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President Lyndon Johnson passes to Martin Luther King, Jr. the pen with which he signed the Voting Rights Act on Aug. 6, 1965.
As someone who communicates a lot about race and politics, I spend more of my time than I should arguing with Republicans about why black people are so forgiving of racism. Does that sound odd to you? Well, I hear it several times a week.

Usually it starts something like this: “How can you be a Democrat when it is the party of slavery, Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, and segregation? West Virginia Senator Robert Bird was an Exalted Cyclops in the KKK, for heaven’s sake!”

When I say that slavery and Jim Crow were a while ago--that the party is different now, they pounce. Oh, really? What about back in 2008 when Senator Harry Reid said that Barack Obama would make a good presidential candidate because he had no “negro dialect” and was “light-skinned”?  Or worse, when during the 2008 Democratic Primary, former President Bill Clinton, pressing Senator Ted Kennedy for an endorsement of his wife over Obama, allegedly said, "A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee."? ( And yes, I know the link quotes Mark Halperin, whom some of you hate with the heat of a thousand suns, but I believe Clinton said it.)

It seems a fair question. Why do blacks forgive the Democratic Party its racist past? It is, after all, the party of slavery. And why do we forgive the many slights and slurs we're hit with by it's leaders in the present?

But I am asked this question most often by Republicans who tell me in the next breath to "get over" the very things for which I should condemn today's Democrats. I should “get over" slavery, but hold the Democratic Party responsible for it. I should "get over" Jim Crow, but hold the Democratic Party responsible for it. I should "get over" segregation, but hold the Democratic Party responsible for it. I should also condemn Bill Clinton and Harry Reid, to say nothing of Robert Byrd, along with Joe “They’re going to put y’all back in chains” Biden, and a dozen others. Lyndon “I’ll have those ni**ers voting Democratic for 200 years” Johnson is a particular favorite.

But here’s the thing. I don't live in a world of perfect people and perfect parties without stain or blemish from which I can choose to support. For now, we have two major parties in this country. One, the Democratic Party, has a disgraceful past and is filled with fallible human beings. But it is a coalition party, a genuine melting pot. It is a party that genuinely cares about white folks, but also about people of color, women, the poor, the oppressed, the young, and the elderly. There is racism, yes, but it is far more an effect of being a broad-based party than being, say, a party OF racism, one that has purged and distilled and purity-tested itself down to some racist, sexist, homophobic, cold-hearted, corporatist, anti-human core.

Ahem.

So we forgive LBJ because forgiveness is good for the soul, plus, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act were hugely important for blacks in this country. And we forgive men like Senator Robert Byrd that renounce their racist past. And we forgive the men who support the first black President, such as Joe Biden and Bill Clinton, even as we forgive the party that elected that black President.

Because why wouldn't we?


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Originally posted to ChrisLRobinson on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:09 AM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  More projection (32+ / 0-)

    Republicans are racists so they assume the people they dislike feel the same way towards them.  It's what's behind their Obama is "racially divisive" meme.  His mere presence reminds them of black people, and churns up all their fears about black people seeking revenge for how badly whites have treated them, because that's what they would do.  That's why they can't understand the concept of forgiveness nor the idea that you have to be pragmatic, and, sometimes, it's choosing the lesser of the evils.  

    •  True (17+ / 0-)

      If a Republican sends out an email with Obama appearing as a Gorilla, it's just a joke.  But my all the sensitivity to racism they will dredge up to criticize any Democrat for the sins of their forefathers and foremothers decades old.  I've heard these same talking points recited verbatim so many times, I sometimes believe that Republicans are all residents of the town of Stepford where not just the wives behave like robots.

      "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

      by Steven D on Tue May 20, 2014 at 11:15:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and (7+ / 0-)

        if the GOP is so high and mighty, then let's hear them talk about what they have done, not what they claim somebody else has or has not done.

        Easy response - the GOP's got nothing.  

        "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

        by azureblue on Tue May 20, 2014 at 08:57:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True. And when they DO talk accomplishments (4+ / 0-)

          most are about slavery and Reconstruction. Recently, someone on our side tried to say that not all Republicans are bad, that there are good black conservatives. The person named Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Eldridge Cleaver, and Colin Powell. They meant well, and I got there point. That's why I didn't point out the obvious--two of those people are from the 1860's, one is from the 1960's, and the last is considered a RINO by many Republicans.

          •  some blacks in the 40s-50s-60s were Republicans (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chrislrob, fenway49

            in negative response to Dixiecrat racism

            but most of those Dixiecrats are Republicons now!

            Colin Powell and CondoLIEzza Rice et al are deliberately choosing to stay stuck in their childhood experiences of Democrats and Republicans despite all the current evidence (except Colin Powell almost certainly voted for Obama)

            it's like loving a musical artist for the records he made when you were 15, and only listening to those records, even though his career since then has been one horrendous album after another.

            Political imprinting dies hard.

            Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
            DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
            Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

            by TrueBlueMajority on Thu May 22, 2014 at 06:18:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  If the United States didn't "forgive" (12+ / 0-)

    nations that have actually fought wars against us we'd have only France as a friend. And if we decided that we would not forgive the old-time KKK Democrats by continuing to hold their great grandchildren responsible, guess what? Their descendents are today mostly Republicans.

  •  Would LBJ want his daughter in an interracial (36+ / 0-)

    relationship? Hell fucking no, would be my guess.

    Would FDR? Would Lincoln? Of course not.

    The point is how the power and money are applied. Their personal feelings I couldn't care about. Liking each other is nice, but unimportant with respect to public policy.

    So it doesn't matter me who says nigger this and nigger that. Whatever. I don't get nearly as worked up by bigoted language as white folks do. People have the right to bad manners. What I care about is the fairness of the system. And if the system is made more fair by a person with bad manners like LBJ, I'll take it. Racial epithets and all. Ill take that over platitudes and inaction.

