Peter d'Errico: Celebrating the dark side of White 'civilization'

Geronimo, far right, and fellow Apache warriors in 1886. Photo by Camillus S. Fly / Arizona Historical Society

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) caused an uproar when he questioned whether non-Whites have contributed to "civilization" as we know it. Retired professor Peter d'Errico connects that idea to more than 500 years of colonization, carried out in the name of religion:
White supremacists have long associated themselves with Christianity, despite the fact that Jesus was not a white man. U.S. Representative Steve King provided a high profile example of such white supremacy on July 18, 2014, in a televised panel discussion about the current Republican Convention.

Representative King, responding to a comment that this will be "the last time that old white people would command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face," burst out: "This whole 'old white people' business does get a little tired…. I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?"

King added, "Western civilization itself … rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America, and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world."

King's views align closely with the dominant paradigm of Christian European colonialism. An 1837 British House of Commons Select Committee on Aborigines stated, "True civilization and Christianity are inseparable: the former has never been found, but as a fruit of the latter."

In fact, for more than 500 years Christian powers have relied on this coupling of civilization and Christianity to define and defend their colonial operations. In the process, they subjugated and assimilated (or eliminated, when they could not assimilate) non-Christian peoples around the globe.

Get the Story:
Peter d'Errico: Representative King and the Dark Side of White Civilization (Indian Country Today 7/21)

Also Today:
Steve King: The idea that every culture is equal is ‘not objectively true’ (The Washington Post 7/20)
In Cleveland, sea of white reflects GOP’s math problem (AP 7/20)

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