Scaring White People for Fun and Profit (and Votes!)

The Editors makes an excellent point:

Modern conservatism, and the Republican party it serves, exists by scaring white people. When the rubber hits the road, the people who run the show just want to get paid (which is why the Bush administration needs to be on both sides of [the immigration] issue), but what gets them into the position to get paid is scaring white people. What specifically they are scared about, and the degree and direction of any post hoc rationalizing about the scary thing is left to the descretion of the individual white paranoid.

While I’m reluctant to paint all conservatives with this brush, it’s certainly true that scaring white people has become the staple component of the bizarre right-wing populism that started with Nixon’s Southern Strategy, came to fame with AM talk radio in the ’90s and that reached its peak with Bill O’Reilly and FOX News right after 9/11. Just look at Michelle Malkin’s front page, and you’ll find a cornucopia of supposed mortal perils for the white race. Wherever there are Mexicans waving flags, scary Islamists holding crazy signs, deranged black studies professors advocating genocide, or 7-year-old girls reciting black nationalist poetry, Michelle is there to tell you all about them and let you know that THEY ARE OUT TO GET YOU.

For reasons I don’t fully comprehend, the strategy of scaring white people is remarkably effective. As a white person living in a largely Latino neighborhood (JP in tha HOUSE, bay-bee!), I can tell you that most Spanish-speaking immigrants are not scary, and they’re not secretly trying to reclaim Massachusetts for the Aztlan empire (I do wish they’d stop driving by my window at night blaring Daddy Yankee on their sub-woofers, but that’s another story entirely).

But many white people don’t understand this. To wit: just after Michelle Malkin posted a brief piece about the White House-Senate compromise on immigration reform this week, a blogger named (I’m not making this up) Hillbilly White Trash linked to Michelle’s site and wrote the following:

Michelle Malkin takes note of the black-hearted and treasonous betrayal of the nation by the Senate and the White House. That’s right they’ve worked out a way to grant amnesty to illegal Mexicans. Of course the House will have to agree to this in the conference committee and then vote on the compromise bill so it ain’t a done deal. Get on the phone to your representative unless you want to wake up and find yourself living in Amerxico.

You can search through Michelle Malkin’s archives and find literally thousands of these Pavlovian exchanges. Michelle will post something intended to scare the crap out of white people, and then, as if one cue, several of her white readers leave trackbacks talking about how scared they are. Alas, this has become the standard operating procedure not just for Michelle Malkin, but for the entire Republican campaign machine. Who could forget this little gem of a flier, mailed out by the West Vriginia Arkansas* GOP in the Summer of 2004:


The most distresing thing is that they will never run out of enemies to attack. It doesn’t matter if they grow tired of using Muslamonazi murders global or elitist gay homosodomites or Hispino invaders or some cracked-out professor: the GOP attack machine has sufficient bogeymen to last it until the year 2678, and by then we’ll have become a band of polytheistic space refugees whose chief concern is fending off Cylon nuclear raids. But I digress.

The question becomes, what do we do about this? Kos & pals have decided to counter the right-wing noise machine by creating a noise machine of their own. I have mixed feelings about this, since all noise machines inevitably remove our critical faculties and replace them with, “GAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!” I’d prefer to thoughtfully appeal to peoples’ better instincts, but let’s face it: contemporary American culture, which has been dumbed down by decades of advertising and poor schooling, wouldn’t be able to handle it. There are times when I think filling The Skank Gap might be the only way to save democracy.

*Goddamn it. Thanks for correcting that. I hate, hate, hate when I do stupid things like that. For some reason, I remember the West Viriginia GOP did something similar…


Comments: 64


which has been dumbed down by decades of advertising and poor schooling,

Not necessarily poor schooling but definitely pre-establishment, anti-critical thought schooling. It’s Bovine University.


PRO-establishment – sorry.


