The Old WASP Dream Falters

Over at Steve Wiggin’s blog, I was commenting on a recent post of his, Majority Report. He brought up the WASP myth and put it in context, although his focus was mostly on the Protestant part. In my comments, I mentioned the pluralist background of American society. WASPs have made up a large chunk of the ruling elite, but they’ve never been the majority of the population, contrary to the belief of many.

His post stood out to me partly just because that kind of thing is always of interest to me. But it was already on my mind because of an article I read recently from a local newspaper, The Daily Iowan — the article being Is this heaven? No, it’s beer by Clair Dietz. It appears to be in response to an exhibit being put on by the University of Iowa, German Iowa and the Global Midwest. I live near where the old breweries used to be located, along with the beer caves. My landlord, Doug Alberhasky, was quoted often in the piece, as his family’s business is a well known local distributor of alcohol, John’s Grocery.

There once was much clashing, sometimes violent, between WASPs and so-called hyphenated Americans. Many ethnic immigrant groups, especially German-Americans, loved their beer and liquor. The WASPs here in Iowa were seeking prohibition before the rest of the country, as Iowa became a major destination for German immigrants. Entire communities spoke German and carried on their German traditions, including the making of alcohol. There is a great book I’ve written about before, Gentlemen Bootleggers by Bryce Bauer, about one such community during Prohibition and how they became famous for their bootlegged Templeton Rye.

Another article on the topic comes from the other local newspaper, Press-Citizen: Iowa has deep German Roots by H. Glenn Penny. That article interested me even more. The author points out that there used to be three German-language newspapers here in Iowa City, an impressive number considering there are only two newspapers left in town at present: “In fact, the German language was so widespread that many German-Iowans lived here for decades without ever learning English.” Much of the Midwest was like this, especially this part of the Midwest such as the neighboring states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. This was German-American territory where German culture and language was the norm, not the exception.

This all came to a halt with the beginning of World War I, such as with the Babel Proclamation that outlawed any language besides English. And German-American independence and self-determination was further decimated with World War II. The cultural genocide was so complete that collective memory of this past was lost to the following generations. German-Americans were always the largest immigrant group and the largest ancestry, far beyond the meager numbers of WASPs, but they suffered for not having sufficient political power among the ruling elite. German-American culture was almost entirely lost, as if it never existed, until recent interest in ethnic ancestry was revived.

Still, this kind of political reaction seems to go in cycles. Every time there is a movement of populations, fear and bigotry inevitably follows. As with Germans of the past, the same thing has happened with immigrants of Arab, Persian, or similar looking ethnicities. This is true even within the country, as when Southerners migrated to the North and West. More recently, it has been true of blacks moving almost anywhere, but especially when it involves supposed inner city blacks. The Press-Citizen article made me think about this, when Penny wrote about how initially German immigrants were welcomed and even sought out:

“Iowa: The Home for Immigrants.” That was the title of the 1870 volume published by the Iowa Board for Immigration in Des Moines. It was translated it into multiple languages and distributed it across Northern Europe. The goal was to spur Europeans to abandon their homes and move to the state.

And it worked. Germans were the most numerous group to arrive. In fact, German immigrants consistently accounted for the largest number of foreign-born people in Iowa from the 1850s through the 1970s.

That instantly struck my mind. That sounded like a “workforce recruitment” campaign the Iowa government has had to attract people from other states. There has been a pattern of young Iowans leaving the state and so, in order to counter the demographic loss and brain drain, a need to attract young professionals and young families. Starting in the 1980s, the Iowa Department of Economic Development has advertised in Chicago by putting up billboards — here is an example (from About those Chicago billboards by Adam Belz):

This advertisement ran on billboards along interstates in Chicago in 2007.

Belz points out that, “It’s really a far cry from the local myth that Iowa has been running Section 8 ads in south Chicago for years, but as Steve Rackis, the guy who oversees Section 8 in Iowa City, points out, everyone drives on the interstate, and everyone likes the idea of a safe, quiet place with good schools and no traffic. So certainly, some low-income black people have seen these ads and responded by moving to Iowa.”

Most of the people who respond to such billboards aren’t poor, unemployed inner city blacks, aren’t stereotyped welfare queens, thugs, and gangbangers. The fact of the matter is most people coming from Chicago to Iowa are middle class white people. That is what happened to my family back in the 1980s, when my family left the Chicago suburbs in order to move to Iowa City where my father returned to school for a PhD program. My parents were young middle class professionals with young kids, the demographic targeted by the billboards. I’m sure my father saw such signs, as he headed into Chicago for work, whether or not they were part of the reason for his decision to move his family to Iowa.

