Not a racist bone: American values, traditions

SUSAN K. SMITH | 10/11/2018, 8:30 a.m.
I am always bothered when I hear a White person say, of him/herself or of someone else, “He doesn’t have ...

Crazy Faith Ministries

I am always bothered when I hear a White person say, of him/herself or of someone else, “He doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.”

I am even more concerned when I hear a Black person say that about a White person, as Herman Cain did about Donald Trump in February 2018.

Cain’s endorsement of the president as being pure as the driven snow when it comes to matters of race, fit well alongside people like the Rev. Franklin Graham, Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr., all of whom gushed out the same sentiment on PBS’s NewsHour.

The president himself has said he is the “least racist person” one would ever want to know. His statement was documented in a New York Times opinion piece.

What is baffling is not so much that people say this, but that many actually believe they truly are not racist.

To listen to them, any mention of racism is disingenuous as well as untrue – a tool used to evoke sympathy and grab attention.

What, in their estimation, is racism? What does it look like?

The United States was born in racism and in sexism.

Wealthy, White males intended for this country to be formed by White people – men, specifically – for White people. There was always the problem of, “What do we do with the slaves?”

James Madison, the lead drafter of the U.S. Constitution, is the one who came up with the “three-fifths clause” that was used to define Black people as not fully human. He recognized the economic value of enslaving people of African descent and did not believe Black people were on an equal plane with Whites. This from the lead drafter of this nation’s Constitution.

The inferiority of Black people was a central belief of many to most White people. As Black people were overworked, torn from their families, beaten and/or killed at will and denied basic human rights, the racist beliefs and attitudes of their perpetrators continued to grow.

Racism, as an American value, was passed down from generation to generation.

White politicians argued over one’s right to own enslaved Black people, and they took strong, public stands to voice their positions on the matter.

As late as 1948, South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond said, “… There’s not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the Nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes and into our churches.”

Thurmond, of whom it was revealed late in his life that he had a Black daughter, staunchly and boldly declared that he was not a racist. Neither he, nor many of his Senate colleagues from the North and the South, believed in the justice of civil rights.

Thurmond said that the quest of Black people for civil rights was “a Red plot against the free world,” and that only the “States Rights Democrats” had “… the moral courage to stand up to the Communists and tell them this foreign doctrine will not work in free America” – from Jon Meacham’s The Soul of America: The Battle for our Better Angels.