RACE AND POLITICS An Addendum to the Curse of Power Lecture Outline History of Race Relations in America Political Culture and Race Today An International Perspective on Discrimination/ Racism Race and Politics in America The consequence of controversial Racial Statements The race issue in the Obama presidency History of Race Relations in America US History on Race History To this day, we are haunted by our history of slavery, segregation, and discrimination of whites against blacks these were egregious violations of American principles
Slavery One person owning property in another goes against our founding principles of individual liberty Segregation Legal separation of races in society goes against our belief in equality under the law Racism Discrimination goes against our belief in merit, i.e., hire the most qualified for a job or admit the most deserving to institutions of high educationregardless of race, gender, national origin, etc. Corrections for Past Injustices Our country has tried to make amends for these injustices The Civil War Amendments 13th (ended slavery), 14th (equal protection and due process), and 15th (voting rights) Amendments were to correct for slavery White culture rejected the principles of equal protection, due process, and voting rights for blacks for 100 years
History of Race Relations in America US History on Race Corrections for Past Injustices (continued) Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts (1960s) ended segregation and discrimination in the public and private sectors (e.g., businesses prohibited from denying service to blacks); enforced voting rights for blacks Affirmative Action programs designed to help minorities gain access to jobs, higher education, and government contracts (for minority-owned businesses) Present Day Much progress has been made in race relations, but even so, blacks and whites have substantial differences on: 1) the need for government services, 2) hiring preferences (affirmative action), 3) the death penalty, 4) vote choice in presidential elections just to name a few Race and Politics Today, the race issue is used in the struggle for
power; it is akin to the curse of power Accusations of racism is one of the most devastating labels in American politics a politician labeled as racist (presuming the label sticks) is almost certainly finished in politics U.S. CULTURE AND RACE The Status of American Culture on Race Political Culture and Race Political culture defines the rules of acceptable and unacceptable behavior American culture today is hyper-sensitive to racial comments High-profile commentators of professional sports and political figures have been forced to resign their positions because of racially sensitive or racist comments Because of our past, our political culture must prove it has abandoned its discriminatory ways by punishing those who make racial/racist comments,
whether the commentators are truly racist or not Conservatives (Republicans) are more vulnerable than Liberals (Democrats) to punishment for racially sensitive comments Liberals/Democrats supported civil rights (1960s), welfare (1930s to today), and affirmative action (1970s to today), and these policies were targeted to help blacks, and thus liberals are considered to be non-racist in behavior, even when they make racist remarks Conservatives opposed civil rights and welfare and oppose affirmative action today, for non-racist principled reasons, but the culture considers conservatives as being on the wrong side of history Race in America Today Some Setbacks in Race Relations Since 2012, a number of black men have been shot by police (or community
watchmen), and some of the shooters were not prosecuted (Darren Wilson & Daniel Pantaleo were acquitted by Grand Juries) This has reinforced the perception that our culture tolerates police brutality (and murder) of blacks As a backlash, ~11 police officers have been shot (at least 7 killed) in the wake of the police shootings of these and other black men Race in America Today The Black Lives Matter Movement In 2015, Black Lives Matter leaders disrupted the speeches of the Democratic presidential candidates, even taking the
stage at a Bernie Sanders rallyand shouting down Martin OMalley when he responded by saying all lives matter The movement wants Democrats to place institutional racism (e.g., police department discrimination) against blacks and other minorities high on the Democratic presidential agenda What the Critics Say: Conservative new outlets (e.g., Fox News) and some 2016 Republican presidential candidates (e.g., Chris Christie) accused the movement organizers of rallies of instigating violence against police officers Race in America Today The Confederate Flag Controversy In 2015, in the wake of a white supremacist (Dylan Roof) shooting of 9 black churchgoers in Charleston (South Carolina), there has been a renewed effort to take down
the confederate flag at state capitols in Southern States To date, the confederate flag on the capitol grounds of South Carolina and Alabama have been taken down Also, some major retailers have stopped selling the confederate flag The Controversy: The confederate flag is viewed as a symbol of racism to its opponents and a symbol of Southern heritage/history to its supporters. Race in America Today The Confederate Statue Controversy In Charlottesville, Virginia (Aug. 2017), white supremacists protesting the planned removal of a confederate statue of Robert E. Lee violently clashed with those aligned against white supremacists