    By the way, Harry Truman was also, like most folks of his generation, a bigot seven different ways. But, he integrated the military. He figured it was the right thing to do, and it would win him votes. Thats fine by me. Fine if LBJ thought that way too.

    •  LBJ died in 1973 (19+ / 0-)

      He belonged to the generation of my grandfather.  I would say with confidence my grandfather would have scant patience with racially mixed couples.  I have biracial children.

      What LBJ would have thought is irrelevant; I would be much more interested in what his grandchildren have to say.

      (BTW when GOPers bring up Byrd, I mention Jimmy Carter.  A big tent means a diversity of world views)

    •  LBJ Devoted Time & Energy Teaching an Illiterate (23+ / 0-)

      Latino laborer to read as I recall, back in his Texas days. So he's known to have gone out of his way to engage personally with minorities.

      We have to remember that not only was LBJ a person of his times, he and his family were living in a society of their times.

      Whatever LBJ thought personally about a child marrying interracially in his years of parenting young adults, he couldn't ignore the way the rest of society was certain to treat them should they make that decision. It was a very big deal in the late 60's movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner although the dating and young-married generation was already regarding the angst as outdated. But it wasn't for the middle agers watching the film.

      And those middle agers are today's Tea Party, the very same generation that produced so many who just will. not. get. past. it. despite the generation also producing pioneers from John Lewis to Bob Dylan. [That age bracket between "greatest" and boomers might be America's most schizophrenic ever for its extremes, given the times.]

      I honestly don't know how personal LBJ's openness or bigotry toward Blacks was, neither extreme would surprise me yet as you pointed out, he did the very best almost anyone could have for the big picture.

      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 Tue May 20, 2014 at 07:10:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When it comes to being a person of one's time, (10+ / 0-)

        I ask these questions. Was this person typical for their time? Was this person worse than their time? Was this better than their time?

        For Truman, LBJ, FDR, and Lincoln, the question is yes, they were definitely better than their times. There's something to be said for being on the right side of history when it matters.

        Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

        by RhodeIslandAspie on Tue May 20, 2014 at 04:00:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree completely. (8+ / 0-)

          I'm always arguing this about Lincoln and the abolitionists. They wanted to end slavery and that was pretty progressive for that time in America. But it doesn't mean they all believed in the full humanity of black people. If the slaves had somehow demanded that those people believe in full equality or if the hardcore abolitionists had demanded its membership only include such people, slavery might have ended in the 1930's.

          •  Lincoln Was (5+ / 0-)

            Actually pretty clear he didn't believe in it.  He made clear why he was first threatening to free Black folks, and clear again why he was actually freeing us - and it had zero to do with our humanity as Black folks.

            So while I'm certainly grateful that political expediency meant that my ancestors got to be free when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation as a way of trying to cripple the states in rebellion, Lincoln gets no more than a respectful thanks from me for that.  But that's all.  All the rest of that hero worship other folks whose ancestors didn't have to wait for a war to be human in America can engage in.

            At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

            by shanikka on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:31:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You'd probably think me a Lincoln worshipper. (5+ / 0-)

              I see the war as allowing Lincoln to get two things he valued--the continuation of the Union and the end of slavery. That destabilizing slavery helped win the war doesn't mean he didn't want slavery destabilized.

              Lincoln was clear that he didn't think he had a legal right to summarily end slavery. That seems correct to me. But he used his war powers to essentially do just that--most people knew that between the Confiscation Acts and the EP the administration had struck serious blows against slavery, even if it survived. And the people that knew it most were the slaveowners, who saw the EP as a call to slaves to rise up in bloody revolt for their freedom.

              Consider the flip side: I'm fairly certain that the Confederacy could have survived if it had been willing to arm its slaves. Or, better yet, to end slavery. The Confederacy was denied the kind of vital foreign assistance the American colonists received from the French during the Revolutionary War precisely because they were slavers. That is why neither the British nor the French came in on their side. And they knew it. Still, they never seriously considered either. Because they were committed to slavery.

              Finally, not only was Lincoln elected on a platform of no further expansion of slavery, not only did he preside over a series of Acts that seriously undermined it where it did exist, he then presided over it's actual elimination. And then started talking about giving black people the right to vote. All of this within about four years. That last thing? That voting thing? That's what pushed John Wilkes Booth over the edge. He said it would be the last speech Lincoln ever gave.

              And it was.

              •  Lincoln believed slavery was bad for the country (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                chrislrob

                economically and morally.  There is no question of that, indeed the Republican party split from the Whigs on that very question.

                But he also didn't really think blacks were equal to whites.  That was a separate topic.  His published solution until the events in the war pushed him further was to send them back to Africa.

                •  From what I've read on the subject (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Nowhere Man, TheMeansAreTheEnd

                  Lincoln's views on black people as people evolved quite a bit from his earliest writings. A lot of that seemed to be due to his acquaintance with Frederick Douglass. He learned that his previous positions were wrong and he adjusted them to fit the new facts. I'll stand up for a guy like that.

                  Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

                  by milkbone on Wed May 21, 2014 at 02:48:55 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I've wanted to believe you are right (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TheMeansAreTheEnd

                    Sadly not much got written down about that evolution and if he'd have ever written about it, his life was cut too short for that to happen.

                    He did evolve on the topic of "can they fight".  So it's plausible he evolved on other topics too.

            •  Yikes, Shannika! All of that Lincoln butt-kissing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              1toughlady

              I do in the post next to this one and I forgot to say this part: I don't believe Lincoln was sure of the full humanity of black folks, either. Like someone above said about LBJ--would he want a black man to marry his daughter? "F**k no. But I don't need him to believe that to give credit where credit is due.

          •  "I do not hold with equality in all things..." (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wasatch, chrislrob, Calamity Jean

            "...only with equality before the law!"

            If the movie "Lincoln" presented history accurately, Rep. Stevens did believe in racial equality, though no doubt his heart was not pure -- whose is? But like you said, there was no way to insist on that point and still free the slaves.

