Revising The History Of Racism
It’s been a while since the stupid statements were made, but I was recently reminded in a video of conservative Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, a favorite politician of many in the tea-party, going on record in front of a group opposed to taxes in Iowa to say that the founders of America worked tirelessly until slavery was no more. Next thing you know Ms. Bachmann will be telling people that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson fought alongside Ulysses Grant and Abraham Lincoln in the North’s effort against the South in the civil war. But it is a fact of history that the founders had no problems owning slaves and accepting as fact that people of obvious African descent were less than their peers of obvious European descent. It is a matter of fact that the United States Constitution that the founders wrote established a nationally accepted policy that enslaved black people were counted as only 3/5ths of a human being. When it comes to people trying desperately to white wash America’s shameful history of treatment towards people of African descent, Ms. Bachmann has reached a significant new low.
Prior to Ms. Bachmann’s attempt at revising our sordid past, there was conservative Mississippi Governor Haley Barber doing his part to change history of race relations in prior to the civil rights era. Mr. Barbour went on record to say that race relations weren’t nearly as bad as he remembered it when he was growing up back in Yazoo City. Mr. Barbour credits his fond memories of racial harmony to the White Citizen’s Council, a white supremacist group that Mr. Barbour refers as a benevolent group of business men. It should be noted that this group of business people would use their influence to terminate the employment of anyone who had the audacity to support desegregation or voting rights for blacks or anything else that could be remotely interpreted as an attack on white privilege. The ultimate form of peace is an all-out domination and control of any opponents. And many of us who bother to learn and remember our racial history will have no problem recalling Mississippi’s torrid support for the oppression of black people. Mr. Barbour’s fond memories of life prior to the civil rights era are probably due to the fact that he was white and really didn’t give so much as a rat’s ass if black people were being oppressed. It’s probably why the black community in Mississippi continues to suffer disparity to this day under Mr. Barbour’s governance.
The racially insensitive behavior of these two conservative politicians is hardly exceptions. Hardcore conservatives will stand on stage and point to a minority in the predominantly white crowd and proudly use a racial epithet while wearing a smile, probably mistaking their political rally for one of their klan rallies. All too often when a conservative politician wants to inspire public support for an attack on a social program all they have to do is paint the picture of an undeserving minority taking advantage of a flawed system. Ronald Reagan can paint a picture of the welfare queen on the Southside of Chicago who dupes a poor unsuspecting government of thousands of dollars and everybody comes to know her as Shaniqua, a name that has black connotations.
For people who like to bury their consciousness in the sand, statements from people like Ms. Bachman and Mr. Barbour and many others may come as a shock and somewhat of a surprise. These people will listen to some lame excuse such as words were taken out of context or that somebody simply misspoke. This is nothing new. These people wouldn’t be where they are today if it wasn’t for the support and admiration of so many people who stand ready and willing to buy into the most implausible and nonsensical explanation to justify their statements and actions of blatant racism. Like Ms. Bachmann and Mr. Barbour, so many people are ready to revise American history with feel good rhetoric void of anything resembling reality. Slave holding forefathers working tirelessly to end slavery and white supremacist organizations doing their best to uphold racial harmony are ideas that rank right up there with unicorns and the Easter Bunny.
And the fact that these people can give such blatant revisionist depictions in front of crowds to thunderous applause is just another indication of how many people in this country are ready to turn back the clock on what little racial progress we have made as a nation and return us back to an era of racial disharmony. The fact that leaders of government make racially insensitive statements is no surprise to people who remain aware of the condition of racial disparity in this country. Indeed, the fact that it happens so often probably does a lot to help explain why racial disparity remains so prevalent to this day. Unfortunately, the bigger problem is that so many more of us stand idly by, tolerating all the revisionism in our midst. Nobody should be going around revising history so blatantly. Nobody who knows better should be tolerating this sham.