Paul R. Lehman, Jack Davis living in the pastMarch 20, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Posted in American Bigotry, American Racism, Ethnicity in America, Media and Race | 1 Comment
Tags: African Americans, black and white, Confronting Myths, European American challenge, European Americans, Hispanics, Jack Davis
This past week the Buffalo News reported that a local Republican businessman, Jack Davis is running as a Tea Party candidate in the upcoming primary to replace former Rep. Chris Lee. Apparently a few weeks earlier, Davis is purported to have come up with a plan to “deport all of the upstate New York area’s Hispanic farmworkers, and replace them by busing in inner blacks to pick the crops instead.” One might expect the reactions to this remark to be immediate and critical in light of the fact that it was so biased. Unfortunately, not much has been made of the remarks. In this writer’s opinion, the reactions to this statement would generally reflect three emotions, shock, anger, humor.
The shock reaction to Davis’s comments would come from people you recognized the mindset that produced the bigoted remarks. The fact that Davis had no hesitation in letting the words flow out of his mouth would signal to some people that Davis’ mindset is still back in the 1800’s when ethnic Americans were not valued as were European Americans. Davis’s comments reflect an attitude of white superiority with regards to all non-European American people. The shock reaction comes from the thought that this would-be politician has been left behind by history and in his arrogance could care less about the feelings or rights of other non-European Americans. The remarks are totally un-American.
Some people surly reacted to the comments with anger because they realized that no care for the rights of Hispanics and Africans Americans had been given. One might ask the question: Who does Davis think he is? His answer would certainly reflect a bigoted mindset that views European Americans as special, privileged, and normal as opposed to all other Americans not like him. Although many Americans might agree with Davis’s statement, they would not want to be identified with blatant bigots who would incur the wrath of those who view these remarks as totally unacceptable for any American today. The anger comes in part for Davis saying what others believe. He could have simply kept his thought to himself and not speak them. When people know in advance the mindset of others, they can defend against them. The anger is created when the unexpected happens; like Davis making inappropriate remarks that underscore his ignorance and bias.
Another reaction would be that of humor. Why humor? Some people who think like Davis simply applaud his effort and actions in setting the record straight about who they believe count in America. So what if some people get their feelings hurt because of Davis’s words; they need to develop thicker non-European American skins. The attitude of the people who find humor in Davis’s remarks reflects a sense of superiority that makes bigots feel immune to any criticism that challenges their social value in America. Examples of this kind of so-called humor can be seen in some of the pictures and cartoons at protest gatherings ridiculing President Obama. While some Americans would not dare carry such a sign or picture, they nonetheless find an opportunity to get in a good laugh at it.
Before we get too carried away about Davis’s comment, we need to take a look at just what he said. He is obviously a very ignorant and misguided individual in that he does not know the significance of the term Hispanic. He probably has some mental images of who they might be, but those images do not mesh with reality. He also has no concept of who he refers to as blacks except in his bigoted mind. Should anyone take serious someone who believes that he can simply collect a group of people, based on his images of them, and deport them? Or that he can collect another group of people and force them to work in fields? What he truly believes gives him the right to not only thinks this way but also the ease in saying it is his self image—that of a rich male white and superior.
At one time in America being European American was a ticket to special privileges that included a concept of being better that anyone not European American. Fortunately, though the years and many protest, battles, and changes in the laws, many Americans can feel that American is finally starting to live up to the meaning of its creed that all men are created equal. Mr. Davis, however, is not listed among that group. From his comments one might imagine that he still believes that the only people with rights and privileges all look like him. What are we to make of someone like Davis who have lived and worked in America and received the blessing of this society, yet, has no idea of who he is or where he is. We know that ethnic bigotry and ignorance exist in society, but from all accounts, Davis has no idea of history or reality.
We can all be proud to be Americans when we realize that even bigoted nincompoops like Davis is afforded the right to speak his mind regarding ethnic Americans and say how he would treat them. Someone needs to inform him though that he is not in touch with the real world as far as his views of his rights and privileges and those of other Americans are concerned. He needs to learn that many people of Hispanic ethnicity and those he referred to as blacks actually consider themselves European Americans rather than some stereotype image he has created. Davis’s comments are so bazaar that they make literally no sense; however, the fact that he made them and they were published automatically calls attention to them, like some bumper stickers “America, Love It or Leave It.” That said, we should acknowledge the fact that many more Davis’ exist in America, but they do not represent America. We also need to call attention to the fact that what they say does not reflect American ideals and values.