NAME:Dinesh Joseph D’Souza (Konkani: दिनेश जोसफ डिसूज़ा)
HOME BASE: Washington, DC
DOB: April 25, 1961
When people submit names to consider for the Rogues’ Gallery, the name Dinesh D’Souza came up quite a bit. He was among a huge backlog of people we had to get to, but a fire was lit under us when we were reading some stuff on a prominent anti-racist named Tim Wise who has debated D’Souza on occasion. During one particularly heated debate at San Francisco University back in 1996, Mr. D’Souza, who was also attacking the student body that was going against him at this event, said that that Wise was, “the Uncle Tom of the white race.” Once we saw that, we pushed D’Souza waaaaaay up on our schedule!
As you can tell from the picture on this entry, D’Souza is not exactly a white man. He is an Indian. Born in Bombay, India in 1961, his family moved to the US in 1978 and he became a US citizen in 1991. A soft-spoken genteel man at times (and we say this because listening to him can make you forget how much of an asshole he is), he is also a major conservative player, and as we see with black and other conservatives of color, frank and often pathetic deconstructions of our racial concerns become the order of the day. D’Souza is best known for this, courtesy of a 1995 book called the End of Racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society, which was so controversial, even black conservatives took offense to it. The reason why leveling the “Uncle Tom” charge at Wise was particularly shocking was because in the preface of this book D’Souza took aim at people who level them at others:
“I recognize that minorities too must endure vicious attacks and name-calling for dissenting from the political agenda promoted by civil rights groups. During my travels to hundreds of schools and colleges over the past several years, I have heard African Americans called Uncle Toms, Aunt Tomassinas, Aunt Jemimas, House Negroes, Oreos, Incognegroes, Afro-Saxons, and Negrophobic blacks. I have heard Asian dissenters called coconuts (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) and Uncle Tongs. American Indians who stray off the ideological reservation are denounced as Uncle Tomahawks. After a recent debate I was approached by a fellow Indian who urged me to “decolonize your mind.” When I asked him which part of my speech he disagreed with, he said none of it, but he was gravely troubled by my “real views.” Clearly he saw my stated positions as epiphenomenal and distinguishable from my nefarious hidden thoughts. As this example illustrates, minority activists routinely suspect freethinkers like me of selling out our own cause and confirming the suspicions of white racists.”
So if he knew better than to hit Wise with the “Uncle Tom” remark, why did he use it? Because D’Souza is suffering from a problem that plagues many conservatives. He is a part of their agenda that does not provide an honest approach to the racial concerns we have and instead serves as an apologist tool for the crimes conservatives are guilty of in this sphere. In addition, this agenda also serves as a tool for conservatives to further those crimes. D’Souza is a longtime player in this field, and as always, when you are a person of color involved in this crap it is very shameful.
D’Souza began his career furthering this agenda while he attended conservative Dartmouth University. He co-founded and edited the Dartmouth Review and used it as a platform for his steady diatribe against multiculturalism. Among the papers gems during D’Souza’s tenure was an insulting parody of African American Dartmouth students entitled “Dis Sho Ain’t No Jive Bro”. After he graduated in 1983, he attended Princeton University for two years and edited an alumni magazine called Prospect, started by conservative Princeton alumni. This publication also saw controversy thanks to D’Souza. During this time, Prospect published an attack on women’s studies and published an expose on the sex life of a female undergraduate student without her permission. From Princeton it was on to a stint as the managing editor of the Heritage Foundation’s Policy Review from 1985 to 1986. In 1987, after writing a biography about Jerry Falwell, he became a senior domestic policy analyst for the White House, and then a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Throughout his career he has been supported by conservative money, particularly the John M. Olin Foundation.
