The American Creed: You give us a color, we’ll wipe it out.

George Carlin:

This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free. Am I right? A group of slave owners who wanted to be free! So they killed a lot of white English people in order to continue owning their black African people, so they could wipe out the rest of the red Indian people, and move west and steal the rest of the land from the brown Mexican people, giving ’em a place to take off and drop their nuclear weapons on the yellow Japanese people. You know what the motto for this country ought to be? “You give us a color, we’ll wipe it out.”


h/t Greg Grandin


  1. Jon Johanning April 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm | #

    The great Carlin — irreplaceable!

  2. comityoferrors April 25, 2012 at 12:15 pm | #

    Hoo Boy! Sometimes it takes a comic’s razor-sharp wit to capture the essence of something.

  3. Brian A. Graham April 25, 2012 at 12:17 pm | #

    Much more entertaining than the recent OAH Convention where David Waldstreicher used Michelle Bachmann’s “The Founders were Anti-Slavery” comment to argue that historians often treat slavery and racism as tangential to the American experience. Nathan Huggins wrote a great piece in Radical History Review over twenty years ago entitled, “The Deforming Mirror of Truth: Slavery and the Master Narrative of American History.” I highly recommend reading the article.

  4. Greg April 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm | #

    Carlin as Michael Rogin for beginners — or maybe it is Rogin as Carlin for Beginners.

  5. Jimmy Reefercake (@JimmyReefercake) April 25, 2012 at 1:36 pm | #

    thanks for this. delightful but sad!

  6. Jeremy Nathan Marks April 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm | #

    I do miss Carlin. The great thing about him was he always got right down to it and was never unwilling to point out the elephant in the room about this country. I just loved his comedy. Thank you for sharing this.

  7. voltayre April 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm | #

    George Carlin is, indeed, “irreplaceable,” his eye for contradictions positively gimlet. In this vein, let the penetrating gaze go deeper. “Slave owners seeking freedom” highlights tolerance for self-contradiction, It is rooted in the Abrahamic tradition. The killings reflect an embracing of death, destruction of bodies as a way of life, necrophilia, also grounded in that tradition, which Carlin never ceased excoriating. The US “defense” budget is the finest contemporary expression of this love of death. Carlin’s color-metaphor brings home what appears to be a shocking feature of the white or whitened mind–a passion for obliterating “people of color.” But note that these white slave-owners and colonists avidly killed their fellow-whites in the 18th century Revolution, and their offspring performed even more ruthlessly in the 19th century Civil War. Whatever educators are doing in schools and discourses, it is generating generations of “natural-born killers.” Consider the contemporary, homicidal rampage of Euro-American political leaders in the Middle East and South West Asia, and the millions killed in proxy wars during the last half of the 20th century. Accompanying this passion for destroying human bodies, sinful things that they are, is an obsession with garnering property. In material possessions–including owning other human beings– lies economic security. This thesis, too, is promulgated in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Without the approval of Popes, Prophets, and Protestants, the enslavement of Africans, “the gentle genocide” against Native Americans, and the atomic drop on Hiroshima and Nagasaki would not have taken place. This citizenry must be confronted with its flawed assumptions about human nature, human reasoning, and violence, and especially its tolerance of self-contradiction and double standards. This call for moral self-reflection was George Carlin’s forte` He should have been awarded some kind of prize for teaching, teaching laced with profoundly humanist screams of rage and sorrow, and hope. .

  8. Dr. Richard Beck April 28, 2012 at 2:06 pm | #

    …And don’t we miss George Carlin! He was irreplaceable. Dr. Richard Beck

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