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racism

Government policy toward African-Americans is not an argument for the ineffectuality of government, on the contrary it is an argument for just how effective government can be. The intent of mid-20th-century policy was the elevation of a white middle class and the preservation of white supremacy. The policy was a rousing success. Home Is Where the Hatred Is

Rooting out racism means more then changing minds, it means changing systems that perpetuate it, even while we claim to be post-racial. We’re Still Racist

Abraham Lincoln’s light skin did not save him from a racist political attack, anymore than it saved him from a racist assassination plot. Indeed it is eerie to see how much the words of Stephen Douglas (“I believe this government was made on the white basis”) were echoed by John Wilkes Booth (“This country was formed for the white, not for the black man”). American politics cannot escape the winds of white supremacy. White supremacy birthed American politics. In the 1990s, as today, the Democratic Party was perceived by many as the party of black interests. It’s not incidental that many of Clinton’s most crazed critics (Jesse Helms, for example) and violent critics (the militia movement) were no strangers to white supremacy. That the black Democratic Party is now actually headed by a black man is bound to cause some portion of America to feel a certain way. Bill Clinton Was Racialized, Too

The fictitious narrative is this: People of color are either beasts or burden, only able to survive because of the benevolent charity of the whites who feed them, house them, and give them “things to do.” These are the facts, hidden by the façade and the fiction: For every one Magic Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, or Eva Longoria, there are millions of blacks, Latinos, and others who have been barred from adequate housing, equal education, and affordable health care. They have suffered the effects of legislation that lowered the bar of criminality and targeted them to fill privatized prisons. Donald Sterling: Facade, Fiction, and Forgiveness

The problem with Cliven Bundy isn’t that he is a racist but that he is an oafish racist. He invokes the crudest stereotypes, like cotton picking. This makes white people feel bad. The elegant racist knows how to injure non-white people while never summoning the specter of white guilt. Elegant racism requires plausible deniability, as when Reagan just happened to stumble into the Neshoba County fair and mention state’s rights. Oafish racism leaves no escape hatch, as when Trent Lott praised Strom Thurmond’s singularly segregationist candidacy. Elegant racism is invisible, supple, and enduring. It disguises itself in the national vocabulary, avoids epithets and didacticism. Grace is the singular marker of elegant racism. One should never underestimate the touch needed to, say, injure the voting rights of black people without ever saying their names. Elegant racism lives at the border of white shame. Elegant racism was the poll tax. Elegant racism is voter-ID laws. Ta-Nehisi Coates

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By attempting to tie Republican politicians to the outlandish racism of an elderly rancher, liberals win a tactical victory but unwittingly play into the larger conservative narrative about what racism is in the modern United States. Rather than a set of deeply embedded and largely impersonal social and economic forces, racism becomes the product a few isolated and backward individuals. After all, we rarely seem to see racism, do we? If racism is as rampant as people like me say it is, then why do the irrelevant ramblings of an old man become a cause celebre? That’s the best we’ve got? If Cliven Bundy is in any sense important, then racism really is essentially gone. Why You and I Are More Dangerous Than Cliven Bundy

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The nobility of black servitude, and how freedom ruined African-Americans, is not a lie that is advanced only by white conservatives. Black conservatives are the tip of that spear: they are human chaff whose sole purpose is to advance the agenda of the White Right by systematically denying the reality of white racism. Who Will Be the First Black Conservative to Defend Cliven Bundy’s Racism? Answer. Kira Davis, Handkerchief Head, Butt Kissing, Boot Licking, Black Conservative

I’ve been laughing my way through the Cliven Bundy fiasco because, as Jamelle Bouie suggests, there may be no better example of racist privilege than the right to flout the government’s authority and then back its agents down at gunpoint. Ta-Nehisi Coates

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