Racism in Politics

Erase RacismThe organization is one I was not familiar with, and I don’t even remember quite how it crossed my radar, but it did.  The group is ERASE Racism, and they are based in and primarily serve New York, but they report on racial injustices around the nation. For example a recent entry in their blog was titled Media Attempts to Sabotage Botham Jean’s Reputation, about the attempts to discredit the black man who was shot and killed in his own apartment by a white police officer in Dallas, Texas. The organization seems to be doing some excellent work in combating racism. I first glanced the article below, bookmarked it and moved along.  I came back to it a few hours later and was impressed.  It gave me food for thought, and I decided to share it with you today.  The link to the New York Times column by Charles Blow takes us to a 2012 column Blow wrote during the republican presidential campaign that year.  It is as relevant today as it was then … perhaps more so.  I hope you’ll take an extra few minutes to read the column … it is an eye-opener, if we needed one.

I do not know the author of this article, but have included a link so that you can check out ERASE Racism’s website.


Racist Rhetoric: Good for Politics but Bad for America

Throughout the history of the United States, public officials have used the rule of law to deny equal opportunities to African Americans.  Only recently, in the 20th and 21st centuries, have laws been passed that grant equal rights to all persons regardless of race. Unfortunately, advances in racial equality, such as those brought about by the civil rights movement of the 1960s, have not been enough to erase decades of exploitation and discrimination.  More public policies that help to create racial equity are needed to assure true equal access to opportunities, such as quality public schools and economically viable neighborhoods.  But what happens if those with power and influence view the degradation of African Americans as a positive political move?  It’s scary to think about, but the Republican primaries have provided a frightening example of seemingly acceptable racist rhetoric.

A recent New York Times column by Charles M. Blow skillfully called attention to the anti-black rhetoric that has been embraced by most of the Republican presidential candidates.  Their comments about “the African American community” or “black people” in general have been so negative (and absurd) that one has to wonder whether they believe that racist rhetoric makes for good politics.  “I’m prepared, if the N.A.A.C.P. invites me, I’ll go to their convention and talk about why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps,” Newt Gingrich proclaimed.  Employing the same negative stereotype, Rick Santorum assured his supporters that he doesn’t want, “to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.”  Mr. Blow does a great job of refuting the fallacy that African Americans prefer to rely on government aid than to work.  He points out that a majority of all food stamp recipients are actually white (even though the rate of participation is higher among blacks), a majority are under the age of 18 or are older than 60, and 41% live in low-income households with earnings.

After the recent wave of hate crimes against the Latino community on Long Island, it should be easy to see how racist remarks have real and often dangerous repercussions.   How can we assure our black and Latino children that they can set and achieve goals and should strive for academic success when those in the spotlight, and worse, those in power, are characterizing them as lazy and dependent?  Not only are such negative stereotypes harmful, but they are wrong.  Our research, along with nearly all student performance studies, has shown that strong academic motivation and success is not determined by one’s race, but rather the resources that are made available. In other words, if black or Latino students from a failing school are placed in a high achieving school, the chances of their graduating will dramatically increase and the chances of their going to a prestigious university or college will also increase.  If you have your doubts, then take a look at the personal experiences of two Long Island students, Owen and David, in our documentary A TALE OF TWO SCHOOLS: Race and Education on Long Island .

We should all be conscious of the dangerous effects of negative stereotypes, especially when they have the potential to misinform millions.   It is horrific to hear public officials spew racist rhetoric and degrade African Americans or others for their own political gain.  Regardless of party affiliation, racist rhetoric is unacceptable.