Besides, most of those on housing assistance in Iowa City, according to data kept, are whites and long-term Iowa residents. Among these, the majority are elderly or disabled (many elderly and disabled move here because of the multiple hospitals, including a world class university medical center and a major Veterans Affairs facility). The rest are young families and most of these are employed, as unemployment rates are low here. There probably aren’t many “welfare queens” in the area, considering all the local opportunities for jobs, education, and training. Plus, the worst off poor people in Iowa are rural whites living in dying farm towns and trailer parks, not blacks from Chicago.

Considering the proven racial targeting of blacks by the police in Johnson County, it isn’t exactly a welcoming place to blacks and so isn’t a place most blacks are going to choose to move to. In interviews, many blacks living here explained that they saw their situation as temporary simply for the sake of finding work and saving money, and as soon as they were able they planned on leaving.

Sure, all kinds of people end up in a town like Iowa City. It’s a diverse community with people from all over the world. There is a growing population of non-whites here, although it is mostly Asians and Hispanics, not blacks. Even among blacks, they come from many other places besides Chicago, including a fair number of African immigrants. Of five blacks I’ve worked with in my present job with the city, two were from families that had been in Iowa for generations, two were from Africa, one might have been from Chicago or somewhere like that, and another I never knew long enough to learn of his background; three of those people I know were married with young kids and three had degrees from the local university.

Since I was a kid in the 1980s, violent crime has vastly decreased across the country. Iowa has always had low crime rates, violence and otherwise, and that is still the case. For more than a decade, the violent crime in Johnson County, where Iowa City is located, has continued to drop. This is the time period during which there has been an increase in the minority population. There is actually less crime now in Iowa with more minorities than there were back when there were fewer minorities. Yet there is this public perception, largely based on mainstream news reporting, that everything is getting worse, despite the fact that Iowa has been doing well even during the recession.

The real fear is that German-Americans, Hispanics, blacks, or whatever group is most reviled at the moment is a danger to the American way of life. They are bringing bad things with them. And they are taking our country away from us. States like Iowa have always depended on immigration from other countries or simply other states, but this dependence has led to resentment. When WWI came around, it didn’t matter that German immigrants had settled Iowa and cleared the land, had helped make America the country it is, and shaped the entire cultural experience of the Heartland. Suddenly, they were threatening strange foreigners.

The experience of blacks has been different, of course. They were considered a threat right from the start, even though most early blacks didn’t come to America by choice. Interestingly, before Anglo-Americans settled Iowa, there were already free blacks, likely escaped slaves, living right here in Iowa City. Blacks were the first Iowa Citians and yet today, after the era of sundown towns driving blacks out of states like Iowa, blacks are considered as foreign as were those WWI era German-Americans.

Donald Trump rides white outrage in gaining support as a presidential candidate. A century ago, his German-Scottish ancestry would have made him an untrustworthy outsider. But today he stands as the defender of American whiteness and promises to make America great again. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton represents the last vestiges of the WASP rightful ruling elite and disinterested aristocracy of professional politicians who for centuries have defended the status quo from uncouth ethnics like the Drumpf family and their crude business wealth being used to usurp political power (not to mention having to deal with meddling Jews such as Bernie Sanders). The uppity WASPs make their last stand to maintain the respectable political order.

WASPs never were the majority of American population. But they have maintained most of the political power and social influence for centuries. As the non-WASP and non-white population grows, WASPs are slowly losing even their position and privilege. There are challengers on all sides, as the old WASP dream falters.

* * *

Previous blog posts:

America’s Heartland: Middle Colonies, Mid-Atlantic States and the Midwest

Centerville, IA: Meeting Point of Diversity & Conflict

The Cultural Amnesia of German-Americans

Equal Opportunity Oppression in America

The Fight For Freedom Is the Fight To Exist: Independence and Interdependence

Substance Control is Social Control

The Shame of Iowa and the Midwest

Paranoia of a Guilty Conscience

* * *

Online Articles:

The Great Chicago Migration Myth
by Mikel Livingston and Steven Porter, JConline

It was during the early 2000s when Curbelo, then a program coordinator at Iowa State University in Ames, first encountered the belief that an influx of former Chicago residents was wreaking havoc on local crime rates.

“That caused the police to start targeting minorities around town,” Curbelo said. “It led to harassing the minority population in a town that didn’t have a lot of diversity.”

