Watching Dinesh D’Souza’s “America: Imagine a World without Her” amid red-faced, stocky, middle-aged white men

In 2012, when conservative author Dinesh D’Souza lost his job as President of The King’s College, an evangelical Christian school based in Manhattan, I didn’t think it likely that he’d ever have another of his ridiculous “documentaries” made. But I guess Neocons, for all of their talk of family values, don’t really give a fuck if someone gets busted, like the married D’Souza did, taking his mistress with him to an event on Christian values. Apparently, if you can crank out effective “Liberals are killing America” propaganda, folks on the right with money are willing to look the other way. And this is especially true if, like D’Souza, you are a man of color who can effectively present himself as being an unbiased academic, just following the facts wherever they might lead… whether it might be to the shocking discovery that Obama inherited a hatred of America from his father or the realization that protesters in Ferguson are like the terrorists of ISIS.

dsouza2I remember someone commenting, many years ago, that Newt Gingrich’s popularity could be attributed to the fact that he could talk in a way that sounded smart to dumb people. And my sense is that any popularity that D’Souza may still enjoy can be similarly explained. For people who have never met an academic, I think he comes across as scholarly.

And, for this reason… in spite of the fact that he was just recently indicted in New York for “routing illegal donations to an unnamed Senate candidate“… D’Souza is back at it again, with a new film, titled America: Imagine a World without Her, which is apparently all about those evil folks, like Noam Chomsky, who have the audacity to suggest that America may be flawed… Here’s a taste.

Still longing for more?

Well, as it happens, our friend Thom Elliott offered to sit through a screening so that we wouldn’t have to… Here’s his report, which I found shoved under my front door this morning.

“Fragment on Postmodern American Propaganda; A Deconstructive Film Review of Dinesh D’Souza’s ‘America’

As I told the reedy Caucasian man in his late fifties with a closely-cropped mustache and thinning, blow-dried, auburn pompadour, “My friend is coming back to sit near me,” I had the dawning realization that this antique movie-theater (contrary to my expectations) was actually filling up. I knew I didn’t want this guy to be right next to me to hear my inevitable gasps, incredulous laughter, exasperation, and bursts of hushed methodical real-time deconstruction of Dinesh D’Souza’s latest propaganda film “America; What Would the World Be Without Her”. I then felt a sense of danger at the awareness of what I had done. My colleague and I were surely in the presence of my fleshy, human, ideological enemies, and the notion that I could be harassed, or even violently assaulted, became a living possibility. In the contemporary U.S., people get a double-tap to the head for far less than just being a French-style postmodern communist out for an amusing night of propaganda film. As I surreptitiously scanned the portly, unkempt lunch-ladies in over-stretched souvenir tee-shirts and yoga pants, the scattered, oddly dressed, wiry elderly couples from another world, and the red-faced, stocky, middle-aged white men in their requisite shorts/Hawaiian-shirt/ragged sneaker uniforms, I could palpably feel my alienation, and a momentary impulse of ‘fight-or-flight’.

As the theater darkened and the opening sequence began to roll, I knew I was in for a slog. The film begins with a made-for-cable-TV montage of scenes of dappled horses stampeding over open prairies, mountain ranges infested with colorful skiers, helicopter fly-over shots of the Golden Gate Bridge, Manhattan, Mount Rushmore, lighthouses in Maine etc., intercut with all the oddly familiar, vaguely unsettling, David Lynch-esq creepy American stock-footage simulacrum you can think of i.e.; dreamy black and white shots of children holding plastic flags running along crowded thoroughfares at small-town July 4th parades, broad-faced firemen waving thick hands as the fire truck lazily passes, celebratory explosions of flaming copper and aluminum launched into our atmosphere etc. Various shots of Americans at play, looking remarkably less-than-evil, their white faces expanding affably to better accommodate filling their oral cavities with so-called ‘hotdog’ material etc., all set to the latest commercial FM-radio feel-good audio sedative. The first few minutes of the film is entirely composed of images specifically hand-selected by D’Souza to by-pass the spectator’s rational intelligence, and attempt to speak directly to the unconscious. D’Souza clearly attempts to appeal to the same subliminal forces that advertisering executives do when they want to sell you an ‘invented need’ like the latest consumer electronics object (or jingoistic American political planners do for their latest imperialistic war of choice). Then an (unbearably corny) extended introduction sequence in the style of the (ironically titled) History Channel’s “The Men Who Made America” series, depicting a rustic, white, iron-smith proletarian, forging the letters of the signifier “AMERICA” to some Kid Rock-esq, ersatz-masculine phony hard-ass techno-rock pabulum. Finally the actual credit sequence rolls, showing American innovation/skyscrapers etc., since the beginning of the 20th century, in an animated blue-print motif (like Ayn Rand’s the Fountainhead for kids) which is the actual overall underlying thrust of D’Souza’s piece, that American technological innovation/modernism/capitalism outweigh all of the U.S.’s faults, absolves it in perpetuity, and categorically differentiates the U.S. from any other nation for all time (the rest of whom were conquering-oriented barbarians).

