18 thoughts on “King and Trump: Birds of a Feather

  1. Mr. King’s remarks don’t deserve the attention Mr. Gerson and others give them:

    • We don’t know for certain he even said them as reported. There’s no audio tape to confirm the statements, and the NYT’s bias is well-known. Innocence until proven guilty should apply.
    • Even if the remarks as quoted are accurate, free speech means it is not a crime to say them.

    • The remarks themselves have no particular significance because we are not and arguably never have been a racist society. Some, of course, argue that the Civil War and Jim Crow reveal America’s fundamental racism, but it is just as valid to observe those struggles as revealing America’s fundamental anti-racism.

    Here’s the point: There is no virtue in fighting for justice when the justice you are fighting for is merely perceived and not real.

    Mr. King has agency, but so do we. It would be best to ignore his remarks and just accept his apology.

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    1. I do not appreciate your ad hominem inference. I do not in fact believe our country has institutionalized racism, and dealt with that question in my original comment. Please try to be more civil.

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  2. Believe me I am attempting to be civil. You stated “never been a rasict society” which what I called you on. You’re awkward attempt to back off of that indicates you have realized you were in error.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yesterday I proposed the hypothesis that The Pilot targets articles on race relations to gather user data thtough its commenting tool.

    Michael Gerson’s piece today would seem to refute the hypothesis since it clearly has a connection to race relations and commenting is not allowed. But I think the connection is more apparent than real.

    Gerson’s obvious topic is Rep. King’s alleged bad behavior. Race relations appears to be a secondary topic.

    It is hard to see how the analysis of comments on the secondary topic would provide good user data on race relations specifically, especially as those comments might break along political, partisan lines not related to racial sensibilities.

    I’d say the hypothesis is neither proved nor disproved at this point and may need to be refined.

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  4. So you stand by your statement that we’ve never been a racist society? THAT was the issue I you called on and you have not addressed it in any of your responses. As for being “out of line”, I don’t know what to say. This has been a mild difference of opinion. If it has been that unsettling I’d opt for something other than public debate if I was you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “So you stand by your statement that we’ve never been a racist society?

      Yes I do. I substantiated the assertion in my original post where I wrote, “Some, of course, argue that the Civil War and Jim Crow reveal America’s fundamental racism, but it is just as valid to observe those struggles as revealing America’s fundamental anti-racism.”

      In my view the assertion that we have institutionalized racism in America is an opinion that doesn’t stand up under scrutiny. My views on this derive in part from various books I’ve read by Thomas Sowell, among others. Here’s a brief video that provides a sample of Sowell’s thinking on this very issue:

      Debunking Systemic Racism and Having Common Decency

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  5. It is pretty hard to justify slavery as an economic engine for profit except through some concept of supremacy. And if the sole source of slaves is among those of African descent, then the idea of white supremacy is impossible to deny.

    And if our nation, which was imbued with the ideal of all men being created equal, has African slaves as a major contributor to economic success, the concept of racism in America as part of our national character for a few centuries is impossible to deny with any credence.

    Follow that with 100 years of denying full citizenship and equal opportunity, legally, extra-legally and with terrorism, to citizens based solely on skin color or ethnicity, the specter of real racism in our society is revealed even more.

    1965 did not change our culture. It did change our laws. But culture takes more time. Yet admitting that we still have a fair amount of racism would speed up the transition to a colorblind nation.

    In my opinion to suggest we are free of racism is not true.

    King apologized and his party punished him. So I think his statements were correctly reported. More importantly, in a nation as diverse as ours we should not tolerate concepts of racial, religious or ethnic supremacy. There is no upside to being intolerant unless one subscribes to the screeds of the torch light marchers inCharlottesville last year.

    This does not mean King can’t say what he wants. Nor is it or should it be a crime to say them. Yet that does not fee him from suffering the consequences of his actions by his peers.

    IMHO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think your line of reasoning doesn’t give enough credit to people in the past who clearly were not racists. The alternative is to appreciate that human relationships tend to be rich and complex under all circumstances. It is easy to find racism in the historical record while missing all the rest of it.

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      1. Clearly there are many Americans, probably most, who were not then nor are now racists. But that does not excuse the laws and customs that were in effect for centuries regarding the status of African Americans and their descendants.

        Those were legislated and enforced by a society that had enough racism in the electorate to permit its continuance after emancipation. And if those laws were not sufficient in the eyes of some, then terrorism was seen as appropriate action to maintain a rigid class structure based on race.

        We are a nation of laws, and if those laws are designed to ascribe racial supremacy to one group by ensuring second class citizenship to another, then that is a racist society. It was not until 1965 that through an affirmative declaration of laws regarding civil rights and enforced by federal officials that we dropped the blinders to our own historic racism.

        And it was not without bloodshed and great difficulty that this came about.

        We are in a much better place now. The concept of white supremacy is relegated to a very small segment of society. The repudiation of King is long overdue, but refreshing and a cause for optimism.

        IMHO

        Liked by 3 people

        1. RE: “But that does not excuse the laws and customs that were in effect for centuries regarding the status of African Americans and their descendants.”

          No excuse needed, unless we’re looking for one to call people racists. The fact of laws that give superiority to one race over does not in itself prove racism any more than it proves stupidity or ignorance. Like I said, it is easy to find racism in the historical record — if that’s what we’re looking for — all while missing the rest of the richness and complexity of the human condition.

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  6. “The fact of laws that give superiority to one race over does not in itself prove racism any more than it proves stupidity or ignorance.”

    So you seem to say that Americans were not a racist society, just a stupid or ignorant one.

    In my opinion that makes little logical sense.

    But that is your opinion and you are certainly free to air it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “So you seem to say that Americans were not a racist society, just a stupid or ignorant one.”

      Nope. I’m saying you can deduce racism from Jim Crow laws, but you can also deduce stupidity or any of a number of other things. So you have to be careful. If you deduce stupidity, for example, then racism doesn’t make sense anymore.

      The reason I bring it up is because I think it is limiting to assume that American history reflects a racist past. Among other things it is not very respectful toward the people who actually lived that history.

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      1. There is no reason other than racism for laws that required black Americans to sit in the back of a public bus up until 1965.

        Nor is there any reason other than racism to have very specific legal covenants prohibiting blacks from buying property with the same freedom of choice as other citizens. .

        Stupidity and ignorance are not mutually exclusive with racism. I contend they often go hand in hand. Not in crafting the racist laws but in their acceptance.

        Admitting we have a racist past that extended long after emancipation is not a matter of respect or disrespect. It is history. Ignoring history is like ignoring that it rained yesterday to determine if we should water the garden.

        Now that would be stupid and ignorant.

        IMHO

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