A public forum in 2008 helped the community confront and move past the issue. When Curbelo moved to Lafayette earlier this year, he was surprised to be confronted with the notion yet again.

” ‘All people from Chicago are criminals, they’re black, they’re on welfare,’ ” Curbelo said, reciting the misconceptions. “No. They’re hard-working people looking for better opportunities. That’s part of the American dream and nobody can judge you for moving to a place to better your family by the color you are.”

The black ‘Pleasantville’ migration myth: moving from a city isn’t pleasant
by Robert Gutsche Jr

Ironically, Iowa City’s downtown – on the doorstep of the University of Iowa – continues to be more violent than the Southeast Side. Every weekend, white college students vandalize buildings, vomit on sidewalks, and assault each other, though it’s the Southeast Side – and its presumed Chicago migrants – who bear the brunt of the responsibility for the city’s crime.

How the Media Stokes Racism in Iowa City – and Everywhere
by Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout

Central to this discourse, of course, is the belief that low-income women, aka “welfare queens,” are taking advantage of government programs and feeding at the trough of public generosity. “Chicago has come to mean more than just another city,” Gutsche concludes. “It signals the ghetto, danger, blackness – and most directly, of not being from here.” That two-thirds of the low-income households registered with the Iowa City Housing Authority were elderly and disabled – not poor, black or from Chicago – went unacknowledged by reporters. Similarly, the drunken escapades of mostly white University of Iowa students have been depicted by reporters as essentially benign and developmentally appropriate. “Just as news coverage explained downtown violence as a natural college experience, news coverage normalized southeast side violence as being the effect of urban black culture,” Gutsche writes. “News stories indicated that drunken packs of college students were isolated to the downtown, whereas southeast side violence was described as infiltrating the city’s schools, social services and public safety.”



A community divided: Racial segregation on the rise in Iowa City
by Matthew Byrd, Little Village

Some renters felt the underlying presence of racial bias when discussing public assistance with Iowa City landlords […] There are other plausible explanations as well. A 2013 report issued by the Iowa City Coalition for Racial Justice found a high degree of overlap between race and class within Johnson County, with 40 percent of black residents living below the poverty line compared to 16 percent of whites. The fact that Iowa City is the fourteenth most segregated metropolitan area by income in the country, according to the Martin Prosperity Institute, means that, in a county where you are more likely to be poor if you’re black rather than white, segregation by income can also mean de facto segregation by race.

On a similar note, black residents in Iowa City are much more significantly limited in their ability to take out mortgages than whites. The Public Policy center study found that, while blacks comprise nearly 6 percent of the city’s overall population, they only account for 1 percent of housing loans and are much more likely than their white counterparts to be denied loans (the study’s authors do concede, however, that without access to credit scores they “cannot conclusively assert that the higher denial rates … is due to race”).

Whatever the case may be, the rate of racial segregation Iowa City experiences is disturbingly high.

Does Section 8 housing hurt a neighborhood?
The Gazette

In Iowa City, nine of 10 voucher holders is either elderly, disabled or working. More than 85 percent of vouchers in the Corridor are issued locally, not to out of towners. Voucher holders who get in trouble with the law, who shelter people with criminal backgrounds, or who don’t return letters and phone calls are kicked out of the program.

“We review the police dockets and the newspapers on a daily basis,” said Steve Rackis, who heads up the program in Iowa City.

Within the past two years, 230 vouchers have been terminated in Cedar Rapids. Iowa City terminates about 10 people each month. […]

Myth: Most Section 8 vouchers are held by people from Chicago.

Fact: 93 percent of vouchers in Cedar Rapids were issued locally. The program requires one year of residency and has a three- to five-year waiting list. 4.8 percent of voucher holders come from Illinois, representing about 50 households. In Iowa City, 9 percent of vouchers come from Illinois, representing about 114 households. […]

Myth: The cities of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City have billboards in Chicago encouraging Section 8 voucherholders to move to Eastern Iowa.

Fact: The Iowa Department of Economic Development occasionally runs billboards in Chicago encouraging people to move to Iowa, but they are geared toward professionals, extolling Iowa’s hassle-free commutes, for example. […]

Myth: Section 8 is mostly for people who don’t work but survive on welfare.

Fact: In Iowa City, 1,149 households in the program — 91 percent — are elderly, disabled or working. The same is true of 879 households in Cedar Rapids, or 82 percent of those in the program.

