Why an Irishman like Pat Buchanan plays the “race card” so much against Mexicans?

By Alex Gonzalez

The white race consists of those who partake of the privileges of the white skin in this society – Noel Ignatiev

With all the typical colloquial anti-Mexican and loss of “white” America rants, Pat Buchanan was on The Michael Smerconish Program on Saturday morning  selling the same phony anti-free trade, and anti-Mexican derangement he has been pushing for the last 25 years.

According to Politico, Buchanan was fired in 2012 because he claimed, in his book, that by 2025 “white America will collapse.” Pat Buchanan is now more confident about his claims he has been right all along on the “collapse of white American” and he is rallying behind Trump.

However, Cartoonish culturalist characters like Buchanan, an Irishman, whose own ethnic background used to be anathema to the WASPish nativists governing structure, now claims to represent and defend that power structure.  But, Buchanan’s desire for recognition and legitimacy among the nativists WASPish “white” power structure comes from his own Irish root to want to prove that he too can be oppressive and thereby entrusted with power.  And, to prove that he is white enough, Buchanan had to create cultural enemy he could battle in defense of “white America.”

Often, when Buchanan was asked why was he so anti-Hispanic,  in particular anti-Mexican,  when he himself, as an Irish man would have been accused of the same prejudice he is now casting on Mexicans, Buchanan answers that Hispanics or Mexicans  are  not white, or not westerners,  and thus, they  cannot be entrusted with white power structure, but Rather, he claims, Mexican, or Latinos,  are threat Anglo-model of government and culture.

So for Buchanan, is better to trust ultra progressives white like those supporting Bernie Sanders just because they are “white” than Hispanics who tend to be more conservatives just because they are label “non-white.”

For and Irishman, like Buchanan, to survive in a dominant WASPish Protestant world, he needed to prove that  was defending the established governing rules and “white” cultural norms.  And for those claims to have any legitimacy , Buchanan needs a cultural enemy from whom he could portray himself as a fighter against such enemies that is a threat to the protestant establishment.  Thus, in a way, Irishmen like Buchanan,  who seek legitimacy in a protestant “white” world, need to “act up” to survive in a white WASPish  world, and this has been the story of Irish in American.

In his book,  How The Irish Became White, Noel Ignatiev  points out that Irish exchanged their greenness for whiteness, and collaborated with the dominant white culture to continue the oppression of African Americans as the mean to prove that Irish could be white—entrusted with the power structure.  Although the Irish had “white” skin, this did not give them their acceptance into white America. Their white skin tone only gave them admission into this vast majority.   However, if they were to assimilate into America they were going to have to earn this privilege by helping the Democrats in their opposition to the anti-slavery movement.

Thus, Irish learned how the play the “race card” (fair skin) in the favor and used against blacks to gain favor from protestant.  Irish-Americans judged that the best way of gaining acceptance as good citizens and to counter the Nativist movement was to cooperate in the continued oppression of African Americans.  And so, we have the tragic story of how one oppressed “race,” Irish Catholics, learned how to collaborate in the oppression of another “race,” Africans in America, in order to secure their place in the white republic.

For the last twenty years, Pat Buchanan has been playing the “white privileges” race card:, writing books on how the demographic shift in the southwest, where  Mexican-Americans, and their Hispanic,  culture will result in the collapse of  “White America,” Notwithstanding the fact that 65% of  Hispanics self-identify as white,  and  by third generations of Mexican-American acquire  “middle-class values”, which is also a perceived measurement of  “whiteness”, aka assimilation.

 But in Buchanan’s book on the collapse of “white America”,  Buchanan does not care about that fact that Mexicans or Hispanics are following the same path to “whiteness” ( upward mobility and middle-class status ) as the Irish did, because he needs to have  an enemy that would allow him  prove that he is the protector of whiteness.  But, sadly, his own claims of whiteness emanates out of   his own cultural and ancestral complex of an Irishman wanting to survive  in dominant nativists Protestant circles.   Thus, For Buchanan,  every chance he gets to beset  a Mexican flag a culture,  is a chance to prove the WASpish crowds that he is “white”.

There are some cultural and economic problems, with those who support Trump and Cruz, as Charles Murray underlined in his essay Trump’s America and in his book Falling Apart,   This problem is associated with the breakdown of middle-class white families and “white culture.”

Coming Apart details the social problems that have overtaken the poorer half of the white American population over the past generation. This population is less committed to the workforce than its parents and grandparents were. It has more trouble with the law. It has more children outside marriage. In his book, Murray argue that:

You are a white man aged 30 without a college degree. Your grandfather returned from World War II, got a cheap mortgage courtesy of the GI bill, married his sweetheart and went to work in a factory job that paid him something like $50,000 in today’s money plus health benefits and pension. Your father started at that same factory in 1972. He was laid off in 1981, and has never had anything like as good a job ever since. He’s working now at a big-box store, making $40,000 a year, and waiting for his Medicare to kick in.

Now look at you. Yes, unemployment is high right now. But if you keep pounding the pavements, you’ll eventually find a job that pays $28,000 a year. That’s not poverty! Yet you seem to waste a lot of time playing video games, watching porn, and sleeping in. You aren’t married, and you don’t go to church. I blame Frances Fox Piven.

A similar examination on the decline of muddle-class America is by Robert Putnam Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis: Putnam argues that:

during the last twenty-five years we have seen a disturbing “opportunity gap” emerge. Americans have always believed in equality of opportunity, the idea that all kids, regardless of their family background, should have a decent chance to improve their lot in life. Now, this central tenet of the American dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was. 

But as an Irishman trying to impressed the old culturalist protestant WASPish guards he, it is better for Buchanan to point the finger at groups outside the “white” groups like Hispanics so he can be trusted.

There are many political and cultural reasons why some people like Irishmen like Buchanan accuse Mexicans and for the decline of “white America.” But the decline of white America has nothing to do with Mexico, or Mexican-Americans, or other Hispanics groups. The decline of “white America”and middle -class America is, in fact, more connected  to policies of Entitlement, Education, and Infrastructure, all connected to the effects of an again population that refuses to admit we are not going back to the 60s or 70s. But, for opportunistic Irishmen like Buchanan who pretends to be a good WASPish fighting for the “white” middle-class, attacking Mexican and American citizens of  Hispanic roots has always been the best way prove they too are white and can be trusted with protecting the white power structure that used to against people like Buchanan.

 

Alex Gonzalez is a political Analyst, Founder of Latino Public Policy Foundation (LPPF), and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote. Comments to vote@latinosreadytovote.com or @AlexGonzTXCA

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