Yes, Virginia (and all the other States), There is Systemic Racism in America
Reading conservative media over the past month, I have noticed a pattern develop. More and more writers are arguing that the ubiquitous assumption of systemic racism in America is untrue. In fact, there’s never been a better place to live as a minority than in America in the 21st Century. While I agree with many of the arguments made, I have to disagree with the conclusion. You see, I have also been listening to the personal histories of individual blacks across the country, and I now see the widespread, systemic racism that infects the United States in 2020.
Discussions of systemic racism typically start with slavery. Although that is the greatest example of systemic racism in our history, the United States fought a war with itself in which hundreds of thousands of Americans paid the ultimate price to end slavery here. However, although legalized slavery was ended by the Civil War, fighting this war didn’t end racism. After the war, groups like the KKK worked hard to prevent the newly freed slaves from exercising their full rights as citizens. These efforts evolved into the set of laws we know as Jim Crow, a systemic web of statutes and cultural norms that treated blacks as inferior in every way.
But wait! Didn’t the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s, and particularly the Civil Rights Act of 1964, end the Jim Crow laws? Yes, the overt, legally enforced racism of the first half of the 20th Century was debunked, disgraced, and dismantled by the Civil Rights movement but it was quickly replaced with a more subtle system of racism. This one was not encoded directly into state laws or local ordinances but was created by the indirect outcomes of a new kind of political initiative: civil rights laws, welfare payments, court decisions, and statist economic policies.
Civil rights laws, supposedly passed to guarantee to blacks equal protection under the law and all the rights granted under the Constitution, were quickly interpreted to require racial quotas be met by schools, by government, and even by private businesses. The subtle racism of quotas is the assumption that blacks cannot earn these positions on their own merits so, instead of doing the hard work of helping blacks develop skills and habits needed for success, we should give them handouts and pat ourselves on the back for being so helpful. Meanwhile, these quotas have reduced the black graduation rates at colleges and increased racial strife by angering the more qualified applicants who lost out.
The welfare system created by the Great Society, supposedly passed to help the poor of all races, quickly resulted in creating a permanent underclass who were dependent on government handouts. The black family, which stayed together through slavery, Reconstruction, the Great Depression, and Jim Crow, was splintered apart when government handouts replaced the wages earned by a husband and father. This pushed fatherless youths into the streets to join gangs and kill each other off with both guns and drugs. A more racist system could hardly be imagined.
The Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973, a procedure that has a more racist past than a Confederate statue. Abortion was a key part of the eugenics movement in this country going back to the 1920’s, when Margaret Sanger created the precursor to Planned Parenthood. Abortion was used to purify the white race and eliminate the black race back then, and black women continue to have abortions to at far higher rates than whites and Hispanics to this day. These deaths have reduced the black population, watered down their representation in society, and eliminated the potential contributions of millions of people to this world.
Meanwhile, in most large cities, regulatory and social welfare policies reduced freedom, opportunity, and prosperity for the people living in them, and a lot of blacks live in them. Basic city services that help people get and keep jobs, like decent roads, public transportation, and affordable housing, have crumbled under policies that prioritize public employee pensions, rent control laws, and entrenched political power. But the most devastating casualty in these cities has been quality education. The failure of cities to provide a high school diploma that had some worth in the marketplace has hurt black prospects for decades.
I hope, as you read through my description of systemic racism in America today, you have noticed a common culprit in all of it. Everything described above has been the stated public policies of the Democrat party all the way back to the days of slavery. Democrats opposed Abraham Lincoln’s and the newly formed Republican Party’s anti-slavery platform in 1860. After the war, the KKK became the militant arm of the Democrats and the Jim Crow laws that grew out of the Reconstruction were administered by Democrat politicians throughout the South.
The modern Democrat politician has raised systemic racism in this country to levels a white plantation owner in the antebellum South could have only dreamed of. After all, while the plantation owner treated his slaves as property, he also had a self-interest in keeping his slaves healthy and strong enough to do their work; the Democrats’ only self-interest is keeping blacks voting for Democrats, and they will do that most reliably if they are kept weak, poor, and dependent.
But I have not even mentioned the crassest form of Democrat racism yet: coopting black leaders with promises of money and power to help promote all these policies among their fellow blacks. How these leaders could have gotten in bed with the very party that had trampled blacks down for a century is a mystery to me. Without their support, however, all the Democrat platitudes about helping the poor and fighting racism would have been quickly rejected for the insidious racism that created them and the horrible results produced by them. With the support of those leaders, Democrats have been able to exploit blacks repeatedly by scaring them that Republicans want to enslave them and teaching them that every setback they encounter is evidence of racism.
The Democrats are terrible at a lot of things: fighting wars, growing an economy, educating children, protecting citizens from global pandemics, and guaranteeing constitutional rights, among others. But they are excellent at one thing: shifting the blame to others for their own racism and their constant failures.
I am tired of being called a racist because, as a white man, I am part of the system that holds blacks down. The truth is that, as a Republican, I have opposed and voted against the racist policies described in this article since I was old enough to vote. I hope that black citizens of this country will #WalkAway from the Democrat Party and be set free to live and work and prosper along with the rest of us.
I am heartbroken over systemic racism and want nothing more than to see the Democratic politicians who built it and sustain it stripped of all their power by the very victims of their racist policies.
Image credit: Pixbay
Steve Matteucci has degrees in Economics, Law, Taxation, and Theology. His book, How to Be a Trustee: Practical Thinking on Settling a Living Trust