In a classic example of history being told by (and taught for) the victors, Iowa Congressman Steve King made some exceptionally racist comments while participating in a panel with MSNBC about race and the Republican party Monday.
While responding to a comment about the decline in the power of “old white people,” King said, "This whole ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie. I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?"
When the host of the panel, Chris Hayes, responded, "More than white people?" King continued, "Than, than Western civilization itself. It's rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That's all of Western civilization."
WOW. We need a second to absorb all this.
First of all, King using the word “subgroups”? What exactly do you mean there, sir? I hope you don’t mean that anyone other than western white men is inherently less human, but it kind of seems like that’s what you’re saying. Second, do you really know that little about history? Real history?
One Twitter user summed up nicely, writing“Steve King’s comments are textbook white supremacy. And he’s a sitting US Congressman.” We seriously need to fix this situation. How could anyone with this much power and influence be so enormously misinformed and, frankly, bigoted?
Hayes is facing backlash of his own for not challenging King’s comments more than he did. In a series of tweets, Hayes condemned King’s words and admitted that critics might be correct that he didn't do enough to reprimand his guest.
This isn’t King’s first example of extreme prejudice, either. The New York Times reports that he has made some politically incorrect and insensitive comments about immigrants, and he was also against putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.
King clarified the comments to ABC News on Monday night, but if anything, his new quotes make him look even worse: "The contributions that were made by Western civilization itself, and by Americans, by Americans of all races stand far above the rest of the world. The Western civilization and the American civilization are a superior culture."
So, yeah. He's still super racist.
Hopefully soon King will be taking some time off from Congress to go back to a world history class taught with a little more perspective.