In a pathetic attempt to clarify his overtly racist comments, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) ended up doubling down on his claims that “subgroups” hadn’t contributed much to society and that Western civilization composed primarily of Caucasians just happened to be the superior culture.
Here is his original comment to an MSNBC panel on the subject of the lack of diversity at the RNC which sparked outrage on Monday:
This whole white people business, though, does get a little tired. … 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 given the chance to clarify by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Rep. King’s clarification only made things worse saying that by “white people business” he meant to say:
Western civilization itself, that’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.”
Dude, still, no.
Hayes shut the discussion down saying they weren’t going to play which culture is better on the panel.
In a separate interview today with ABC News, King continued to shove his foot in his mouth and continue the tradition in the Republican party to be obtusely racist, further saying:
What I really said was ‘Western civilization’ and when you describe Western civilization that can mean much of Western civilization happens to be Caucasians. But we should not apologize for our culture or our civilization.”
Just stop, dude.
And in case that didn’t sound ethnocentric enough, King hammered on the point that Eastern Civilization is inferior to the West:
“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.”
Dude, for the love of God, no!
This is exactly what is wrong with the Republican party today. They think it’s perfectly acceptable to compare cultures and pit them against one another in a fight for “superiority.” They do this blindly without even recognizing for a second that all cultures and races have contributed vastly important things to the world and that with shared knowledge, we’ve all advanced as one civilization.
Math and our first written language came from the Middle East and with it contributions to engineering, architecture, astronomy and science. Democracy and philosophy flourished in Greece, but the idea of governance originated in Africa. Asia gave us ink and paper, the spice trade, the compass. Africa gave us precious metals, the screw, the level and erected buildings and pyramids that to this day confound modern people and have outlasted the people who built them by thousands of years. There are simply too many inventions and ideas that originated outside of Western civilization to name here, but the point is, with all this prior knowledge and trading of ideas and goods between cultures for centuries, the infant nation of the United States of America didn’t have to start at the very beginning and work its way up. It started at an intermediate level of civilization and had it not been for the kindness and knowledge from the native culture, colonization in the first crucial years may have failed.
To appropriate these things as being strictly Western ideas, or laughably American ideas and contributions is pitiful, ignorant, and xenophobic.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Drew Angerer