Interracial Sex and American Conservatism, from the Civil War Era to the Age of Trump

Gender and race are center stage in the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton, for instance, hopes to derail Donald Trump’s recent pivot to the center and his courting of African Americans by linking him to the white nationalist “alt-right” movement. The current election has thereby brought national attention to the Internet’s extreme right, white supremacist fringe. Alt-right conservatives, disowned by mainstream conservatives, have already achieved notoriety with an epithet applied to presidential contenders deemed weak on immigration and other issues dear to white supremacists. In the alt-right’s lexicon, unmanly “cuckservatives” like Jeb Bush cannot match Donald Trump hypermasculine nativism, misogyny, and braggadocio.[1]

The designation “cuckservative” casts the extreme right’s exasperation with GOP leadership in racial and gender terms. As a conservative critic of the alt-right defined the concept, “by supporting immigration reform, criminal justice reform, etc., a white conservative is therefore surrendering his honor and masculinity (and it won’t be long before his women folk are compromised, as well!). A cuckservative is, therefore, a race traitor.”[2] These men fail as conservatives and as white men. They sabotage white racial interests, and the fact that they are cuckolded in the process suggests sexual submission to people of color. For the alt-right, yielding the white race’s political interests is tantamount to imperiling white womanhood through interracial sex.

White supremacists in the Civil War era also castigated lukewarm conservatives who defected to the antislavery cause as race traitors. To protect the purity of the white body politic, conservative Democrats compared switching parties and supporting antislavery measures to encouraging interracial sex.

The full article can be view on the Journal of the Civil War Era Muster blog.

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