The diseased host or pathogenic model of American society is my name for that thing where America is seen as a white country but suffers from the presence of people of colour. Blacks are blamed for crime, Mexicans for unemployment, Muslims for terrorism, etc. Whites are right, normal, successful, Basically Good. People of colour are seen through a deficiency model where different means screwed up. That allows them to be scapegoated.
The multiracial model is its opposite: America does not belong to any one race but to everyone who lives there. Everyone should have equal rights and equal opportunity. Inequality, caused by racist policies, past and present, is what screws up American society, not the pathologies of people of colour.
The Reform/Nadir cycle: In its finer moments, America goes through a period of multiracial reform:
- 1860s and 1870s: Civil War and Reconstruction: black slaves freed and given equal rights in the constitution.
- 1950s and 1960s: Civil rights movement, Jim Crow laws overturned.
But it is two steps forward, one step back: both periods were followed by a nadir of racial relations where American society moves back towards the pathogenic model: Jim Crow, lynching, “Stop and frisk”, Islamophobia, weakening of voting rights, mass incarceration and internment, deportation, racist immigration policies, resegregation of schools, etc.
The pathogenic model informs not just government policy and Fox News talking points but daily life too: from the shooting of Trayvon Martin to white flight to the One Drop Rule to microaggressive racist contempt and condescension.
The vampiric model: Lost on most whites is the profound irony that they could easily be viewed through a vampiric model of American society: their wealth is built on half of Mexico, Dead Indian Land, African slave labour, Latin American sweat shops, Asian brain drain, etc.
Brought to you by the pathogenic model:
- Republican positions on immigration, crime, drugs, welfare, voting rights, etc
- genocide – the logical conclusion of pathogenic thinking
- racist immigration laws
- Chinese Exclusion Act
- The Immigration Act of 1924
- mass relocation of people of colour:
- mass incarceration of blacks and Latinos (1990s to present).
- racial profiling
- racial segregation:
- white mob violence against Chinese and blacks (Idaho, Tulsa, Rosewood, Duluth, etc)
- The White Default
- white paternalism
Abstract liberalism: Whites talk like they believe in a multiracial society but walk like they believe in a pathogenic one. You know, it is “all men are created equal” and “I don’t see colour” – until too many blacks or even Asians move into “their” neighbourhood.
- “white is right”
- The Nadir of American race relations – the one of the late 1800s and early 1900s
- the pathogenic model articulated:
- Back to Africa
- The Southern strategy
- What they do not teach you about anti-racism at American high school – how the multiracial model is played down
- Voting Rights Act of 1965 – recently gutted, like it’s 1899
- colour-blind racism: the four frames – the main form of racist thinking among White Americans since the 1970s: abstract liberalism, black pathologies, etc.
- Native Americans in Western thought – for more on the deficiency model