In the wake of the tragedy, Trump made a statement in which he said that there were good people on both sidessome interpreted the statement as an endorsement of white supremacy, forcing Trump to clarify that he condemns racist ideology The Controversy: Confederate statues are viewed as symbols of racism to opponents and symbols of Southern heritage/history to supporters. Race in America Today Hypersensitivity on the Race Issue: ESPN ESPN decision on Robert Lee in the aftermath of Charlottesville (August 2017): The controversy in Charlottesville centered on the removal of a
Robert E. Lee statue (the Confederate general from the Civil War). At the time the events were unfolding in Charlottesville, EPSN commentator, Robert Lee, was scheduled to call a Virginia football game, but because his name was so similar to Robert E. Lee, ESPN moved him to another city to call a different game. Race in America Today Hypersensitivity on the Race Issue: Starbucks Coffee In April 2018, two black men were kicked out of Starbucks, ultimately arrested. The two were waiting for a third friend to arrive The incident was caught on cell phone camera and immediately cause a national firestorm The Starbucks manager assumed the black men were up to no good,
perhaps wanting to do drugs in the bathroom. This incident shined a spotlight on racial bias, given that whites frequent Starbucks, waiting for friends, coming under no suspicion DISCRIMINATION/RACISM An International Perspective Discrimination and Racism An International Perspective Discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity has been a worldwide problem, even in the modern world Ethnic Cleansing in The
Balkans (1990s) Tribal Massacres in Rwanda (1994) Apartheid in South Africa (1980s 1990s) ISIS killings of Christians (today) Genocide in Darfur
region of Sudan (20032009) RACE AND POLITICS The Consequence of Racist Statements Controversial Racial Statements The World of Sports Racial statements are no longer tolerated in America Howard Cosell (1982) On Monday Night Football (1982), Cosell made a racial slur (little monkey) about a NFL wide receiver Cosell was not a racist, called Muhammad Ali by his chosen name, while most whites insulted Ali by calling him Cassius Clay Cosell used same racial slur to affectionately describe his grandchildren
Cosell was promptly fired from Monday Night Football Al Campanis (1987) On ABC Nightline (1987), Campanis said blacks may not have some of the mental faculties to be managers in Major League Baseball Implied blacks are genetically inferior to whites Campanis resigned from his executive position with the LA Dodgers the next day Controversial Racial Statements The World of Sports Racial statements are no longer tolerated in America Jimmy The Greek (1987) -- In an interview (1987), The Greek said blacks are better athletes than whites because during the days of slavery, slave masters forced big and strong slaves to have children
The statement was factually false + implied a genetic component to the success of black athletes, rather than hard work The Greek was fired from CBS NFL pre-game show Rush Limbaugh (2003) In 2003, Limbaugh commented that many white sports writers overrated Donovan McNabb, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, because McNabb is black Limbaugh took a shot at white liberals, who often accuse conservatives of being racist for opposing affirmative action For quarterbacks in the NFL, the color barrier was broken in 1988, when Doug Williams led the Redskins to a Super Bowl victory Limbaugh resigned his position with ESPN In 2009, Limbaugh wanted to buy a stake in the St. Louis Rams, but his 2003 comments created a controversy about his views on raceand he was dropped from the consortium that wanted to purchase the team Controversial Racial Statements
The World of Sports Racial statements are no longer tolerated in America Don Sterling (2014) In 2014, the NBA forced Don Sterling to sell the LA Clippers after Sterlings racist sentiments about black people was revealed to the public In a private conversation with his mistress, V. Stiviano, Sterling complained to her about being seen with black people on Instagram and at LA Clipper basketball games; he was particularly perturbed by Stivianos association with Magic Johnson, a former NBA player and 5-time NBA champion Bruce Levenson (2014) In 2014, Bruce Levenson, controlling owner of the NBAs Atlanta Hawks, voluntarily revealed to the NBA that he had made a racist remark in a 2012 email about the fan base at Hawks basketball games; Levenson said the Hawks black fan base scared away the whites and that he wanted some white cheerleaders and music that would appeal to
the typical 40-year old white fan Levenson decided to sell his interest in the team, particularly after he had been such a strong critic of Don Sterling earlier in the year Controversial Racial Statements The World of Sports (ESPN) ESPN commentator Jamele Hill on Trump: Jamele Hill Tweets (Sept. 2017) ESPN did not fire Jamele Hill for calling Donald Trump a white supremacist ESPN Response (Sept. 2017) Controversial Racial Comments