Leaving Chicago for Iowa’s “Fields of Opportunity”: Community Dispossession, Rootlessness, and the Quest for Somewhere to “Be OK”
by Danya E. Keene, Mark B. Padilla, & Arline T. Geronimus, NCBI

Iowa City and the surrounding Johnson County, located 200 miles west of Chicago, have received small but significant numbers of low-income African Americans from Chicago. The Iowa City Housing Authority (ICHA), which serves all of Johnson County, reported in 2007 that 14 percent (184) of the families that it assists through vouchers and public housing were from Illinois, and according to housing authority staff, virtually all of these families are from the Chicago area (Iowa City Housing Authority 2007). Additionally, the ICHA estimates that about one-third of the approximately 1,500 families on its rental-assistance waiting list are Chicago area families. Little is known about why families choose eastern Iowa as a destination, but speculation among ICHA officials is that the moves are motivated by shorter waiting lists for subsidized housing and the fact that Johnson County has a reputation for good schools, safe communities, and ample job opportunities.

From the perspective of a growing emphasis on poverty deconcentration in both academic and policy circles (Imbroscio 2008), leaving Chicago’s high poverty neighborhoods for Iowa’s white middle and working-class communities represents an idealized escape from urban poverty. However, the experiences of participants in this study speak to the challenges as well as the benefits of long distance moves to what are often referred to as “opportunity areas” (Venkatesh et al. 2004).

Little is known about the experience of Chicago families in Iowa, but preliminary evidence suggests that Chicago migrants may face many barriers to acceptance. Despite their relatively small numbers, African Americans from Chicago are visible outsiders in Iowa’s predominantly white communities. In Johnson County, blacks made up only 3.9 percent of the population in 2008, an increase from 2.9 percent in 2000 and higher than the 2008 state average of 2.9 percent (United States Census Bureau). Iowa City, a college town that is home to the University of Iowa, contains considerably more ethnic diversity than many Iowa communities and is home to a small number of African-American professionals, students, and faculty. However, the arrival of low-income African Americans from Chicago is a highly contentious issue and has given rise to a divisive local discourse that is often imbued with racialized and class-based stereotypes of urban areas.

The recent migration of urban African Americans to Iowa has also occurred in a climate of uncertainty about the state’s economic future (Wilson n.d.). Over the past few decades, Iowa has lost numerous sources of well-paying employment. The state has also experienced significant population losses, particularly among the college educated (Carr and Kefalas 2009). While college towns such as Iowa City have been somewhat protected from these demographic and economic shifts, in Johnson County, dramatic increases in free lunch program participation and growing demands for subsidized housing over the last decade indicate increasing local need (Wilson n.d.). According to documentary filmmaker Carla Wilson (n.d.), many Iowans feel that in the last few years, poor blacks from Chicago descended on the state, placing a tremendous burden on social service resources at a time when budgets are already stretched. As stated in one concerned letter from Don Sanders (personal communication, [February 3], 2004) to Iowa City’s City Council, “We’re turning into a mecca for out-of-state, high maintenance, welfare recipients. These often dysfunctional families are causing serious problems for our schools and police.” […]

Iowa is not only a place where the social terrain is unfamiliar, but a place where Chicago migrants experience a vulnerable status as stigmatized outsiders. As Danielle says, “It’s someone else’s city,” a place where, according to Marlene, “we are only here because they are letting us be here.” The stigmatization of Chicago migrants plays a profound role in shaping social relationships, both among fellow migrants and between Chicago migrants and Iowans. Several participants describe how Chicago is often blamed for “everything that goes wrong in Iowa City,” particularly in relation to drugs and crime. According to 53-year-old Diane Field, “It’s just, Chicago, Chicago, Chicago. I mean, everywhere you go they talk about us. There were drugs in Iowa long before anyone came from Chicago.” This association between drugs, crime, and Chicago is also prevalent in the local media. For example, one newspaper article about a fight in southeast Iowa City drew numerous racially charged on-line comments about the problems caused by Chicago migrants, despite the fact that “Chicago” was not even referenced in the article.

While participants describe the “helpfulness” of many Iowans, they also note that some oppose their presence. Carol, for example, says she was told by a fellow bus passenger, “I’m tired of all these black folks coming and messing up our small town. I don’t know why the hell y’all up in here, but y’all need to go back where you came from.” While Carol explains that encounters such as these are rare, Jonathan considers this attitude to be more pervasive. He says, “They don’t want us black people down here. Even though it’s some black people down here like me and my family that want something better for our life. They don’t understand that.”

