Trump Condemns Racism, but Here’s the Real Problem
Racism remains a problem because some folks are invested in it. Fascism, meanwhile, threatens Liberty.
Donald Trump signed a resolution condemning racism Thursday. Trump said, “As Americans, we condemn the recent violence in Charlottesville and oppose hatred, bigotry and racism in all forms.” He continued, “No matter the color of our skin or our ethnic heritage, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We are a Nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. As one people, let us move forward to rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.” Sounds pretty much like his Inaugural Address.
Trump’s statement came on the heels of a one-on-one meeting with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the only black Republican senator. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the problem of race relations and possible solutions to help bring about greater unity in the nation. After the meeting, Scott, who was critical of Trump’s response to the Charlottesville violence, said via a spokesman that he “was very, very clear [with Trump] about the brutal history surrounding the white supremacist movement and their horrific treatment of black and other minority groups.” Moreover, “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and to expect the President’s rhetoric to change based on one 30-minute conversation is unrealistic. Antifa is bad and should be condemned, yes, but white supremacists have been killing and tormenting black Americans for centuries. There is no realistic comparison. Period.”
The difficulty with the issue of race in America today is the often convoluted nature by which it is both understood and discussed. Scott is absolutely correct about the past history of white supremacy and the evil it inflicted on blacks. But it is also true that today white supremacist groups like the KKK and Neo-Nazis represent the extreme fringe within America — they have no political power and they have been soundly rejected by the vast majority of Americans for decades now. Those few individuals who cling to the racial hatred espoused by these groups are essentially living in a fantasyland of a bygone era.
However, what Scott seems to be missing or maybe too easily dismissing is the larger and growing real threat to Liberty. That threat is the rise and growing appeal of extreme leftist groups like antifa. There is no question that antifa advocates using violence and justifies its violence by labeling those it attacks as fascists and Nazis, gross irony notwithstanding. Couple that with the fact that antifa explicitly calls for the silencing and suppression of free speech rights and Americans should rightly be concerned. But what makes antifa currently the greater threat than these fringe white supremacist groups from yesteryear has been a sympathetic mainstream media that has been all too willing to overlook or excuse antifa’s violent rhetoric and actions.
When ethnicity is conflated with political ideology the result is a virulent form of identity politics that so demonizes the “other side” that it is unable to hear, let alone consider, opposing ideas or opinions. Identifying with and protecting the group or tribe is prized above all other values. Individual identities and opinions are overshadowed and subordinated by the collectivist group identity. This is where faulty concepts like “white privilege” or “micro aggression” originate. No longer are individuals judged by their own words and actions, but by their tribal identity. The irony with groups like antifa or Black Lives Matter is that they practice the very things they claim to be fighting against.
The rioting over the weekend in St. Louis following the acquittal of a police officer in the shooting death of a black man attests, once again, to this problem of conflating a political agenda with racism. Over the last eight years, Barack Obama lowered the bar for civil unrest and racial discord. And that’s the nice way of putting it. The consequences of that are what we’re now witnessing across the country.
As Morgan Freeman once said, the best way to deal with racism is to “stop talking about it.” The reality is that most Americans aren’t racists. Like a scab, the more it’s picked at the more it bleeds and the longer it takes to heal. We’ve been picking at this scab for so long now, one would think that slavery is still happening today in America.
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