Cliven Bundy & The Joy of Being White


 

By Jay Kirell

 

Cliven Bundy.

A person not worthy of much support, yet receives it because…

A person who woke up this morning not in Federal custody because…

A person with a national media platform because…

Because…because…because…

…because of the obvious reason.

…because the unspoken reason.

…because of the real reason.

Because he’s white.

Bundy, and his comical farce of a “stand” against the Bureau of Land Management perfectly crystalize the problem with how some white people view race in this country.  Even before Bundy’s comments in the New York Times sent conservative politicians fleeing like Sansa at the Purple Wedding, the entire reasoning behind his beef with the Federal government had an air of racial cluelessness.

He believed he was owed the land because his roots trace back to the 1800’s and doesn’t recognize the federal government.    Only a white guy would assume he doesn’t have to abide by the law by using the defense of “I can’t see you.”

He rallied a number of like-minded individuals (ie, other white people) who believed it was perfectly safe for them to point guns at federal agents.  Only white people with a major sense of entitlement would assume federal agents wouldn’t shoot back at them.

He attracted media attention from sympathetic outlets (ie, Fox News) who believe the question of whether an individual can break the law if they just don’t agree with it is an appropriate one to ask.  Only a media outlet produced by and for entitled white people would look at the Bundy standoff and go “finally, a civil rights case for us.”

Because I don’t know about you, but I’d imagine if a black guy decided he didn’t have to pay millions in taxes the government wouldn’t just keep sending agents by to politely negotiate with him until he agreed to pay.  They’d probably toss him in jail, even if he was a famous black guy.

I’d imagine if a number of …anybody other than white people… got together, armed, and started a standoff with authorities, the authorities wouldn’t just let them do it.  There would probably be more than a few federal and state agencies called in.

And that is the joy of being white.  The joy in knowing you can do things people of other racial groups can’t and get away with it.  The joy in being able to put your own wants and needs above all others and make them seem like national pressing issues.  The joy in making outlandish and borderline treasonous statements and gaining supporters among the powerful.

Because when you’re white, you can claim whatever you want and not only can you find a sympathetic ear to your plight, you can find a few dozen semi-automatic weapons to back you up.  You can be labeled a “patriot” instead of a “suspect” and be given a platform to express whatever views you want.

And when you reveal to the public views so comically racist your bandwagon is starting to look like it broke a rear axel, you look up in confusion and wondering “Racist?  Me?”

Because being white also means being so obtuse you can’t figure out why calling for a return to slavery might be considered racist.

But then again, being white also means you don’t have to care.  Tomorrow someone else will shove a microphone in your face and ask your opinion.  Tomorrow more supporters will show up and tell you to keep fighting.  Tomorrow the world will wonder what your next move will be.

Because you’re white.  And they’re not.

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2 Comments on “Cliven Bundy & The Joy of Being White”

  1. YoYoTheAssyrian
    April 24, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

    Hello Jay!

    I’ve noticed that there’s not much of a commentator community on your blog, but I’m sure that has to do with you just turning on comments. Which could could go either way, all things considering. (letting the internet in can be… troublesome)

    But in the interests of supporting your recent spate of posts and bringing some of the lurkers out of the shadows, I’d thought I’d break the ice.

    I think that while this bit on Clive Bundy is spot on the money race wise. (white dude gets away with being incoherent, racist and borderline treasonous, cause he wears a cowboy hat) I think one of the more interesting bits is how this ties in with the white militia movement/domestic terrorism. This specific type of armed outrage has been dormant since Oklahoma city in the mid 90s; which did a real number on it’s legitimacy in the public sphere. (cause a militia member murdered innocents, let us not forget(not downplaying it))

    Obviously this resurgence in the national media has a whole lot to do with that event being 20 years in the past, not to mention a black president sparking a whole lot of unhinged conservative backlash.

    But I was wondering, in your experience specifically, how the militia movement converges with the post 9/11 military. Did you encounter people with their origins in this specific type of anti-federalism? (to put it mildly) If or if not so, what do you think of the resort to a para-military style of protest, which is completely at odds with the peaceful resistance practiced by by so many activists since the 50s?

    Like

  2. jaykirell
    April 25, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    “But I was wondering, in your experience specifically, how the militia movement converges with the post 9/11 military. Did you encounter people with their origins in this specific type of anti-federalism? (to put it mildly)”

    — Well, yes and no. I served with guys who wouldn’t shock me if I found out they one day joined an anti-federalist militia. But I can’t say I served with anyone who wanted to overthrow the government, (probably because it was still cutting their paychecks), but they certainly kept their homes as if they were preparing for war. Guys who despised Obama and were certain he was coming for their guns.

    “If or if not so, what do you think of the resort to a para-military style of protest, which is completely at odds with the peaceful resistance practiced by by so many activists since the 50s?”

    — I think RW nutjobs are preparing for their eventual encounter with the government – in one form or another. I think they really want some event to occur that’ll spark a large chunk of Americans to rally to their side. From what I remember of some of the guys I served with, they kept enough guns to make a pretty determined standoff.

    Of course, they’re dumb. And most aren’t nearly as tough as they talk.

    Like

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