Politicians love to call for comprehensive reform. The idea is government will pass a law and fix everything. Remember, the ACA was going to fix healthcare, bend the cost curve, and make sure everyone has health insurance. They also always talk about comprehensive immigration reform. If you have a problem, some politician has a bill for a comprehensive fix from your government. The country needs comprehensive racism reform, as evidenced by all the events in Charlottesville. Government, however, can’t just pass a law to do it.
Make no mistake, government can play a positive role if leaders set good examples, striking the right tone, and advance race-neutral policies. No branch of government can pass a law that ends racism. All government can do is pass laws that do not treat people differently based on race.
Racism is learned. We are not born with it. President Obama and I agree on very little, indeed nearly nothing, but he is right on that issue.
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…" pic.twitter.com/InZ58zkoAm
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 13, 2017
Since racism isn’t a genetic marker, disease, or inherited trait, one might think we would make better progress stamping it out. Unfortunately, progress is slow because not everyone understands what racism is, and people are profiting politically and financially from racial division.
What is racism?
There’s the rub. Social scientists and political activists define it differently, as do ordinary Americans. For some, pride in one’s race is not racism. For some, treating others differently based on color for a good reason is not racism. For some, laws that correct or remediate past racism are not racist, even though such laws treat people differently based on race.
This is what racism is … and most Americans know it.
Racism is overt or covert action, or the call to action, that shows favoritism for, or disdain and prejudice against another based on his or her color. That is the root of it.
Racism isn’t just what you say, it’s what you believe and how you act on those beliefs, fears, and prejudices.
The problem with race relations and racism in America is the false belief that racism is the sole proprietorship of white people. Make no mistake, white racists are fully invested in racial animus, distrust, and racism. It’s in our history, and it survives in our culture. We saw that in Charlottesville.
CNN opinion personality Brian Stelter asked an interesting question today about how to combat racism.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 13, 2017
The question begs a follow-up. Is the media shining its sunlight on all racism?
Let me be clear; racists are cockroaches. They are brainless, scampering, bugs, who left to their own devices thrive in dark, dirty places where they multiple. Cleaning up one’s house, leaving no crumbs out for them, and using daily vigilance is the best way to combat them. Like cockroaches, racists generally despise sunlight.
That’s why in Charlottesville, less than 100 brainless, white supremacists, neo-Nazis answered the call to come out of the shadows and out themselves. Most racists prefer the shadows. Protesters, nearly 10 times in number, showed up to shout the Nazis and confront them. The result was anarchy, violence, and death.
It was right for decent people to turn out and jeer the Nazis. Any community with standards would do so. Unfortunately, a whole host of not so decent people turned out in numbers too, many of them with their own bias, political agenda, ill-motives … and yes … wait for it … racism.
Mr. Stelter asks about media sunlight on racists, but is he talking about only a partly sunny day?
The MMS media and cable news networks converted the Neo-Nazi march into the impression that thousands of those Nazi miscreants showed up, and when they did, they turned violent as racists do sometimes.
My own teenage kids, causal political observers and accidental consumers of news, like 90% of Americans, each had the same false impression. They thought tens of thousands of KKK supporters showed up and started a riot in Charlottesville, based solely on their Instagram, snapchat, and twitter feeds.
Where would that idea come from? It comes from a media driven, partly sunny day. It comes from a media narrative that is not based in fact. Lots of racists showed up in Charlottesville, it’s just the media reported on one group.
— ACLU of Virginia (@ACLUVA) August 12, 2017
How the clashes started, we don’t yet even know. Here was the ACLU of Virginia’s take, and that organization is neither conservative, nor racist.
— ACLU of Virginia (@ACLUVA) August 12, 2017
Let me ask readers this. How many dozens of times did you see images of KKK flags, Nazi symbols, white supremacy symbols, and white dudes carrying torches and confederate flags?
Now, how many times did you see this picture?
Indeed, how many times did you see any of the flags, signs, or symbols of the counter-protestors? How much coverage was given to ANTIFA, the Socialists, the Communists, the paid protesters and BLM?
Not much. That’s interesting, because those group far outnumber the neo-Nazis. Yet, you must scrub through twitter feeds and google to find the video and images of the other people who showed up to confront the Nazis.
Say what we want about the Nazis, but in America, even those pieces of garbage have a freedom of speech. It does not trump anyone else’s speech, and every counter protestor has the right also to be heard. The best weapon and the only acceptable weapon against stupid speech or political hate speech, is better, more informed speech. Some of the protestors of good faith understood that. This is how free speech is done correctly.
— ACLU of Virginia (@ACLUVA) August 12, 2017
However, let’s be clear, the fights, clashes, arrests, and violence broke out when the two sides of racist collided. Did I say “sides?” Yes … yes I did.
If we are going to combat racism … we must combat all racism. When we coddle and excuse racists, we empower them.
As I wrote, Mr. Trump had a possible water-shed moment before him. His response could have accomplished so much more. He could even would have marginalized his most radical critics.
Trump missed a rare freebie; He could have done both the right thing and the right political thing.
Before he ever spoke, I gave him a roadmap for humility, decency, unity, and a path forward. Trump chose a predictable path that predictably set him up for attack.
