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Date: 2024-05-21 Page is: DBtxt003.php txt00023353


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Peter Burgess COMMENTARY

Peter Burgess


[Of course, our racial history makes political discussion of it fraught – and something each candidate must navigate in her/his particular district. But appreciate that not calling out racial fear mongering only makes it normal if not expected. And silence can be seen as weakness if not consent.]

* Donna Brazile – “Racism is the flame that doesn’t go out”: Sen. Tom Cotton last year referred to Slavery as “a necessary evil.” Ex-Senator Sonny Perdue said of Stacey Abrams during his GOP gubernatorial Primary in Georgia, ”Shes not from here. My inclination is to say, if you don’t like it here, go back where you came from…she’s embarrassing her race.” Asked why gun violence is so high, Arizona GOP Senate nominee Blake Masters said, “black people frankly.”

* Before 1948, no Democrat became president without winning a majority of the white vote. But after 1964 and the Civil Rights Acts, no Democratic president won the white vote.

* Instead of explicit bigotry, white-wing Republicans often resort to dog whistles to signal who’s ‘for us or them.” For examples, in our past: slaves were “property”, States Rights, Black Codes during Reconstruction, Separate but Equal, Segregation, Great White Replacement Theory, Legacy Americans, CRT, WOKE. All were euphemisms or legalisms to justify discrimination in their era. “But those who don’t embrace the Rule of Law and Equal Justice are the real anti-Americans. Welcome to the 21st Century.”

* When it comes to racial signaling, Tucker Carlson is an artist: He said on Fox, “I don’t want to live in a country that looks nothing like the one I grew up in. Is that bigoted?” Yup. If a viewer was still confused, he also said of BLM, “they’re definitely not about Black Lives and remember that when they come for you.”

* Not to be out-done, Ron DeSantis complained about “indoctrination and discrimination” in Florida public schools when he got a law enacted to make Critical Race Theory illegal. But banning materials that could “cause discomfort or guilt to particular groups” is obviously unconstitutionally vague and permits government censorship based on someone’s psychology. Presumably the governor, a lawyer,] has read the First Amendment prohibiting the government “from abridging the freedom of speech.”

* Several possible rejoinders to the #MiamiMussolini [quotable though controversial]: “We’re a great, imperfect country—and should not be afraid of all the historical truths that got us here.” “Learning from the past is not indoctrination but education. It should be teachers—not politicians—who assign books to students.” “Best way to understand our country is to learn its history and not leave out the bad parts. MLK said, in a 1967 Speech“Where Do We Go from Here?”: “The doctrine of white supremacy was embedded in every textbook and preached in every pulpit [as] a structural part of the culture.”

* CRT opponents deny there’s “systemic racism” in America. Yet: Blacks are 12 percent of the population but 35 percent of Americans with kidney failure…have 1/10th the wealth of average white families….POC suffer 6 times more punishment when convicted of the same offense…live on average six years less …and are hospitalized twice as often as whites for COVID. “How does my opponent explain all these differences if not for race?”

* 160 years after the Union defeated the Confederacy, race is still a taboo topic in many places. It’s as if calling someone a racist is worse than being one. So if an opponent takes umbrage and says,”Are you calling me a racist?”, a near perfect answer is: “I’m not calling you a racist since I can’t know what’s in your head. But can you explain why so many racists do support Trump’s GOP?” True, no one alive today is responsible for Slavery and few for official Segregation. But we are all responsible to help the next generation avoid the curse of racism that hurts Americans of all races, as Heather McGhee explained in her book The Sum of Us. America needs a cross-racial coalition—of minorities and lower-income whites—to help protect all families from disease, poverty, lack of a good education.

* Be very careful of proposals for “Reparations” that Republicans will eagerly misconstrue into meaning writing checks to all black people today. Using term “intergenerational discrimination” is accurate and ties remedies back to a previous discrimination: e.g., loan subsidies where there had been redlining; education grants from schools that benefitted from slavery; funds to black farming families whose land was stolen over past century. Best to avoid the freighted phrase altogether.

* Asked about David Duke’s endorsement of him in 2016, Trump said, “Just so you understand. I don’t know anything about David Duke. Okay?…I know nothing about white supremacists.”

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