A provocative cultural analysis arguing that the Second Amendment and white supremacy are inextricably bound.
Though some argue that the Second Amendment is necessary to protect the “right to bear arms” for hunters and other law-abiding citizens, Dunbar-Ortiz (An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, 2014) maintains that the “well-regulated militia” has been the crucial element all along. This has given rise to many malicious groups, including slave hunters, the Ku Klux Klan, and white nationalists intent on race war (what one source dubs “rahowa…short for racial holy war”) as well as “seasoned Indian killers of the Revolutionary Army and white settler-rangers/militias using extreme violence against Indigenous noncombatants with the goal of total domination.” It may sound extreme, but the author’s historical research provides strong support for her argument that gun love is as American as apple pie—and that those guns have often been in the hands of a powerful white majority to subjugate minority natives, slaves, or others who might stand in the way of the broadest definition of Manifest Destiny. “The United States is not unique among nations in forging origin myths,” writes Dunbar-Ortiz, “but only one of the few in which its citizens seem to believe it to be exceptional by grace of the Creator, and this exceptionalist ideology has been used to justify genocide, appropriation of the continent, and then domination of the rest of the world.” The author’s analysis encompasses the growth of the arms industry, the embrace of the Western outlaw mythos, and the controversy over the Second Amendment itself, which was paid “little attention” until the second half of the 20th century, when civil rights, war protest, and rising crime rates increased the call for gun control. This compact manifesto won’t convince everyone, but it presents a formidable argument.
A radical revision of American history, specifically as it relates to its persistent gun culture.