A Bit Out Of Touch, Maybe?
“…hear me clearly, America is not a racist country.”
Those are — believe it or not — the words of the only black Senator in Congress, Tim Scott (R-SC). And here’s the most ubiquitously baffling part: he said this just after admitting how many times he’s been pulled over for driving while black, and how he’s followed in stores for being black.
This came out as part of the Official Republican Response to Prez Biden’s first State of the Union speech, one in which he called out and stated one of the biggest threats to our nation being from within: radical white supremacists.
What is absolutely the most bizarre, is Sen. Scott himself has been the target, other than what was mentioned above, of incredibly vile racism, threats and written and voicemail messages — especially from his own party, but from Dems as well — of disheartening, disgusting and horrible racist comments. Last year, he reselased a trove of letters and voicemails showing that we actually are far too racist, still, of a nation1.
How much more out of touch with reality can most members of a political party — and what seems to be an actual plank of the platform — that America is not a racist nation? We shouldn’t be too surprised, actually, since out of touch seems to be their modus operandi.
Let’s all shake our MF heads at JUST A FEW EXAMPLES of just the recent lunacy currently being put forth by Fuckublican pundits:
Bring Back The Good ‘ol Days — of 1787
But let’s just get back to our story: Sen. Scott saying “…American is not a racist nation.”
Don’t you love it when others, sometimes even more talented people than you, do your job for you? Just after the Senator’s befuddling statement, the next morning Thom Hartmann on his podcast broke it down:
“I get it that this is kinda’ the official Republican mantra, this is what John Roberts said when he gutted the Voting Rights Act. What happened? Within weeks – actually in some places within days – but mostly within weeks, states all over the South started putting into place laws which were federally illegal because of the Voting Rights Act that was passed unanimously in the Senate just a few years earlier, but had been gutted by those Conservatives on the Supreme Court. That within weeks they were passing laws to make it harder for black people to vote.
“So, “America’s not a racist nation”? That was the sales pitch from the Supreme Court. That’s the sales pitch from the Republicans in Congress for everything from reparations on one end to ‘let’s improve our schools’ or enforce the laws about employment on the other end. There’s just a pile of stuff there in the middle that includes policing.
“But this has been their sales pitch and if it were true it would be wonderful, but in fact it’s sad lie, a fantasy, I mean just consider: If America is not a racist nation as Senator Tim Scott said last night, as the Official Republican Rebuttal said last night, then why did we kill tens of millions of Native Americans, why do we continue to hold their descendants in poverty, and why [do] we continue to steal their land?
“If we’re not a racist nation, why are some of the most iconic buildings in Washington DC, including the one where the speech was held last night, built by enslaved black people? If we’re not a racist nation why was it the law in the United States up until the 1960s, that races had to be separated in everything, in housing, in education, in restaurants, in stores, walking down the street? If we’re not a racist nation, why was it the law right up until the mid-1960s that immigrants into this country had to have the same racial profile as this country, in otherwords if we’re 75% white, 75% of the immigrants coming in had to be white? That changed during the Johnson Administration but now we have Republicans going “We need to go back to those old immigration policies”, that’s their idea of immigration reform.
“If we’re not a racist nation, why is it the black people are killed disproportionately by police? Seriously, when was the last time you heard a white guy say “I can’t breathe” as he was having the life chocked out of him by a cop? If we’re not a racist nation why is it that people with identifiably white or black names with identical qualifications—and this has been done over and over and over—numerous universities and other groups have for decades have been doing this. The most recent one of these we reported on just 3 months ago on this program, where they take identical resumes, same college or equivalent college, same degree or equivalent degree, everything’s the same except one person has a name that really sounds black, one has a name that sounds really WASPy. And they submit ‘em to a thousand or 10 thousand employers. And who gets the call backs? The people with the white names. Who doesn’t get the call backs? The people with the black names.
“Same, by the way, with rental properties.
“If we’re not a racist nation, why is the MAGA* movement almost entirely white? And why do they keep talkin’ about starting a race war in America? If we’re not a racist nation, why does the Justice Department say that the single most deadly terrorist threat in the United States is and has been for years, white racists? White supremacists? If we’re not a racist nation why did the President of the United States refer to a group of Trump-loving Nazis, who were responding to a story that had been all over right-wing media a couple of weeks earlier, saying that George Soros, this billionaire and Jewish guy, who lives in Paris right now – that George Soros [read: ‘Jew’] was using his money to ship black refugees into the United States? And so they went out into the streets and chanted “Jews will not replace us” – with black people was the rest of the sentence. If we’re not a racist nation why did Trump refer to those people as “very fine people”?