The film finally introduces our humble narrator, Dinesh D’Souza, as a solemn, utterly assimilated, nebbish Indian-American immigrant, clad in head-to-toe in Eddie Bauer. D’Souza is flushed with mush-mouthed introspection as he stalks the Lincoln Memorial and National Mall at night, mulling over his overt Cassandra Complex. D’Souza has found out, much to his melodramatic chagrin, that all the predictions he made in his 1st major propaganda film “2016” all have come true (of course). He warned the misguided liberals that they were making this huge mistake voting for the allegedly ‘liberal’ choice for POTUS (or temporary figurehead of 21st century American plutocratic oligarchy). For the film “America” however, D’Souza is wrestling with the notion that there could possibly be people living in his country of choice, who (as bizarre as it may sound) are seriously displeased with how plutocratic Americanism/global capitalism has played out in our era of Late Capital. D’Souza struggles with the idea that there are people who could hold principled objections to our cynical version of virtual ‘democracy’ with its grotesque bourgeois popularity contests called ‘elections’ (which philosopher Alain Badiou referred to as ‘spectacles for idiots’). To D’Souza, people who could actually want to see the U.S. radically altered are just ill-informed by nefarious Leftists who have infiltrated society, and any attempt to change our plutocratic oligarchy would be tantamount to its annihilation. This sequence introduces more overt propaganda images, images which would surely make Leni Riefenstahl chuckle with recognition (and let’s be honest, also at just how poorly executed contemporary propaganda films are as pieces of cinema [certainly in comparison to Riefenstahl’s unrivaled cinematic propaganda masterpiece Triumph of the Will]).

After curiously lingering on the statue of Lincoln leaning on the great marble fasces, the film introduces a thoroughly fictionalized account of George Washington. D’Souza shows us a virtual Washington complete with a full set of off-white teeth the historical Washington would have sorely envied, and would have also insisted upon for the film (where he aware of it). Washington of course being a prescient propagandist himself would stuff his mouth with cotton (for portraiture and so on) to fill out his slack jaw-line and to hide the rotten black tooth-stumps that held his torturous wooden bridge-work. Virtual Washington is variously seen romantically leaving for battle (with an obvious African slave boy in-tow), charging sword-drawn into battle (intercut with momentary flashes of the Tea Party-appropriated Gadsden flag, random shots of a mechanically folded contemporary American flag flying, and a burnt American flag banner), and yelling in slow-motion “Hold the line boys! Hold the line!” Supposedly ‘gritty’ recycled images of large-scale Revolutionary War re-enactments play with a voice-over of an idealistic private writing to his mother of how inspiring this mythologized military commander is etc…then Washington gets unceremoniously iced by a British sniper…and the body of America’s Romulus is nonchalantly rolled into a wet ditch as people step over it, unaware of the world-shattering quantum cataclysm that just occurred. Cheap, dated CGI begins to unmake Mt. Rushmore, the Lincoln Memorial, and the statue of the soldiers hoisting the flag at Iwo-Jima (because of course the U.S. wouldn’t have existed without a single mythologized personality, but somehow everything else about the 20th century happened without America’s existence, including the rise of Adolf Hitler [who would presumably rule the world along with Imperial Japan?]). D’Souza then lays out the ‘legal’ indictments against the simulated America of his ideology by the Left over the last hundred years.

Similar to the documentary film The Corporation (which takes the claim that ‘corporations are people’ seriously and uses the DSM-IV to demonstrate that ‘if corporations are people then they are clinically sociopathic’) D’Souza (astonishingly) lays out five legal indictments allegedly made by the Left. He does this by presenting some of the actual scholarship of his main intellectual enemies (a few of whom he manages to briefly interview). D’Souza’s bête noir in this film is clearly Howard Zinn, but his other major targets (apart from Democrats now in office) include Ward Churchill, Noam Chomsky, and Saul Alinsky. This sequence starts with POTUS Obama’s now infamous ‘you didn’t build that’ speech, then the audio of Senator Warren giving the similar argument (which is an obviously rationally uncontroversial notion that no single human being builds international corporations, and that tax-payer funded elements go into that process) over-layered onto images of pipe-fitters working on oil derricks, etc., which elicited loud sardonic laughter from two or three of the red-faced men in the audience. In order to show how these evil Leftists evidently took control of the U.S., D’Souza gives short shrift to a picture of actual history of the U.S., which is detailed in books like A People’s History of the United States. The charges against America start with the havoc waged against the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere by the Spanish colonialists, including the genocidal destruction of the Taino by notorious slaver Christopher Columbus (which D’Souza completely blames the Spanish for, strangely disconnecting Columbus historically from the U.S. while retaining his value as patriotic simulacrum). The film’s other charges against America include the theft of Mexico in the Mexican-American War (which D’Souza later interviews amateur revisionist-historian Senator Ted Cruz about), the theft of the wealth created by the institution of slavery from the blacks who literally built the infrastructure of America, the theft from the American people of the American Dream™ (which is not to my knowledge a Leftist problem, viewing the so-called American Dream™ as the corporate consumerist invention it always was), and the contemporary endless war for resources that sustains the (actually demonstrably finite) endless growth of global capitalism.