          •  Lincoln was a freaking radical for his times (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chrislrob, Calamity Jean

            But he thought it would be better to ship the black folks back to Africa.

            Seriously, the Republican party when Lincoln got elected was the Tea Party, in the way others saw them.  He was President Palin in 2012, after his party fractured over the slavery question.

            Don't underestimate that when thinking about the time period.  The Rs had all the abolitionists, but Lincoln was their version of a "centrist".

            The one true thing Lincoln clearly believed in was the Union.  He beat back every political attack and bent all of his compromises and "evolving" positions around that goal.

            When it became clear that letting blacks fight would help, he let them fight.  When ending slavery would, in his mind, do more to help his side win the war than prevent the south from rejoining the union, he did that.

            He was a very great man.  But he was also a product of his times.  Very few white Americans in his time really imagined that blacks were fully human.

        •  I'm not So Sure (4+ / 0-)

          You have to remember the person who was a major factor in LBJ's political ascension, and one of his closest personal friends -

          Richard B. Russell.

          Not sure you could find too many fouler racists.  He personally, along with Robert Byrd, used all of the rules of procedure to filibuster the Civil Rights Act. More than once.

          Now, I admit I'm one of those Black folk that believe that if you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas.  You can say that LBJ was a man of his times, but the fleas running on his back were those of the racists he was in bed with.  He did what he had to do, in signing the Civil Rights Bill.  But no matter what needy Latino person he may have helped, there is no evidence that he had any love lost for Black folks.  I don't "forgive" LBJ for that, and neither should anyone else.

          We are a loving people, to be sure, us Black folks.  But there is (should be) a limit.  Because otherwise we slip into forgetfulness, which has collectively never done us any good.

          At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

          by shanikka on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:28:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My wife agrees with you. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Calamity Jean

            She doesn't like this piece. She doesn't like the "forgiveness" angle. My point was that the same conservatives that want us to forgive America and Americans for a whole host of ills are angry when we actually do it. Unless they are the ones that directly benefit from that forgiveness.

            I don't know why LBJ "had to" get the CRA passed? Why did he have to? And the VRA? And the FHA?

            And the wife makes the point that, on some level, our "forgiveness" is an act of political expediency. Sometimes we just have to move on.

      •  Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chrislrob

        was just on TV again recently

        I saw it in the theatre when it was released, and barely remember it.  except for this speech:

        the credentials they gave Sidney Poitier were outrageously over the top then and laughable now

        but then I think about our President who has ridiculously strong credentials and the people who do not want their country to "marry" him!

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Thu May 22, 2014 at 06:26:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Verbalized racism is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chrislrob, Tonedevil, howabout

      more than bad manners. But, to the point of this Diary; this has nothing to do with forgiveness, because those people that are mentioned, who are dead and gone, did the right thing in spite of the prejudice they knew they harbored .

      This has to do with the present reality that started with Reagan and the Republicans and which also manifested itself through the so- called "Blue Dog" Democrats and thrusts its way into public policy.

      As far as I am concerned the Clintons are Blue Dogs . Given, Clinton is not running for President, but, if he were, I would not vote for him, nor any Democrat nor Republican that are like the Clintons.  

    •  Don't tell anyone but (6+ / 0-)

      this is the diary I would have written if I'd thought I could get away with it. They think we're stupid, B!

  •  Any reading of ACTUAL HISTORY.... (12+ / 0-)

    ....shows that in the 19th century, the Democratic Party was the party of slavery and secession (masquerading as "state's rights" and "personal freedom"-except for black people) and the Republican Party was the party of Union, and, eventually, Abolition. (their political enemies called them "the Black Republican Party!)

    The Republican Party has been changed from one that fights for Union and Freedom to one that is filled with ignorant morons screaming for oppression and secession, at the behest of the same class of people (rich Southern planters = rich inherited-money "investors" and "job creators") who brought us the War of Southern Treachery...and who are assiduously working extra shifts to destroy the Union.

    Civil War Re-enactors/Round Two Cheerleaders don't realize we all don't get up and brush ourselves off after an "action" that isn't elaborately-costumed performance art!

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:45:50 AM PDT

  •  GOP is fond of bringing up the past (21+ / 0-)

    I don't care what the GOP did in 1873, my question is "what have you done lately?"
    I also point out that the Dixiecrat wing of the Democrats largely migrated to the GOP.  Today, the Dixiecrats are firmly GOP, thanks to Nixon.

  •  Tipped & rec'ed (7+ / 0-)

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Tue May 20, 2014 at 07:01:54 AM PDT

  •  Because intent matters (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Sitzman, Penny GC, chrislrob, wasatch

    and theirs is as obvious as giant flashing neon kick me sign.

    It is a frustrating and over before it begins discussion that I've had IRL too. All they can sputter is "bbbbut"

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Tue May 20, 2014 at 07:17:29 AM PDT

  •  I'm really enjoying your thoughts on these topics (12+ / 0-)

    Please keep writing them. It's a wonderful discussion that I enjoy reading.

  •  parties are nothing but groups of people (7+ / 0-)

    and history shows that those "Democrats" of yore where invited and welcomed by the Republicans of today. It's that simple. Republicans made that choice and they own it.

    "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -John F. Kennedy

    by basquebob on Tue May 20, 2014 at 07:54:25 AM PDT

  •  Same answer as in South Africa (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrislrob, Jon Sitzman, Tonedevil, wasatch

    In South Africa the afrikanders (sic) in the National Party were forgiven by the other ethnic groups because of their recognition of the errors of the past. Admitted a lot was due to the catharsis of the Truth and Reconciliation process in which all sides participated.

    In the USA there has been a longer, slower process of such recognition mostly through education about the era and documentaries etc about it. (Take for example the differences between the depiction of the South in Birth of A Nation and 10 Years a Slave).

