Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pat Buchanan I Feel Your Pain: We are Made Brothers in the Struggle as White Men Are Now Experiencing their Own Version of Jim Crow

I am an advocate for the power of empathy, the idea that if we can learn to imagine ourselves in the place of others (and the Other) that we can make forward progress as a society. This is a two way street. I try to challenge Whiteness by exposing privilege. Reflexively, I have been working to increase my empathy for the likes of Pat Buchanan--to imagine what it must be like to be one of the "greatest" generation in the midst of their twilight. More specifically, I have been asking myself what it must be like to be a conservative White man of that generation, now witness to a political realignment (of sorts) and a Black president.

When coupled with increased immigration and the "browning of America," Buchanan's world has been turned topsy turvy. Up is now down, down is now up. For Pat Buchanan, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and others of that stripe, the now is a moment where their racial heliocentrism has been turned inside out. While the church condemned Copernicus for shattering the belief that the Earth was the center of the solar system, Buchanan's only permitted sanction is a bully pulpit from which to scream and rant in frustration against the tide of history.

To Buchanan, it must seem as though no one is listening. He is like a man swimming in syrup--desperate, angry, exhausted, and plagued by a type of racial, existential vertigo. In keeping with my call for empathy across the color line (and the generational divide), I would like Pat, and those like him whose privilege is now under siege, to know that I am listening.

What must it be like to be unloved, under constant criticism, (dis)empowered, denied your full humanity and citizenship? To always be deemed inadequate and a second class citizen? To have your competence questioned both regardless of, and despite, your training and qualifications? I will never know what you are feeling in this moment, the depth of your pain and insecurity. I concede that. Pat Buchanan and his kin have been victimized. And I will never know what that must feel like. But, I am here to listen, to understand, and to empathize. Pat Buchanan, I feel your pain.


Elegance said...

Well you are stronger than I am because there is no way I'm going to waste my time even trying to understand that man!

A.Smith said...

I'm with Bronze Trinity. I can't stand all this mess. Pat Buchanan needs some damn friends to tell him to shut the hell up.


Oh wait. I know. He doesn't get it, and he never will because he's willfully ignorant...

MilesEllison said...

Pat Buchanan's victim pose is completely understandable. The Holocaust affected him and his kin quite deeply and personally. His uncle fell out of a concentration camp guard tower, after all.


American Black Chick in Europe said...

Ah watching Pat Buchanan rave about white men experiencing Jim Crow. It just made my day. Must be difficult to deal with the fact that one is irrelevant.

I love how the interviewer brought up the example of the children of old, rich, white parents being able to get into the top schools by virtue of them being...well rich and white. And of course Buchanan sees nothing wrong with that or sees how it may have affected the white, working class (ie, not rich) men he's championing for today.

I noticed that in the videos, when referring to affirmative action, most of the panelists referred to it in terms of helping black people..interesting since it's helped more white females than any other group...I guess my point is affirmative action isn't only about black folks, but ALL groups that have been disadvantaged due to deeply ingrain, systemic discrimination. Some how the talking heads at news programmes seem to forget this...or not care.

Anonymous said...

Bless your precious heart... and I am grateful there are such compassionate souls who blog to inspire us all ;)

Unfortunately, I believe pain is a good teacher. And let's be honest here, is he Pat Buchanan really suffering because he is white? Or is he just saying what he thinks some white folks want to hear about right now? Let's be honest if there is one thing that motivates Americans it's fear. So why not make white folks think they are obsolete and the next darkies.. doomed to play step and fetch it..

Because, I am sure that man is not suffering. In fact white people aren't really suffering at all..or am I missing something?

If Obama were not president, he would be somewhere drinking whiskey on a porch chilling. Not playing to the fears of white men every where.

Anonymous said...

@Bronz and A. Smith--I do have limitless patience it seems--yeah right!

@Miles--play nice, I thought his uncle was actually (only) a brown shirt?

@Black Chick in London-good catch, it is funny how the progress of white women on the backs of black struggle is conveniently ignored.

chauncey d

Jeannette said...

Bless your precious heart..so full of love and compassion..

Injustice and Pain can be great teachers...Which brings me to question:is this man truly in Pain? Has anyone openly discriminated or held biased thoughts about him that have prevented him from perusing life, liberty or happiness?

Is Buchanan in pain or just playing into the fear of white men by saying what others won't say.. You know how fear and untold truths motivates us Americans.

That man would not give a rat's ass about anything unless he could use it to leverage himself and his party.

And for the record I think Affirmative Action is a ruse. It worked well for white women(but what hasn't in this country?)

He's just playing into fear, which is what Republicans do, but your compassion is truly admirable