Sports Monikers: The Washington Redskins Pressure to change racially-sensitive sports names The Washington Redskins (2013): The Webster dictionary defines redskin as a term that is usually offensive to Native Americans Some Indian Nations have protested the Redskin name in the past decades, but there was concerted effort in 2013, led by the Oneida Indian Nation, to pressure the team owner, Dan Synder, to change the name President Obama (2013): If I were the owner of the team and I knew that the name of my team, even if theyve had a storied history, that was offending a sizable group of people, Id think about changing it. Tom Cole (R-OK), a Native American (2013): The name is inappropriate; its offensive to a lot of people, certainly to me and a lot of others, millions of others. Some Polls
April 2013 AP Poll: 80% support keeping the Redskins team name 2004 Annenberg Institute Poll: 90% of Native Americans were not bothered by the Washington Redskins name Controversial Racial Statements Talk Radio and Cable News Racial statements are no longer tolerated in America Don Imus (2007) Imus made a racist/sexist statement about the women on the Rutgers womens basketball team, which made it to the national championship game Imus called the girls nappy-headed hos CBS/MSNBC fired Imusafter ~18 month hiatus, Imus landed a new show on Sirius Radio Dr. Laura (2010) Dr. Laura, who was a socially-conservative radio
talk show host since 1993, said the n-word multiple times on air Dr. Laura was trying to make a statement against double standards that black people can use the n-word but white people cant She resigned her position as a radio talk show host in protest of interest groups (e.g., Media Matters) who called for her firing Controversial Racial Statements Popular Culture: Food Network and Sit Coms and Dramas Racial statements are no longer tolerated in America Paula Deen (2013) In a legal deposition in May (2013), Deen admitted to using the n-word decades ago when she was younger In June (2013), the Food Network terminated Deans contract. Deen had become a food guru on the Food Network over the course of 11 years Rosanne Barr (2018) The reboot of the Rosanne show was hugely
successful in 2018, but Rosanne is outspoken and sometimes outrageous in her comments ABC canceled the Rosanne show after Rosanne disparagingly tweeted about Valerie Jarrett, a former advisor to President Obama Valerie Jarrett had taken part in a program discussing racial biases in everyday life on the same day Starbucks shutdown its stores for racial bias training (5-29-18) Jussie Smollett (2019) the Empire actor was arrested for filing a false police report and for sending a fake (threatening) letter in the mail, staging a hoax racist and homophobic attack (on himself) Smollett hired two men to attack him, claiming to be MAGA (Trump) supporters, putting a noose around his neck, dousing him in bleach, calling him the n-word and faggotSmollett was hoping to aggrandize his standing in TV and movies Controversial Racial Statements Universities and Colleges
Racial statements are no longer tolerated in America Oklahoma University SAE Fraternity (2015) A video was released exposing the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) for a racist song, singing that blacks would never be members of SAE The OU president immediately expelled the two white students, who led the song during a social function, without a hearing or due process for the students The OU president kicked out the SAE fraternity, disbanding the fraternity at OU Essex County College Professor (2017) A part-time professor of communications and pop culture was fired for announcing that no whites would be allowed to march in a Black Lives Matter rally on Memorial Day On Tucker Carlson Tonight (Fox News Channel), the professor (Lisa Durden) said that whites would not be able to use their white privilege card to march in the rally
Controversial Racial Statements Police Departments Racial statements are no longer tolerated in America Ferguson Police Department (2015) In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting, the U.S. DOJ investigated the Ferguson Police Dept and found systematic racial bias against the black community, including racist emails and targeting blacks for traffic fines There were systematic 4th Amendment violations of the black community; this type of action violates our belief in equality under the law 6 city officials resigned within a week of the DOJ release of its report, including the Police Chief, the City Manager, a Municipal Judge (who levied penalties for late payments of traffic fines), a County Clerk (for racist emails), a Police Captain and Sergeant (for racist emails) Controversial Racial Statements
National and State-Level Politics Racial statements are no longer tolerated in politics Steve King (R-IA) (2018-19) Congressman Steve King was removed from committee assignments in the U.S. House by his own Republican Party for equating white supremacy with Western Civilization The Democratic leadership in the House considered a formal censure of King, but stopped short after Republicans punished one of their own, instead referred Kings case to the House Ethics Committee The Ethics Committee has censured 5 members since 1967, for misconduct and corruption but never for offensive free speech Ralph Northam (2019) Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, dressed in blackface or in a KKK hood 35 years earlier In Feb 2019, Northam was facing pressure from his own Democratic Party members to resign, especially from Democratic candidates for president, but he has resisted the calls to
