June 16, 2017
A University of Florida professor has produced a study asserting that the concept of patriotism is “drenched in whiteness” and implies that black people are “un-American.”
“The paradox of black patriotism: double consciousness, published May 31 in the Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies, is based on interviews with 22 black Americans conducted by Dr. Micah Johnson, a research assistant and graduate student instructor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology and Law.
Johnson reports that many of his subjects “denounced” patriotism when asked for their interpretation of the concept, and that some even “constructed alternative patriotic brands” for themselves as a means of coping with “tensions between race and nation.”
Johnson said he was not surprised to learn that black people have fewer positive connotations with patriotism than do their white counterparts, since patriotism “casts whites as exclusively the true Americans” and serves to “imply that blacks are abnormal, illegitimate, uncivilized, and un-American.”
He also asserts that it is difficult for black people to be patriotic in an era of “publicized police killings of Black Americans,” such as Alton Sterling, who was killed by police the midnight after the 4th of July, and Philando Castile, who was killed just two days later.
Johnson goes on to claim that patriotism “expunges black contributions [to America] and signals that blacks are outsiders, parasitic companions, merely by-catch in the nets of European conquest,” arguing that the meritocratic ethos embedded in patriotism serves to “essentially oppose a Black identity.”
Johnson told Campus Reform that he was inspired to study the the ways in which black Americans perceive patriotism because of the “failure of folks (often in the media or classroom) to fully understand the nuances and…