Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was invited to speak in front of a group of black business leaders, during which he pushed his xenophobic agenda.
The South Carolina African-American Chamber of Commerce hosted the private meeting during which Bannon spoke of his “economic nationalism” initiative and peddled it as actually being good for black people.
"Minority entrepreneurs are the biggest customers of community banks," Bannon said, according to Blavity. "And you know why they didn't get recapitalized? Because nobody cares. When it comes time to make the deals, you're not in the room."
While Bannon’s point may have some validity, his solution to resort to economic nationalism is just racism covered in sugar to sweeten the blow. At the core of economic nationalism is this “us against them” narrative that pits America against other countries.
During his time in the White House, Bannon’s emphasis on cracking down on undocumented immigrants and his influence on President Donald Trump's decisions to reject multinational contracts, such as the Paris agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement, have been presented as steps to achieve economic nationalism to improve the United States economy, as the Pacific Standard points out. But really, it’s plain old xenophobia.
Additionally, moving toward this model does not guarantee minorities — specifically black people — a seat at the table as Bannon suggested while speaking in the meeting.
Bannon is the head of Breitbart, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has accurately dubbed a “white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill.”
Stephen Bannon was the main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill https://t.co/IyJ6ET2vaS— SPLC (@splcenter) November 13, 2016
Minorities are often portrayed as outsiders and wrongdoers in Breitbart’s so-called news articles. Furthermore, the publication has praised the work of notorious white supremacists, such as Richard Spencer.
For Bannon to even suggest that his interests align with those of black businesses is truly a slap in the face to the African-American community at large.
In any case, his message was actually well-received by the chamber. He reportedly garnered an “amen” from the crowd when he asserted that economic nationalism is not about race or ethnicity but about policies that advance opportunities for United States citizens.
However, not everyone is sold on Bannon nor agrees with the chamber’s decision to invite him to speak in the first place.
“I question the credibility of any African American group which extends an invitation to Mr. Bannon to speak,” said Democratic state Sen. Marlon Kimpson.
Black folks sat down to hear what this animal got to say?!?!?!— Eden G.Mehari (@narsha_adey) November 14, 2017
Naw!!!!!!!!!— Demby (@Sirdemby) November 14, 2017
When Trump fired Bannon, it actually felt like a very small victory. Alas, this only empowered him more as he is proving that he is a parasite on U.S. politics that just will not go away.