Dear White People: Racism Is Not Patriotism

Dear White People: Racism Is Not Patriotism July 31, 2023

Dear White People

*Editor’s Note: This is a contribution from Dillon Naber Cruz, whose book, Theological Musings, will be out on Quoir Publishing August 22, 2023

The white supremacists are at it again in America. Ron DeFascist, I mean, Ron DeSantis, has implemented an anti-educational policy for Florida’s schools that teaches that the enslaved benefited from slavery. Meanwhile, country music star Jason Aldean released a video for his racist dog whistle song entitled Try that in a small town. The video features footage of a Tennessee courthouse where an infamous lynching took place and a clipping from an anti-segregationist newspaper from Mississippi in 1956. And in Texas, the state where I grew up, Governor Greg Abbott has spent billions of dollars and is deploying 10,000 troops and law enforcement to inflict cruel, inhumane, and often deadly punishment on migrants seeking entry into the U.S.—many of whom are seeking asylum. All of these things are being done to preserve white supremacy in the United States.

It should absolutely go without saying that the enslaved in the Americas did not in any way benefit from slavery, yet DeSantis is recycling that old white supremacist trope in 2023 in his bid to bring Floridian fascism nationwide. When the slave trade and enslaving Africans and their descendants was still legal, there were plenty of white supremacists who maintained a paternalistic attitude towards the enslaved while insisting that the enslaved had it good in comparison to being back in Africa or free in America. George Washington was one such enslaver. When his slave Ona May Judge ran away, he and his wife simply could not understand why she would have done so because they were blinded by their paternalistic white supremacy. Racist Christians too have insisted that the enslaved benefited from being enslaved because that’s how they heard the gospel. In actual fact, the Bible teaching the enslaved received the most was about slaves being loyal to their masters.

Aldean’s use of imagery associated with a lynching and civil rights activist journalism is certainly intentional. Though he didn’t actually grow up in a small town, he is using a familiar theme to country music as a genre—that of country versus city. It’s pretty clear that Aldean is putting his lips to his racist dog whistle and blowing as hard as he can to push back against Black Lives Matter protests and other things he as a racist white man finds repugnant. Princeton historian Kevin Kruse in response to Aldean’s video said that Aldean was making a “call to lawlessness” which is of course a typical white supremacist tactic carried out by groups like the KKK, The Proud Boys, and racist law enforcement members.

White supremacists like DeSantis and Abbott use the machinery of government to maintain white supremacy while couching their policies as pro-Christian, pro-America, and pro-family all while ignoring the many Biblical injunctions to take care of immigrants and strangers in your land and the golden rule. The latter, if truly followed, would make racism a thing of the past despite what Richard Furman wrote in “Exposition of the views of Baptists Relative to the Coloured Population of the United States in a Communication to the Governor of South Carolina” in 1822. Furman used the Bible to justify enslaving Africans and their descendants, and like DeSantis peddled the indefensible notion that “slavery when tempered with humanity and justice, is a state of tolerable happiness; equal, if not superior to that which many poor enjoy in countries reputed to be free.” That statement, along with DeSantis’ educational maxim that “slaves benefited from slavery” are statements only a white supremacist or their allies can make.

White supremacy as an idea is a lie. White supremacy is a sin. White supremacy and all of its evils like systemic racism should be illuminated and repudiated by every white person. To do otherwise is to be complicit in its perpetuation and its continued oppression of BIPOC people. Join me in repudiating and renouncing white supremacy and systemic racism.

Browse Our Archives