Saturday, August 17, 2013

Beck and Robertson Show Contempt for Southerners

Here's a little secret; there are big-time conservatives who want the votes or money of white Southerners, but don't really like them. In fact, the big time cons may view white Southerners with disdain or contempt--at least the 47 percent among them. Two instances recently came to light: Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson.

Radio and television host Glenn Beck  doesn't much like South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who he regards not merely as a "Rino," but.even worse, as a "progressive". That's fine, if a little demented. What is not okay is Beck's dreadful impersonation of Graham. Not only is Beck no Vaughn Meader, but it hard to express just how dreadful. It is not really an impersonation of Graham, but a generic Southern slack jaw yokel voice, something between Gomer Pyle and the Simpson's Cletus Spuckler and Hee-Haw. A hallmark of this voice is that this is a low-intelligence, uniformed person. (It is a Caucasian version of the Amos-and-Andy dialect, and nearly as offensive)  In the second clip, Beck uses the same voice for an upset gas consumer.  This is likely the way Beck thinks about Southerners.

By the way, in the second video Beck states that "eighty  percent of  the world's oil flows Egypt and the Suez canal." But, in reality, as the National Geographic notes  "Egypt serves as a passage for just a fraction of the 15 million to 17 million barrels per day of oil shipped out of the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) notes that volumes in both the canal and the pipeline have been declining."

On his 700 Club, evangelist Pat Robertson recently said, “That's the big problem, especially in Appalachia. They don't know about birth control. They just keep having babies.” “You see a string of all these little ragamuffins, and not enough food to eat and so on,” he said, “and it's desperate poverty.”

Notice that Robertson blames poverty on poor people beings ignorant and having too many children.  This is an old right-wing theme.

But already by1986, public health researchers had found that in a central Appalachian country

professional family planning services are, in fact, widely available and easily accessible to the vast majority of county residents. Interviews with a random sample of 407 currently married women of childbearing age, 15-45 years, revealed that 87 per cent of contraceptors were using either sterilization, the pill, or the IUD, with sterilization used by close to half of all couples practicing family planning. Moreover, this widespread use of modern contraceptives and sterilization was found among all educational and income groups.
(Here are two posts with informed analysis of poverty  in Appalachia: Cynthia Duncan and the Appalachian Poverty  Project, which, incidentally, describes a poor county with an average of 2.4 children per family.)

I don't these are isolated cases, but express a viewpoint common among elite conservatives. they don't much like working class or poor whites, though they may pretend otherwise.  Progressives ought to be prepared to call them out on this.  And, should be  more intentional about including working class and poor whites in electoral and community coalitions.

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