These interviews with Leftists, brief as they are, are priceless; D’Souza’s noticeable discomfort as he speaks to the radical Reconquista Chicano theorist Professor Charles Truxillo from the University of New Mexico alone makes the film worth the price of admission. In a few amazing moments Prof. Truxillo speaks about atavistic Mexican religious/ethnic nationalism rooted in reclaiming their historical territory, the categorical rejection of Anglo-American cultural hegemony, and some Third-Position ideology (a political notion somewhere between communism and fascism, allegedly beyond Left and Right). D’Souza speaks to a female Native American activist (whose name I unfortunately missed) who openly laments Mt. Rushmore’s existence as an oppressive symbol mocking her ancestral homeland. She also indicates to D’Souza that even the signifier ‘America’ makes her ‘sad’ because of the stolen land and wreckage of lost/destroyed cultures (which D’Souza goes on to say wasn’t theft at all because Native Americans ‘stole’ land from each other in internecine wars). D’Souza manages to get five minutes of Prof. Chomsky’s time to talk about the well-documented U.S. imperialistic aggression, extra-judicial murders/assassinations, and overt terrorism during the 20th century (in places like Grenada, Brazil, and Iran etc.). D’Souza also speaks with the ominous Professor Ward Churchill at his home, and gets him to say (through some finagling) that if it would be morally correct to destroy Nazi Germany with an atomic bomb (because it was an obviously evil society), then by the same logic plutocratic America should be also be destroyed with an atomic bomb (then showing nothing else from their interview). D’Souza notes that these people are not crack-pots off the street who hold these kinds of hateful views, but university professors who promote what he calls Howard Zinn’s ‘shame narrative’ of American history, which D’Souza laments. For the rest of the film D’Souza sets out to rectify each of the indictments he introduced as an attempt to ‘set the record straight’ against the ‘shame narrative’, and never addresses the major question which is the subtitle of the film.

In order to re-materialize the mythologized Washington back into existence in a sequence at the end of the film, D’Souza sets out to systematically white-wash and downplay each of the allegedly Leftist indictments. In doing so, he is obliged to categorically apologize for white cultural supremacy, slavery, the disastrous nature of the idea/praxis of endless capitalistic expansion, and institutional racism. To do this he introduces a few little-known historical figures, like a cruel black slave owner (to show that slavery was just an aspect of the Southern state’s economy, which 3K some odd blacks were just as guilty of profiting from). A single, black, remarkably Oprah-esq woman, who became a hair-care product magnate in the 19th century (to show that institutional racism doesn’t exist, and that any black woman could be like Oprah if they just want to work and not be paid welfare to have babies [which Starr Jones asserts during this sequence in the film]). D’Souza then discusses Irish ‘indentured servants’ (otherwise known as ‘slaves’ who were similarly kidnapped off the street and sold) in order to demonstrate that slavery happened to whites as well (failing to mention that Irish were absolutely not considered white at the time, but had to lobby for whiteness by being even more cruel to the blacks than the nativist U.S. racists). This portion of the film is a disjointed collection of speeches given by a fictional Lincoln with the corollary of painting contemporary Democrats as the ‘real racists’, disparate interviews with Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, a Mexican-American law school student whose father owns a manufacturing business (called upon specifically to repudiate Prof. Truxillo’s views, but not an academic) and Zionist attorney/Chomsky frenemy Alan Dershowitz. A masterful (if scatological) presentation of the persecution-complex of the far Right ensues (during which D’Souza manages to add his own federal prosecution and conviction for his role in campaign finance fraud [which he pled guilty to]). This segment goes out of its way to conform to, without explicitly referencing, the ahistorical American Christianist ‘history’ of notorious revisionist ‘historian’/unalloyed liar David Barton, a digression into the work of Alexis de Tocqueville as though it had anything to do with the arrangement of postmodern oligarchic U.S., and a sprinkling of some justified fears of contemporary problems any cogent person would share (i.e. NSA spying, executive over-reach, the ‘panopticon’ of technological modernity etc.)… but attributes these noxious moments of technological modernity in the U.S. as exclusively tied to the unceasing Leftist agenda of Cultural Marxism ™. The film then covers the major talking points of your average Right-Wing radio host with several more interviews which fade into a tedious blur, but includes linking people like POTUS Obama, and Hillary Rodham-Clinton with ‘radical’ (anti-communist) social democrat, ‘take no bullshit’ community organizer Saul Alinsky.