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Tue May 20, 2014 at 08:00:03 AM PDT

    •  And why was it longer and slower here? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, chrislrob

      methinks the folks in the National Party had basic survival instinct....

      The old Democrats had no need to confront their evil and change.

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Tue May 20, 2014 at 12:56:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  whites were 10% of South Africa at their peak (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chrislrob

        Once the will to oppress was gone, there was nothing that stood in the way of black rule.  It helped that there was no serious support for the dispossession or expulsion of the whites like had happened in Uganda or Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), nor any serious support for socialism under either the Soviet or Chinese banners, nor any serious support for radical black nationalism like that pursued by Mobutu in Zaire (now DR Congo) - in any event, a significant tribal divide between black South Africans as well as large "Coloured" (i.e mixed race) and "Indian" populations (legally established because they were not accepted among blacks any more than among whites) also made black nationalism a non-starter.  So even though they lost control of the government, except for apartheid the laws stayed the same and the whites still kept the land, kept the mines, kept their domestic servants, in short, kept their position in society despite the loss of political power.

        It was always fear rather than hate that drove apartheid: fear of blacks in and of themselves but also fear of communism, amplified by the fact that many black nationalist groups in other former colonies were in fact backed by the Soviet Union or Communist China.  In any event, the real hardcore racist, separatist "Dutch Calvinist God brought us here!" Boers were always a minority of a minority.  Most white South Africans were in fact of British ancestry, considered themselves [classical] liberals and racially enlightened, were tired of being essentially at war with all their neighbors, tired of the quasi-puritan attitudes of the Afrikaner elite, and were reassured by Mandela's rhetoric.   Most expats left because of crime; the black townships were always rough but apartheid did actually keep it out of white neighborhoods.

        There are also cynics who argue that the international sport boycott hit the South Africans harder than anything else.  South Africa's enormous mineral wealth kept the elites in money and the country as a whole afloat in spite of sanctions.

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Tue May 20, 2014 at 03:28:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Zim = Southern Rhodesia (0+ / 0-)

          Zimbabwe is the old colony of Southern Rhodesia. Northern Rhodesia became independent as Zambia.

          I am afraid I am one of your "cynics" as the sporting connections were extremely important for the white South Africans and boycotts rather than sanctions sped up the move to democracy. Cricket and (union rules) rugby were "white" while soccer was for "our boys". You just have to see the reaction Madeba got when donning a Springbok jersey at the Rugby World Cup finals to see its importance. As you rightly point out, with huge mineral resources, especially gold, the old Republic could have gone on indefinitely.  (This is also, by the way, why I think an academic boycott of Israel would speed up resolution of the I/P conflict).

          The other point you allude to is that interactions between the races happened far more than in, say, 1950s USA because of the presence of servants - virtually every middle class home had at least a maid and most still do. There was also a rather little explored personal relationship between the children and their "native" nannies. As the boys grew up, this relationship often led to inter-racial sexual relations and a fascination with black women at its crudest.

          "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

          by Lib Dem FoP on Tue May 20, 2014 at 05:25:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that was true in the American South as well (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chrislrob
            The other point you allude to is that interactions between the races happened far more than in, say, 1950s USA because of the presence of servants - virtually every middle class home had at least a maid and most still do.
            Black slaves made up about one-third of the population of the Confederacy - and even a narrow majority in heavy cotton-producing states - and like in South Africa they were a feature of any household with income to spare on their purchase, but more so on the farm to boost production than in the home.

            We know about the de facto segregated big city "ghetto", but even now there's a large swath of the rural South where blacks are actually in the majority.  This meant that blacks and whites interacted far more often in Dixie than they did up north or out west ... which you could argue is what made the question of dominance so overridingly important; a handful of blacks wouldn't be perceived as anywhere near as much of a threat.  Then consider that South Africa was and still is as black as the city of Detroit: over 80%.

            To this day you'll find the attitude in parts of the racist right that white liberals are liberal because they are wealthy and/or live in the north and west and either way have no actual experience with blacks - or minorities and foreigners in general - outside of a handful of educated, assimilated yuppies whom they take as representative of all blacks, all Muslims, etc. ... while good ol' boys get to see what large numbers of blacks are like without socialization to middle/upper-middle class white norms.

            Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

            by Visceral on Tue May 20, 2014 at 07:05:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Forgiveness is earned. (12+ / 0-)

    If one claims to follow the Bible, it's a three-part process:

    1) Confession - one must "own it." I have to acknowledge both my actions AND the harm they caused to another.

    2) Repentance - one must turn away from that behavior AND work in the opposite direction. When the word 'perverted' appears in the English New Testament, it's usually a translation of the Greek διαστρέφω (diastrephó), which indicates "completely wrong" - a 180-degree turn from what is appropriate. Thus, repentance (Greek μετάνοια (metanoia), "a change in the inner man") requires one to move (or try to move - it's hard to get it right on first attempt, eh?) to the complete opposite of the harmful behavior.

    3) Ask forgiveness - the important word is "ask", because we cannot claim forgiveness; it can only be granted by another.

    What we've come to call "nopologies" don't even get past the first step--the offenders never truly "own it"--and I think we'd all agree that the second step can take some time. Thus, I'm constantly amazed by people (in any situation) who think they can go straight to the third step. They aren't asking for forgiveness; they're asking for a free pass.

    Your last paragraph nailed it:

    So we forgive LBJ because forgiveness is good for the soul, plus, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act were hugely important for blacks in this country. And we forgive men like Senator Robert Byrd that renounce their racist past. And we forgive the men who support the first black President, such as Joe Biden and Bill Clinton, even as we forgive the party that elected that black President.
    I would suggest that this closely follows the path I've described in the corporate sense - an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, an inner change, evidence of that change, and the gift of forgiveness from those wronged.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Tue May 20, 2014 at 08:25:48 AM PDT

    •  Thank you, wesmorgan1 (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, Penny GC, chrislrob, worldlotus

      I really appreciate you spelling this out.