His books have been the things that garner him the most attention. His first book was the New York Times best-seller Illiberal Education (1991), in which he attempted to make the argument that there is an effort to take any teachings of Western civilization out of college campuses and replace it with education on race and gender issues. This book was funded in part by the Olin Foundation through the Institute for Educational Affairs and the Madison Center and promoted by such foundation-backed publications as the National Review. Needless to say, this was not an even-handed critique on the state of colleges, and as People for the American Way notes, it is something that D’Souza likes to play off:
Summarizing his views on affirmative action in a 1995 Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled “Separation of Race and State,” D’Souza cites the University of Berkeley, California study finding that black enrollment without affirmative action would drop from six percent to one to two percent and concludes that “Proportional representation will end only when we have the courage to say that we are willing to live with these outcomes until blacks are able to raise their own standards to compete at the highest levels.” In blithe disregard of American employment history, D’Souza argues that discrimination in hiring qualified African Americans “makes no economic sense” and therefore discrimination will be eliminated by the free market.
In 1995, D’Souza published The End of Racism, which was an interesting title for a book as it was written by someone who was contributing to the continuance of racism since the days of the Dartmouth parody. It was especially interesting given this book came out just months after another controversial book was published by a colleague of his at AEI. The Bell Curve, by Charles Murray (1994) was the subject of that controversy because in the book the author had argued that persons of African decent were genetically inferior to whites. This was all still fresh when The End of Racism was published, and the book’s title refers to what D’Souza believes will be racism’s end – when black people stop bitching about it.
In The End of Racism, D’Souza chose to attack not the intellect of black society as Murray did in The Bell Curve, but rather its culture, which he considered pathological. He uses as an example the institution of slavery in America, which he does not consider to have even been a racist institution. “in 1830 there were over 3500 black slave owners in America who collectively owned more than 10,000 slaves” He notes. Furthermore, he says that many of these black slavers where half-white, or “mulatto” and were typically even more harsh and cruel on their slaves than whites.
To be honest, D’Souza makes a valid point. Slavery at its core was about economic stability, and to that end it did not matter who was a slave or even a slave owner. To say that it was not a racist institution is ignorant as hell because that is what it developed into. The late Black Panther leader Fred Hampton once said “Racism is a by-product of capitalism,” and slavery speaks directly to that. People of African decent were seen as slaves, and a free black was rare. Even if you were free, you still had a fear of someone kidnapping you and selling you into slavery. This brings us to the mulattos. If you were a mulatto, that meant you could possibly pass for white, and if you could there would be a burden to do so to maintain your standing in life. They had something to prove, and they had to show they were more white than black, or as one website put it, even more white than white. In order for the rewards of social acceptability to be gained, they had to exceed expectations to ensure that their was no doubt that they were “as good as whites” at what they did, if not better. And if that meant being even more inhumane than even white slavers, then so be it. That comes from something called racism, Dinesh.
D’Souza wasn’t through, however. Apparently, segregation wasn’t a racist institution either! He argues it was designed to protect African Americans and “to assure that [they], like the handicapped, would be…permitted to perform to the capacity of their arrested development.” Elsewhere in the book, D’Souza states that the moral legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “remains ambiguous” because he “was never able to…raise the competitiveness and civilizational level of the black population.” If D’Souza was right about segregation he shouldn’t have had to and we would have already been performing to those levels.
From this he continued on by justifying the disconnect some whites feel with the black community, saying they feel that “the criminal and irresponsible black underclass represents a revival of barbarism in the midst of Western civilization.” Of course, D’Souza doesn’t consider the non-racist slavery institution or the charitable days of segregation to have played a part in how whites feel. That is the fault of black people too, and he charges African Americans with the burden of proving themselves to a society that kept them down in the first place. “If blacks as a group can show that they are capable of performing competitively in schools and the work force…then racism will be deprived of its foundation in experience,” he writes. “If blacks can close the civilization gap, the race problem in this country is likely to become insignificant.”