I live in Los Angeles, I read (and speak) a little Spanish, and I can assure all you paranoid conservatives that the billboards in Spanish do not, in fact, say “Kill Whitey”. (There was a letter to the editor in the Daily News once that wondered about the mysterious, probably subversive and un-American, content of Spanish billboards.) They say things like “Need a lawyer? Call Fred,” or “Try our lunch special!”


Why would the West Virginia Republicans be worried about liberal values being imposed on Arkansas? I mean, that’s not even the same college football conference.


Most of the Spanish-language billboards and bus advertisements I see say “Accidentes! Abrogados!”, which I believe to be promoting lawyers. And if we lawyers can’t scare the shit out of white people, what good are we?


They say things like “Need a lawyer? Call Fred,” or “Try our lunch special!”

And that unknown meat in your lunch? It’s…


The question becomes, what do we do about this?

Remove the money from the equation. Admittedly, that’s a hard task, but I see no other solution. It’s human nature to maintain irrational beliefs when the actions they motivate don’t have any material consequences.

I have to admit, at this point though, I don’t see any hope of that happening short of economic collapse. Once the corrupting influence of money was legitimised with the various agencies set up to dole out Wingnut Welfare (in government, think tanks, academia, churches and the media at large) and when being irrational became just so darn lucrative, the battle was pretty much lost.


Oh…and the precise moment the battle was lost was when Kelly Ripa was offered a contract that pays her 7 million dollars a year. I’m pretty sure that was the tipping point.


As an American living in a Spanish-speaking country, I have to say this all looks even stupider than you can imagine.

Get out while it’s still safe. Seriously.


Watch out for that Daddy Yankee. His music is a gateway drug to greater reggaetonification.

There are times when I think filling The Skank Gap might be the only way to save democracy.

It looks like some Mexican politicians have followed your advice.


“…blaring Daddy Yankee on their sub-woofers…”

It’s all about the reggaeton, mi gringito guapo.

And since everyone’s doing it on this lazy Friday, I too will jump on the anecdotal evidence train and just say, for the record, that a majority of my patrons are Mexican immigrants, and not only are they quiet, observant of the rules, respectful of others, and almost never late in returning materials, they, unlike my second-largest contingent (elementary and junior high schoolers) actually do more than just hop on the Internet to download cheat codes — they’re using the library to truly better themselves. They’re always checking out the GED guidebooks and term-paper writing aids and Spanish-language non-fiction, and always have me making fresh copies of the citizenship workbook. I can barely keep the documentaries on the shelf.

If we only had as many similar white patrons, we would have to beat prospective funders off with a stick…


Don’t you wonder just what it is about hispanic people that scares so many people? In the eighties my brother in law told one of his coworkers where I lived and the coworker responded, “no…you’re brother in law is a chicano? That’s in the barrio, man.” After I was told this I started to pay attention and sure enough, the neighborhood was just full of brown skinned people with accents. I guess what had hidden them from me was they had deviously failed to put sofas on their porches, park their cars on their lawns, and forgot to shoot at my house as they drove by. The only real difference I noticed is that they continued to buy avocados and tomatos out of season, at outrageous prices. I haven’t figured out yet if that’s something I should worry about.


we would have to beat prospective funders off with a stickI believe we have found a potential problem with your fundraising methods.


Touché, Thorlac, touché.

I suppose it would make better sense from a development standpoint to beat them off with a Fleshlight…


Yeah, someone was going to say it, and I’ll be damned if I’ll let anyone else here win a race to point out the painfully obvious. That’s MY job!


I live in a condo complex where I am the only white-skinned person. The vast majority are asian, mostly taiwanese, with some african americans and latinos mixed in. This is not by accident. I find everyone to be nicer to each other, keep the place up better and deal respectfully with all concerned. If that sounds somehow reverse-racist in some way, so be it, but I’ve found it to be a good way to live. And I get to sample tons of the best home-made foodstuffs in the world.