Several participants describe facing discrimination specifically because of where they are from. In this context, 33-year-old Tanya Neeld says that she has begun telling people that she is from Indiana, Michigan, or “somewhere else, not Chicago.” Participants also describe attempts to differentiate themselves from those individuals who “bring Chicago to Iowa” (by getting involved with drugs, for example), by emphasizing their own desire to find a “better life” and to escape discursively condemned Chicago neighborhoods. Additionally, in order to resist the label of, “just another one from Chicago,” many participants also describe keeping to themselves and avoiding relationships with other Chicagoans. For example, Michelle, says, “They act like they really don’t want us here. They try to make like we keep up so much trouble. I don’t know what the rest of these people are doing. That’s why I stay to myself.”

Other participants describe avoiding, in particular, people in their immediate neighborhood who were often fellow Chicagoans. A large portion of Chicago movers live in a few housing complexes on the southeast side of Iowa City, and several participants explain that it is difficult to find landlords elsewhere who will rent to them. Michelle says, “A lot of places here don’t accept Section 8 [rental assistance]. I figure it’s because they don’t want that type of thing in their neighborhood.” These sentiments were echoed by 25-year-old Christine Frazier who says, “It sort of looks likes they section us off.”ii

In the context of residential segregation and stigmatization, many participants also describe the challenges of forming ties with Iowans. A few explain that they actively avoid interactions with white Iowans as a form of self-protection. For example, Christine describes how when she first started working in Iowa, her coworkers, who were all white, left her out of their conversations and talked about her behind her back. She says that from this early experience, she learned to stay to herself at work. She says, “I still have my guards up. You know, it affected me when I got other jobs because I don’t want to interact.” Michelle describes how she has adapted to frequent encounters with racism in Iowa. She says, “I’m basically a friendly person, but I can be not friendly as well. So, that’s the way I cope with it. I just act like they don’t exist. I just stay in my own little world.”

Separation from social ties in Chicago and barriers to the formation of new ties in Iowa leave many former Chicagoans socially isolated and reliant on highly individualized strategies of survival. The desire to be self-sufficient is a common theme throughout the interviews, and in the context of social isolation, some participants may be left with no alternative to relying on themselves. As Tara says, “I don’t count on these people in this neighborhood. I count on myself because myself would not let my own self down.”

Without social rootedness, for many participants, Iowa is not a place to call home, just somewhere to be for a while in order to “do what you have to do.” Or, as Lakia says, “Living in Iowa is like doing a beat,” (a reference, she explains, to a prison sentence). Without social ties, and in the context of stigma and economic vulnerability, the nature of this “beat” is also extremely fragile and many participants have stories of friends and family who eventually returned to Chicago or moved on in search of somewhere else to “be OK.”

28 thoughts on “The Old WASP Dream Falters

    • There is a weird cognitive dissonance in a piece like that. Obama is intelligent and well educated. He is a man of the world. He knows how everything operates.

      Obama grasps many of the fundamental problems and how severe they are. Yet it’s obvious he hasn’t done anything to solve or alleviate any of these problems. He doesn’t take the problems seriously because, as part of the ruling elite, he thinks these problems will never effect him, his family, or his cronies. Likewise, everyone knows that neither Trump nor Clinton will take these problems seriously.

      It’s like the captain of the Titanic when the ship first launched. Everyone believed the ship could never sink. The proud captain tells his passengers that there have been some icebergs sited but not to worry. Yes, icebergs can be dangerous, but the ship will remain strong as long as there is a captain to inspire confidence among the passengers by acting captainly. Everything will be fine if everyone remains calm. Steady as she goes. Full speed ahead.

      The reality is far starker. If Obama is correct in the problems he described, then we are royally fucked. To have the president admit that our society and the international world is that fucked up is amazing. The ruling elite must be getting desperate enough that they are willing to publicly admit the truth. Still, Obama barely scratched the surface of the impossible challenges before us.

      I’m sure Obama knows that it’s far worse than what he wrote, but he will only go so far in what he admits. Even if he knew the world was going to end in nuclear apocalypse tomorrow, he’d spin an inspiring speech about politics as usual, since the ruling elite would need the masses to remain calm so that the ruling elite could make their way to their secret bunkers to survive the mass death and destruction.

