The End of the Great White Bogeyman Theory of History?

Have We just Witnessed a Sea Change in American Racial Propaganda?

For most of American history the dominant racist line was that of the Great White Benefactor bringing the gifts of civilization and abundance to the backward, immiserate peoples of the world; to liberate them from idolatry, want and depravity. All nonsense, of course, but it served its perception management  purpose and helped to garner the necessary support for the global pillage it was intended to camouflage. I came of age in the 1960s when that fictive narrative, its bankruptcy no longer concealable, began to invert. President Kennedy, in a nationally televised address, stated that “The treatment of the American Indian is a national disgrace.” No president had ever told the American people that they had something to be ashamed of. It came as quite a shock, and certainly was an unequivocal rebuttal of White Man’s Burden and all that had gone unchallenged before.

Kennedy should not be overcredited, he was merely reflecting the change which was ongoing in America’s self perception, not spearheading it. Nevertheless, this view and his support for civil rights for Blacks, be they impelled by conscience or realpolitik, did much to mainstream the revisionist position. The Great White Benefactor, now in his death throes, gave way to a new reification–the Great White Malefactor. No longer were Whites depicted by White elites and their institutions as uniquely altruistic, rather, now, uniquely venal. While many a ghastly crime has been committed by Whites against others, such horrors are now amplified, assigned solely to him, reproduced endlessly for mass consumption, attributed to “Whiteness” and White culture, and White victimhood at the hands of others ignored, denied or dismissed as justified. Western civilization was entirely good, now wholly base and villainous. The theory of White exceptionalism is maintained, but the script has been flipped and Whites are largely if not wholly responsible for the world’s injustices. So profound and widespread is the new anti-White racism that in a new book on critical race theory, penned by Geraldin Heng of the University of Texas, entitled The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages, she refers to White people as a “monstrous race.” Did UT-Austin censure her for such unmistakable racist defamation? No, in fact they gave her an award.

Meanwhile, the old, anti-Black racism remains in force, save now in a more subtle, plausibly deniable form. Together, the two racisms have synergy in that they validate each other and inflame the aggrieved. Both racist delusions, exceptional White virtue and exceptional White vice, are only sustainable by massive distortion of world history and a pseudoscience like critical race theory to invest it with the imprimatur of the academy. If you have any doubts about White iniquity just ask Geraldine Heng, she is, after all, an award-winning author and college professor. What more validation could you want?

The point of the propaganda shift, I insist, is the preservation of the age-old canard of a racial hierarchy of merit. The new Great White Bogeyman paradigm foments racial animosity within the working class and compels the primacy of race in political discourse. The race war is class war in disguise, and the only winners are the plutocrats who oppress us all.

However, of late the Great White Malefactor Theory has come under attack, and from what I believe to be a state-aligned institution–of all places. Wikipedia describes PragerU as: “The Prager University Foundation, known as PragerU, is an American 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocacy group and media organization that creates content promoting conservative viewpoints on various political, economic, and sociological topics.” It is a mouthpiece for American imperialism whose belief in the sanctity of free-market capitalism never wavers. Their “content” is poorly researched and often inaccurate, and it’s clear that they do not care. Recently, they produced a video, hosted by Candace Owens, entitled “A Short History of Slavery” which has caused quite a stir.

In other venues, Candace Owens, a Black, has stated that American Blacks were doing quite well until the 1960s when they began to receive welfare (aid for the poor), which is daft. She has also said that British colonialism in Africa was a net positive for the colonized, which is daft and obscene. For those who may be unfamiliar with American history, let me assure you that these contentions are not merely incorrect but outlandish, sheer lunacy. Whether Owens is an idiot or just plays one on YouTube need not concern us. In the video in question, she gets it basically right.

One of the great racist myths of the Great White Malefactor school of American history is that the Transatlantic Slave Trade was something White people did to Black. In reality, White European elites and Black African elites were partnered in the abomination. Blacks did almost all of the capturing of slaves and sold them on the coast to White slavers under terms dictated by the Africans. Both elites prospered from the lucrative trade.

