Skip to main content

A little background: I'm in a Facebook argument with a conservative friend (who happens to be a history teacher) and his namecalling, liberal-hating uncle over the Democratic Party and its commitment to civil rights, among other things.

From the page:

For more than 200 years, our party has led the fight for civil rights, health care, Social Security, workers' rights, and women's rights. We are the party of Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, FDR, and the countless everyday Americans who work each day to build a more perfect union. Take a look at some of our accomplishments, and you'll see why we're proud to be Democrats.
I'm at a loss on how to defend a statement like this when I am not sure it is entirely true. And so I turn to the Great Orange Satan for help!

Join me on the other side!

Basically, I'm getting beat up pretty good about LBJ and how he was a racist (even though he signed the Civil Rights Act) and FDR's internment camps (for the Japanese-Americans in World War II).

It's the usual "all Democrats are liars" stuff from the uncle.

But in a way, it's a good question.

How can the Democrats lay claim to being the party of civil rights, women's rights and all that good stuff for over 200 years? Did they really do that? Or is it just hyperbole?

I have a Facebook argument awaiting me. I await your answers and assistance!


My friend also used this article as proof that Democrats were anti-civil rights until 1996:

The article is called "The Democrat Race Lie" from a website called Black & Right.


The Democratic Party - has it always been a force for good?

5%8 votes
86%129 votes
8%12 votes

| 149 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    The Republican Party is now the sworn enemy of the United States of America.

    Listen to All Over The Place - we play all kinds of music!

    by TheGreatLeapForward on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:21:29 PM PDT

  •  Tell 'em that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheGreatLeapForward, alain2112

    We're a Work in Process Progress

    Notice: This Comment © 2012 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:29:38 PM PDT

  •  You're in a stupid irrelevant debate, friend. (7+ / 0-)

    Why are you wasting your time?

    And why are you wasting my time????

    Go Get Out the Vote and stop pissing your life away, is my advice.

    Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

    by Clem Yeobright on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:32:25 PM PDT

  •  10-second history lesson (25+ / 0-)

    In the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, the Democrats were kindly disposed toward the South's despicable philosophies and practices.  

    As northern Democrats became increasingly decent over time about civil rights, southern Democrats (known as Dixiecrats) jumped to the Republican Party.  

    Then Goldwater began - and Nixon perfected - the Republicans' "southern strategy," churning up as much race hatred among white voters as possible to keep them in power, even though their platforms were unpopular and really pretty bad for the lives of the white racists they were courting.

    The Republicans have been stuck in time every since and the more dependent they've become on their vile strategy, the more they've shrunk down to being a regional party of the south.

    In many ways, we continue to fight the Civil War today.  The issues are pretty damn close to the same, but the names of the two major combatants have switched.

    "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

    by KateCrashes on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:35:43 PM PDT

    •  Well The Dixiecrats Jumped Because of Civil/Voting (11+ / 0-)

      rights acts, I think really the voting rights act may have been their last straw.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:37:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yup. What it demonstrates is two things: (14+ / 0-)

      1) Over time, the Democratic Party has become more progressive on race issues, to become the most progressive of the two major parties on the issue,

      and 2) the Republicans -- despite the evidence of their own senses and the tide of history and the moral arc of the universe bending towards justice and all that -- have consciously decided over time that they want to throw their lot in with the reactionaries.

      No one forced the Republicans to adopt the Southern Strategy. Race-baiting was not the only option available to Reagan when his campaign initiated the ugly "welfare queen" fiction. Dog-whistle politics were not the only option available to GHW Bush when his campaign released the awful Willie Horton ads. And no one is holding a gun to Teabaggers' heads, making them hurl peanuts at African-American photojournalists or drawing up ugly caricatures of their African-American president.

      Modern Republicans, even with all of the advantages and information available to them, have made a conscious decision to be the party of reaction on race. So, GreatLeap, you can tell your Republican friend to put that in their pipe and smoke it.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:49:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You notice that (0+ / 0-)

      Your "history" lesson is nothing like it.