Which isn’t to say that there isn’t inherent racism–it seems to be a permanent part of the human condition. The Chinese people will speak poorly of the vietnamese, and the latinos will occasionaly let fly a barb at the blacks. But when you mix us all together, we seem to be able to find common cause–as long as you limit the number of white people…



we scare voters with reality.

The fact is that a lot of people on the left want to stamp out religion and faith.

The fact is that a lot of people on the left favor complete amnesty for illegal invaders.

The fact is that the left knows that they are in the wrong, which is why they are trying these absurd attacks on the truth.

Religion is something that a lot of people have. And the leftist anti-religion policy will effect hispanics and blacks too.

Remember, when the left has lost, they just cry “racism” and hope that they can stiffle all discussion.


The fact is, Gary, that a lot of people on the right want to stamp out religion and faith. So long as that religion and faith isn’t Christian or white.

The fact is, Gary, that a lot of people on the right favor complete amnesty for illegal immigrants, so long as they continue to mow the right’s lawns and nanny the right’s children.

The fact is, Gary, that the right knows they are in the wrong, which is why they absurdly drape themselves in the flag, adorn themselves with the cross and SCREAM from every street corner that they are RIGHT. Fuck, man, they even refer to themselves as THE RIGHT.

Religion, Gary, is something that a lot of people have, but it may be different than yours. The rightist anti-non-christian-religion policy will affect a whole load more people than hispanics and blacks.

Remember, Gary, when the right has lost, they just cry “LOONY LEFT LIBERAL TERRORIST LOVER ELITE” and hope they can stifle all discussion.

Sit down and shut up, Gary.


Uh, Gary, those scary Latinos? Yeah, they’re mostly Catholics, with a growing contingency of Evangelicals. And they tend to have very strong family units, in part because of religious conservativism. So the idea that Liberals want to destroy faith/religion with Latinos is really, REALLY fucking stupid.


>>they’re not secretly trying to reclaim Massachusetts for the Aztlan empire


Roman Catholics are not Christian, and the small RC churches in the colonials in Mexico look like voodoo temples, or whatever they’re called. The first time I saw one, I asked my Pentacostal friend if it was a church, she said, mas o menos…hehehehe.


Annie, shut the fuck up. You wouldn’t know a Christian if you nailed him to a cross.


Mary, Part of the wingnut strategy is that when you point out the inconsisitency of what they accuse liberals of wanting to do, they come right back with – “see liberals are crazy”

For example – if you point out that siding with crazy Islamists would hurt the homosexual and radical feminist agendas that we’re also trying to advance – then the wingut takes that as proof that liberals are irrational.


The fact is that a lot of people on the left want to stamp out religion and faith.

If you assume that “religion” = “Fundamentalist Christian Dominionism” then, yes, I’d like to stamp it out.

The fact is that when something is on fire, stamping it out is the best course of action. I promise to stop stamping out “religion” when the Dominionists promise to stop trying to burn people like me at the stake.

And faith is a completely internal, personal thing. If you think someone else can “stamp out” your faith, I question whether you actually have any.


we scare voters with reality.

Yes, sweet cheese, do tell us more about those tongue baths.


Did Allen write an article about the churches in Mexico?


Maybe he wrote an article called A Brief History of the Roman Catholic Church?


Honestly, annie, do you really believe that Christianity didn’t exist until you? That 2000 years of worshipping Jesus (and ostensibly, but obviously not always following his teachings) isn’t Christianity? Really, are you that dense? There are many, many problems with the Catholic Church as an institution, and personally I find many flaws in its theology, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a part–the largest part–of Christianity.

But I think I finally understand you. You’re such a complete solipsist that no one is a real Christian but you and people like you. No one is a real American but you and people like you. No one is a real woman but you and women like you. What a strange, sad, stupid little world you’ve constructed for yourself because you can’t possibly deal with people who are different from you.

I don’t hate you, I don’t wish you harm, but I do think you’re very, very sad, and I hope some day you grow up and realize the world is not what you think it is.


annie and ruprecht: do you have some headshots online?

not that we’d want to put party hats on you or anything, we just want to faces to match the admire sentiments you leave in our comments threads. thanks!