Nearly the entire rest of the film (apart from the predictable closing montage of propaganda images of how great America is) becomes a bio of Alinsky, a personage who I didn’t know very well (other than from personal experience of the conspiratorial ranting of the fringe of the far Right), but came to really admire by the end of D’Souza’s attempted take-down. I even went out and picked up copy of Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” for my library as a result of watching the film, which became a sort-of perverse, hilarious advert for Alinsky. D’Souza describes Alinsky’s rather ruthless but effective method of organizing (quoting Alinsky amusingly comparing himself with Lucifer), showing some amazing candid footage of his laconic humor/brash rhetoric, and some sinister actor portrayals (showing him smoking a lot, waiting in cars, having meeting with lots of other smokers in dimly lit rooms, smoking with frog-faced Catholic priests etc.). D’Souza implausibly links POTUS Obama with Alinsky (who died of a massive heart attack while Obama was a toddler) who himself said that he ‘got far more out of community organizing then anyone else he was working for did’. Many in the so-called ‘conservative’ audience are well aware of the ridiculous claim that POTUS Obama is somehow a Marxist Muslim and so on, so D’Souza wastes little time in asserting this in almost a throw away fashion. D’Souza spends more time however linking Hillary Rodham-Clinton to Alinsky (who surely D’Souza predicts will be the next president) by talking about how Rodham-Clinton met Alinsky as an idealistic grad student, and how she wrote a thesis on the Alinsky organizational method. D’Souza uses one of the great tools of contemporary Right wing propaganda and insinuates that while Rodham-Clinton disagrees with Alinsky’s over-all style of community organizing (she doubts that any enduring change could be brought about outside the political system, and chooses instead to become a mainstream politician) she never-the-less took Alinsky’s (not so) radical Leftism with her into American polity (a claim prima facie absurd). Of course because any position left of fascism is communism to fascists, there is no such thing as being a ‘social democrat’ without being a communist to the Right (despite Alinsky historically being an anti-communist). Utilizing ‘guilt via association’, D’Souza paints Rodham-Clinton as being a hell-bent ‘radical’ communist intent to destroy D’Souza’s ideological simulation of America from the inside-out when she inevitably becomes POTUS (which sounds much more like the stated intention of neo-liberal fascist Grover Norquist to shrink the government to the size where one could ‘drown it in a bathtub’).

Apart from the sheer exercise in deconstructive criticism, what makes this film so interesting to me was the near seamlessness of the presentation of this disturbing Weltanschauung. If you were not prepared for the way this film attempts to infiltrate your subconscious in order to twist your conscious thinking into the shape of this bizarre ideology, you would quite possibly succumb to this seductive world-picture of siege-mentality faux-populism. Perhaps if you were totally unfamiliar with the work of Sigmund Freud and his nephew Edward Berenays (inventor of ‘public relations’ and the ‘focus group’, introducer of psychoanalysis to the U.S., and the father of modern advertising) this information would pass easily into your subconscious. If you already occupied a place on the fringe of the Right (primed to entertain and unquestioningly accept an alternative universe so long as it was formally anti-intellectual, xenophobic, and jingoistic), you might actually come out of that theater chanting ‘god bless the U.S.A.’ as one elderly white woman did to some half-hearted applause from two or three angry white men. That this film will go out into the so-called ‘conservative’ echo-chamber and presented as gospel I have no doubt, cycling around forever in the endless, techno-permanent screaming matches in the comment sections of Facebook/weblogs. D’Souza’s work is assured its immortal place as the inevitable YouTube video posted by the ranting Internet ‘conservative’ to show ‘libtards’ the Truth™. D’Souza’s film shows just how possible it is to never know how trapped within the labyrinthine propaganda of plutocratic white cultural hegemony you and I are, your own cognitive subjection to the rule of capital as translucent to you as water is to fish.


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  1. Posted August 24, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    The image at the end of the post is one I used to illustrate Thom’s exit interview, when he left Ypsi for the decidedly more posh suburbs of Detroit. I thought that it worked well here as well, though.

  2. Mr. Y
    Posted August 25, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I’ll always remember Thom fondly as the member of the Talking Heads cover band who was too scared to play from on top of Deja Vu.