      Northern, southern democrats, blabla. You're completely omitting a bunch of things.

      Why don't we just say, who cares about it? These arguments are akin to saying Germany was ruled by Nazis. Yes it was, and so?

      Admitting Democrats are not perfect is actually kinda healthy. I'm still wondering why Chappaquiddick is taboo. Can't one believe in social welfare state without being in love with some idea of a "Democratic party" or its "leaders"?

  •  It is hyperbole as you suggest (14+ / 0-)

    Certainly the Republican Party was the home of abolition in the mid-19th century. And the upshot of that was that the Democratic Party was the home for all southern politicians for almost 100 years.

    As for LBJ, well he was a child of his time and place and his private attitudes would probably get him in a lot of hot water today. But when push came to shove, he took the lead in doing the right thing, even though he knew it was controversial and would hurt his party politically.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:35:46 PM PDT

    •  There Was an Element of Him Having to PLay (6+ / 0-)

      race politics of his various times to get to the top. He spent almost all his political capital including ending the Democratic Party's being a liberal party by sending the populist southern Dems to the Republicans in order to accomplish voting & civil rights. I have to doubt he'd have championed them if he'd always been staunchly opposed to them.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:40:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  LBJ grew as his power grew (10+ / 0-)

      That's kind of unusual - tends to go the other way.  

      He grew up truly dirt poor - picking cotton when he was only nine to earn money for his desperate family.  Understanding the realities of poverty seemed, over time, to diminish whatever racist sentiments he harbored because he came to see racism (quite correctly) as government-enforced poverty.

      He never got to be a saint, but for a racist, he sure kicked the hell out of government-sanctioned racism.  

      And long before that, he committed scattered acts of human decency when confronted by racism, like when, as a Senator, he angrily decreed that the body of a Mexican-American soldier would be interred in Arlington National Cemetery after the funeral home in the soldier's Texas hometown refused to let the "non-white" body be laid out in one of its dainty parlors.

      "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

      by KateCrashes on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:58:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually, no (6+ / 0-)

    The Democratic Party was for a long time the pro-Slavery party. Remember Lincoln (the Republican) -- he ran on a platform of abolishing Slavery against a Democratic opponent. The Democrats were chiefly responsible for starting the Civil War, and when they lost it, responsible for enacting Jim Crow laws in the South and denying blacks the right to vote (and most other rights in the bargain).

    It was Lyndon B. Johnson, and a strong Democratic Congress who enacted the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s and began to transform the South by enforcing desegregation and the right to vote. Till the late 60s the South voted as a bloc for Democratic candidates. Go to David Leip's atlas and look at the states that voted for JFK, Johnson, or Jimmy Carter. Of course, Johnson famously said when signing the Civil Rights Act into law that he feared he was signing away the South to the Republican Party... and it has come to pass as we all well know.

    It was George MacGovern in 1972 that perhaps for the first time saw and appealed to the constituencies that form the contemporary Democratic Party... minorities, women, gays. He lost to Nixon in a landslide but the election of Obama in 2008 and the current preeminence of the Democratic Party in representing those constituencies has been called "MacGovern's revenge"

  •  When LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act all of the (14+ / 0-)

    racists Dixiecrats moved en mass to the GOP. Which means that the party of Lincoln has now become the last bastion of racist voters.

    "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

    by Susan Grigsby on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:38:37 PM PDT

  •  Ask them (12+ / 0-)

    who was Ronald Reagan appealing to when he began his Presidential campaign with a speech in Philadelphia Mississippi on "States Rights"? Philadelphia, Mississippi is where three civil rights workers were murdered.

    What was Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy"?

    The racist didn't fight for civil rights, they fought civil rights. LBJ fought for the Civil Rights act and knew it would cost the Democratic Party the south.

    There were many Democratic racist in the South following the Civil War. Nixon began to turn them Republican in 1968. Reagan completed the task in 1980.

