Dear Rep. King: Our Civilization Isn’t White and American Babies Aren’t Other

By March 15, 2017Commentary

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

Rep Steve King of Iowa (whose constituents should be ashamed to show their faces in public went full-on racist again, supporting hate-speech master Geert Wilders in his quixotic quest to reverse globalization and ban Muslims from Europe.

King lauded Wilders’ supposed wisdom and added “we can’t restore our civilization with other people’s babies.”

I’d just like to point out that in 1900 the Netherlands was a tiny European country but a very large empire, and that it mainly amounted to something in world affairs at that time because it ruled a very large number of Muslims in its East Indies (today’s Indonesia). Some 15% of Dutch GDP was from stealing Indonesian petroleum in that era, and it was the cream that, as it accumulated and was invested, allowed nobodies like Geert Wilders to live an opulent lifestyle. That is, Dutch civilization is inextricably interwoven with Muslim civilization, and rather owes a debt to Muslims.

Likewise, in 1900 the US had taken the Philippines, a pillar of its emergence as a Pacific Power, which has a significant Muslim population of 5-8%. Yes, folks. The US went out and gathered up millions of Muslims to rule, and Filipino Americans have shaped our country. Even today, Filipino-Americans are about 23% of the state of Hawaii. (Hi, Bruno Mars!)

King has displayed his ignorance of history many times before. When he was challenged on the all-white Republican Party leadership, he alleged that only white people had contributed to civilization and actually alleged that Africa had not.

Uh, Pharaonic Egypt, which self-described white people like King have expropriated for Europe? Actually, like, in Africa . Not only was the cradle of civilization in Africa, but genetic testing on the Pharaohs appears to show Y chromosome haplotypes typical of today’s Uganda. That is, the Egyptian ruling class appears to have come up the Nile from sub-Saharan Africa. They invented elements of geometry, paper, cursive writing, and other key components of civilization.

A similar argument could be made about the contributions of ancient Mesopotamia, today’s Iraq, under the Sumerians, Akkadians and Babylonians. King’s party doesn’t seem to think Iraqis are white– it almost banned their entry into the US.

At the time that Pharaonic and Mesopotamian civilization was flourishing, Europeans were half-naked savages.

But the bigger point is that American civilization is civic and does not depend on race. There are no “other people’s babies” here. All American babies are our babies. People of all races have contributed to American civilization.

It was Senegalese Muslims, kidnapped and brought for slave labor to the Carolinas, who taught white people how to grow rice.

Michael E. DeBakey, contributor to the development of the artificial heart? Lebanese-American.

You can look up minority engineers and scientists.

Arab-American inventors and scientists are here

The US Patent and Trade Office under the impression that a lot of significant inventions have been the work of Latino Americans.

King’s self-conception as part of a northern European white Christian hegemonic class that deserves its high status because of its achievements is just wrong.

In the United States, under our Constitution, we are all equal under the law, regardless of race or religion. That is our civilization.

IBW

About IBW