“If we’re not a racist nation why is it that schools in predominantly black neighborhoods don’t perform as well as in white neighborhoods, even if they have white students in them? If we’re not a racist nation, why is the average white family worth over $100,000 and the average black family is worth around $6,000? If we’re not a racist nation, why is it that when on TV you see the occasional show where the hero, the good guy, the center of good is a black guy and the bad guy is a white guy and we’re like “whoa, that’s unusual”?
“If we’re not a racist nation why do white guys keep walking into black churches and shooting people, and then get taken to Burger King? Why do white people keep calling the police on black people for walking, shopping, working, bird watching, attending school, mowing their lawn, caring for their own children, driving? When was the last time that you heard about white people having the police called on them by black people and that the white people ended up dead? Or had their neck crushed by the cops?
“If we’re not a racist nation then why are our billionaires and our business leaders almost entirely white (while it’s true of the Republican Party as well)? If we’re not a racist nation, why are the Republicans working as hard as they can to keep black people from voting all over the country?”2
Anyone coming to the argument without knowledge should consider the history of redlining, the splitting of neighborhoods by freeways to separate the haves from the have-nots (which also redrew school district maps which further divided people and solidified built-in inequities), the laws on every level — from municipal to federal — which disproportionately affected white landowners and black non-landowners, to poll taxes, provisional balloting for blacks voters, and the HUNDREDS of examples of black neighborhoods being purposefully destroyed with the help of American governmental structures from Manhattan to Tulsa. And I have only begun to scratch the surface.
When my very own US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) supported Trump’s Big Lie and supported the Jan. 6 deadly insurrection, I suggested since he had blood on his hands, we send bars of soap to him. Now, Sen. Scott says “America is not a racist nation.” So I am not suggesting he is dumb here at all. But he certainly is either personally unknowledgeable of America’s continued racial history or maybe doing it to be a patsy for the Fuckublican Farty.
So let’s send him books. Here are a few suggestions, for him and for you.
Michelle Alexander, professor at Union Theological Seminary (not the archaeologist) and former law clerk to the Supreme Court of the US, is the author of the ‘New York Times’ bestelling book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the age of Colorblindness. This book, winner of several awards, was cited by ‘The New Yorker’ as “at the center of discussion about criminal-justice reform and racism in America. The book considers not only the enormity and cruelty of the American prison system but also, as Alexander writes, the way the war on drugs and the justice system have been used as a “system of control” that shatters the lives of millions of Americans—particularly young black and Hispanic men3.
If you are at all curious about what she has to say, I suggest starting with this YouTube video, 1hr long, but if the first 20 minutes don’t clue you in to part of what is wrong with America, there may be no hope for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0Fah_W10do. Ms Alexander is an inspiring example of a successful using her vast knowledge and intellectual skills to expose the darkness beneath the thin veneer of our collective conscience.
As the first African-American to win the Pulizer Prize for her Journalism, Isabel Wilkerson/ released her 2nd best-selling book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents in August, 2020 to mostly positive acclaim. The reviewer in ‘The Wall Street Journal’ criticized the book, saying Wilkerson: “never offers a convincing argument for why American history and society are better examined through the lens of caste than of race” and “scarcely acknowledges that modern America has made vast strides to address racism.”4
While using an easily-understandable analogy, the forced caste systems of Hindu India and Nazi Germany, she uses those frameworks to show America’s system of systemic discrimination, separation and overt racism is — in many senses — far worse.
Called by Oprah Winfrey as “essential” and listed as Barack Obama’s favorite reads of 2020 this tome smacks white people such as myself with the reality of their own horrid past.
I first heard of Paul Tough at the end of a 31 minute segment of the NPR Radio series ‘This American Life’. The episode was “Going Big”, about people going above and beyond what was expected, thinking BIG within their frameworks. The story segment was about Geoffrey Canada, education professional and social activist. As president of the Harlem Children’s Zone in Harlem, his approach to ending high failure rates among black youth took a street-level and multi-generational approach to family education with his “baby school”. They approached pregnant women and new mothers in a 24 block district of Harlem to give them a multi-week education on proven ways to raise their children to become role models of success.
Paul Tough’s book, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America is easily the finest book on education I’ve ever read. The 31 minute segment on NPR is the best 31 minutes of radio, ever, IMHO. You can hear it here.
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Here are links to other responses:
And now, a fact check:
Agree? Disagree? Have a different perspective? Leave a comment below.
header image c. 2021 NBC News https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/sen-tim-scott-shares-threatening-racist-voice-mails-he-s-n1231979 used WOP
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- https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/sen-tim-scott-shares-threatening-racist-voice-mails-he-s-n1231979 ↵
- https://tunein.com/podcasts/Progressive-Talk/The-Hartmann-Report-p34417/ ↵
- https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-new-yorker-interview/ten-years-after-the-new-jim-crow ↵
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste:_The_Origins_of_Our_Discontents#cite_note-Varadarajan-15 ↵