    "Who is John Galt?" A two dimensional character in a third rate novel.

    by Inventor on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:39:28 PM PDT

  •  It is worded badly/misleadingly (3+ / 0-)

    It is true that they have fought for worker's rights for 200 years.   Civil rights in the 1790's -- not so much (ask women, non-whites and native Americans.)   To be absolutely fair, the same is true of the Republicans.

    What is true is that the Republicans are the party of Lincoln (although even then ending slavery was a minority position in the Republican party.)    That is why what they have become is so sad.

    Overall it is pretty silly for either party to make these historical claims since they have almost no communality with their beginnings.   We no longer have "smoke filled rooms" to decide the candidate, unless you count the smoke blown at the Republican convention.

  •  2 things: (4+ / 0-)

    1) Whoever wrote that blub didn't do a very good job of it -- what's mean there is that the party is 200 years old and here's what we fight for today.

    2) Facebook arguments aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

    You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

    by kenlac on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:42:40 PM PDT

  •  The Democratic Party has Learned from the Past (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheGreatLeapForward, Ahianne

    Its not what was, but it what's now and tomorrow.  If we were to hold on to the past, then the dream of MLK would be meaningless.  Look at Nelson Mandela in South Africa, he forgave those who mistreated him.  The point is, we must right wrongs with justice and closure, but once a wrong is right...we must learn to move on.  Additionally, the reason the party platform switch was because the racist within the past Democratic Party did a mass exodus to the Republican Party.  And they remain there ever since.

  •  Over 200 years, our party and its leaders (8+ / 0-)

    have championed wrong, evil causes, from the Trail of Tears to Jim Crow to Manzanar.

    Through painful events, when we've been forced to look at our sins, we have learned to do better, then even better, expanding the idea of equal rights to such outlandishly "foreign" types as women, LGBT and disabled people.

    I do not embrace all our history. But I do like our trajectory.

  •  Both parties have complex histories (6+ / 0-)

    but there's no question that Republicans -- or at least the Radical Republican faction of the party --  in the 1850s-70s were better on civil rights than the Democrats.  However, a major component of the Republican coalition were the Barnburner Democrats, northern Democrats especially from New York and Pennsylvania who were fed up with the domination of their party by southerners and many of whom were particularly good on the race question.  

    Thomas Jefferson did help found the party that eventually became the Democratic Party (in his day it was called the Republican or at times Democratic-Republican Party), and though Jefferson had pretty backward notions on race himself he did help author the Northwest Ordinances in the 1780s.  The Northwest Ordinances banned slavery in the Ohio Territory (current states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin), and contributed to the antebellum division of the United States into a slave South and a free North.  I think the Democrats can legitimately lay claim to an anti-slavery position for the frontier in the 18th century, though it's more complicated to say their inspiration was respect for black civil rights.

    The old Democratic-Republican Party was transformed into the modern Democratic Party during the Age of Jackson in the 1820s and 1830s, when under the stewardship of party head Martin van Buren, the Democrats added urban workers in the newly industrializing North into their existing coalition of Southern landowners and small farmers on the frontier.  The alliance between Democrats and the labor movement originated in that expansion, although it's not a straight line development from the Jacksonian era to today's close relationship between trade unions and the Democratic Party.

    At the end of the 19th century, the Populist Movement tended to align with Democrats but the Progressive Movement developed out of and initially worked within the Republican Party.  LaFollette eventually turned the Progressives into an independent third party, but not before Teddy Roosevelt (a Republican) had enacted a good part of the Progressive platform.

    I haven't followed your link yet, but from your description of it I'm highly skeptical.  Though it took them some time to get there in the fifties (when the GOP was more clearly the party of civil rights) by the 1960s the Democrats had pretty clearly come to dominate that issue.  After Nixon's openly racist Southern Strategy came to dominate Republican presidential strategies in 1968, the Democrats have been the clear representative of African Americans in US politics.