As I explained in the War on Trump, Donald Trump is never going to get a break or the benefit of the doubt. Frankly, he hasn’t earned any such benefit. Once again, faced with an open layup on a five-foot rim, Trump manages to miss the score and turn the ball over for a fast-break.
Still, Trump’s critics are, of course, completely unhinged.
Trump called for unity, and he condemned violence and all who stand for hate.
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
That’s pretty good really. It would be like me speaking out and condemning all crime, but having someone then criticize me for not listing every specific crime. Is it fair criticism? To those who hate Trump and those in the resistance, it is fair, accurate, and proof of his collusion with white supremacists.
To the causal news consumer, it’s just more of a drumbeat of in the war on Trump. The idea is to sow the seeds of both incompetence and danger and to ultimately make the President weaker.
Ironically, while Trump gave away an opportunity to do a much better job, he did do something that this country hasn’t seen much of, and his critics hated it. He acknowledged that in Charlottesville there was more than one kind of hate and racial animus on display. When Trump denounced the hate on all “sides” he lit a torch of rebellion among the left and those who believe hate has only one side.
Trump drew a moral equivalence between two sets of racial haters and the media, the hard left, and devout anti-Trumpers of every style and persuasion lost their minds.
Racism, in its overt and most public form, is easy to criticize for honest people. Who doesn’t want to hate a Nazi or criticize a Westboro Baptist Church style hater? Easy stuff there. It’s like defending popular speech. That’s easy too. However, it’s mighty hard to defend the right of Nazis to speak, while separating that right from our disgust at their speech.
The mainstream media and the left want to whitewash radical-leftist, racial animus in Charlottesville because, let’s face it, they think the Nazi’s deserve it. To me, that is as frightening as any small collection of hate-filled Nazis.
When we excuse one form of racism because we deem it less offensive than another form of racism, we don’t combat racism … we feed it. Racism in all its forms is anti-American.
This is why it is so hard to combat racism comprehensively. Some people refuse to acknowledge their own racism, and others refuse to call them on it or expose it. The notion that people who are not white might have racial bias and animus is thought the media and the left don’t want to entertain. It does not fit ether their narrative or ideology.
Racists often lie to themselves, and then they try to lie to others to frame an issue in their favor. Look, for example, at the false narrative that many spread that Trump won because of white turnout and white racism.
That allegation is demonstrably false.
Nearly 750,000 blacks who voted for Obama didn’t vote for Clinton. They didn’t show up. Trump also outperformed Romney as a percentage of the vote with both blacks and Hispanics. Here’s the kicker, while white turnout was up almost 1 percent in 2016 from 2012, Trump did not capture the same percentage of whites as Romney.
In fact, so called experts like me were convinced Trump couldn’t win unless he got 70% of the white vote. Reagan only got 66%. However, we didn’t know blacks simply wouldn’t show up for Mrs. Clinton.
Read that again.
Trump got less of a percentage of white voters than Romney, and three-quarters of a million blacks who voted for Mr. Obama didn’t show up for Hillary.
If race was a factor in Hillary’s loss, and it surely was, it was the fact that black democrats abandoned a white democratic candidate in shockingly high numbers. Indeed, it was the lowest black turnout in over 20 years.
Is that racism? I don’t know. But to combat racism, we must stop lying about racial motives and imputing false racist beliefs on people.
I repudiate racism. I do so equally. I repudiate organizations and groups, no matter their stated purpose or intent, who divide by race. It’s easy to repudiate those who are overt racists, from the KKK to BLM, from the black panthers to white supremacists, and from white nationalists to black nationalist. Race dividers earn the equal and full disinfectant of sunlight from me.
I go further, however, I repudiate organizations whose stated purpose is the advancement of one race over another. They divide by race. Whether it’s La Raza, the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, or any other purported, accepted, mainstream race-based organization. I give no credibility to groups or people who want to treat Americans differently based on race. I reject their efforts to sell soft bigotry for political profit.
Comprehensive racism reform begins with us. Don’t wait for your government, your neighbor, or your friend to lead by example. Americans have an obligation to repudiate racism and the racial bias and prejudice that feeds it. Yes … on all sides.
Mr. Trump got that part right.
Author: Richard Kelsey
Richard Kelsey is the Editor-in-Chief of Committed Conservative.
He is a trial Attorney and author of the new book on higher education, “Of Serfs and Lords: Why College Tuition is Creating a Debtor Class”
Rich is a former Assistant Law School Dean and Law Professor. At Mason Law Kelsey conceived of, planned, and brought to fruition Mason’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, known as CPIP, drawing on his expertise as a former CEO of a technology company specializing in combating cyber-fraud.
Before returning to private practice, Rich taught legal writing and analysis and an advanced litigation seminar. In 2014 he was elected by the graduating class as the faculty speaker at their graduation.
He is a regular commentator on legal and political issues in print, radio and on TV. Rich has appeared on hundreds of stations as a legal expert or political commentator. He provided the legal analysis for all stages of the Bob McDonnell trial and appeal for numerous outlets including NPR and WMAL.
Rich also writes on occasion for the American Spectator and CNSNews.com.
In his free time, Rich is part of the baseball mafia of Northern Virginia, serving on numerous boards and as a little league and travel baseball coach.
His Twitter handle is @richkelsey.