      “Now folks, by going on that web show, Barack Obama undermined the authority of the presidency. And that is Fox News' job.” - Stephen Colbert

      by Older and Wiser Now on Tue May 20, 2014 at 11:30:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  also prudent (4+ / 0-)

      Back in college in psychology class when we were discusing game theory there was an example of an experiment that was designed to test what was the best way to maximize 'profit'.  Should you always cheat, should you never cheat, if someone cheated you should you never forgive.  In this experiment it turned out that the best thing to do was to always be honest, but if someone cheated you to forgive and try to rebuild relationships later.  This is unsurprising because we know that this is the way we should behave, as documented by many of the world religions.

      The surprising result was if one added unequal relationships.  In the case the best bet for the group with a superior position was to always cheat those in an inferior position, and the only recourse was those in an inferior position to negotiate equality.  We saw this in the bus boycott and the sit ins.  

      In this scenario, forgiveness is something that only happens between equals.  A slave forgiving a master obviously has no effect on the relationship between the two, but a worker forgiving his boss might if there is an economic liability to quitting. Likewise, it is probably better to forgive a person who now at least stipulates as equal relationship rather than just keep the security with someone who does not.

      Now, of course this is all very materialistic and you were talking of spiritual  matters, but I think these are related in this case. As is said, forgiveness sometimes needs the side that has done wrong to change.  A prostitute forgiving those who want to stone her may save her immortal soul, but until we realize that only those that have no sin shall cast the first stone, will we achieve a world where all live fat and happy.

      •  Fascinating (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jan4insight

        I need to chew on your thougts a bit more, but I think ultimately you are talking about genuine "forgiveness" versus "being taken advantage but not strong enough to stand up for yourself".  It sounds like "forgiveness" generally come from a "position of power".  

        so how do we handle the situation where we have less power?  Now I'm thinking of Gandhi who was inspired by Jesus' "turn the other cheek" philosphy, as a way of influencing others, and led a nation to freedom from British rule as a result.  He asked his followers to be "soldiers for peace", to politely and bravely insist on being treated in the way that they felt was morally and ethicaly correct.  

        Thank you.

        “Now folks, by going on that web show, Barack Obama undermined the authority of the presidency. And that is Fox News' job.” - Stephen Colbert

        by Older and Wiser Now on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:07:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Non-Violence" was a Congress Party mantra (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chrislrob, Older and Wiser Now

          Gandhi himself probably believed in it wholeheartedly.

          Nehru, probably "not so much".

          No doubt the British IN India found it reassuring ... and the world outside India found it admirable.

          But  once Independence was achieved, Gandhi was soon disposed of,  and the inter-communial violence, previously held in check by the British Raj,  returned.

          In Gandhi's theory satyagraha "Soul Force" was supposed to have a transformative effect on "enemies" -- turning them into friends and even allies.  And there may have been the case for several individual human beings

          As a spiritual discipline, Non Violence DOES transform the practitioners for the better -- at least in their own eyes.  And ... counter intuitive but true ...  it IS easier to take a beating from someone you're in the process of forgiving and praying for,  than taking the same beating, but also suffering the rage and frustration of being so over matched that retaliation is impossible.

          But, in general:  "no".  No communities, groups or factions changed their ideology or modified their behavior when confronted by  non-violent resistance. This  never actually happened ANYWHERE, EVER.   Not in India. Not in the American South,

          But, as a tactic,  Non Violence has the potential to bring in powerful allies who will use whatever force is called for, on the side of the  Non Violent.

          "The other side of the coin" is armed uprising and mass violence. Think "Haiti": the second successful republican revolution in the Western hemisphere.  The rebels dislodged their colonial oppressors ... and were treated as a pariah state from 1804 until ... what?  Late 20th century?  When did it start to get good for Haiti?  Right Wing Religious are STILL carrying on about the Hatian people's "deal with the devil"  ie: "using violence against white people."

          •  FYI, I don't know that I worded my last post (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chrislrob

            as well as I might have.  I wasn't trying to offer the "definative answer" to the question: "so how do we handle the situation where we have less power?".  But I can see how it might have looked like that is what I was saying.  I was offering it more in the spirit of an FYI.  You have presented a very thoughtful post to me on a subject I care about deeply.  Thank you for your efforts.

            You wrote, "In Gandhi's theory satyagraha "Soul Force" was supposed to have a transformative effect on "enemies" -- turning them into friends and even allies," which was followed by
            1) "And there may have been the case for several individual human beings"
            2) "No communities, groups or factions changed their ideology or modified their behavior when confronted by  non-violent resistance. This  never actually happened ANYWHERE, EVER.   Not in India. Not in the American South,"

            Clearly we agree on the first point (but I note that the word "several" tends to minimize the number, I think I would prefer the term "a set of", as I'm not sure of the exact quantification).

            On the second point, I'm not sure that I agree, and I wonder on what basis you make such a definative statement?  You seem to be saying that Gandhi's theory of satyagraha did not work exactly as advertised and imply on that basis the theory is critically flawed.  I don't mean to put words in your mouth, please correct me if I am wrong.  I wonder: is it possible that the theory "works", just not as fast enough as we'd like it to?

            I see a gradual evolution in the attitudes of "mankind" in general, like a child growing into an adult.  Eventually many(most?) children learn certain lessons (like sharing, and helping others in need) although clearly not all children learn them (and sadly, seem to have much power over the the rest of us as a result).  

            You say that no communities, groups or factions changed their ideology or modified their behavior when confronted by non-violent resistance.  And yet discriminatory attitudes towards blacks and gays have become so taboo that we now speak of "closest racists".  That was not true 50 years ago, things HAVE changed.  And I believe that Gandhi's and King's words and actions have had a great deal to do with it.

            I think the tactics of "turn the other cheek" have great power.  Perhaps we don't understand exactly how they work, and of course some of us are impatient to have them work much faster.  But that doesn't mean we should abandon them.  You aren't actually calling for that explicitly, I'm not sure what exactly you are calling for, if anything, but that's what my brain is hearing.

