After Sen. Tim Scott’s post-Biden address, CNN’s Van Jones said “tens of millions” of American Blacks tuned out when Scott declared, “America is not a racist nation.”
Jones was absolutely correct. I do not deny reality.
There is an explanation for that tune out. It’s called group think.
Willfully blind to the vast changes in America since the 1960s — before which there was systemic racism throughout the South, and elsewhere — locked into a narrative of their own victimhood, too many Blacks tune out. There is no denying it.
Scott acknowledged his own experiences with racism, but that was lost on Joyless Reid, over at MSNBC.
She upbraided Scott for saying there is no racism in America.
He. Did. Not. Say. That.
And the difference between what he said and what she heard is what I want to discuss. “Systemic racism” is more than mere semantics. We’ll take a look at that in a minute.
Reid is a poor witness because she has trouble telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
The other day she reported — accurately — that Blacks were lagging well behind whites in the number of vaccinations received.
She turned that into proof — inaccurately — that America is racist.
She deliberately ignored the sad and well-known truth that more Blacks have resistance to vaccination than whites. That is a better explanation than racism of the lower vaccination rate, and since Reid knows that, her comment was pure race-baiting. (Part of Black resistance is based on past racism on the part of the medical profession.)
Scott was viciously attacked on social media by the Left, often in racist terms such as Uncle Tom (or Uncle Tim), because being progressive means never having to follow your own self-espoused rules of civility.
Let me return to Van Jones. After saying “tens of millions” of Blacks tuned out after Scott said “America is not a racist nation,” you might have expected him to say, “America is a racist nation.”
But he did not say that. Why?
Because he knows that is not true, in my opinion.
Jones is as sharp as a Gillette blade. He knows how to work the angles.
Here is what he did say: “It is very clear this country is still struggling with racism, we still have racism showing up in almost every institution.”
Again, I agree with Jones, but can you see the difference between “struggling with racism” and is a racist nation?
Racist nations don’t “struggle” with racism, they luxuriate in it.
South Africa before the end of Apartheid was a racist state. There was no hiding it, there were no apologies for it.
Scott’s native South Carolina was a racist state when his grandfather was young.
Then, not now. Proof? Hel-lo. How about a Black man as its U.S. Senator?
I have discussed “systemic racism” before, in a serious way, and speculated that my relatively benign view of racism today is explained by the fact I lived through an era of actual systemic racism in America. It was real. Then.
If you came to your majority after, say, the civil rights and voting acts of the ‘60s, you never knew how bad it was, so the (to me) lesser transgressions of today seem major to you because you have no basis of comparison.
Let’s examine “systemic racism” by breaking it into four quadrants.
Is America always racist, sometimes racist, rarely racist, or never racist?
If you say “America is a racist country,” that is binary, like being pregnant. You are, or you are not. It means America is always racist.
No rational person can believe America is always racist. No rational person can believe America is never racist.
So we’re left with sometimes or rarely.
I’ll take sometimes.
I think Jones exaggerated when he said “we still have racism showing up in almost every institution,” but, OK, let’s accept it for the sake of discussion.
Almost half of African-Americans, according to Pew Reseach, believe discrimination comes more from individuals than institutions. Only 40% believe it is in institutions.
Every “system” we have today, and that is where we live, is designed to thwart discrimination of almost every kind. Every institution that accepts federal money, or federal tax breaks, must abide by federal rules. This is true in all public accommodation, in housing, hiring, lending, justice, social services, and so on.
When racism occurs — and it does — it is a violation of the system. It is not the system itself.
Despite the obstacles, in recent decades the Black middle class has expanded, Black income and educational attainment has increased, along with interracial marriage.
It is hard to surrender cherished beliefs, but there are thousands of Black elected and appointed officials across America — mayors, police chiefs, state attorneys, superintendents of schools, university presidents (plus a U.S. president), even seven Black billionaires.
A “systemic racist” nation would never tolerate that, nor Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, Maxine Waters, Michael Jordan, Beyonce, Don Lemon, Spike Lee, Audra McDonald, Clarence Thomas, RuPaul, Toni Morrison. Every one a millionaire.
As we work to lessen discrimination where we find it, as future generations of African-Americans achieve even more, they will not be able to explain the contradiction between a belief in “systemic racism” and their own success in America.
That’s the opinion of an old white guy, so I’ll close with the words of someone else: “I don’t think America is a racist country.”
Thank you, Vice President Kamala Harris.
Will she be attacked by the Left as an Aunt Jemima?