When Election Challenged Their Birthright, White People Attacked Democracy

GOP, Trump refuse to accept changing demographics

Nigeria, the land of my birth, is a very complicated country. The most populous country (190 million people) in Africa is a former British colony divided by Christianity and Islam and featuring about 200 different ethnic groups all squeezed together and trying to form a nation.

Not surprisingly, the country has been ridden with ethnic conflicts in the past. There are three major ethnic groups which vie for power in Nigeria: the Yoruba, the Igbo and the Hausa-Fulani. During the early years of Nigeria, the Hausa-Fulani group managed to wrangle control through political maneuvering and military juntas. And it was like that for a long time, Nigeria’s leadership was dominated by the Hausa-Fulani ethnic group. Current President Muhammadu Buhari is also from that ethnic group and ruled as a military dictator in the 1980s.

Born to rule

I remember having long conversations with my dad who often said the Hausa-Fulani dominated Nigeria’s political leadership because they believed they were destined to rule the country.

But now living in America, I’m beginning to see the same attitude among white people, especially white men. White Anglo-Saxon Protestant men have dominated America’s political and economic leadership structure for almost three centuries, and I think this has created the same attitude found in the Hausa-Fulani in Nigeria. White men also believe they are born to rule.

Retired intelligence officer and author Malcolm Nance has often used this phrase. According to Nance, this phrase is a good way to describe what was going on during the Trump administration. In a recent town hall with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) Nance said no one tribe shall rule over America. He’s referring to the fact that America’s original motto is “E Pluribus Unum” which means out of many one, not one tribe ruling over many others.

The Insurrection Dysfunction Discussion | Malcolm Nance w/Rep. Karen Bass — Town Hall (YouTube)

However, openly embracing white nationalism fueled Donald Trump’s success. Many Republicans liked him because he shouted what they’d been whispering for years. President Barack Obama wasn’t born in America. Let’s deport all the Mexicans and Muslims. Yes, Trump wanted America to be dominated by white men. But as some Republicans have realized, this strategy is destined to fail. One of the fastest shrinking groups is white people.

The transition of power, which we’re currently witnessing, will not be easy. The growing Hispanic population and Black people clamoring for political representation will create a paradigm shift. Soon, People of Color are going to be sitting in leadership positions and asking why we’re spending billions of dollars on high-tech weapons that will never be used, while their communities go unattended.

The future of America is black, Brown and Asian. It will be difficult for the Republican Party to stay competitive in national elections if they only appeal to WASPs. But, even after the disastrous Trump years, during with the GOP lost both houses of Congress and the White House, they’re sticking with his white nationalist message.

Inexperienced white people good, experienced brown people bad

This attitude also came out during the recent hearings over some of President Joe Biden’s top-level cabinet and staff picks. Republican senators balked at confirming some of the candidates such as policy wonk Neera Tanden because of her history of controversial tweets. But this is ridiculous after letting Trump sail through with his history of offensive and sexist tweets.

Other people have called Tanden unqualified to head the Office of Management and Budget, but these senators confirmed people such as Betty DeVos, one of the most unqualified people to serve as education secretary, and Rex Tillerson, who headed the State Department, even though he never conducted diplomacy before. In Trump’s cabinet, it seemed the less you knew about your office, the better they liked you.

According to Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, a former Republican, the GOP barely bothers to hide its racism anymore.

“Just days later (Sen. John) Kennedy, echoing the disgraced ex-president’s call for members of the Squad to ‘go back’ to the countries from which they are from (even though they are all American citizens), attacked Neera Tanden, President Biden’s nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget, declaring that her ‘allegiance is not to America and it’s not to President Biden, it’s to Secretary [Hillary] Clinton.’ The Indian American, you see, is not loyal to this country,” said Rubin. “That is a message that many Republicans have been telling us about women of color, although not always as overtly. The Post reports, ‘Many of the president’s Black, Latino, Asian and Native American nominees are encountering more political turbulence than their White counterparts, further drawing out the process of staffing the federal government.’ When someone like Tanden is treated so differently — accusing her of disloyalty and making up a new standard never employed for Republicans or White males (mean tweets) — that ‘turbulence’ becomes indistinguishable from racism.”

Black white nationalists

There are a few non-whites in the GOP, but they soon learn they have to subscribe to white nationalist views. For example, a character called Young Pharoah was booted from the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual meeting where right-wingers get together and bark at the moon.

But Young Pharaoh’s views are in-line with neo-Nazis. He called Judaism a “made up religion” and referred to the religion’s adherents as “thieving fake Jews.” He’s African American. But Black Republicans soon learn not to talk about race. It doesn’t go down well in circles where people think racism doesn’t exist.

I used to think America’s changing demographics would force white men dominating leadership positions to finally change their ways. But the transition of power, which we’re currently witnessing, will not be easy. The growing Hispanic population and Black people clamoring for political representation will create a paradigm shift. Soon, People of Color are going to be sitting in leadership positions and asking why we’re spending billions of dollars on high-tech weapons that will never be used, while their communities go unattended. It won’t be business as usual.

However, it seems the Republican Party is digging in its heels at this impending change. They like power and seem to be willing to fight to their last breath to hang onto it.

Nigeria went through a civil war before it resolved some of its ethnic and political problems. I used to say that could never happen again in the United States. But then I watched the Jan. 6 attack, where a group of conspiracy theorists and white nationalists staged an insurrection to preserve white male dominance over America’s political system. Never say never.

Historian: White Terrorist Groups Attacked Democracy During Reconstruction, They Are Doing It Again (YouTube)

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.

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