In this article below Jason Newell discusses the history of racism. He starts off by quoting a Stupidparty rep who declares the that racism is over, citing the election of Obama as proof. This piece provides historical context to the data that we have provided about what lead up to Baltimore and the back ground analysis we provide on Ferguson and another piece comparing the populations of Ferguson and now Baltimore with the Israel’s problems in the Middle East. If after this article, you have any doubt that this is a problem that must be understood, confronted and dealt with— then allow me to provide a jolt back into present day realities by providing a postscript at the end of this piece.
So now to Jason’s piece:
Racism is dead—that is, according to some delusional conservatives. Check out this doozy from Republican Nevada Assembly member Michele Fiore (advocating for stringent voter ID laws):
We’re in 2015 and we have a black president, in case anyone didn’t notice. And, at what point, do we stop dividing by design? And what point do we stop using the race card? We will stop when discrimination stops.”
Representative Fiore was responding to a question by a member of the NAACP, who asked her to provide a factual instance of voter fraud occurring within the State of Nevada—tongue tied, Fiore was quick to segue into a racial argument seeking to disregard the reality of structural and individual racism. Apparently, the election of an African-American president has ended all racial tensions in the United States: right now, both African-Americans and Caucasians are holding hands, imbibing, and engaging in conversations that lack any political subject matter. Racism is dead.
Now, anyone with a relatively unbiased perspective would see past my facetious scenario—what can be best described as a conservative wet dream—and be able to understand the contemporary realities of American race relations: racism is alive and well. But before delving into the events in Baltimore, I find it necessary to discuss some of the primary causes of African-American disenfranchisement, starting with the early years of the United States.
Slavery, prior to the legal implementation of white suffrage, was an economic system that enslaved both whites and blacks. More specifically, white indentured servants, white slaves, and African slaves shared a similar legal standing— all three groups didn’t have the ability to vote: this right was limited to white property owners (i.e., old white men with hideous wigs). Life in the early Colonial Era between the subjugated groups, was, in a way, less contentious: after a day’s work, the pub was a place to unwind and discuss personal gripes—“white consciousness” within the United States, when compared to the way we perceive it today, had not yet come to fruition. Then came the 1790 White Male Suffrage Acts passed in numerous states. At this moment, free blacks were no longer permitted to vote, while their enslaved counterparts were enfranchised and thus had the capacity to improve their social standing.
From this point on, the majority of whites became unified against African-American slaves. For another seventy-eight years, the majority of African-Americans were kept in chains and considered the property of their masters. What’s more, the nation had to fracture before mainstream political entities took notice of the danger that the “slavery issue” posed to the stability of the relatively new nation. As we all know, slavery officially ended with the passage of the 13th Amendment, but not after a brutal civil war. Incidentally, to their convenience, contemporary Republicans idealize their party’s role in dismantling the institutional of slavery—which I can concede is a verifiable fact—but what they don’t seem to realize is the role progressive thought had in the movement. Republicanism of the Civil War period is not analogous to the current era, and comparing the two does a disservice to history. Progressive Republicans helped topple the immoral institution of slavery.
Furthermore, the Republican Party, years later, fractured with the split between competing factions: the Bull Moose Party, led by Teddy Roosevelt, came to be as a result of an ideological schism within the Republican Party due to progressives becoming disappointed with Taft’s catering to more conservative elements. By the 1930s, the progressives joined the New Deal Coalition—contemporary Republicans seem to forget this significant ideological split. Dear Republican Party, just stop trying to take credit for something your party no longer stands for. Thank you.
All the while, African-Americans, although technically free, were terrorized by the KKK (America’s first terrorist organization), forced into sharecropping (a peonage system), segregated, and had limited voting rights. And even more troubling, white riots, in response to black migration to industrial cities—known as the Great Migration—brought turmoil to newly settled African-American communities: one such community being Tulsa, Oklahoma, aptly named the Black Wall Street. Tulsa’s African-American community consisted of doctors, lawyers, financiers, and a thriving business class, but this “dream city” came to an end with one factually dubious event. White Tulsans, for days, believing that a white girl had been raped by a black man in an elevator—an unsubstantiated claim—completely annihilated Black Wall Street. With no property insurance, African-Americans (who were also being massacred at the time) were forced to evacuate and had their properties quickly bought up by ravenous racists.
