Dear Rep. King: Our Civilization isn’t White and American Babies aren’t Other

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.

20 Responses

  1. Iowa. . .another state to boycott?! Yes, and this is my own way to say who will support: Yes, I use amazon for many things I need/want. .. mostly used books. But I’ve for many years avoided giving any of my few dollars to Texas and Arizona. . .and now have been adding other states as well. Anyone know how to access the home state of those who do not list such in their seller’s profile? Follow my suit? It’s one thing I do have control over. ..or think I do.

  2. And the Netherlands could not quickly repair the WW2 damage without somebody else’s grown-up babies.
    Incidentally, oil stealing was probably not the biggest modern scandal done in the East Indies. During the 1930’s the Dutch government prepared the “voluntary” transfer of entire villages from the East Indies to Suriname. It did not happen because the Japanese invasion prevented it.
    In the 1930’s the budget of the Dutch government from the colony was negative that is to say it spent more on defense and administration than it took in on taxes.

  3. Here is the Dutch-Turkish issue in an imaginary US context. Imagine that dual citizenship is legal in our nation. Then imagine that US citizens holding citizenship of nation X can vote not only in our national elections but also in the national elections of country X. Next imagine that the country X will hold a national referendum on constitutional changes. Finally imagine that diplomats of X announce that they will come to our country to hold rallies in our major cities in which they will urge the dual citizens of US + X to vote for that constitutional change in X. I bet that the law of dual citizenship will be revoked by our Congress even before these diplomats have landed at Kennedy airport.
    That is exactly what the Dutch should have done and should do now. Turkey is a member of NATO but not of the EU.
    It is sad that the Dutch-Turkish citizens of the Netherlands, most of whom were born in the Netherlands, are jeopardized by the stupid Turkish government.
    P.S. In the past the Turkish-Dutch citizens were among very few nationalities allowed to legally keep their original citizenship in the Netherlands because they would lose their properties in Turkey if they had become Dutch citizens only. Here is a nicety of the Dutch immorally exploited by an immoral government of Turkey.

    • The US does allow dual citizenship. For example, US-born people with dual US-Israeli nationality can go join the Israeli military, vote in both countries, etc…

    • “I bet that the law of dual citizenship will be revoked by our Congress even before these diplomats have landed at Kennedy airport.”
      Bet the Congress will give them standing ovation and $billions.

  4. Thanks Juan. What’s truly upsetting is that writers need to be writing articles like yours in the first place.

    Recently, I’ve taken to referring to Republicans as neo-Nazi Republicans. Pretty much every time I refer to the Republican Party, either in print or speaking with others, I append the two terms together. Some people may think I am exaggerating to make a point. I don’t think so.

    And I recommend that we all do it. It’s the truth. The policies and attitudes of Trump, Bannon, Spicer, etc. are in fact no different than those of Mitchell, Ryan , etc. They just express it differently. The end result will still be the same.

  5. What civilization does this nincompoop have in mind? In just the last twenty years the United States maintained sanctions on Iraq that cost an estimated half million children their lives. That was followed by an unprovoked war on Iraq that has destabilized the Middle East bringing death, destruction and displacement to millions of people – including the refugees seeking safety in Europe and the U.S.

    • It isn’t about civilization. It’s about the idea that America is the property of a warrior tribe called The Whites, and all others who live here are merely servants. Somehow those servant peoples got out of control, but they will be dealt with now. The Master Race does not have to negotiate in good faith with subhumans; it can lie and trick and then betray with massive armed force.

      Seriously, look up the far-right Christian fantasy of a covenant between the “real” Americans and God to rule this land, requiring adherence to the worst oppressions of the Old Testament. There’s even an interesting branch (descended from an anti-Semitic fantasy) claiming the Britons were the lost tribe of Israel, and America is of the blood of Britain, thus all three states make up the “nations” of Israel and thus all are part of the story of the Book of Revelation. That’s not an obscure crackpot theory; it’s the position of two national Christian publications, The Plain Truth and The Philadelphia Trumpet.

      Master Races do not share power.

      • super390 – what you are describing in the second paragraph is the Seven Mountains Mandate Dominionists. The seven mountain mandate aka the “seven mountain prophecy” is a faux-Christian political movement which has gained a following in the large screen Charismatic and Pentecostal churches. Those who follow the seven mountain mandate believe, in order for Christ to return to earth, the Dominionists must take complete control of the seven major spheres of influence in society for the glory of Christ. Once the world has been made subject to the kingdom of God, Jesus will return and rule the world. Dominionists are intent on controlling our:

        1) Education
        2) Religion
        3) Family
        4) Business
        5) Government/Military
        6) Arts/Entertainment
        7) Media

        How many maladministration and Cabinet members are part of the faux-Christian political movement? Start with Vice President Mike Pence and go from there.

  6. Big mistake by Juan Cole!

    You actually put forward an argument that would require Steve King to read something more challenging than a comic book.

    Unfortunately, this is no exaggeration. Even more unfortunate this that this cretin is a member of the same legislative body where real statesmen and public servants once debated.

  7. I had expected better of you, Juan Cole. It’s is only King’s supporters that should hide from the public. Denouncing all his constituents is merely guilt by association–living on the same side of the state. Some of us resist King from within his district.

    • You can be ashamed of who represents you even if it isn’t your personal fault that he does. I’m ashamed by the president every day.

      • Thank you for saying that. As Americans we bear responsibility for, and can (SHOULD) be ashamed of, what is done in America’s name, regardless of for whom we voted. After all, in Iraq alone the US has murdered lots of people who didn’t support Saddam Hussein–should we ask for allowances we’re not willing to give?

  8. Some of those desperate for truth will abandon proven methods of fact-finding in order to feed their own fears. To paraphrase Dante; When we abandon truth we wind up abandoning hope.

  9. The first one to pop into my mind is Steve Jobs, who’s father was Syrian immigrant Abdul Fattah Jandali.

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