David Horowitz has today’s Memorial Day thought:
Let’s begin with two statements on race — one that is offensive and false, the other self-evidently true. Taken together, they illuminate the toxic state of the national dialogue on race.
The false statement is that America is a racist country or, in its unhinged version: America is a “white supremacist” nation. This accusation is one that so-called progressives regularly make against a country that outlaws racial discrimination, has twice elected a black president, two black secretaries of state, three black national security advisers and two successive black attorneys general along with thousands of black elected officials, mayors, police chiefs and congressmen. In addition, blacks play dominant roles in shaping America’s popular and sports cultures, and thus in shaping the outlooks and expectations of American youth.
The claim that America is a white supremacist nation is not only deranged and racist against whites, but is an act of hostility toward blacks, who enjoy opportunities and rights as Americans that are greater than those of any other country under the sun, including every African nation and Caribbean country governed by blacks for hundreds and even thousands of years.
The self-evidently true statement about race in America is that America is not a racist country but, in fact, the most tolerant and inclusive nation embracing large ethnic minorities on earth. Yet this true statement cannot be uttered in public without inviting charges of “racism” against the speaker. Consequently, all public figures and most people generally, clear their throats before speaking about race by genuflecting to the claim that racism against blacks is still a prevalent and systemic problem even though there is no credible evidence to sustain either claim.
By contrast, the offensively false statement that America is a racist nation, is one that our current (black) president has endorsed. According to President Obama, “racism is still part of our DNA that’s passed on.” Variations of the claim are ubiquitous among self-styled liberals, progressives, so-called civil rights leaders and campus protesters. The title of a recent book by a black university professor summarizes this politically correct slander: “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul.” The core claim of the Black Lives Matter movement — which is the chief activist force in advancing this claim, and is “strongly supported” by 46 percent of Democrats, according to a recent Wall Street Journal poll — is that America is a white supremacist nation, whose law enforcement agencies regularly gun down innocent blacks.
Contrary to Mr. Obama’s malicious assertion about his own country, the DNA of America — unique among the nations of the world — is not racism but the exact the opposite. In its very beginnings, America dedicated itself to the proposition that all men are created equal and were endowed by their Creator with the right to be free. Over the next two generations, America made good on that proposition, though this achievement is regularly slighted by “progressives” because it didn’t take place overnight.
The historically accurate view of what happened is this: Black Africans were enslaved by other black Africans and sold at slave markets to Western slavers. America inherited this slave system from the British Empire, and once it was independent, ended the slave trade and almost all slavery in the Northern states within 20 years of its birth. America then risked its survival as a nation and sacrificed 350,000 mostly white Union lives, to end slavery in the South as well. In other words, as far as blacks are concerned, America’s true legacy is not slavery, but freedom. As noted, American blacks today have more freedom, rights and privileges than blacks in any black nation in the world.
These are important facts that have been obscured in our politically correct university culture and throughout the K-12 systems whose teachers are trained in university schools of education. Our literary culture is itself infected with a crude anti-white racism that beggars belief. The National Book Award this year was given to a poisonous racial tract called “Between the World and Me,” written by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the form of a letter to his son. In the book, Mr. Coates explains to his son that cops who murder innocent black teens “are merely men enforcing the whims of our country, correctly interpreting its heritage and legacy.” In an all-too-typical “history” lesson, Mr. Coates informs his son: “We did not choose our fences. They were imposed on us by Virginia planters obsessed with enslaving as many Americans as possible.”
In fact, Virginia planters did not enslave blacks originally and could not buy more black slaves once America ended the slave trade in 1807. Mr. Coates singles out Virginia planters because some of America’s most prominent Founders, in particular the author of the Declaration of Independence, were Virginians and owned slaves. But Mr. Coates and every other black in America and throughout the Western Hemisphere is free because of Virginia planters like Thomas Jefferson. We need to begin our racial discussions with these facts, and treat the claim that America is a “white supremacist” nation, for what it is: anti-American and anti-white racism.