“I still see it [racism]. I still see it in the Republican Party, and I still see it in other parts of our country. You don’t have to be a Republican to be touched by this dark vein. America is still going through this transformation from where we were just fifty, sixty years ago.” — Colin Powell, March 2015.
I know how it goes when trying to talk racism with Republicans: Democrats supported slavery, Republicans fought to abolish it. Democrats started the KKK, Republicans tried to fight it. (Most) Democrats supported segregation, Republicans didn’t. All that is true.
But the tables have turned in 21st century America. This is a new age. And in this new age, it’s the Republicans who support flying the Confederate flag next to Old Glory. It’s Republicans whose inflammatory rhetoric causes xenophobia and racism to linger. It’s the Republicans whose voter I.D. laws have been found to purposely disenfranchise the black vote. Don’t believe me? Take a good, hard look at what is happening in Charleston.
The orchestrated effort on the right to turn the Charleston Massacre into anything but right-wing racism is proof that the GOP and right-wing media knows a significant portion of their base is racist, and they’re refusing to alienate them. In other words, blaming the tragedy on racism would only enrage their supporters and the only reason that would anger them is because they refuse to acknowledge (or blissfully don’t care) about their dark vein of racial attitude.
Rick Perry says this was an accident. Lindsey Graham says the Confederate flag is “who we are.” Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee say this is “Christian persecution.” Jeb Bush said he wasn’t sure if the attack was racially motivated. Glenn Beck held a rally at the Confederate memorial and had his followers chant “All Lives Matter!” Fox & Friends anchors cried “Christian persecution” instead of what it really was — a hate crime against black Americans. An NRA board member had the audacity to say the victims had it coming.
The only Republican to seemingly have any grasp on the reality of racism is Ben Carson, and he’s black.
There is a disturbing trend that is coursing through the Republican Party. The denial is ignorantly and offensively evident. It’s as if they are intentionally trying to deflect the “blame” to save their image. I’ve noticed that the right is also eerily quiet on the fact Dylann Roof’s hatred and racism was inspired and first awakened by a conservative website. When Hillary Clinton said the inflammatory rhetoric perpetrated by the right is aiding in violence across America, she was right. Roof admitted he had his “racial awakening” after reading propaganda from the Council of Conservative Citizens.
The GOP is not letting up when it comes to their seething hatred of immigrants, most of whom are Hispanic:
- Ann Coulter is calling immigration “the browning of America.”
- Senator Thom Tillis has gone on record saying Blacks and Latinos were replacing America’s “traditional” population.
- Donald Trump equated immigrants to rapists and thieves. (Roof equated blacks to rapists before he opened fire.)
- Phyllis Schlafly equated immigration to ushering in a third-world country (as did Coulter, when she said Hispanics have a “peasant culture”).
As I said — there is a disturbing trend going on in the GOP right now. Instead of learning their lesson in 2012 (when they said they needed to rebrand their image to be more inclusive), they have adopted an anti-immigrant, anti-colored platform. It all seem to have started when Glenn Beck accused President Obama of being racist against white people and being anti-white. They have deflected their own racial feelings onto others so they don’t seem so racist themselves. They blame everything in the world on these shootings except the for the actual motive — because the offender was a conservative.
This has to stop. And I am not going to let them get away with skirting this under the rug to make themselves feel better.
Featured image via The New York Times