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 04:47:08 PM PDT

    •  So I skimmed through the link (3+ / 0-)

      and most of the stuff in there actually checks out.  It is true Southern Democrats defended slavery before the Civil War and that the Democratic Party after the war represented the interests of the southern white ruling class.  While the Republicans weren't great on race issues after the end of Reconstruction, they did tend to be better on them.  And the Radical Republicans, especially during Reconstruction, were really, really good on race issues.  (Many of those Radical Republicans, however, used to be Northern Democrats before they split with the party over the slavery issue.)

      The link is totally wrong, however, for anything after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.  While it's true southern Democrats opposed the Act, they did in fact leave the party after Johnson got it passed with Republican support.  And then you got the great switch in American racial politics.

      It's important to remember that George Wallace was a Democratic politician, as were most of the Southern racists who fought to turn back the civil rights movement.  But none of those people have a role in the party today, and most of them were gone from the party by the early 1970s.  And while it's true that some of the most vocal defenders of civil rights prior to 1964 were northern Republicans, those are the exact same "moderates" who no longer feel welcome in the Republican Party of today.

      As I explained above, I think the Democrats can make a legitimate claim to a 200-year history of supporting progressive causes, even though their history on race issues is not nearly so good.  In the current day, however, there absolutely are real and valid historical reasons why the Democrats win 90% of the black vote and Mitt Romney needs 61% of all whites to vote for him to have any chance to get elected.

      The GOP today is the party of racism.  Any black man -- including Bob Parks -- who thinks otherwise is simply fooling himself.  He's been played, and now he's trying to play the rest of us.

      Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
      ¡Boycott Arizona!

      by litho on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 05:02:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So back in the age of Lincoln, (3+ / 0-)

    the Republicans were basically the progressive party, fighting for a strong federal government as opposed to strong states rights. The Democratic party at the time was strongly states rights (ie keep your slaves).  And the Dixiecrats (southern democrats) definitely did NOT help the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s. Civil liberties and social justice were pretty much a draw (some liberal and some conservative in each party) between the parties until the Reagan years, when the war on the poor started, handily right along with the war on drugs and crack cocaine flooding poor urban neighborhoods.

    Reagan's administration changed the Republican party. Rove and Cheney were already power players (I think they worked for Ford, maybe even Nixon) and the decision was made to woo the christian fundamentalists for political gain. A party purge happened over the next 30 years and many amazing republicans have been lost to fundamentalist values. Google Republican Lowell Weiker - I'd certainly take him over Leiberman, the Democrat whom conservatives supported to defeat Weiker.  And I grew up with an awesome republican senator, Mac Mathias of MD.  He was purged in the '80s. The last decent republican congressman, Mike Castle of DE, was driven out when he was beaten in the primaries by that crazy tea party  fundamentalist witch person, Christine "I live off of campaign donations" Whateverhernamewas in 2008. Gratefully, she lost in the general.

    So your conservative relatives are not wrong but the party has changed drastically since the Reagan years and only caters to the crazies now, using issues like abortion and bigotry to fire up the hate and fear so that the plebes will go out and vote for more tax breaks for the Koch brothers.

    •  The southern strategy started with Nixon (3+ / 0-)

      Not Reagan.  He realized in '68 as has been pointed out many times up thread that he could put a coalition together by appealing to the southern racists who used to be the 'Dixiecrats' now alienated by the passage of Johnson's Civil Rights Act, arguably gotten through Congress on a wave of remorse and emotion after the Kennedy assassination.  Up until that point the parties had been a mixed bag on Civil Rights.  Early on it was the Republicans obviously, the party of Lincoln, and TR.  Then Elenore Roosevelt was a real champion of Civil Rights as was Harry Truman.  In the fifties there were champions on both sides of the aisle.  Kennedy was a rhetorical champion who's primary focus was the cold war and trying to keep us from getting destroyed in a nuclear holocaust, some feel he was a little late to the party on Civil Rights but when he did engage he came down forcefully and with a clear voice and of course he was cut short.  Johnson passed the Civil Rights Bill and Nixon cynically exploited it with the infamous Southern Strategy which has been the Republican approach for fifty years now, appealing to the rich and a sense of white resentment of demographic change.