            FYI, I'm wrestling with these ideas aloud with you.  I'm not 100% sure what the answers are.   You have made very good points that I will continue to reflect on; I am grateful for them.

            “Now folks, by going on that web show, Barack Obama undermined the authority of the presidency. And that is Fox News' job.” - Stephen Colbert

            by Older and Wiser Now on Wed May 21, 2014 at 03:04:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We agree that the TACTICS of non-violence "work." (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Older and Wiser Now

              What I am saying is that Gandhi's theory, novel and appealing though it was, then and now,  didn't work AT ALL in the way he thought it would ..."Hearts and minds" were not magically changed by the Great Soul's spiritual mojo or that of his followers.

              To the degree that the Indian government, from then to now, has been willing and able to punish individual rape and murder and the inter communal equivalents -- atrocity is deterred and order is maintained.   But Congress Party leaders no longer fast,  pray and spin cotton  in hopes that non-members will behave better as a result.

              In the United States, to the degree that the Unreconstructed and Dixie Revanchists  now guard their tongues when speaking their minds ... my belief is that 50 years of legal pressure ... backed by the coercive power of the State ...  has a lot to do with it.

              Did the heroic spectacle of Civil Rights activists being hosed, dog-bitten and assaulted on the Evening News bring NEUTRAL Whites  into the Civil Rights movement,  as voters? Obviously.

              And that's where  Nixon and Reagan  Democrats come from.  Rather than change their hearts and minds about "Race" and "Justice,"  die-hard Democrats, North and South became overnight Republicans.

              Did the representatives which newly persuaded Integrationists voted for,  re-Reconstruct the South?  To a point and "for a time."   States Rights, Nullification, and Armed Resistance ideology seem to be with us once again.

              So, yes, Southern Christian Leadership Conference-style non-violence, (which made a virtue of necessity )  WORKED -- after a hundred years.

              And undoubtedly.  Black Liberation Army-style terrorism,  where tried, "only made things worse."  

              Where Black Panther Party-style "militant rhetoric" fits into that continuum -- I don't really know.

              Perhaps the "threat of Stokley Carmichael"  gave urgency to Dr. King's message.  Well, to the  non-economic portions,  anyway.

              BUT, the danger of believing that the  racists and beneficiaries of racism have already been changed, "by Dr. King" .. leads easily to the assumption that "whatever the Republican House is up to, it CAN'T be motivated by anything remotely like the old bad racism of the past".

              And that's an assumption, I personally very much want to believe.  The contrary proposition seems absurd.

              Yet there it is.  "Free summer lunch program for "rural" but NOT for "urban" school children.  

              Why any of this matters ... I'm not sure.

              But it seems to me that expecting self-transformation by an heroic few to bring about large scale political transformations "because it worked before for King and Gandhi" is setting oneself up for disappointment, if not tragedy.

              •  Why any of this matters (0+ / 0-)

                Near the top of this thread, responding to the OP I wrote,

                I need to chew on your thougts a bit more ...  It sounds like "forgiveness" generally come from a "position of power".  

                so how do we handle the situation where we have less power?

                How should we respond when we are in this situation?  What is the best way to fight back?  That is why this matters to me.  What should we do?  And I think part of your answer is 'We agree that the TACTICS of non-violence "work,"' though I'm not sure that you favor that approach over some other one.  You don't seem to be a fan of them (which of course is your right).  If that is so, I'm interested to hear the alternative that you find to be superior.  

                You wrote, "Did the heroic spectacle of Civil Rights activists being hosed, dog-bitten and assaulted on the Evening News bring NEUTRAL Whites  into the Civil Rights movement,  as voters? Obviously."  Emphasis on the NEUTRAL.  I get the impression that you are relatively unimpressed by this outcome.  Meanwhile, I'm having a new tangential thought related to bullying which is, when bystanders do nothing they are actually siding with the bully.  Getting bystanders to voice their disapproval is a key part of ending bullying in a school setting.  My new insight is that perhaps an important reason why non-violent methods WORK is because they inspire bystanders to make their voices and displeasure known, which in turn makes it more difficult for a transgressor to continue "getting away with it".

                You wrote:

                In the United States, to the degree that the Unreconstructed and Dixie Revanchists  now guard their tongues when speaking their minds ... my belief is that 50 years of legal pressure ... backed by the coercive power of the State ...  has a lot to do with it.
                Where did the legal pressure come from?  Did it spring magically out of thin air? I think not. In a democracy, doesn't such pressure ultimately come from the will of the people?  Perhaps people who were inspired to a great degree by King's actions?

                You wrote:

                What I am saying is that Gandhi's theory, novel and appealing though it was, then and now,  didn't work AT ALL in the way he thought it would ..."Hearts and minds" were not magically changed by the Great Soul's spiritual mojo or that of his followers.
                My feeling is that "Hearts and minds" WERE CHANGED, and I disagree with your comment that his approach "didn't work AT ALL in the way he thought it would".  I would be interested in the resources on which you have come to your understanding of how "he thought it would work".  One key resource for me was the movie starring Ben Kingsley, where Gandhi explains his understanding of the phrase “turn the other cheek” to a minister while he’s deliberately walking into the path of a menacing group of thugs:
                I suspect he meant you must show courage — be willing to take a blow, several blows, to show you will not strike back nor will you be turned aside. And when you do that it calls on something in human nature, something that makes his hatred decrease and his respect increase. I think Christ grasped that and I have seen it work.
                I think his approach DID WORK in the way that he thought it would, to a very large degree.  He didn't say that ALL thugs would be magically and completely transformed; he merely said that hatred would decrease and respect would increase.  That is incremental language.  Racism has not been eradicated in this country, but I argue that progress has been made.  
                But it seems to me that expecting self-transformation by an heroic few to bring about large scale political transformations "because it worked before for King and Gandhi" is setting oneself up for disappointment, if not tragedy.
                On this thread we have been talking about "how do we handle the situation where we have less power?"  Such a situation is a crappy situation; pain, disappointment and tragedy already exist in the equation.  I am not saying that the techniques used by King and Gandhi will ALWAYS work in every situation.  However, I personally think it would be tragic to treat their great successes in such difficult situations as if they were random flukes that are not worth remembering or studying.  You didn't actually say this, but  this is the overall tone that I'm hearing from your words.