  3. Jules
    Posted August 25, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Christ, it’s funny how D’Souza has managed to make people think he’s an academic. Here’s the extent of his college education. A BA in English from Dartmouth. That’s all, folks. Check it. But somehow, people have been bamboozled by him. Ha! A fucking BA! In ENGLISH.

  4. Posted August 25, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    This is not only interesting, it is important.

  5. Thom Elliott
    Posted August 25, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Thank you Mark and Dr. Larson, it really means a lot to me.

  6. 734
    Posted August 25, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    But he was the President of a FUCKING UNIVERSITY!

  7. Posted August 25, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    A few years ago, I decided that I didn’t know enough about American politics, and specifically didn’t know enough about the complicated set of issues leading up to and following 9/11.

    A guy working there suggested some interesting books, but one of the books he offered was “The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11” by D’Souza,

    It was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read. Basically, he went out of his way to blame Hollywood movies for 9/11 echoing the nonsense that pervaded so much of politics in the 1980’s, which was paranoically obsessed with pornography and heavy metal music and echoing American right wing absurdity from the 1950’s and 60’s, which tried to blame the problems of youth on scary comic books.

    While I also think that (as a leftist) leftist politics in the US provides much to laugh at, and is sometimes downright destructive, D’Souza takes the issue to Willy Wonka Land.

    He’s like a walking comedy show dressed up by New Gingerich and all those religious wackos that were obsessed with the dangers of masturbation in the 1960’s.

    How does he keep getting funded?

  8. Mr. Y
    Posted August 25, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I suspect his movies are dirt cheap to make, and that they’re profitable, Peter.

  9. Lynne
    Posted August 25, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Yeah, there will always be a market for lies. I’ve fallen for them too sometimes when the lie is something I really want to hear. In this case, we have a whole lot of people who simply don’t want to look honestly at things. They want to believe in “the land of the free” and so dismiss any evidence that some people are more free than others. I totally get it. I lost my wallet recently and instead of taking responsibility for it, I find myself concocting elaborate and implausible stories about how some other being is really to blame and only because the idea that my dog took the wallet out to the backyard is absurd do I ever return to the reality: I lost it. If someone made a documentary about our society’s deep problem with wallet stealing dogs, I would pay to watch it!

    Here you have people who just simply don’t want to believe that Americans can do horrible things. That our nation was built on slavery and we have had a terrible social class system since the very beginning. Ultimately, I think it is because we have this fiction that hard work always leads to success and we don’t like to think that maybe a big part of where we are in life is due to something like the color of our skin, even if we worked hard to get where we are. We ignore that poor people often work harder. I mean, let’s face it, I don’t care how hard college school was, it cannot possibly be as hard work as migrant agricultural work. The minute we acknowledge the inequality, we must also acknowledge the privilege. Some people just can’t do that.

  10. Meta
    Posted August 25, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Black Rage by Dinesh D’Sousa (199%):

    The three main features of the nation’s racial crisis are the phenomena of black rage, white backlash, and liberal despair.

    In 1992, a white congressional aide working for Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama was accosted at his home in Washington, D.C., and shot to death. A few weeks later, Edward Evans, a young black man, was arrested. Two friends of Evans testified that they saw him shoot the young staffer. One of them said that Evans harbored strong antiwhite sentiments and promised he was going to kill a white man. The material evidence against Evans, presented at trial, seemed overwhelming. Yet although eleven jurors including five blacks, initially agreed that Evans was guilty of murder, one African American woman, Velma McNeil, refused to convict. A frustrated white jury foreman claimed to the judge that “one juror” was simply unwilling to give credence to the prosecution’s evidence against Evans. He also stated later that, during jury deliberations, McNeil told fellow jurors that the exoneration of Los Angeles police officers who beat black motorist Rodney King showed the systematic bias of the judicial system against blacks. Juror McNeil denied that her refusal to find the defendant guilty was based on race, pointing instead to possible contradictions in the statements given by the two eyewitnesses. The consequence was a hung jury, and the judge was forced to declare a mistrial. A Washington Post photograph shows McNeil emerging from the courtroom, smiling, chatting, and embracing a relative of the accused.

    If juror McNeil’s reluctance to convict a fellow African American was at least in part motivated by race, the incident is striking in that it reveals two paradigmatic cases of black rage: a poor black man, consumed with racial resentment, seeking to vent his hostility on a white man; and a middle-class black woman, perhaps equally alienated from society, using the system to settle a score against whites as a group. Black rage is also part of the undertow of the O.J. Simpson trial, where the defense seems to seek to capitalize on the antagonism of black jurors toward white policemen in order to win a hung jury or an acquittal. Both cases point to the justice system’s vulnerability to racial politics. This is hardly a new problem: during the first half of this century in the segregated South, blacks were routinely victimized by racist policemen, prosecutors, judges, and juries. What is new is that, for the first time, whites may find it difficult to receive justice in many inner cities such as Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles which are fertile grounds for black rage. As African American legal scholar Randan Kennedy points out, “One dissenter is all that it takes to prevent a conviction.”

