By Julianne Malveaux
Who does Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin think he is? Simmering in his putrid privilege, he seemed to think that he was in charge of the House Financial Services Committee. He was rude and rogue when he snapped back at Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the committee chair, because she checked him on his nonsense.
The hapless Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, forgot his place and was publicly and unacceptably disrespectful to Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Waters compelled his presence to testify and then summarily dismissed him (“You can leave if you want”) when he got testy and disrespectful with her.
Mnuchin is really above his Peter Principle as Treasury Secretary in any administration but 45’s. And those birds of a feather stick together because they share values and shady self-serving morals. Mr. Mnuchin who boldly requested government planes to facilitate his honeymoon, is taking his cues from the man who has turned the Presidency into a profit center, operating government on a “pay-to-play” basis with possibly Russians, Saudis and who knows who else. No wonder Mnuchin won’t release 45’s taxes. No wonder he could not answer the direct questions of a congressional committee. No wonder he whined about being the “worst treated” Treasury secretary in history. Was that comment supposed to impress someone?
It surely didn’t impress Maxine Waters who handled Mnuchin the same way one might treat a bag of dog poop abandoned by its careless owner. You wouldn’t put your hands on it. You might not even kick it. But you’d sniff at it and turn away. That’s just what Congresswoman Maxine Waters did when she told him that he could leave the hearing he’d committed to participate in. Then, she icily told him not to presume to instruct her on how to hold a hearing, and how to use a gavel (he said gravel – inarticulate). Maxine Waters took the hapless Mnuchin to Liberation School, but since he graduated from the Klux Academy of White Supremacy, he will probably have to subject himself to further detoxification from his racist behavior.
Mnuchin’s behavior toward Congresswoman Waters was his exercise in white supremacy, pure and simple. White supremacy is the belief that the white race is inherently superior to other races, and that white people should have control over people of different races, especially people of African descent. White supremacy manifests itself in public policy that allows white so-called “law and order” officers to kill unarmed Black people because they think they are superior and can tell the lie that they are in fear for their lives. White supremacy manifests itself in the ways that African Americans earn unequal pay for the same work and the ways that supremacists justify it. White supremacy occurs when colonizers come into predominately Black communities and then insist that others play by their rules and kowtow to their desires. They want someone to turn down the go-go music, but readily accept other loud noise. Because they are loud noise. Loud, myopic, uncompromising noise. And Munchkin Mnuchin was the noisiest of all when he presumed to instruct an African-American icon on how to use a gavel after she has spent nearly 30 years in Congress.
Mnuchin’s performance was a tribute to the racist capitalist patriarchy that is the foundation of white supremacy. He would not have even slightly presumed to tell a white man, or a Black one for that matter, how to close a hearing. He might have told a white woman, possibly adding the term “honey” in to soften or sharpen the blow. But the only person he’d dare get huffy with, just based on the white supremacist belief of his privilege, was a Black woman. Maxine Waters was the wrong Black woman. Excuse my Ebonics, but Max don’t play. She takes no tea for the fever. She takes back her time, stands up for her rights, and was not about to have a pathetic 45 lackey disrespect her.
The House Judiciary Committee held hearings around the same time the House Financial Services Committee did. So while the Treasury Secretary was disrespecting Congresswoman Waters, the House Judiciary Committee was holding a hearing about the dangers of white supremacy. White supremacy was displayed at its most privileged, when an elected member of Congress is inappropriately chided by a Cabinet member who does not have peer status.
White supremacy attempts to reinforce the egregious nature of the Dred Scott decision in which the Supreme Court of these United States declared that the Black man had “no rights that a white man is bound to respect.” For Steven Mnuchin, Congresswoman Maxine Waters had no rights he was bound to respect. For Mnuchin, and too many others in the 45 circle, the Dred Scott decision still stands.
Mnuchin may have simmered in his faux white superiority for much of his life, but his simmer turned into a boil when he tangled with the House Judiciary Committee, and his boil was on the hot seat. He learned, I hope, not to mess with Max. I hope he also learned that his white supremacy will not protect him from a band of tenacious Democrats who will continue pushing him for both truths and tax returns.
Julianne Malveaux is an author and economist. Her latest book “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy” is available via www.amazon.com. For booking, wholesale inquiries or for more info visitwww.juliannemalveaux.com.