the original). the images conveys several messages. It signals a link between race, ‘whiteness’ and masculinity, specifically ‘white men,’ such that white men are the central, indeed the only actors visible. …[The illustration] presumably refers to those materially involved in ‘building’ an infrastructure, those who literally ‘built’ the bridges, airplanes, and skyscrapers featured in the background. Meanwhile the image simultaneously obliterates the labor of racial and ethnic minorities, both men and women, whose labor did, in fact, build this country.”

Once again, there is little if any distinction between the argument that Pat Buchanan is making on MSNBC and the one that extremist white supremacist publications are making. Both are interested in defending white male privilege while ignoring the talents, hard work, and accomplishments of people of color whose labor has made this country wealth, yet who are, much too often, excluded from reaping the benefits of that labor.