A brief history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its origins: The people of ancient China were menaced by a confederation of Steppe nomads whom they called the Qiongnu, which roughly translates, Sinologists speculate, to “the fierce people.” The Qiongnu frequently raided Chinese territory stealing whatever they could and raping, killing and enslaving captives for sale or personal use. Around 250 BCE, Qin Shih Huang united China and became its first emperor. He ordered the building of a wall along the northern border to prevent further attacks. In so doing, he set in motion a mass migration which would change the world.

This wall, later to be expanded to become the Great Wall of China, forced the Qiongnu to move west in order to get around it as brigandage is how they made their living, hideous as that is. As they did, they attacked the Yuezhi people who had once occupied the land now vacated by the Qiongnu. The invasion forced the Yuezhi westward again which in turn forced the migration to the west and south of the peoples now displaced by the newly arrived Yuezhi. This resulted in successive invasions of India.

Like the Qiongnu, the Yuezhi were a federation and one of its constituents, the Kushans, came to dominance, and they were one of the peoples who stormed through the Khyber Pass and struck at India. Unlike their predecessors, they were successful. The Kushan Empire soon became quite large and rich.

There had long been east-west trade across the Eurasian Steppe, but it had always been a dangerous venture. Now, with the stability brought to China by unification and centralization and the rise of the Kushan Empire, trade flourished. At this point there were four empires–Chinese, Kushan, Parthian, and Roman–strong enough to police the trade and provide security from the Pacific overland to the Atlantic. Nearly everyone in Afro-Eurasia would be touched by this trade.

The Silk Road may have been more accurately called the Spice Road. In addition to cookery, spices were used in medicine, cosmetics, and food preservation. They were household essentials. The trade became extensive and many peoples around Afro-Eurasia came to depend upon it.

The peace was not to last. The cascade of falling dominoes initiated by the Great Wall was not yet exhausted. The jostling for land upon the Steppe continued and the Road was harried by marauders as the empires weakened over time. Sections of it fell under the control of Huns, Turkics, and others. In time an empire would arise to capture nearly all of it.

The empire of the Mongols was so vast that it became impossible to maintain. It first broke into a few big pieces and then into many small fragments. Instead of being marked up a few times before reaching Europe, now dozens of statelets inflated the price as spices passed through their lands. By the time they reached Europe the cost was so high they were no longer affordable. The Portuguese sought to circumvent the problem by sailing around Africa. Columbus persuaded the Spanish that one could sail directly west from Spain and reach India.

At every stage of this process atrocities were committed. The Yuezhi did not grant permission to the Qiongnu to claim the land they themselves had expropriated by force. It was taken from them by violence in the same way that the American Indian was dispossessed. The Kushans were not invited into India. If the Mongols were guilty of half the barbarity they boasted of then they are the indisputable atrocity champions. It is estimated that they killed ten percent of the global population.

The discovery of the Americas was the greatest economic boom in human history. So colossal was the windfall that the endless stream of New World precious metals collapsed the Spanish economy. Predictably, the allure of easily acquired riches caused an international rugby scrum for control of the trade.

The Europeans in the Americas are guilty of acts of unimaginable savagery. Imperialism, genocide and slavery predates the arrival of Columbus in the New World, but the scale and scope of the predation he was to introduce had never been seen. This coupled with the diseases he brought resulted in the deaths of as many as 56 million people. So great was the death toll that “new research also reveals that following this rapid population decline and the subsequent reduction in land use, there was a global cooling trend.” It is the worst thing that has ever happened. We in the Americas are living in the world’s largest graveyard.

From the Real History of Columbus

None of this is denied or suppressed. What is omitted from state-sanctioned New World histories is that the same outrages were perpetrated in Africa, and by Black Africans against their fellow Black Africans. The discovery of the New World and the subsequent labor shortage created by the mass depopulation spurred demand for slaves which African profiteers were only too happy to supply. Slavery in Africa was Millennia old when Columbus landed in Hispaniola. Before Islam reached West Africa, slaves were used locally in agriculture, mining, government service and as domestics. With the arrival of Islam, the West African empires were connected to the Silk Road and the wider slave trade. Needless to say, this was good for business and the exporting of salt, slaves and gold made the West African empires exceedingly wealthy and powered a golden age of scholarship. However, none of this prepared African slavers for the unprecedented, ceaseless orders for slaves coming from the Americas. What followed is one of the ugliest chapters in human history.