  •  Good god almighty. (6+ / 0-)

    Look at this map, and then look at this map. Why are you even arguing with someone about what constituted the Democratic Party in the fucking past? Is that the party that's up for election in 2012?

    Forgive me, but I have trouble believing a progressive isn't familiar with a basic component of the political history of this country -- that the Dixiecrats who started the Civil War, promoted hawkish interventionism and cultural conservatism, and stonewalled civil rights for ages on end, fled to the Republican Party after 1964.

    "Let's put the jam on the lower shelf so the little people can reach it." - Ralph Yarborough

    by Zutroy on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 05:05:20 PM PDT

  •  No Excuses Can Be Made (3+ / 0-)

    about our history, both as a country and as a party. The truth is, the country was won from the Native Americans after a lot of trickery and bloodshed.

    Slavery continues to be a blight on our history.

    What I like about the American story is our capacity to right injustice and to change for the better. The Founding Fathers endowed us with a Constitution which is capable of accommodating change and providing the foundation for forming a "more perfect Union."

    What I absolutely love about the Democratic Party is its ability to transcend its shameful past, reverse over a hundred years of history and, in the end do the right thing. By God, do the right thing. Giving voice to the oppressed, fighting against powerful interests and for social and economic justice... being a force for good.

    I was absolutely thrilled to discover that President Obama is a descendent (through his mother) of the first person to be officially recorded as a slave in the United States. There is poetic justice here.... and, if this is not the hand of Providence at play, I don't know what is.

  •  both parties had its religious bigots (3+ / 0-)

    The big picture is this: The dominant culture has always ruled BOTH parties through history - the White conserative christian majority.

    It never was, and has never been, a 100% culturally/racially/religiously progressive party vs. a 100% culturally/racially/religiously conserative party.

    It has always been MORE conservative White Christian vs LESS conservative White Christian - even today.

    "Progressive" values has its roots in White Christian cultural majority indoctrination just as much as right wing Fundamentalism does.

    It is important to understand that "Progressivism" pre-Civil Rights era isn't the  same as  progressivism in 2012 - especially fiscal progressivism.

    Fiscal progressivism does not necessarily equal social progressivism. The best way to judge the 'progressivism' of a fiscally progressive policy from any era is to look at the social foundation that it was built on.  If the fiscally progressive policies were borne out of bigotry & social exclusiveness - then it is not really fiscally progressive.

    One of the stipulations that the Dixiecrats, who were the authors of the Jim Crow Laws, made with FDR regarding the New Deal was that it was to be for Whites only.  The New Deal would have never been passed without this socially conservative foundation. When this foundation was destroyed with  the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the social conservatives left the Democratic Party and turned against fiscal progressivism ideologically.

    Nazi Germany is another example of a nation that had fiscally progressive policies built on a socially conservative foundation.

    Unions are considered fiscally 'progressive', but their historical origins are founded on racist social conservatism - their original purpose was to prevent their employers from giving their jobs to minorities for lesser pay.

    Remember that one of the popular arguments that Lincoln's Republican Party had for freeing the slaves wasn't that they were considered equals, but because the slaves were 'taking their jobs'. Lincoln didn't directly free the slaves, and even schemed to have them deported from the U.S. because he considered them a threat to the country.

    •  the reality is: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Today, we technically aren't trying to bring the party of FDR & LBJ.  As much as we love fiscal policies of that era -  it was built on top of a large socially conservative foundation and would not have been possible otherwise. The  party of FDR/LBJ is actually long gone, as of the Civil Rights Act

      We are actually starting anew, trying to build something that has never been done in America before - fiscal domestic policies built on top of a truly progressive foundation.

  •  Real short history (0+ / 0-)

    In the 1860's the Repubs were the 'liberal' party and the Dems were the 'conservatives'.

    It took 200 years to get swapped around.

    (The main switch happened between the two Roosevelts -- and had to do with the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and Al Smith.)