      Obama was glib, for example, in talking about climate change. We could immediately do all the right things within our power, but it wouldn’t stop the oceans from rising, severe storms becoming more common, and droughts worsening. We are already past the point of no return on that one, although we could do some damage control. The sad fact is we won’t do anything at all, until the moment when there is little left we can do besides global triage.

      Meanwhile, Obama’s words will bring tears to the eyes of the partisan liberal class of the Democratic Party. In this shitty campaign season, all these dupes want is someone to tell them it’s going to be all right.

      • My personal thoughts on Obama:

        As a daughter of middle class chinese immigrants, surveillance and foreign policy/enemy imaging of china, russia, etc has hurt scientists like my dad. Ethnic Chinese scientists are walking on eggshells and constantly having the authorities breathing down their backs. What happened to xiaoxing xi, sherry Chen, etc could easily have been my dad (who’s already had to get a lawyer because the authorities wouldn’t stop harassing him and coming into his workplace unexceptedly) and it’s gotten worse since Obama took office. In fact, it really ramped up since Obama took office.

        So, that is the result of Obama’s “pivot to Asia” for me and others in my shoes.

        And you and others oppose TPP for economic reasons, which I do too. But another problem with TPP is that it’s basically designed because Obama wants to contain China (which isn’t part of the TPP) which means more enemy imaging of China… which means Chinese Americans are getting screwed over again due to enemy imaging. Kind of like the Germans you mention.

        • Obama has also deported more immigrants than previous presidents. And he has attacked whistleblowers much harder than previous presidents.

          Obama is not a friend and ally of many people, Chinese-Americans and otherwise. He is just another ruling elite playing the game that ruling elites like to play. No doubt it will all get worse before it gets better.

          I bet Russian-American, Arab-American, Persian-American, and Palestinian-American scientists are getting extra attention from the federal government. I haven’t heard about this happening. But I always assume much is happening that doesn’t get much reporting.

  1. I noticed you said that german culture was destroyed after word war 2. Isn’t that true for all ethnic culture in todays america?

    • Not really.

      There are only a few ethnic cultures that were ever systematically attacked in the US. Even in the cases where there was political and social oppression, many minority groups were free to maintain their cultures and languages. Two examples are Native Americans and Chinese-Americans, both maintaining their cultures and languages to this day.

      Even Scandinavians were better able to maintain their cultures than were Germans, as Scandinavians were never a direct target since no Scandinavian country was an enemy of the US. In states like Minnesota, Scandinavian culture remains valued and celebrated, although there is more German ancestry than Scandinavian ancestry in Minnesota.

      German-Americans were forced to change the names of their families, buildings, streets, towns, and foods — all obliterated as if it never existed. German language was everywhere before WWI, not just among Germans as many German words had slipped into common usage.

      Other ethnic groups also assimilated. German-Americans were unique in this because there assimilation was enforced through both laws and violence. The only other European ethnic group that was similarly targeted was Italian-Americans, as both groups were perceived as potential enemies and had large numbers put in US internment camps.

  2. Obama strikes me as a person who knows what the problems are, but has let his money and campaign contributions get in the way of him doing the right thing.

    He knew what he needed to do. You could tell by the language that he spoke in 2008 that he knew. He chose not to act, which is worse. Candidate Obama was quite different than President Obama. President Obama remains bought and paid for. Obama tries hard to conceal things because he wants to keep the lie going to get fellow plutocrat Clinton in charge and likely because he wants to collect speaking fees after office.

    Listening to him and reading what he writes, I get the impression that he is trying to rationalize his failings as a president.

    That is the sad part, but it should also be a source of outrage.

    • Your question is stupid. And I suspect you know it’s stupid. But even so, I think it would be educational to respond because it represents a typical stupidity of part of the population.

      I never said I was into German nationalism. I was speaking of German(-American) ancestry, ethnicity, culture, and language. I have no interest or concern about German nationalism, as I’m not a German national. I even pointed out that if my ancestors thought the world they left behind was so great they wouldn’t have left it behind, and the same goes for every other immigrant group over the centuries, including those from England.

      Even if you aren’t actually stupid as you’re pretending to be, your comment definitely shows ignorance, hypocrisy, and bigotry. You obviously know little about American history and are unwilling to apply your criticisms equally.

      Many of the founding fathers were interested or even proud of their English ancestry, even to the point of seeking to rebuild relations with England after the American Revolution. By your logic, they should have returned to England and now we should retroactively remove their status as US citizens. Also, by your logic, those of English ancestry never had a right to force their culture and language on the rest of us. If they are so into their English nationalism, why not just move to England?

