Home > Uncategorized > Calling out the racism – posted 10/16/2022

Calling out the racism – posted 10/16/2022

Over the last year or two, I admit I have been puzzled by the Republican attacks on critical race theory or, as it is called, CRT. Why the focus on such an obscure academic theory? The opponents of CRT have made a big deal about ideas barely discussed or known about by the American public.

My thinking is that the anti-CRT effort is not what it appears.The opponents say they are against CRT but it is clear what they really oppose is an honest discussion of America’s history of slavery and racial oppression. CRT is a misleading front for what is really opposed.

Those who think otherwise might take a look at Pew Research Center’s 2021 report about Americans’ views of our nation’s racial history. It shows wide disparities in American opinions about how we have addressed racial inequality as well as how much farther we need to go. Among white adults, fewer than half, 46%, say greater attention to the history of slavery and racism in the U.S. is good for society, One-third say it is bad.

According to Pew Research, among Republicans, 47% think only a little needs to be done to ensure equal rights for all Americans while 30% think nothing more needs to be done. That is a profound state of denial about American history and the harm done by racism. The truth is supposed to set us free but it seems like many millions of us prefer a false narrative.

Naming CRT as the target is suspect because the vast majority do not know what that even is. Why would anyone care about a sidelined theory from the academy?

In his book, America Made Me a Black Man, the Somali-American writer, Boyah J. Farah, gets closer to capturing truer feelings about racial realities. He writes:

“American color prejudice, unseen and unexamined, I find much more painful. Intangible and disembodied, it begins as if it were a nothing, a silent killer, but slowly it seeps into my bloodstream, breathes into my lungs, stabs at my heart and morphs into this endless nightmare.”

In his book, Farah provides the most terrifying description of what it is like for a black man to experience a vehicle stop by a racist cop.

During this campaign season, racism has been on full display. You don’t have to look too hard to find it. I would cite Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s comments at former President Trump’s recent rally in Minden, Nevada. Tuberville argued Democrats were soft on crime, saying:

“They want crime. They want crime, because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed that. Bullshit! They are not owed that.”

Clearly, Tuberville suggests that the descendants of Black slaves are criminals. He takes a serious subject, reparations, and smears it with a crime association. He is making a direct racist connection between crime and Black people. No Republicans denounced Tuberville’s comment.

And then there was former President Trump’s remarks about his former transportation secretary Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. After McConnell voted with the Democrats on a stop-gap funding bill, Trump posted a derogatory comment on his platform Truth Social calling Chao “his China-loving wife, Coco Chao”. This was not only a cheap shot it was a racist slur. Not surprising from someone who talked about the Kung Fu Flu.

At least four Republican Senate candidates have promoted the white supremacist Great Replacement Theory that argues Democrats are trying to flood the nation with millions of illegal immigrants to change the demographics of our country to marginalize white people. Arizona’s Blake Masters, Missouri’s Eric Schmitt, Ohio’s J.D. Vance and Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson have all been campaigning on it. Up until a short time ago, Great Replacement Theory was only pushed by neo-nazis.

Racism is not just stupid, prejudiced words. It is institutionalized. In Florida, the state’s Republican legislature had drawn congressional maps that kept districts intact, leaving the GOP with only a modest electoral advantage. Gov. Ron DeSantis blew that up. Throwing out the legislature’s redistricting, he devised a very aggressive gerrymander to minimize Black-dominated congressional districts.

This was done even though Florida’s constitution was amended in 2010 to prohibit partisan-driven redistricting. Such gerrymandering to curtail Black voting power is going on in many states. Diluting Black voting power and voter suppression is a critical aspect of the face of racism in 2022. It is reminiscent of what happened in the South in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Racism remains slippery. Invariably it is denied. In the legal world, the idea that we need to be colorblind is a clever evasion. There is a real aversion to facing our racial history. To quote Stanley Cavell :”History will not go away except through our perfect acknowledgement of it.”

While there has been some progress around race, no way should that be overstated. The racial wealth gap, residential segregation, maternal health for black women, greater food insecurity and erosion of voting rights are all part of the American picture. So that we do not end up in another backward period like happened after Reconstruction, racism must always be called out and opposed.

It is only when the races come together that they both gain. This is true whether in a union drive or whether in fighting for political objectives. Too many white people are buying into the idea that there is a limited pie and any gain by minorities is at their expense. We need a rediscovery of the common good.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. jlewandohotmailcom
    October 18, 2022 at 12:08 am

    It’s all about racial and class fear, isn’t it? One of the scariest things about what we’re seeing is that, like misogyny, cruelty, and the glorification of violence, blatant racism is no longer a disqualifier for positions of power and influence. While crying about the unfairness of being characterized so negatively, Trumpism embraces them.

  2. Patricia A Dawson
    October 21, 2022 at 4:27 am

    Ad always, very well said.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: