Toxic 'Liberal' Narratives, Part 2: Scapegoating Racism

'The left' join their far right counterparts in tyranny and fascism by demanding conformity to their 'superior' ideas. While the far right veers toward theocratic tyranny, the far left is intent on controlling conversations about our most pressing issues, and making sure that 'others', who think differently than them, are ostracized, silenced, and even punished.

Time to Stop These Toxic Liberal Narratives, Part 2:

Scapegoating Racism

What is Racism? Where does it come from? Who Defines it?
How are Washington and Lincoln like the confederate flag and Lee? They are racist. At least, according to some interpretation of what 'racist' is (Washington had slaves, and Lincoln thought slaves should be returned to Africa). The finer points of these arguments are bowled over by the edict that racism equals Nazi, white supremacist, white man, southerner, and/or conservative.

In fact, all of the definitions in our modern arguments focused on racism are ill defined. What do "black" and "white" mean? What is the definition of racism? What is the definition of racist? Who gets to decide?

Conservatives are a favorite scapegoat for racism. This redirection is a key to why America has not been able to address inequitable racial outcomes. Are the above mentioned groups the racists? This is something our society must be able to reason about, if we are to address problems of racism.

What problems stem from racism, in any case? Can our problems in education, immigration, and poverty, be boiled down to race? Certainly these issues, and many others across a wide spectrum, have an element of racial disparity. Will we solve these issues by solving racism? No. The best we could hope for by focusing on race is solving racial disparities within these issues.

Politician's Race-manipulating Behaviors Block Reasoned Actions to Solve Problems
Race-manipulating politicians will boil complex issues down to race. For instance, the immigration problems in the US is widely pegged, by Democrats, to race — specifically to Republicans being racist. Yet, the US immigration system has been broken for some time. Illegal immigrants cross the border under life threatening conditions, often as children. They work slave wages, and are sometimes not paid at all. Illegal immigrants are routinely abused under the radar, and have no legal way to gain protections. The fact is, without legal rights, immigrants have no rights. Without rights, we create a criminal class. 

While 'law and order' is a phrase tied to racism in this debate by the left, mustn't there be some kind of law and order to progress to a safe immigration system?

The left declare that 'law and order' is racist. According to NPR's Geoff Nunburg:
"Trump's single-handed effort to revive the slogan "law and order" is the key to creating the perception of a new crisis of crime and violence; it weaves together assaults by those he calls radical Islamic terrorists, inner-city thugs and illegals. The racial overtones of the phrase are even harder to deny now than they were in the Nixon years..." 

Can we rightly blame our immigration problems on conservative's racism? (Is Trump even truly a conservative?) How about ICE? Is ICE a gang of extralegal racists, whose aim is to rid the US of non-white people? Many on the left think so. Mark Pocan, the president of the Congressional Progressive Caucus was quoted in the New York Times saying
“They’re trying to send every possible signal that there are people who don’t belong in this country, and it’s not people from Norway. This is being done almost exclusively on race. Sitting in the parking lot outside of a Head Start school is not for the security of the country.” 
According to a Governing article on the subject, written by Tim Henderson, the issue of deportation is a disconnect between laws — civil law, and immigration law:
“Some of these smaller areas are between a rock and a hard place,” said Hadi Sedigh, an associate legislative director for the National Association of Counties. “They’re being told on the one hand that there are these court cases and they’re going to get sued if they cooperate, and on the other hand the federal government is saying you’re going to lose funding if you don’t cooperate.”


It is up to congress to bring these conflicting laws into agreement, and to iron out immigration laws that work.

Is the US's failure to address this issue, through Republican and Democratic governments, because conservatives are racist?

Congress Has Not Acted
Why hasn't congress fixed our immigration system? How long will immigrants come across the border dying in the back of Mac trucks, smuggled by human traffickers, and left to an underbelly of society as illegal criminals? 400,000 immigrants crossed the US/Mexico border illegally last year, how should we treat them — by what process? It is up to Congress to decide.

Border states unofficially employ civilian militias to patrol their borders because border agencies are underfunded, and understaffed. Surely, those who care about immigrants would want an official immigration system to process people who would like to cross into the U.S., one that doesn't expose travelers to unaccountable vigilante violence.

It is up to congress, a body whose approval rating has stayed between 13% and 21% (far below the nation's presidents) since 2012. 

Is the problem with immigration Donald Trump and conservative racism? Perhaps we simply have ineffective leaders in congress, who care more about motivating the masses for their own political power than working with The People to solve problems.