    The Constitution guarantees citizens the right to a jury of our peers, but in a racially polarized society, who are our peers? If justice is simply a matter of whose ethnic perspective prevails, neither African Americans nor whites can expect fairness when juries are mainly composed of members of the other group. This issue goes far beyond the criminal justice system. In a liberal society it is fair rules, a sense of common citizenship, and respect for reason that constitute the means to adjudicate disputes and conflicts of interest. Black rage, to the extent it affects the judicial process, is alarming because it defies prevailing norms of civility and rationality. Unchecked, such sentiments lead to fanaticism, riots, and even a possible physical conflict between the races.

    These concerns are not entirely speculative. In 1990, a black alderman from Milwaukee, Michael McGee, worked to organize African Americans in several cities into a black militia that was arming itself for war against “property” if its demands for $100 million in racial reparations were not met within five years. “The only way to get respect is to be willing to use violence,” said McGee. “I’m talking . . . bloodshed and urban guerrilla warfare.” Inner-city blacks routinely applaud McGee’s remarks, and McGee claims that more than a thousand have signed up for training in his militia.

    On December 7, 1993, Colin Ferguson, a Jamaican immigrant living in Brooklyn, converted his racial antagonism against white society into an occasion for mass murder. Ferguson boarded a commuter train from Manhattan and proceeded to shoot passengers at point blank range, killing six and wounding nineteen. Notes found in his possession suggested that Ferguson had a vendetta against whites and what he called “Uncle Tom Negroes” whom he suspected of plotting against him. Remarkably, a National Law Journal survey showed that 68 percent of African Americans were persuaded by the argument of Ferguson’s lawyers that white racism drove him to his crazed rampage. Yet Ferguson himself rejected this defense, claiming that he was being framed by racist policemen and prejudiced eyewitnesses. Although Ferguson was later convicted of murder, Martin Simmons, a black scholar at New York University, termed him “a hero” and observed, “I have colleagues who tell me they’re putting his picture on the wall next to Malcolm X.” African American psychiatrist Alvin Poussaint wondered aloud “why there haven’t been more blacks who have exploded because of the mistreatment that they have received at the hands of white people.”

    Another well-known example of black anger was the savage beating administered to white truckdriver Reginald Denny in the aftermath of the Rodney King case. The Los Angeles riots themselves showcased the resentment of poor blacks and Hispanics who burned and looted without a hint of embarrassment or remorse. African American scholar Cornel West termed the riots, in which more than fifty people died and four thousand were injured, a “display of justified social rage.” Black rapper and activist Ice T struck an even more defiant note.

    The most peaceful time I ever experienced in South Central was during the riots. While everybody was looking for fires, we walked through the streets. Kids were setting shit on fire, people were smiling. Everybody was shaking each other’s hands, feeling a camaraderie. It was as if the people had taken the city back.

    Anticipating many such outbreaks in the future, some black leaders have adopted something like a martial posture. “Basically, we’re at war,” declares publisher and author Haki Madhubuti. In”Young, Black and Male in America,”Jewelle Taylor Gibbs predicts that African American rage will eventually find violent expression in the suburbs. “The violence which young black males now direct mainly against the black community . . . will inevitably erupt and spread throughout urban and suburban America.”

    Legal scholar Derrick Bell says:

    We should appreciate the Louis Farrakhans while we’ve got them. While these guys talk a lot, they don’t actuary do anything. The new crop of leaders are going to be a lot more dangerous and radical, and the next phase will probably be led by charismatic individuals, maybe even teenagers, who urge that instead of killing each other, they should go out in gangs and kill a whole lot of white people.

    Both a prediction and a warning, Bell’s statement suggests that multiracial societies depend on a radius of trust between groups, and that is now gone. His remarks make one wonder whether white flight to the suburbs can restore the peace or merely postpone the inevitable. Sister Souljah, Al Sharpton, and Louis Farrakhan are the bellicose prophets of black rage in America today. Like Bell, they combine threats of anarchy with forecasts of racial apocalypse. And while their appeal is mainly to poor blacks, there are signs that many successful black professionals identify with these voices of militancy, and share in the racial resentment directed against whites. Middle-class blacks, Ellis Cose writes in The Rage of a Privileged Class, suffer from “deeply repressed rage. . . . They are at least as disaffected and pessimistic as those struggling at society’s periphery.” Other recent books such as Brent Staples’s Parallel Time, Jill Nelson’s Volunteer Slavery, and Nathan McCall’s Makes Me Wanna Holler convey this same molten anger. Given the intensity of black rage and its appeal to a wide constituency, whites are right to be nervous.