Often forgotten, Tulsa brings one important perspective to the table: mob behavior is not confined to any particular racial demographic. By the way, I’m not condoning the aggressive mischief that transpired in Baltimore, but contrary to arguments mentioned on social media, the notion that rioting is a uniquely African-American genetic trait is an outwardly racist assertion. In addition, there lies one key difference between the African-American riots of the last sixty years and white race riots (such as what occurred in Tulsa): white objectives, were, for the most part, motivated by an explicit hatred of the color of a person’s skin, while the more recent African-American riots are a result of excessive police force, extreme poverty, white flight, gentrification, racially restricted covenants, and institutionalized racism—all causes for concern.
Nonetheless, the conservative media, and their zombie-like followers, in their coverage of Baltimore were focused on burning buildings, looting, and adolescent mischief—what they failed to see were community leaders protesting peacefully and bringing order to their community. And what was lost in all of this? The tragic death of Freddie Gray. The sensationalist media, with high ratings prioritized over more balanced coverage and objective journalism, were fixated on the destruction of Baltimore rather than the systemic social and economic issues plaguing the city.
The death of Freddie Gray, however, is just one example of injustices perpetrated against the African-American community: names like Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Levar Jones, Walter L. Scott, or Eric Courtney are but a sample of young African-American men shot for 1) petty, non-violent crimes or 2) no reason at all. And while the facts of some of these cases may be in dispute, one thing isn’t: police departments, in numerous cities across the United States, are systematically targeting African-Americans (see the DOJ report of Ferguson), or individuals employed by these police departments harbor racist sentiments.
Sadly, all too often, conservatives center on African-American crime rates—rates inflated by the failed war on drugs—and assume that blacks victimized by police officers “deserve what is coming to them.” There are even those who are quick to invoke the red herring argument of “well, they’re just killing themselves [referring to gang violence] in the inner city anyway, so why bother?” Why bother? It’s simple: police officers who kill unarmed African-American men are held to a higher moral standard than a gang banging criminal. Does a criminal swear an oath to protect the public? No, but a cop does:
“On my honor,
I will never betray my badge,
my integrity, my character,
or the public trust.
I will always have
the courage to hold myself
and others accountable for our actions.
I will always uphold the constitution
my community and the agency I serve.”
Is a cop required to abide by a set of constitutional guidelines when pursuing a suspect or making an arrest? Yes. The U.S. Constitution mandates it. So please, don’t spew the bullshit argument that police brutality should be considered a “peripheral issue” due to African-American gangs murdering each other on a daily basis.
Remember that perspectives matter. As a young, privileged white male, my opinion is secondary to the everyday struggles of the African-American community—and while I’m informed and sympathetic to the societal issues plaguing this subjugated group, I still have one eye closed. My generation in particular—i.e., the future leaders of America—needs to see racial issues from competing lenses in order to draw a more balanced interpretation of the African-American struggle: every community has issues—some being more severe, and some less so—but if you believe that the African-American community’s troubles are solely due to an issue of morality, liberal policies, and “hip hop culture,” you’re surely misguided. Systemic racism is real, it’s here, and it’s continuing to marginalize a demographic that has been beaten down, both figuratively and literally, too many times.
In the end, it’s crucial to analyze the African-American struggle from a broader historical context—a few sensationalist media stories barely scratches the surface of the primary casual factors behind systemic racism.
Slavery may have ended, but racism never did.
Postscript by Patrick Andendall:
We have now accumulated overwhelming data in other stories to prove that racism is a huge issue. It is tough to find any evidence of racism amongst Democratic leaders, but there was some evidence of it amongst some Democratic voters, (especially in more rural districts of the “Redder” states) in the 2008 primary race between Obama and Hillary Clinton. Reverse racism is silly – and invariably promoted by individuals totally oblivious to what racism is, how it occurs and why it is such a massive issue. Since voter fraud is mathematically irrelevant Voter suppression efforts are therefore rooted in Racism, “Birtherism” is rooted in racism, Only 22% of Stupidparty voters believe that the problems in Ferguson where connected with Race. Endless absurd Obama Conspiracy theories, the latest being the talk of the Army at Obama’s bidding, invading Texas – like right now. Obama for no rational reason is accused of being born in Kenya, a Socialist, Jihad supporter – countless other forms of hogwash. Confederates still argue that the Civil War was not about race, it was evidently about States Rights (to have slaves), The Supreme Court has revealed it’s true Colors in its naive comments about race. I explain why I believe Donald Trump is a racist as he knowingly trumps false information to inflame racism – and for me that is enough to qualify one as racist. Various pillars of the Stupidparty inflame such nonsense to such epic levels, that one can actually begin to ask if the Stupid party is becoming a hate group