Appropriating the Position of Minority

Glenn Beck says some very curious things about being White and Christian in America (hat tip Media Matters via Nezua):

I mean, I was talking about it with my family yesterday. I said, I’m tired of being the least popular person in the world. I said look at our family. We’re Americans. Nobody likes Americans. We’re Americans, so the world hates us. But then inside of America, we love America — and that’s becoming more and more unpopular. So, we’re not popular with Americans.

Then we’re Christians. That’s not popular anymore. But not only are we Christians, we’re Mormons. So, we’re not even liked by the Christians. I just — I’m white. I’m human. There are a lot of environmentalists that don’t like humans, but within the humans that accept humans, I’m white.

The majority of humans don’t like whites. I mean, I just can’t win. You can’t win. And why is it? Because if you are a white human that loves America and happens to be a Christian, forget about it, Jack. You are the only one that doesn’t have a political action committee for you.”

This post reminded me of a few other things.  Like Sharia-paranoia as noted over at Pandagon.  Or the choice bits of pure racist fearmongering that occasionally pop up here on wordpress.  (That blog is a particularly reliable source of pure racism).  What all of this nonsense has in common is a rhetorical strategy.

The basic argument being offered comes in a few basic flavors:

  1. The majority is complacent, and is being out “paced, fought, propagandized, bred” by the evil minority.
  2. The majority’s speech/action is so restricted minorities enjoy more freedom.
  3. The majority is so oppressed they are the actual minority in terms of political power.

Such arguments have two main effects.  They attack existing advocacy groups and institutions representing actual minorities:

if you are a white human that loves America and happens to be a Christian, forget about it, Jack. You are the only one that doesn’t have a political action committee for you.”

He might as well say “Where is the white congressional caucus?”.

The second effect of such arguments is something akin to the effect of a negative space drawing.  One can think of this as negative space rhetoric.  The orator creates a space for a desired argument, and then creates a frame around the argument that moves the audience towards it, rather than directly speaking his piece.  In this case Glenn Beck’s argument (and those like it) are simply another way of advocating so called “white power”.  By making it seem as though white Christian Americans are under attack, he is naturally causing his audience to more strongly identify with that particular grouping (and arguments that would go along with it’s exclusive support).

The obsessive attention the racist showers on a the “other” allows them to trump up a social grouping that is advantageous to their particular cause.  Creating fear against an other creates a defensive response people like Glenn Beck and the Daily Mail and Michelle Malkin count on.

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2 Responses

  1. Well done sir, came here via Nezua’s excellent blog. Like the use of Negative Space as an analogy of Glen’s method (if it can even be called that). Will borrow it and use it in the future.

  2. Very cool, and thanks!

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