                Again, I'm interested to hear the alternative that you find to be superior.  The techniques used by King and Gandhi do not work perfectly; they work slowly when an inspired leader is present to guide followers, and even less effectively when such leaders pass away.  But what is the better alternative?

                “Now folks, by going on that web show, Barack Obama undermined the authority of the presidency. And that is Fox News' job.” - Stephen Colbert

                by Older and Wiser Now on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:03:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It comes to: "You don't like my tone" ? (0+ / 0-)

                  OK.

                  Fair enough.

                  I don't write particularly well and I don't have a sunny personality, at all.

                  You ask "What's the  alternative ? ".

                  I don't see the issue(s) in that light ... and it's not as if I think there is one --  any more than I actually think that King and Gandhi ought to be "forgotten."

                  Pressed for an answer, I'd say "Politics" ... organization, agitprop, deal making, 1-on-1 persuasion  -- "whatever means available."  

                  But in the end, the political solution WILL be enforced by Force ... the coercive power of the State or community -- or it will not be enforced at all. Gandhi acknowledged that ... regretted it  ... but had no alternative of his own to suggest when it came to governing India.  

                  Peaceful demonstrations and stage managed martyrdoms ARE successful methods of winning converts and sympathy -- and thereby achieving political ends, and  I have no doubt that cultivating  non violent spirituality -- as an end in itself -- ennobles and enriches the people who do.  But I also think these are two separate and independent processes.

                  By contrast: "Revolution" in the sense that "60s Radicals" used to natter on about it,  has proved itself to be a failed 19th century notion -- at least here in the United States.   Irish and Algerians might disagree.

                  So,  I do think that when we do study King and Gandhi we should do so with a less uncritical hero worship, and  little more objectivity than I see in the popular press and mainstream media.

                  Forgiveness?   Personally, I've found "forgiveness" to be a great consolation -- and it's opposite to be a torment and a burden.   I just don't expect it to change anything except my own state of mind.

                  That's all.

                  There's nothing more.

                  •  Words are limited, and yet that's all we have (0+ / 0-)

                    I disagree with you, I think you write exceedingly well, but it is always difficult to EXACTLY convey one's meaning using the written word, especially with a stranger who does not know and thus cannot interpret properly.   The same is true for me, of course, I try as best I can to pick words, but misunderstandings still arise.  I do not know that I'd say I don't like your tone, per se, but tone and body language convey important messages when one is trying to understand "meaning".  I described the tone that I "was hearing" to enable you to either confirm or correct my understanding of what I think you are trying to say, not to scold you for holding your opinions.  I've been trying to understand.

                    And when I ask, "how do we handle the situation" I was not trying to imply that there is only one way, I agree there can be multiple ways.  I think this really is an important question, I sincerely strive to puzzle out an answer to it.

                    You wrote, "So,  I do think that when we do study King and Gandhi we should do so with a less uncritical hero worship, and  little more objectivity than I see in the popular press and mainstream media." and I think that explains "the tone" that I was picking up but had not been explicitly articulated. I'm not sure if I said something to make you think I was guilty of hero worship.  I find both of these men to be quite remarkable in terms of what they accomplished so I guess I would call them my heroes, I also deeply admire the original Martin Luther for the same reasons.  Regardless, I agree with your desire for an honest accounting of the situation, and don't subscribe to a philosphy of "uncritical worship."  You have raised many wonderful points and I have tremendously valued this opportunity to exchange ideas with you.  You see imperfections in the techniques, I see them too.  There is a saying, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."  They are not perfect, true, but I think there is some real meat attached to them; I hope that upon further reflection they might be improved to work even better - but it is only a hope, not a foregone conclusion.  But if there are not better options available, then I think we must accept that and work with what we have instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as they say.

                    Perhaps I have come off too much as a pollyanna, and you have unconsciously been trying to counter that in our exchanges.  That would be understandable.  Again, I truly value your thoughts:  you've helped me gain certain insights and things to consider that I hadn't really seen before, and I am grateful to you for that and for your time.  Thank you again, and have a lovely day.

                    “Now folks, by going on that web show, Barack Obama undermined the authority of the presidency. And that is Fox News' job.” - Stephen Colbert

                    by Older and Wiser Now on Thu May 22, 2014 at 07:09:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Sometimes when I am talking to Japanese people (6+ / 0-)

    I wonder, how can you forgive me or even talk to me. The thing I feared the most as a child, really happened to their country.

    I liked your call out in your diary. GOP wants to be blameless and wants Democrats to suffer blame.

    •  Possible reasons. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      1. It's a dark chapter in their history, similar to how Holocaust is a dark chapter in German history. The nuking is part of the history of the atrocities they committed against other Asian countries (Korea and China, to name a few). As such, they either try to ignore it or view it (the nuke) as just another blood stain on a history already soaked with blood.
      2. United States had been very generous with Japan regarding economic assistance.

  •  Things Done Changed! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrislrob, wasatch, Calamity Jean

    I don't have any sophisticated headline to open with, but this Republican-initiated conversation is a bit absurd.

    "Forgive" the Democratic Party, as if it were in the past, and is today, an actual being or entity with ongoing thoughts, feelings and stances on issues? Sounds like Republican projection of the notion that institutions are people!

    White folks who today embrace social justice, and all civil rights, choose to be Democrats. So do, according to the diarist, most black folks and many other so-called 'minority' groups.