    Black rage is a response to black suffering and failure, and reflects the irresistible temptation to attribute African American problems to a history of white racist oppression. Despite substantial progress over the past few decades, African Americans continue to show conspicuous evidence of failure – failure in the workplace, failure in schools and colleges, and failure to maintain intact families and secure communities. Taken together, these hardships and inadequacies virtually assure that blacks will not eve equality of earnings and status with other groups anytime soon. Even more seriously, they threaten to destroy poor black communities and endanger the economic and physical integrity of society as a whole.

    * The annual income of African Americans who are employed in full-time jobs amounts to about 60 percent of that of whites.

    * The black unemployment rate is nearly double that of the whole nation.

    * One third of blacks are poor, compared with just over 10 percent of whites.

    * One half of all black children live in poverty.

    * The infant mortality rate for blacks is more than double that of whites.

    * The proportion of black male high school graduates who go on to college is lower today than in 1975.

    * More young black males are in prison than in college.

    * Homicide is the leading cause of death for black males between the ages of fifteen and thirty-four.

    * Although African Americans make up 12 percent of the population, they, account for more than 35 percent of all AIDS cases.

    * The life expectancy of black men is sixty-five years, a rate lower than any other group in America and comparable to that of some Third World countries.

    * Nearly 50 percent of all African American families are headed by single women.

    * More than 65 percent of black children born each year are illegitimate.

    What, if not racism, has caused these terrible problems? Alvin Poussaint attributes black afflictions to enforced victimization of a nation with a “record of flagrant racial prejudice.” Author John Edgar Wideman rhetorically asks, “Do black newborns die at three times the rate of white babies because of some factor intrinsic to blackness or because being black means they’re treated by society as only one-third as valuable as white newborns?” Activist William Cavil explodes, “I don’t understand, if there’s not some conspiracy going on, how every group has managed to flourish and get ahead except African Americans.” Sister Souliah charges that “racism has turned our communities into war zones, where we are dying every day.”

    The case for holding white racism and its historical legacy responsible for the contemporary hardships of blacks is a strong one. Film producer Spike Lee argues that “when you’re told every single day for four hundred years that you’re subhuman, when you rob people of their self worth, knowledge and history, there’s nothing worse you can do.” As Lee suggests, unlike other immigrants, African Americans did not come to this country voluntarily; they were brought here in chains. Slavery lasted for more than two and a half centuries, during which most blacks found their lives largely bent to the wills of their masters. African American scholar Gerald Early writes that “every single black life today is tied inextricably to the tragedy of slavery.” Afrocentrist Molefi Asante invokes the enduring consequences of slavery to argue that whites should pay monetary reparations, estimated in some cases at several hundred thousand dollars per family, to compensate for “wages that our ancestors lost that we now require for a new start in life.”

    Others go beyond slavery to attribute African American problems to the residual effects of segregation and discrimination during the twentieth century. “Young people forget, but I am old enough to know that not long ago blacks were basically non-citizens in this country,” remarks Margaret Bush Wilson, former chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Like many others, Wilson views segregation as an American form of apartheid, which imposed indescribable deprivation and humiliation on blacks. For much of this century most black men were forced to work in degrading menial jobs, such as janitoring and field work. Black women had few occupations open to them other than cleaning and cooking in white households. Historian John Hope Franklin says, “Many young blacks are angry because they do not believe that we have come very far. And there are times when I have to agree with them.”

    As Franklin’s remarks imply, many blacks view racism not as a thing of the past, but as a continuing force which brutally limits the aspirations of African Americans today. Many contemporary examples support this suspicion. In 1993 Christopher Wilson, a thirty-one year old black man, was abducted, robbed, and set on fire by two white men who shouted racial slurs and applauded his cries for help. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported numerous horrific hate crimes that year: two white men placed a rope around a black man’s neck and burned a cross to terrorize him; a group of Skinheads cornered a black man whom they beat and tortured; two white bikers assaulted an interracial couple; a white man picked a fight with a black neighbor who was married to a white woman, and stabbed a Hispanic passerby who attempted to stop the fight.

    Although hate groups are less visible today, African Americans point out that such groups continue to spread their toxic message in America. Most people are familiar with David Duke’s past as a Nazi and Ku Klux Klan leader, but the world he claims to have left behind continues without him. In northern Idaho, white supremacist Richard Butler runs a Christian Identity church whose members are preparing for a racial Armageddon, an apocalyptic final struggle between whites on behalf of God and nonwhites on behalf of Satan. From his pulpit decorated with racist paraphernalia, Butler preaches that “the Bible is the family history of the white race.” Butler warns that white intermarriage with Jews or blacks results in “mulatto zombies.” Many commentators have seized upon the recent bombing of an Oklahoma City federal building to argue that white racist extremists continue to pose a serious threat to American institutions and public safety.