16 thoughts on “Racism in Politics

    • Thanks Roger! I … no longer recognize the world we live in. I have to fight daily the urge to no longer want to be a part of it. Has it always been this way, and I was seeing it through rose-coloured lenses? I’ve always thought I was a realist, but I surely did not recognize the vastness of racism in this nation. 😥

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sadly Jill it has always been this way, throughout the nations, throughout the ages.
        (Just for the USA eg:Tulsa 1921/The song ‘Strange Fruit’….and the rest of the world too.. )
        Regrettably because of the speed by which social media moves its toxicity spreads like wildfire.
        One reason why I have a tendency for authoritarian regimes; the problem there being that the folk at the top are just as liable to flaws as everyone else and you can’t get rid of them.
        Plato tried to address this in his work ‘Republic’ and it still didn’t work.
        The very, very early signs are there that we are ‘slouching’ towards waves of catastrophes, and these small folk such as Trump and Johnson truly believe they are leaders instead of just the larger bits of debris of the tides.

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  1. Paint it as you will, racism is still prevalent in Political Speak Coming from one quarter. It’s also there in all the gerrymandering by the same people, the attempts to push racial minorities out of voting and often by the reluctance of the authorities to deal properly with the incident when a black person is shot by the police, often unarmed. It’s going to take a lot to overcome this but it must be done in order to return trust to minority communities that the Government cares about it’s people regardless of colour.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree with all you say, but overcoming it will require the people of this nation to care about equality, to care about people more than they care about money. Far too many people … I’m not even talking about politicians, but just average everyday people, see black people as lazy and somehow inferior. Until that changes, they won’t mind that the politicians belittle minorities or that cops shoot black people in the back. Until that changes, the stodgy old white men will rule this country in favour of those other stodgy old white men who have lots of money. The government won’t be held accountable to enforce equality until the people demand it, and so far we haven’t made our voices loud or clear enough, apparently. Sigh. Where does it end? Do we need to have another civil war?
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great find, Jill, though again we end up with something that should not have to be “found” in order for it to make the news. The GOP should be pilloried for this kind of politics. It goes hand in hand with all the gerrymandering and other methods used to disenfranchise non-white, non-christian voters. No wonder “Doesn’t Jesus Teach” racism had such an overwhelming evangelical following in 2016, the groundwork was laid in 2012, and probably earlier. Don’t Just Try, Do iT. And they did it. And they won…

    Liked by 4 people

    • Well said rawgod.
      What still throws me, after 67 years of being a Christian (falling down flat of my allegorical face usually), where in the name of Reason and Sanity do they get the ‘White Supremacy’ things from.
      If that had been ‘God’s Purpose’ should He have started out the whole shebang in Europe? Like central Europe amongst the Germanic tribes????
      I mean ‘He’ started it all out in the Middle East for Pity’s Sake. And the original Human came out of East Africa.
      But I suppose if you give them those arguments, they will produce some ‘book’ by someone whose DNA contains Daffy Duck extract to prove their ‘case’.
      ……Beam me up Scotty

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks rawgod! You know what always amazes me is that despite these things, there are some African-Americans who actually vote for these jerks. It’s as surprising as women who vote for misogynists. I don’t get it … I just don’t get it! Sigh.

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      • People are people before they are anything else. What happens to others is no concern of theirs, as long as they are getting what they want.
        For example, do you know there are a group of people in the States in which the women WANT THE MEN IN THEIR LIVES to tell them what to do and how to do it, right down to what they wear and what they cook for meals. I don’t remember what they call themselves, but they are all over, even Alaska. (Probably in Canada too!) I ran into some when I used to be on AskMe.com before it was bought out. The women had lost all ability to make a decision. I could not believe some of they things they revealed about themselves. These people are probably all rep voters.
        Nothing truly amazes me anymore…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sigh. Yes, I am well aware of those women, for I actually know one or maybe two of them. Hubby says “JUMP”, she says, “How high, honey?” And come election time, she asks him who to vote for. I feel like I am in a bad dream, my friend. Or was the past all just a nice dream? I dunno, but I cannot relate to this world anymore. And I want not to care … a thousand times a day, I say, “I don’t care”. But I do … too much. 😥

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            • Nah, I couldn’t change who I am if I tried. I was just having a really down day when I wrote that … I’m back out of the rabbit hole and in the saddle again today. And so many thanks for your kind words … 😊

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