Stable U.S. Divisions Based on Race-manipulation

Politics co-opts racism for some very stable conflicts in our culture. Besides tough issues like immigration, and education, which wax and wane--black vs. white, north vs. south, and red vs. blue are stable conflicts in the U.S. pegged to the wedge issue of race. 

North vs. South
We've already covered red vs. blue, which is tied to North vs. South divisions based on the history of the slave trade and the U.S.'s Civil War. While slavery was certainly the main issue of the civil war, racism existed, and persisted, North and South, apart from slavery. Can one honestly say that the North was less racist than the South in the 1800's? 

Racial bigotry was, and is, largely tied to religious stories that deemed black people and Arabs as evil, less than, and slaves. These ideas still persist in modern racist narratives, liberal and conservative, across the country (and world). 

Michael Harriot investigated the notion that the South is more racist for The Root. He found the North East to have the widest racial disparities, while the South was the most equal. If the South is not more racist, but is more conservative, how does this play against our national wedge of southern conservatives being the cause of racial disparities in the US? (Any honest liberal would notice the group-blaming behavior as a red-flag.)

Black vs. White
Racism in the U.S. is presented as a black vs. white issue, again, because of the issues tied to slavery.  Who does this dichotomy serve? Racial disparities are often worst among black Americans, but is this because of 'white' people? Travon Martin was shot by a Hispanic man, which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, but no one mentioned Hispanic racism toward blacks. Nor do we discuss the finer points of racial bias in our culture, such as religious stories and media. We seem confined to political talking points of black vs. white, red vs. blue, and North vs. South. 

Implicit bias studies have shown similar bias among all sorts of Americans, even black Americans themselves. Is racism really a 'black vs. white' issue? Who benefits from pitting black vs. white? 

Muslims are the most threatened by modern race-manipulating politicians. Hordes of left leaning activists rallied against Trumps travel restrictions of 6 mostly Muslim countries, labeling the action a "Muslim Ban" (though Muslims were not banned from any other of the 50 Muslim majority countries of the world). Who marched to bring attention to the 20,000 bombs we dropped on those 6 countries the preceding year, or the nearly 4 million Muslims killed in US led wars in the past 30 years? Did any 'liberal' mention designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization (which could aid in labeling most Muslims terrorists)? ...or anti-BDS laws (which punish those who support Palestinian rights) being passed unanimously by Republicans and Democrats across the country?  What have 'liberals' done to protect Muslims from actual racism and abuses of state power?

Hispanic populations outweigh black populations in the US, and while this group suffers less as victims of police killings, they have higher disparities in wages and power than black Americans.
Native Americans are more likely to be shot by police than black Americans, but we focus on police-on-black shootings. Charles Manifield, dean of the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University, told Pacifc Coast Magazine that "white officers do not kill black suspects at a higher rate compared with nonwhite officers. The killing of black suspects is a police problem, not a white police problem." 

Can racial disparities be addressed in a 'black vs. white' frame? Is it helpful? To whom? Certainly Democrats have won the political support of black Americans and minorities, while it is widely frowned upon for a black American or other minority, to be conservative. Does this divide truly make sense

Can Liberals Face their Addiction to Race-manipulation?
If the goal is to solve problems, can we simply boil issues down to a racialized "white" vs. "non-white" framework? If the goal is to eliminate disparities which can be predicted by race, will scapegoating maneuvers — red vs. blue, north vs. south, black vs. white — get us there? 

Or, are these political talking points made, not to protect some group of people, but to mobilize support for a political party? Americans must reason with these questions, especially in an environment where elected officials across the spectrum discuss our most pressing issues in an us vs. them framework.

In effect, America's left has pitted two minorities in this country against one another with the wedge of race — conservatives, and blacks. 

Recently, a more extreme left has expanded warring parties to 'anyone not in alignment with their political messaging,' against all 'people of color'. Meanwhile, where do 'liberals' stand in the fight? Benevolent referees? Eternally imminent rescuer?

Conservatives have been trying to make most of these points about 'liberals' scapegoating racism for decades, but what liberal has listened, or owned up to race-manipulating behaviors? Silencing conservative voices on racism — or worse, punishing them — radicalizes the 'right', and blocks actions we should take to address racism in the U.S..

If a politician is boiling complex issues down to us vs. them race dichotomies...they might be manipulating you for their own benefit.

*this Part 2, in a 6 part series on Toxic 'Liberal' Narratives

Part II EXTRA: Identifying as the Worst of US

Perhaps the most damaging, and warping race manipulating narrative ubiquitous among the left is that the U.S. was born a racist country, that America was built on a system dedicated to white supremacy, and slavery. Is this true? This is the same narrative of actual white supremacists. 