So what did he offer as a way to do this? Bring back segregation! In the final chapters of his book D’Souza claims that the solution to racism in this country is to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and replace it with a new law that expressly prohibits any recognition of race within the government, but allows absolute freedom of use of race by private industry in determining how it should operate. He absolves white racists from any sin, particularly cab drivers who would not pick up black fares. Although it is criminal for a cab driver to do this, D’Souza feels that instead those who should be considered criminal are those who stop this activity. After all, they are scared they will be robbed by “young black thugs”. Therefore, all blacks must be treated as if they are thugs as well. If you want to go after racists, however, don’t worry. D’Souza claims that the only racists that are any serious danger in America today are black, so we should be going after them, never mind the fact that those he considers black racists only surface as a response to white racism. Regardless of how wrong any form of racism is, it is a little hard to take the high ground as it stands with black racists if they are getting the message that’s how the game is played.
And like we said earlier, this was too much for even black conservatives. Two prominent African American conservatives, Robert Woodson, Sr., who called D’Souza “the Mark Fuhrman of public policy,” and Glenn Loury renounced their affiliation with the American Enterprise Institute over its support for The End of Racism. Loury, in his review of the book, notes that AEI marketed it extensively in business circles, that “Republican staffers on Capitol Hill are said to have eagerly anticipated how the book might move the affirmative action debate in the ‘right direction.'” In the end, it embarrassed the Right in the country.
Now it should be noted that there is also an account of the 1994 American Renaissance conference in The End of Racism that was not too favorable. D’Souza attended this conference and took shots at a number of people, notably the late, unlamented white supremacist Dr. Sam Francis, a shot that would eventually cost Francis his job at the Washington Times. If anyone asks why D’Souza, who is apologetic about white racism, is critical of these white racists, the answer is simple. The American Renaissance crowd views the problems of race as being a matter of genetics. D’Souza rejects this.
D’Souza has written more books and has made more appearances on television, radio and at colleges. He has not wavered from his beliefs, which means what happened at San Francisco University in 1996 happens a lot. And true to his disdain and self-hatred for people of color, he has even made sure the relationships he had have been particularly Aryan, as he is known for dating blonde wingnuts Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham and married another blonde named Dixie (!) Brubaker. As of this writing, Dinesh is ending that relationship in favor of a younger blonde wingnut, Denise Odie Joseph II of “Smart” Girl Politics.
He has been on comedian Bill Maher’s old show Politically Incorrect the day that Maher said that the terrorists who attacked on Sept. 11 were not cowards because they were in the planes as they were going into the buildings, while “We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away.” This was a remark many contend cost him that show, but the irony in this is that Maher was actually concurring with D’Souza who had said calling those terrorists cowards would not be accurate. “These are warriors, and we have to realize that the principles of our way of life are in conflict with people in the world.”
Maher caught hell. D’Souza did not. It wasn’t until 2012 when D’Souza appeared again with Bill Maher on his HBO show Real Time. Maher noted that when he was in trouble for his remarks, that D’Souza didn’t step up to defend him, even though he was the one that initiated that segment of the discussion. D’Souza tried to defend himself, saying he at least defended Maher on First Amendment grounds, but Maher wasn’t sure.
