A Missouri congresswoman accused a fossil fuel advocate appearing before a House committee Wednesday of disseminating white supremacy statements.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) claimed during a hearing on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that witness Alex Epstein called Western culture superior to other cultures in his college newspaper.
The “Squad” member further noted Epstein seemingly criticized his university placing “Latin American, Indian and American Indian culture” on equal footing as Western culture.
“For instance, in his 2000 college newspaper, he wrote, ‘The African American Studies Department has 23 classes. In many of these classes, African culture is presented not as inferior to Western culture, but as on equal footing with it,’” Bush exclaimed.
The Missouri Democrat then noted comments cited in an interview published by the Washington Post when he promoted fossil fuels for poor countries.
The report used comments Epstein said were written when he had barely graduated high school. The comments referenced by the WaPo reporter were individualist, he claimed, adding they were falsely interpreted as racism.
He said he wrote a defense of Western culture and civilization in the vein of a pro-freedom, individualistic viewpoint. Bush sided with the reporter and reportedly viewed them as a racist defense of a white, Western culture that subjugates other cultures.
“We are not inferior to any culture,” Bush retorted, “speaking as a descendant of one of those cultures.”
She further equated fossil fuel use with racism, saying the witness appeared to, “[P]romote fossil fuels which we know are disproportionately harming and killing Black and Brown people.”
During the time allotted him to speak, Epstein disputed what he called a “despicable and false attack” from Bush before he countered her controversial claims.
“What I’ve argued for my entire adult life is that Western culture is superior in the sense that it promotes individualism and freedom,” remarked Epstein, adding he believes everyone in the world deserves the same opportunities afforded Americans. He claimed many countries were inferior because of inhumane practices deemed acceptable by their culture.
“They have female genital mutilation,” Epstein noted. “They have slavery.” There was no need for him to apologize for claiming Western culture is superior to cultures that practice barbaric practices like those, he remarked.
Epstein went further, throwing the claim of “racist” back at Bush.
“The idea that freedom and reason and individualism only apply to people of certain skin colors is the actual original racist idea,” he told Bush, according to a Fox News report.
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