      America has always been a diverse place since the colonial era when many parts of the country were majority non-WASP and that remained true for many of these places ever since: New Orleans, Florida, South Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Appalachia, Midwest, Southwest, California, etc. The only clearly majority WASP part of the country is New England, but it is also the part of the country that is least bigoted and supremacist about its WASP heritage.

      To genuinely be into American nationalism means to not be an ignorant and hypocritical bigot like you. I’m glad we cleared that up. Any more questions?

      • Look at you go on about your precious Iowa whithout ever even mentioning what happened to the native americans. You know, the people their firest before they were destroyed? But I’m sure your ok with nazisim seeing as how much you go on about your german nationalism. Those poor native americans. You give them no respect. You spit on them. Coward.

        • It’s humorous for a bigot like you pretending to care about the history of Nazis and Native Americans.

          I don’t hear you complaining about English/British imperialism, colonialism, and genocide. I don’t hear you complaining about the Israeli oppression of Palestinians, Israel being the last colony set up by the British. It’s also interesting that you don’t acknowledge that Anglo-Saxon and Norman English cultures both were originally Germanic cultures, and have as much connection to the Nazis as do my ancestors.

          Both you and I know that a bigot like you doesn’t actually care about Native Americans. By the way, if you bothered to look, you’d know that I mentioned in a comment above that Native Americans had been oppressed. Also, if you did a search, you’d find that I’ve mentioned and discussed Native Americans in many posts, including some posts about Iowa.

          Google site search:
 “native american”

          As for my ancestors, they left generations or in some cases centuries before Hitler was born and the Nazis rose to power. One Prussian ancestor escaped the military because of the oppressive treatment. Earlier on, my German/French ancestor from Alsace-Lorraine border region left because of the wars between the two nations and general oppression. So, my German ancestry were those who weren’t particularly fond of authoritarians like Nazis, which is why they left.

          Many Jews also came from that same Alsace-Lorraine border region. While there, Jews developed Yiddish which later on became important to many American Jews. It was where many had sought refuge, as people have historically done in border regions. Since so many American Jews came from Germanic areas, are they too Nazis?

          I’ll include some more historical context.

          German immigrants to America tended to be different from the Germans that stayed behind. If they weren’t different, they often would have had little reason to leave in the first place. It was their very difference, often religious (Anabaptists, Pietists, Quakers, etc), that led them to being persecuted. Other German immigrants left for political reasons, such as being revolutionaries fighting against authoritarian regimes.

          This is why German-Americans always had a particular tradition. In America, they were the first abolitionists and started the first abolitionist organization. During the Civil War, many Germans even in the South chose to fight for the Union.

          In relation to Native Americans, German-Americans like Scottish-Americans often felt a kinship because of their own tribal origins. I might add that it wasn’t the German nation that committed mass genocide in America. Many German immigrants were unusual in how idealistic they were, sometimes even founding utopian societies and communities. In Texas, while Anglo-Americans fought Native Americans, German-Americans in the hill country were avoiding conflict and signing peace treaties.

          Your ignorance will never trump my knowledge, no matter how hard you try. But I must admit that your ignorance is beginning to bore me.

          • US and britian weren’t allies in the 19th century, they were enemies. They prevented the US from expanding. They even wanted englanders to immigrate the canada to stop the US from expanding up their. They blocked every chance they could to get the US from expanding. And the founding fathers would of been hung if they would of lost. Remember the UK was the “big empire” back in those days.

          • US and Britain weren’t allies in the 19th century, but even with occasional conflicts they were growing trading partners with often common interests. During that century, they signed many treaties and agreements. For example, the British navy tacitly backed the Monroe Doctrine because without such backing it couldn’t have been enforced, as the British navy was dominant in the region.

            Yes, the UK was a big empire. Then again, the US was an aspiring empire (some of the founders even talked about this in explicit terms), a force to be reckoned with. The UK had no delusions about being able to take back the former colonies. The treaties and agreements were an indication that these were two powerful governments that respected each other, even if they hadn’t yet formed a formal alliance. They both had more to gain from trade than from war.



    • I still don’t know where your original question came from. I have never in my life stated any allegiance to or even interest about German nationalism. Maybe you assumed I was a different kind of person than I am. Did you genuinely think I was some kind of Germanic neo-Nazi white supremacist?

      Your question confused and irritated me, as you may have noticed. But maybe I misinterpreted the motivation behind your words. If so, I apologize. I hope you understand why I responded the way I did. It was a rather aggressive comment, implying that I should leave my own country because you didn’t or thought you didn’t agree with my opinions, as if Americans aren’t allowed to have different opinions.