The West Virginia GOP did indeed do something similar. They had the same “banned” bible graphic, and also a picture of two men holding hands with the word “legalized” (or something similar) over it.



we just want faces to match to the admirable sentiments…


annie the tranny gets two opportunties to push the “Catholics aren’t Christians” button, and this was her second shot.

Move on annie; we’ve seen this piece of your performance art already. Come up with something original and there’ll be new bag of Snausages (TM) in it for you.


It looks like some Mexican politicians have followed your advice.

Please let’s not do that here. I’m having nightmares of Hillary in a thong bikini.

McKinney in a thong? I’d hit that.


annie, do you know the origins of the Pentecostal Church?

The modern Pentecostal Church in the US was started in 1906 in Los Angeles.


In one of his posts on the Wingnut Fear of Tan People, TBogg linked to a FReeper thread about Chicano Park Day, or, as they called it, a “San Diego Reconquista gathering.” They were wetting their pants over pictures of murals and banners saying, “Varrio Si, Yonkes No!” “The scary brown people are trying to take over the country!” they’d shriek. “Barrio yes, Yankees no! See, I told you they have an agenda!”

Yonkes, you stupid, stupid, irretrievably daft assclowns. Not Yanquis. Yonkes. They’re reclaiming their neighborhoods from junkyards. But God forbid a tan person should have a safe place for their kids to play.

I mean, if you’re going to wig out in frantic paranoia that the brown people are out to get you, you might at least pick up a Spanish-English dictionary to make sure they’re not just taking care of the environment. Although to these people, that might be even worse.


The local birdcage liner runs Malkin’s column every Friday. Theyused to run Cal Thomas’, so, yes, it’s a step down in quality, but what’s funny is that the column is usually at least a week old, so generally, I’ve seen ’em debunked and mocked a’plenty. This week, however, the stopped clock hit and they ran the “victims of immigration” column, which listed all the poor white people killed by Scary Illegal Mexicans in the past whenever.

Now, is that not the dumbest argument you’ve ever heard for that side of the whole illegal immigration thing? Seriously. She actually says somewhere that so and so “would be alive if illegals were out of the country” (paraphrasing). Well, no shit, Doris. With that in mind, 120 Americans would still be alive if we kicked out all white supremecists in the military. Woman’s fuckin’ looney, I swear…


Go ahead and accuse me of lowering the discourse (annie and gary have allready commented, so I consider it pretty low anyways) but is it just me or does \”Filling the skank gap\” sound like a crude term for penetration with a woman of loose morals?


BOON: Now, she should be good looking, but we’re willing to trade looks for a certain morally casual attitude.
KATY: You mean you want someone he can screw on the first date.
BOON: Well put. See, Pinto here has never been laid.


\”Filling the skank gap\” sound like a crude term for penetration with a woman of loose morals

Sounds like what was going on with Duke Cunningham at the Watergate hotel, though perhaps not always the woman bit. Was Porter Goss also filling the skank gap? It would, after all, be irresponsible not to speculate.


The left is constitutionally incapable of maintaining a skank phalanx; Natalie Portman, for example, just doesn’t have what it takes, skeez-wise.

That said, Courtney Love and MoDo are kind of on our side…


Natalie Portman. Mmmmmm.


Remember, when the right has lost, they just cry “traitor” and hope that they can stiffle all discussion.


U.S. out of North America! – AIM


Don’t you wonder just what it is about hispanic people that scares so many people? … I guess what had hidden them from me was they had deviously failed to put sofas on their porches…

That’s interesting. Around here, during the 80’s and early 90’s, there was a big “Asian Invasion” scare. I heard crap about us (my mother’s SE Asian) joining gangs, forming ghettos, and generally being difficult. It was a while before I noticed another group of stereotypes: Asians were imagined to be frugal, hard-working, have strong family loyalty, and intelligent to the point of being creepy (particularly Chinese kids with maths). It sometimes manifested in the old canard about “them” taking “our” jobs. It made me wonder, despite what they usually say, is whitey really more scared of the ‘positive’ stereotypes of the Other than the negative?