African fought African for market share: the coastal Ouidah raided the smaller tribes of the interior capturing and selling literally millions. Covetous of Ouidah wealth, the Fon attacked and took over the sordid business. Then the Oyo attacked the Fon. And then the Allada and the Ashanti and the Mane and the Kingdom of Kongo and so it went. Some smaller tribes were literally sold out of existence. So profitable was the trade that some tribes abandoned traditional means of subsistence and gave themselves over to the slave trade as their sole occupation. As a result, fields lay fallow and craft production in particular suffered. This weakened Africa and made it more vulnerable to the European imperialism which was to come.

The worst example was the Kingdom of Dahomey. It became a slave state like no other. Half the population was enslaved to perform those tasks necessary to sustain the Kingdom while the other half was engaged in slave capture. Human sacrifices were regularly if infrequently held and the Dahomey kings insisted that the European slave buyers attend the ghoulish ritual. Dahomey was as close to dystopia as we are ever likely to see. The slave trade devastated African society. Culturally it sowed distrust of African for African, and materially it depopulated the continent and deprived it of its young. This in time brought a decline which further embedded Africa in the slave trade, the very thing which was causing this most vicious of cycles.

As stated above, Blacks and Whites were partnered in the slave trade, and both bear responsibility for the ransacking of the New World which likely would not have been possible without Africa’s provisioning the colonizers with millions of slaves. Buyer and seller are guilty. So why is this history suppressed? Why isn’t the Transatlantic Slave Trade presented in an open and accurate way? It isn’t. The American school system teaches that the slave trade occurred because White people are immoral. The reason for such slander is that an honest rendering of events outlined above, precludes race as cause. From Ancient Bactria to imperial Mali and colonial Virginia, people engaged in unspeakable acts, and White, Black, Brown and Asian people all have innocent blood on their hands. The Great White Bogeyman Theory of history serves the interests of the ruling class in that it acts to cow White people with guilt and to give Blacks every reason to fear and loathe Whites. A forthright accounting might make White and Black people feel differently about each other, and that might very well spell the end of capitalism. Interracial working-class cooperation is what American elites fear most; and what Whiteness studies, critical race theory, wokeness, intersectionality and all the other species of insipid race fetishism are intended to avert. When the curtain is lifted and truth revealed, it becomes abundantly clear that it was not race which catalyzed the holocaust that was the Transatlantic Slave Trade, but profit. The people on both ends of the oceanic slave trade were not sadists, they were businessmen.

And this is why PragerU’s video is so confounding. They have just slaughtered one of the sacred cows of American racism. Why? They have just debunked their own racial propaganda, one which has served the plutocracy well for half a century. Why decommission the Great White Bogeyman? Could this be related to the butchery currently occurring in Gaza? With Whites exterminating Browns with impunity perhaps some grandee thought it prudent to preemptively rehabilitate Mr. Bogeyman before too much anger developed and things got out of control. Could it be that this has something to do with the upcoming election? Is it an attempt by the anti-Trump faction to deprive him of discursive ammunition and take the sting out of his strongest talking points? Maybe it is merely a case of the faux social media Right provoking the faux social media Left so that both can attract clicks. Or perhaps it is just the latest tune pounded out on the ol’ Mighty Wurlitzer.

Whatever its purpose it seems a dangerous tack to release that genie from her bottle. It brought a tear to my eye watching several Black YouTubers wail in bewilderment that they had been taught something different. It made me reflect on how much we have been disinformed and made to hate each other, and it deepened my hatred of this loveless capitalist world in which we are condemned to live.

It should be noted that the video was not too heterodox. At the end Aunt Thomasina implores her fellow Blacks to put their faith in Uncle Sam and embrace American patriotism. I don’t believe the young Black YouTubers who reviewed her video will heed that call.

Dave Fryett is an anarchist in Pacific Northwest and can be reached at: Read other articles by Dave, or visit Dave's website.