      I guess it doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t have responded with so much hostility. It did put me in a bad mood temporarily. But it’s Friday and I just can’t be bothered to stay in a bad mood about something on the internet. Anyway, I try not to hold grudges. I’m going to assume the best about your intentions, instead of assuming the worst. So, that’s that. Have a happy Friday!

    • As a side note, I can’t say that any of my ancestors necessarily identified as German nationals. One ancestor identified as Bavarian on a census. Another as Prussian. Even more interesting, one identified three different ways on three different censuses: German, French, and Alsace-Lorraine.

  3. I am almsot done with Colin Woodell’s American Nations, and my impression is…

    Where the fuck did Anglos get such weird ass ideas about race?

    Also, although the different “white” groups were usually in some kind of conflict or distrust, it seems they never had their rights denied based on their ethnicity. Although Italians, for example, were restricted and looked down on, they were never denied the right to vote. Although the Southerners tried to see themselves as a superior Norman race to the NOrthern WASPs, they never had the idea to enslave the inferior WASPs and that slavery was best for them.

    What drove the (especially southern) intense neurosis on race, development of one-drop rule, etc?

    I recognize that in the earlier times whites were indeed slaves. But somewhere along the lines “race” as we see it today developed. What happened?

    • I assume you mean Colin Woodard. It’s been a while since I read American Nations. It’s not clear in my memory what he says about Anglos and race.

      About rights, it depends on what you mean. Race/ethnicity was often mixed up with religion. Catholics, for example, at one time had legalized prejudice against them. I guess it also depends on what era you’re talking about. The colonial era involved indenture of whites. The majority of the earliest indentured whites were often treated brutally and never lived long enough to experience freedom.

      I don’t think there was anything inevitable about how the racial order developed in the US. History is built on many seemingly arbitrary developments that get rationalized later on. Different incidents at key points would have led to an entirely different racial order. We usually don’t appreciate how random that history can be.

      The ideas people develop about race are mostly rationalizations that come long after the fact. A racial order develops for reasons no one fully understands. But we humans can’t accept our own ignorance. So, we make up reasons for why society is the way it is and that it had to be that way.

      Humans are weird.

  4. Yeah Clinton is the quintissential WASP, but I always thought she was kind of weird looking for a WASP. She hardly looks “aryan” I mean. For one thing, her nose is quite flat for a white person.

    • She is mostly English ancestry. But to be fair she has some other ancestries as well. Even the English are an ancestrally mixed up population. They are primarily Germanic and Scandinavian with some Celtic thrown in, along with a bit else as well (some mixing with the Welsh, Irish, Basque, French, and Roman ancestries). To say someone is WASP is to mean they’re a mongrel. And to say someone is an American WASP is to mean they are even more a mongrel.

  5. No I don’t want more Obama. i don’t care that he allows abortions and likes gay marriage when his fucking FBI can screw over people with impunity and we;re being spied on and the usa is prouncing around the world like it owns it . The surveillance state has expanded under obama and it will expand under clinton and probably trump. at least trump’s honest abotu his shittiness most americans don’ t even give a shit that clinton obama are police states too because they’re distracted by wedge issues

    yeah yeah yeah sorry this is stream of conscious lol. haha I’m going to bed soon.

    Two faced freak that’s obama clinton and democrats in general. Obama got treated like shit by hillary and probably dosen’t like her but that photo of him hugging her and repping her makes me wanna vomit it’s just playing politics fuck that, it’s all facades, fake fake fake fake fake

    • That’s another thing. Obama has amped up all aspects of the intelligence/surveillance/police state.

      Google recently stated that they had been put on a gag order by the Federal government when the FBI demanded they hand over user data. It also recently came out that Yahoo had developed a spying program that searched all email accounts at the request of the Federal government.

      This is both illegal and unconstitutional (depending on how one interprets the constitution). But it is the type of thing that has gotten worse under the Obama administration.

      What makes me mad isn’t just the lies and deception, the endless political games of power and control. None of this would be possible if the American public didn’t accept it. It doesn’t matter the reason why they accept it — cynicism, apathy, indifference, ignorance, or whatever.

      This cuts to the core of what democracy is supposed to be about, what liberalism is supposed to stand for. There is no way a moral person could vote for either Clinton or Trump, unless we start defining morality in ways that are severely dysfunctional and depraved.

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