We already have a Jillian, we don’t need two! You’re fired!!! She’s WAAAAAY more condescending and patronizing than you.


annie, I have heretofore abstained from replying to your pathetic grabs for attention, being more disgusted than amused, but I’m drunk and alone and right now and that makes me nearly as pathetic as you. I must take exception to your attack on Jillian. She is one of the wittiest and wisest posters on this blog and you are so far out of your league when you try to engage her that it just makes me wince. I honestly have to look away. Please, do us all a favor and stop baiting people better than you are. Go somewhere the IQ level is nearer your own. Might I suggest


Posted by Mary Jones in response to annieangel: You’re such a complete solipsist that no one is a real Christian but you and people like you. No one is a real American but you and people like you. No one is a real woman but you and women like you. What a strange, sad, stupid little world you’ve constructed for yourself because you can’t possibly deal with people who are different from you.

Thanks, Mary! You’ve called it. I lived in the South for a year when I was a kid in the 1950s — which is why General Sherman is my hero — and that mindset was exactly, EXACTLY!, what I saw in far too many of the people I met there. Their horror at the idea that someone could be different was incomprehensible to me until I figured out the reason for it: if someone else is allowed to be different from you, why, that might mean that they were right and you were wrong about whatever the difference was — and you couldn’t possibly be wrong about anything and still have any self-respect. Or something. Of course, annie’s even more egregious than most…



Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but….annie’s a troll. We just keep her around so we have something to play with when we’re bored.

Keep it under your hat, though, okay? Ix-nay on the oll-tray, capice?



She is the QUEEN of snark.


(and the long thread)


i’m totally confused by all of this: i’m a lefty with a russian au pair who listens to daddy fucking yankee all day in her CRANKED and who is a skank. seriously. she sleeps with anybody AFAIK, which thankfully isn’t too far.

and i think maybe she’s catholic, or orthodox. she did tell me that “The Passion” was a beautiful movie, but i pretty much let that conversation die right there.

sorry, i got distracted. what was this post about?


I guess what had hidden them from me was they had deviously failed to put sofas on their porches.

That sounds like the white people around here in NC!

and Temperance, make sure that brush isn’t too broad that you’re painting us southerners with.


elendil, I did a long post addressing that a while long back – the competing myths of the Sinister Orientals, and how they just get repurposed: Easterners are supposed to be simultaneously cowardly and fanatically violent; simultaneously Fiendishly Cleverâ„¢ and yet no match for Western Intellect, simultaneously a minority and about to overwhelm the native majority, etc etc etc.

If you pay attention to all these memes and how they’re supposed to fit together you very quickly go, “But this doesn’t make ANY sense!” But that requires more than the attention span of a goldfish…

(and Mae govannen!)


Who’s this?

Daddy Yankee!


I don’t think Brad needs to hesitate on this particular point when it comes to tarring all conservatives with the same brush. Bush is about the only one who doesn’t play the “They’re gonna kill Whitey” meme, and that’s mostly because it would hurt him more politically than it helps him. Besides, he’s just traded it in for an equally offensive one about how gays are gonna kill Straightey, anyway.

There are some conseratives around who are not vile little mouth breathing morons, but they’re all from another generation and are more or less marginalized at this point. Where’s George Will nowadays?

I don’t think I’m the only one saying this, either…didn’t one of the old editors of the Weekly Standard just come out with a book, and spend the better part of his book tour kvetching about the current editorship of the right-wing mag as well as calling Dubya an incompetent twit?


Bellatrys, that Fu Manchu stuff is awesome. Deadly exotic poisons, rare orchids that exude dizzying perfume, and one petite, dark-eyed beauty, begging the protagonist to be her new master. It’s not hard to see why pulp like that was popular. It’s a shame it had to come with that extra baggage.