What brought D’Souza to Real Time in the first place was the movie he was promoting, 2016: Obama’s America, which he co-directed and co-wrote with John Sullivan, who once produced a documentary with former Nixon Speechwriter and actor Ben Stein. The movie came out of nowhere during the 2012 election season to become at the time of this posting the fourth highest grossing documentary movie of all time, just behind Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never. Conservatives have been hyping the movie as one that shows the” truth” about Barack Obama, and with the exception of the birther nonsense which D’Souza has at least that much decency to reject, all the other conspiracy theories that teabaggers have put out about Obama are all there. The movie is definitely an anti-Obama film, and D’Souza is definitely no fan of his, but here’s the bigger rub: While the movie does indeed serve to present Obama in a bad light, ultimately the anti-Obama stuff is a Trojan horse for another matter D’Souza spends much of the movie on – whining about the fall of neo-Colonialism. And not just its fall, but its fall to the people of color that live in the regions of the world where Colonialism reigned. The movie is based on D’Souza’s 2010 book The Roots of Obama’s Rage, which by the way is published by the right-wing publishing house Regnery Publishing, which was started by the family that over the last 70 years has given us such white supremacist organizations such as the America First Committee, an organization that opposed fighting Nazi Germany in World War II, and the Charles Martel Society, founded in 2001 to, as the Southern Poverty Law Center put it, “protect what it sees as the white European heritage of America from a perceived ethnic and ideological invasion by non-Europeans.”. Just like in the book, D’Souza sneaks in the anti-colonialism gripe by suggesting that President Obama is somehow channeling his father, the late Barack Obama Sr., and in particular his anti-colonialism bent. D’Souza spends more time talking about what he sees is the cost to these once colonized nations when they stopped letting Europeans run their lives. Now this point is lost to those who have only focused on the anti-Obama aspect of the film, missing the greater message that is spelled out in something D’Souza says halfway through just after the segment where he interviews Kenyan journalist Philip Ochieng, whom it is said was a contemporary of Obama, Sr.:
“We sympathize with anti-colonialism ‘cause remember America started out as an anti-colonial country. We got our independence from the British. But Ochieng’s colonialism is different. This anti-colonialism developed in the Third World in the 20th Century. It was a reaction against Western militaries, Western missionaries, and Western merchants. And consequently, this kind of anti-colonialism became anti-capitalist, anti-Christian, and anti-American. It sees the rich countries getting richer, not by invention or innovation or hard work, but by invading and occupying and looting the poor countries and taking their resources.”
It is important to note a skewed and insulting version of history D’Souza engages in, the notion that he is anti-colonialism because that’s what prompted America to win their independence from England. He completely ignores what thinking people would pick up on: colonialism courtesy of America is what gave us the plight of those who were here before Europeans came here to create what would be America. The “anti-colonialism” of the American colonies was a far different one than the kind that fueled the Native American’s wars for generations against those they saw as, to use D’Souza terms, invaders and occupiers, but that’s the kind that D’Souza has railed against for years, well before this movie. In 2002, Regnery put out another one of D’Souza’s books titled What’s So Great About America, and in it he defends British colonialism, particularly the colonialism he comes out of as an immigrant from India, in an “end justifies the means” argument of suggesting that even though those native to the land suffered greatly, their sons and daughters benefitted from being eventual beneficiaries of Western law, culture, education, opportunity, and prosperity. “(I)t is simply wrong to maintain that the rest of the world is poor because the West is rich, or that the West grew rich off “stolen goods” from Asia, Africa and Latin America, because the West created its own wealth, and still does,” he wrote. The doctrine of oppression ignores this fact, and continues to fuel anti-Western resentment around the world and within the nations of the West.”
Those “beneficiaries” of colonialism, by the way includes those African slaves who “owe their freedom to the exertions of white strangers, not to the people of Africa who betrayed them and sold them.” In other words, D’Souza is doing what conservatives have been doing lately, ignoring the role Europeans played in capturing, chaining and enslaving Africans in America, except to say they eventually got around to freeing them, putting all the blame on Africans themselves. Of course he left out the part that they got around to freeing those slaves centuries after the first ones were long dead and buried and they held that freedom against us ever since. And it does not go unnoticed that while he can note 3500 black slaveowners in The End of Racism, he fails to note those black abolitionists that were in the forefront to abolish slavery as well.
As we noted before, if we did not include a picture of Dinesh D’Souza in this entry, or if he had a different name other than “Dinesh”, one would think that all of this would come from some racist idiot writing for some fascist publication like American Renaissance – partly because it often does. D’Souza fails to accept the fact that the rest of us have a lot more faith – not to mention respect – for what all of our people have built around the world, even if he doesn’t. Good thing for him too, because it doesn’t look like he is allowing himself to be subjugated by his European overlords anytime soon!