Virginia Senate candidate Republican Corey Stewart stirred up a lot of controversy today, claiming that American citizens are “sick and tired of talking about race all the time.”
Below is Stewart’s full statement, as reported on by The Hill.
“I know you brought me on your show because you want to talk about the one-year anniversary of the horrible events in Charlottesville last year. But you know I meet with voters every single day, the residents of Virginia, and there’s one thing that’s very, very clear, and that is people are sick and tired of talking about race all the time.”
According to the Virginia Senate candidate, most Americans care about issues such as immigration and economic policy. These issues, according to Stewart, affect all Americans, regardless of the color of their skin. The media is partially to blame for the discourse that’s been taking place in America over the past couple of years, Stewart said, and some journalists have made careers out of “dividing people by race.”
In a book titled Political Tribes (an excerpt related to so-called identity politics has been published by The Guardian), John M. Duff Jr. Professor of Law at Yale Law School Amy Chua wrote about what she considers to be “an unprecedented moment in American history” — for the first time in U.S. history, white Americans are faced with the prospect of becoming a minority in the United States.
“When groups feel threatened, they retreat into tribalism,” Chua wrote. But, in her opinion, it is not only white people in America that feel this way. Blacks, whites, men, women, Asians, Latinos, Jews, Muslims, and Christians all feel their groups are being persecuted.
This, according to Professor Chua, is why we see identity politics on both sides of the political spectrum. In combination with identity politics, unprecedented demographic changes in the United States have created “an especially fraught set of tribal dynamics,” Chua concluded.
Therefore, in the context of identity politics, and in the context of Professor Chua’s book, Corey Stewart’s comments perhaps do not seem inappropriate. However, in the context of the Virginia Senate candidate’s previous statements, his identity politics rant comes across as wildly inappropriate.
As The Hill noted, Stewart is known for garnering controversy. He has, for instance, defended Confederate monuments; said that he didn’t believe the Civil War was about slavery; praised Virginia as “the state of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and JEB Stuart” during a speech; and compared the Revolutionary War to Virginia’s secession from the Union in the Civil War.