I’m not an American, so I wonder, is there some positive myth about Mexicans that white Americans secretly fear? Your Jews example was good. From this distant outpost, I’ve sensed a fear of the language and of Hispanics sticking together. Are there others?

What’s the best way to deal with this? The Hispanic groups have been tiptoeing around sensitivities, making sure to have plenty of stars and stripes at their rallies. I don’t know, shouldn’t it be confronted head-on? Recently there was a story going around in one European country that Muslims would be the majority there within the next few decades. Some of the kids caught wind of this, and cheeky buggers got themselves shirts saying “2030 – then we take over”. Now that’s funny. I wonder what a good Hispanic shirt would be?


annie, my dear little solipsist, I could never replace Jillian, nor would I want to. But I do admire the way you sidestep everything I said. You have certainly earned another wingnut merit badge.


elendil, I’m working on a post to address that, because several of my European readers have noticed this anti-Latino wierdness and while I’ve gone into it in dibs and dabs before, ever since the Homeland Crew have decided to drag this off the back burner and displace even The Gay Menace let alone Feminism as the Major Threats To Western Civ in the last couple months, I need to try to deconstruct it. I’ll probably have it done by tomorrow night, although I’m notoriously slow since my posts tend to get out of control what with all the research.

But basically, we’re totally schiz and there are several tectonic plates of memes colliding here in the States…as far as how to deal with it, I’m not sure, but the sudden reaction of spontaneous protest marches was I think a good one. The danger with being *too* “We’re Here!” about it is that the bloody-minded are *already* too phobic and tharn. (The flip side of that is, that *most* of the blancmange paranoids are in my experience utter milquetoasts who get their jollies from watching Rambo, but are not in any way actually bellicose.) So consciousness has to be raised, because being meek doesn’t work to be nonthreatening against paranoids. But the spectre of paranoid mobs cannot be totally ignored, either…


Also that’s funny that you’re *not* from around here – are you British? or Canadian? – I just assumed you were a Yank too, b/c those are the same stereotypes of Asian students that dominate in the US, too.


bellatrys, that was deliciously sesquipedalian.


And there we go, folks! The Loony Right now claims that the Church founded by the Apostle Peter, favorite of Jesus Christ, that predates the Pentecostals by oh maybe 1800 years, is (ta da!) *NOT CHRISTIAN!*

Wow. I learn new things on these here blogs *ALL* the time. What next? Do I learn that George W. Bush is a brave American hero who heroically and single-handedly foiled the V.C. invasion of Galveston Beach during his all-day beach keggers during his Air National Guard years? Do I learn that we went into Iraq with a plan and turned it back over to the Iraqis within a year, and all this stuff about American soldiers still getting killed over there is just liberal lies? C’mon, curious penguins want to know!

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin


Bellatrys, I’ve bookmarked you and I look forward to reading it, if for no other reason than to learn me some more big words 🙂

WRT your second question, I’m an Australian. It’s a nice place… so nice, in fact, that when you’re standing around the barbie with a beer in your hand, it’s hard to remember that you live in a land where a good portion of indigenous people live in third world conditions, where the rapidly-growing American-style Christian churches spread hate literature against our Muslims, where refugee children are locked up for 5 years at a time to satiate the xenophobes in exchange for their votes, and where keeping the mortgage under control has higher priority than that fabled “fair go, mate”. Dark times.


Oh yeah, Australia – another British colony full of schiz identity-crisis suffering honkeys, believed by Americans now to be the True Land of Liberty’nJustice’FerAllâ„¢, creating massive cognitive dissonance when they learn about Mr. Howard etc…

It’s just the world, I try to tell them, it’s just people, but everyone wants to believe that there’s Someplace Perfect, some utopia that is attainable, that existed once and can be called into being again with the right sympathetic magic, or which can be found on a map if you just sail far enough…

Ai. We know better.


Look at all the tolerant superior nonConservatives jump on Gary like a pack of wolves. lol


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