resign as governor It was also revealed that the Attorney General of Virginia (2019), Mark Herring, had also dressed in blackface at a college party in 1980 Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (2019) Congresswoman Omar has made a number of statements considered to be anti-semitic (anti-Jewish) The Democratic leadership in Congress forced Omar to apologize for using anti-semitic tropes and drafted a statement that condemn anti-semitic (and anti-Muslim) statements Controversial Racial Statements National and State-Level Politics Racial statements are no longer tolerated in politics Geraldine Ferraro (2008) Ferraro was the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate in 1984 and was a Hillary Clinton supporter Ferraro commented that people are voting for Barak Obama because they
are enamored with the concept of voting for a black man for president Ferraro was labeled a racist and forced to resign her position with the Clinton campaign Reverend Jeremiah Wright (2008) Wright was Barack Obamas pastor of 20 years; he made anti-white and anti-American comments Obama was forced to make a major speech about race, demonstrating that he understands the grievances whites and blacks levy against each other THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY Race Controversies in the Obama Presidency Race and Empowerment Do black people feel empowered to succeed in America? After Obamas election, 75% of Black
Americans felt more empowered about voting, versus 63% during Bushs administration After Obamas election, 60% of black people felt the system (haves v. have nots) is rigged against them, which is better than the 75% who felt this way during the Bush years, but 60% still indicates most blacks dont feel empowered enough to succeed 54% of blacks dont believe that they have an equal shot at landing a job they are qualified to have. This is another indicator that blacks do not feel empowered enough to succeed The Obama Presidency Race Controversies
The race labeling war in the Obama Presidency The Beer Summit (July 2009) Obama commented on the history of racial profiling after a white police officer arrested a black professor in Cambridge, MA. (close to Harvard University) This implied that the white officer may have had racist motives in arresting the black professor (though Obama explicitly noted that his comments about racial profiling were unrelated to this case) Glenn Beck, a conservative talk show host, called Obama a racist for his profiling comments the charge did not stick and Beck apologized Obama had a beer with the white officer and the black professor to mediate their differences, and the (potential) scandal disappeared The Obama Presidency Race Controversies
The race labeling war in the Obama Presidency Conservative Bloggers v. NAACP (2010) White conservatives and the leadership of the NAACP consider each other to be the real racists in America The Shirley Sherrod Controversy In July 2010, conservative blogger, Andrew Breitbart (BigGovernment.com), posted a video of Shirley Sherrod speaking at an NAACP conference appearing to have discriminated against a white farmer in a previous position she had held The conservative media picked up on the story, expressing outrage that the NAACP tolerated black racism against whites and Ms. Sherrod was immediately fired by Obamas Sec. of Agriculture A day later, the NAACP posted the full video of Ms. Sherrods comments, in which it became clear that she had helped the white farmer in her previous position it was a story of her journey in overcoming bias and treating people fairly, regardless of race
The Tea Party Movement The NAACP has since demanded that the leaders of the Tea Party movement enforce against (white) racists at its rallies, who they allege oppose Obama because the president is black The Obama Presidency U.S. Justice Dept. Investigation of Michael Brown Shooting After a Ferguson, Mo. grand jury decided not to indict Officer Wilson, the U.S. Justice Department investigated the shooting The Justice Dept. concluded Officer Wilsons story of events was correct, that Michael Brown struggled for the officers gun in the car,
and then outside the car, charged the officer before being fatally shot Your Professors Conclusions Our cultures hypersensitivity to race adversely affects our freedom/rights. Free speech rights are most important in the defense of the indefensible, such as burning an American flag, preaching anti-Americanism or supporting anti-American leaders (e.g., Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez (both now deceased)), or even expressing racist sentiments Pushing Back against American Culture: We should punish racism with free speech, i.e., speaking out against it when it occurs or boycotting a racist business, but it is wrong for the government to punish racist speech, as in the case of the Patent Office and the Washington Redskin moniker, and it is wrong to materially punish people who engage in offensive speech, even when it is the private sector doing so, because it intimidates people into silence and subjugates the 1 st
Amendment to that value (of silencing offensive speech)
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