  •  no, because Democrats weren't always liberals (6+ / 0-)

    It's not Democrats that have always been a force for good, it's liberals.  

    When the Republican party was founded, it had a progressive ideology:  an end to human slavery.  This is what the "party of Lincoln" has forgotten.  Every improvement that has ever been made in Society has been because of liberals and in spite of conservatives.  This is not to say conservatives are incapable of good or liberals of evil, but conservatives look backward to a mythical golden past and liberals look forward to a potential golden future.  Each is ultimately a dream, but when a improvement is finally made, it's the liberals that did it.

  •  Do your own homework, my friend (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clem Yeobright

    That link is loaded down and running over with half-truths, omissions and faulty logic, and you could drive a Mack truck through the whole argument. If I can see that after one brief look through it, then you can get all the ammunition you need against your friend and his uncle.

    Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

    by RamblinDave on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 06:01:20 PM PDT

  •  I can't add much to the information other people (3+ / 0-)

    have given you. From what I know off the top of my head, most of what people have summarized for you seems right.

    However, I'm not a Democrat because of their policies two hundred years ago. I'm a Democrat because of where they stand today.

    I followed the link to Black and Right and you may have noticed that most of the examples of Democratic racism on that very long list date from the nineteenth century. The last example is about how mostly southern Democrats didn't support the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was legislation that President Johnson wanted. Other people have already described how the "Dixiecrats" left the party after that.

    After that, the list gives a few examples of Republicans doing positive things on the subject of civil rights. Several of those are extensions of Johnson's landmark legislation and were not, to my knowledge, opposed by Democrats, so I don't see how you can use those as examples of Democratic racism.

    The final example, which I guess is the origin of the notion that Democrats were not as good on the subject of civil rights as Republicans in 1996, is totally absurd.

    It is important to know that transracial adoption does not have an exclusively rosy "We are the World" history. Many people who are not knowledgeable about the subject assume that the only objections to transracial adoptions come from racist whites. Quite the contrary, many minority groups have seen interracial adoption as a threat. For instance, the Indian Adoption Project was seen as part of a policy of forced cultural assimilation and was resisted by many Native American tribes. The National Association of Black Social Workers has been opposed to transracial adoption for decades and came out with Preserving African American Families in 1994.

    Proponents of transracial adoption were seen by some as being paternalistic and culturally imperialistic. The view that African American children would automatically be better off in a white, presumably middle-class, home was itself seen as a racist point of view. The position of the NABSW was, and I believe still is, that more help should be given to aid parents in keeping their biological children and that more effort should be made to encourage African American families to adopt. Adoption of African American children by white families should be a last option.

    I remember this period pretty clearly because I was searching for my biological family at the time and was in contact with a lot of people in adoptee groups.

    1996, Rep. Susan Molinari, a Republican from New York, sponsored a bill to give a tax credit to adoptive parents. The bill also imposed a fine on "a fine on states that delayed trans-racial adoptions in hopes of finding a same-race placement." The bill was supported by President Clinton, so it doesn't prove much one way or another about Democrats.

    Here is the New York Times editorial criticizing the tax credit portion of the bill: A Misguided Adoption Credit.

  •  Who cares? (0+ / 0-)

    The positions of the two main parties we have today have moved around so much over the years that the question is really just irrelevant.

    Probably the biggest switch began when Southern Democrats switched to the GOP after segregation passed. That switch has also driven a bunch of former Republicans out of their party, some to become Democrats, most to become disgusted “independents”.

    What matters is how the two parties line up “now”, meaning roughly since the 1980s, when lots of Boomers started voting Republican, caught up in the Reagan Revolution. Since those days, I think that the Democrats have mostly been on the good side, and the Republicans mostly on the bad side.

  •  "black & right," eh? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There's a teeny, tiny clue there, I think.

    Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

    by rasbobbo on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 07:21:16 PM PDT

  •  A couple of things to mention: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, RamblinDave

    1.  Frame it as liberal vs conservative.  

    2.  All the Southern Democrats became Republicans after LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 07:39:01 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site