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Myths America Lives ByWhite Supremacy and the Stories That Give Us Meaning$
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Richard T. Hughes

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042065

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042065.001.0001

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The Great American Myths and a Different American Future

The Great American Myths and a Different American Future

(p.1) Chapter One The Great American Myths and a Different American Future
Myths America Lives By

Richard T. Hughes

University of Illinois Press

The Great American Myths are the commonly accepted stories that, along with the American Creed, convey to most Americans the meaning of their nation. The first edition of Myths America Lives By identified five of those myths: the Chosen Nation, Nature’s Nation, the Christian Nation, the Millennial Nation, and the Innocent Nation. The second edition adds a sixth: the myth of White Supremacy. This chapter introduces the two primary arguments of this book—first, that the myth of White Supremacy is the primal American myth that informs all the others and, second, that one of the chief functions of the other five myths is to protect and obscure the myth of White Supremacy and assure us that we remain innocent after all. Most blacks understand that white supremacy is the primal American myth since they live with its real-life consequences. But those in positions of power are not forced to live with the consequences of this myth. As a result, for most American whites the myth of White Supremacy is like the air they breathe: it envelops and shapes them but does so in ways they seldom discern.

Keywords:   white supremacy, American myths, white rage, American Creed, Barack Obama, chosen nation, nature’s nation, Christian nation, millennial nation, innocent nation

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