To scapegoat America as the cause and harborer of the evil seed of racism, and slavery, is inaccurate. The notion lends itself to support fringe white supremacists groups as the rightful owners of America, and also erases multicultural contributions, and revolutionary philosophies that created the U.S.A.

The United States was not created to serve white supremacy or slavery. Nor was white supremacy or slavery created by America.  If we want to find the sources of white supremacy and the Atlantic slave trade, we have to look further back in history than America's founding fathers:

Human Psychology
Racism is a behavior that has likely haunted people from the dawn of humanity. Fear of 'others', and leveraging us against them populism is ubiquitous in history from every nation and every creed. It takes a principled, conscious effort to create communities that resist these behaviors. But, even so, politicians will not let go of their most effective tool-divide and conquer.

Powerful religious politicians hugely influenced systemic racism. The stories of Ham and Ishmael, in Abrahamic religions, have programmed many to be racist against dark skinned people and Arabs. Mixing of races is forbidden in many Abrahamic texts.

It is easy to see religious teachings mirrored in racist behaviors throughout the US, and the world. In fact, it is these religious stories has fueled politicians to defend slavery, interracial bans, and the exclusion of black and Arab people from the US. This mentality, seeded thousands of years ago, is still fresh in US culture today.

While the weed of racism still flourishes, so does its counterweight--the fight against it.

Who started America, and Why?
The Founding Fathers did not ride ashore North America to an untouched land--its history was already filled with immigration, empires, international trade, and wars. The seeds of America laid in the hands of the oppressed people sent to America at the direction and control of Empires, or as refugees from tyrannical governments.

Slavery was already a strong institution before the United States existed. The Atlantic Slave Trade started in Portugal, with the help of African nations, 300 years before the founding of the US. It should not escape our judgements that, after centuries of slavery, the practice was hotly fought against immediately by America's founders. Americas fight against slavery took up substantial political space, leading to a civil war, where hundreds of thousands of Americans died to end it.

What drove Americans to sacrifice their their lives to free American slaves? It was a conscious, principled battle, based on the philosophies enshrined in America's legal documents — the inherent human dignity of all.

What about the Founding Fathers slavery?
It is true that about half of our founding fathers owned slaves. The ones who did not were Quaker (history does not give Quakers the credit they deserve for forging philosophies of equality).
There is no denying that the culture that started this country was rife with racists, racism, and slavery, but we should not deny that it was also filled with a righteous, and effective fight against these things, and that the US constitution laid the laws that gave each person the tools for protecting themselves against the tyranny of others.

What about the three-fifths law?
Why did the US label slaves as less than a whole person? This was a political compromise to the South, where slaves had been imported by the British Crown, and was an embedded institution. They wanted their slaves to count as citizens, so that they would have more representatives in the legislature, and refused to join the union otherwise. This is how the three-fifths compromise was agreed to. Should the founders have given the South full advantage? Should they have said "no" and fought to free the slaves before they gained their own nation? Those who opposed slavery made the choice to fight for themselves first, but did not give up on freeing the slaves after.

There will always be oppressors
Racism has its roots in biology, religion, science, media, and politics. It is ubiquitous in history, and in modern times. There will always be oppressors.

What America was founded for, and the unique tool American have is our constitution — a set of laws written to protect individuals in a time when almost all people were subjects of unaccountable leaders, and lacked human rights. The constitution laid a framework, not for what was, but for what could be and what should be. We have fought, and continue to fight, for those ideals.

'Liberals' narrative concerning the United States tries to force us to identify with our the worst actors in our nations history
Pushing a narrative that America was 'founded on' racism and white supremacy is false. These are not the ideals that Founding Fathers argued for. Slavery is not enshrined in our constitution. Yes, slavery and racism existed, and still exist, but it was not a driving factor for creating this country. Quite the opposite. We were founded on a fight for equality, and each generation has taken on new battles to fight.

It is important to acknowledge the racists, and racism that have, and do infiltrate our communities--but those elements are not the cause of America, nor do not define us as Americans, or as a nation — to say so empowers white supremacy, and erases our inherent multi-cultural history. The war for independence was not fought just by 'white' people. Individuals from many backgrounds fought, including black Americans, Native Americans, and many others.

Creating conflict for our children
'Liberal' narratives identifying America as inherently racist and white supremacist creates a false identity for our children. What might happen if this is the identity they are forced to take? It is clear that we are setting up a battle for our children--'white' against everyone else, and especially 'white' against 'black'. This is not who we are, but as the 'liberal' factions force this narrative into our spaces, empowering white supremacy, and leaving our children no positive identity, this is who we might become.