Racism in America, then and now
By John Bragg
Trent Lott has changed from a nostalgist for segregation to an open advocate of neo-segregation. Lott’s old doctrine was called “separate but equal,” and kept black people out of white establishments by law, maintaining two separate sets of institutions for white and black people. Lott’s new doctrine calls itself “affirmative action,” and keeps the old spirit of separate but equal alive. The new segregation keeps separate standards for white and black people. Segregation and neo-segregation are united by their shared belief that race should determine a person’s fate. The only difference is in which race receives unjustified advantages because of their skin color.
The ossified civil rights establishment exists to defend and promote the policies of neo-segregation, and survives financially and politically by telling its constituency that America today is still and always Selma in 1963, that differences of political opinion can only be the result of racism, that essentially every white person is a sheet and a hood from being a Klansman.
There is 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate Al Sharpton, who rouses black racist rabble in New York against “white interlopers” and “Jewish bloodsuckers” and Korean grocers and against innocent prosecutors, scurrying away when the “white interloper’s” stores are burned or mobs rampage in Crown Heights or the defamation judgment comes due.
There is Jesse Jackson, whose “Wall Street Project” shakes down corporations for contributions with the threat of racial demagoguery.
There is the venerable NAACP, which in 2000 ran a hysterical attack ad tying George W. Bush to the murderers of James Byrd, citing George W. Bush’s opposition to hate-crimes legislation. Yet the NAACP opposes the death penalty, which is what George W.’s Texas gave to Byrd’s murderers.
Nothing is an issue of individuals, everything is a negotiation between white and black in which blacks must stand united, just as in the old days of white supremacy when Democrats spoke of whites who deviated as “n***** lovers.”
Both segregation and neo-segregation are opposed to the idea of a colorblind society and to individual rights. Both segregation and neo-segregation see a person as primarily a member of a racial unit, not as an individual to be evaluated on his or her merits. A colorblind politics must be opposed to both segregation and affirmative action, and must repudiate racists whatever their color or party.
Trent Lott once said that the spirit of Jefferson Davis lives in the platform of the Republican Party. In 1998, Trent Lott said, “Sometimes I feel closer to Jefferson Davis than any other man in America." Trent Lott’s career, his ascension to Senate leader and his comments have created questions about the relationship of today’s Republican Party to America’s history of slavery and segregation.
The question is, how will the Republicans deal with issues of race in America? Will they join Senator Lott in accepting the agenda of the racial left, agreeing that the party is full of repentant racists like Lott eager to atone for past sins, that the Republicans were Jefferson Davis yesterday but want to be Kweisi Mfume today, permanently apologizing for their racist past? Or will the Republican party, which always opposed slavery and segregation, move today to a colorblind politics, rejecting the segregation of white supremacy as well as the neo-segregation of affirmative action?
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