    Civil rights activists complain that even apart from the indignities of white supremacist groups, blacks on a routine basis suffer racial discrimination in getting a job, being promoted, applying for a loan, seeking justice from the police or the courts, even in getting a taxi or being served at a restaurant. As far as minorities are concerned, Jesse Jackson protests, “All the evidence I know says there’s not a level playing field.” For example, numerous accusations of racism have been registered against the national restaurant chain Denny’s. Robert Norton, a white employee, reports that as young black customers approached the doors one evening he saw Denny’s employees rush to lock the doors. Although they claimed the restaurant had closed, Norton reports that the doors were promptly opened for white customers when the blacks left. At various Denny’s restaurants across the country, African Americans were reportedly subjected to regular demands for prepayment, minimum purchase requirements, gratuities added to the bill, denials of advertised free birthday meals, back-room seatings, and scandalously rude service.

    In addition to these documented incidents, many African Americans argue that white racism now operates in the form of “code words” and institutional standards that disguise deeply bigoted sentiments that dare not speak their name. “It is unlikely that racism is declining in the United States,” Alphonso Pinkney writes. “The most obvious cases of gross discrimination and segregation have somewhat abated, but the basic racism remains.” Ralph Wiley argues, “When they want to say niggers, they say crime. When they want to say niggers, they say welfare. When they want to say niggers, they say drugs.” Summing up both the direct and indirect evidence for the pervasiveness of bigotry, political scientist Ronald Walters said at a recent lecture, “Look at Bensonhurst. Look at Howard Beach. Look at Susan Smith blaming a black man for abducting her children when she drowned them herself. If white racism is not to blame for black problems, you tell me what is.”

    Read more:

  11. Kim
    Posted August 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    The current outrage on the right is about the length of time that Obama has been on vacation. Here’s something from Politicus putting it in perspective.

    “Here is a reality check for Republicans who keep complaining over President Obama’s vacations. President Obama has had fewer vacation days in the last six years than Congress will have in 2014.

    According to CBS News Correspondent Mark Knoller, President Obama has spent 129 days of presidency on vacation. The Republican led House of Representatives was scheduled to be in session for only 124 days in all of 2014. This means that John Boehner and company will spend fewer days at work this year than President Obama has spent on vacation in his entire presidency. The numbers are actually worse when one considers that the House is only scheduled to work for 97 days between January and Election day in November. Members of the Senate, like Ted Cruz, have had nearly as many days off this year as the president has had since taking office.

    This is the point in any story about Republican hysterics about Obama’s vacations that George W. Bush needs to be used as a point of reference. During Bush’s presidency, he took four vacations that were longer than Obama’s longest vacation. Former President Bush took virtually the entire month of August 2001 off. Bush’s vacation was almost twice as long (27 days) as Obama’s current break (15 days). Ronald Reagan took a 25 day vacation in August 1983. Republicans never demanded that Bush and Reagan return to work, so why is it different for President Obama?

    George W. Bush spent the month before the 9/11 terror attacks away from the White House. President Obama came back to the White House in the middle of his current vacation for meetings. Congressional Republicans don’t have a leg to stand on when they criticize the vacations of President Obama. Presidents from their own party took longer and more numerous vacations, while their own work schedule has become noticeably lighter in the last few years.

    The reason why the Republican criticism of Obama’s vacations rings hollow is because they deliver their remarks, not on the House or Senate floor, but while they themselves are on vacation. When these Republicans throw vacation stones, they are shattering their own glass houses.”

  12. D. Kulpanowski
    Posted August 25, 2014 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    I started watching this and remembered I would never get this hour and half back. So I watched Walking Dead instead.

  13. Jai
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    I despise Dinesh D’Souza. The man is a disingenuous shill. I cannot decide whether he actually believes his own bullshit like so many of his ilk do, or if he’s fully aware that he is deceiving people.

    I must say, though, that as much as the far right nutjobs are, I do find all this championing of left, so called ‘progressive liberalism’ to be rather nauseating. This weird self flagellation of middle class white people who feel the need to be offended on behalf of ‘other’ ethnicities, as though non-white people are like children-races who have been abused by the parent-race, is just as bad as what out-and-out bigots like D’Souza spout. A lot of so-called ‘progressive liberals’ seem more concerned with stroking their own egos than actual equality.

    I’d still always pick left wing liberalism to right wing conservatism, but the ‘lesser of two evils’ is still evil. :/

  14. Ken James
    Posted June 24, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    It was a GREAT, factual and honest depiction of the leader of communist amerika, The ONLY people who hate it are his fellow communists. Sorry if the truth hurts, d***heads.

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