    The membership and goals of each party has changed, so how is either the past racist history of the Democratic Party, or the Republicans of the past who were unwilling to tear the country apart over black slavery, and who went to war to preserve that Union and end slavery, relevant today? Both parties, that is, the membership of both parties, have changed!

    I see this as just another somewhat muddled case of Republicans confusing the past with the present, and hoping to gain points with the base with yet more circular logic.

    Those who run in circles don't have the time or the ability to identify leaps in logic, and this issue is just more proof of that. Don't get sucked into defending irrelevant memes!

    Social justice is part of the implication of loving thy neighbor. - Frances Perkins

    by paz3 on Tue May 20, 2014 at 10:51:01 AM PDT

    •  Well, the goal is to (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      paulex, Blue Jean, wasatch, Calamity Jean

      convince blacks they should vote GOP because, in the past, it was the kind of party any sensible black would vote for.

      But why would I vote for a party that doesn't support me TODAY? Oh, that's right--I shouldn't actually want the things I want--that's why the Democratic Party is racist for giving them to me!

    •  but...DID YOU KNOW REPUBLICANS FREED THE SLAVES??? (4+ / 0-)

      lol alright i'll stop

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Tue May 20, 2014 at 12:51:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The very same racist Dems (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chrislrob, fenway49

      ... of the civil rights era that they point their fingers at as examples of why current minorities should shun the Democrats were the FOUNDATION of GOP resurgence in the post-civil rights era. Not just their descendants in the South, but the VERY SAME PEOPLE, literally (and not in the Joe Biden sense). They just switched parties. And the GOP of that time welcomed them with open arms -- indeed openly wooed them.

      The current GOP could even be forgiven that embrace, if they didn't continue to harbor that element and enable them in their racism with nice, shiny new code words to boot, but they do, and so they won't be. The Dems were better off losing that crowd even though it also lost them elections, as LBJ predicted.

  •  R's saying "Shame on Dems for racist history" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrislrob, wasatch, Calamity Jean

    is quite a bit like R's saying "Shame on Obamacare for not enrolling people fast enough ... into the benefits we don't want them to have."  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue May 20, 2014 at 11:08:03 AM PDT

  •  I liked the diary very much, but I'd change (10+ / 0-)

    the title to something closer to what you said near the top:

    How can I be a Democrat when it is the party of slavery, Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, and segregation?

    I think you've got a lot of great food for thought on this topic, and good answers that others could use when they are asked the same question.

    I don't know that Blacks are really "forgiving" racism in the past as much as working intelligently to advance their best interests TODAY.  You know, the old "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" stuff ...  Republicans are still openly milking the Southern Strategy as best they can, and then trying to hide the squawks of the closet racists they attract, such as Cliven Bundy.  

    The best response to the question, "how can I be a Democrat when it is the party of slavery, Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, and segregation?" is this:

    You are talking about the distant past.  How on earth can I be a Republican when TODAY it is the party of racists?

    “Now folks, by going on that web show, Barack Obama undermined the authority of the presidency. And that is Fox News' job.” - Stephen Colbert

    by Older and Wiser Now on Tue May 20, 2014 at 11:23:03 AM PDT

  •  One thing I really don't understand is how (6+ / 0-)

    some black people can be Republicans.  I doubt if any of them sincerely do that because of the racist past of the Democratic Party.

  •  Its simple. Which party salutes the CSA flag...? (6+ / 0-)

    Once upon a time, it was Democrats.

    Now its Republicans.

    (drops mic)

    Oh I'm reeeeeeeeal battle-hardened when it comes to this canard now lol.

    "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

    by TheHalfrican on Tue May 20, 2014 at 12:44:32 PM PDT

  •  Strom Thurmond's party affiliaion is my lodestar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kingfishstew, chrislrob, Val

    That is all.

  •  Brilliant and insightful. (4+ / 0-)
    I should “get over" slavery, but hold the Democratic Party responsible for it. I should "get over" Jim Crow, but hold the Democratic Party responsible for it. I should "get over" segregation, but hold the Democratic Party responsible for it.

    "We need institutions and cultural norms that make us better than we tend to be. It seems to me that the greatest challenge we now face is to build them." -Sam Harris, neuroscientist

    by MarthaPeregrine on Tue May 20, 2014 at 01:38:42 PM PDT

  •  sorry biden's comment wasnt racist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrislrob, jan4insight

    I was there when he gave that speech no one was offended but the gop who took it out of context & pushed the media to make hay out of it

  •  Great diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrislrob, Tonedevil, Calamity Jean

    This diary is amazing. Thank you for writing it. That infamous LBJ quote about "I'll have those ni**ers voting Democratic for 200 years" may not be an actual LBJ quote but I'm sure he still used that word. However I admire LBJ, as you can see from my username and signature. He was a great President, but Vietnam destroyed him. But we can still applaud LBJ's many domestic accomplishments as President.

    Their cause must be our cause too. Because it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome. -- Lyndon B. Johnson

    by AllTheWayWithLBJ85 on Tue May 20, 2014 at 05:32:00 PM PDT

  •  This is diversionary (10+ / 0-)

    ...people who make the "Racist Democrat" party argument also refuse to admit that the Southern Strategy was - and is - Real.  They refuse to admit that the Bigoted Dixiecrat Dems of the South, except for Byrd, nearly all joined the Republican Party along with Strom Thurmond.  They refuse to admit that attacking Affirmative Action - what little of it there is left - and rolling back Voting Rights, going around pretending that phantom "free market forces" were Ever an effective deterrent to bigotry for the 400 years prior to the implementation of government Civil Rights rules, claiming that "Hardly Any White People have been Racists since 1968" - except for that whole flap with the Black Panthers in the 70's, and that whole thing with M.O.V.E. in Philadelphia, and that whole Disparate Drug War thang in the 80's, 90's an 00's, and that who Racial Profiling Thang, and the Stop-n-the-Frisk and the Shooting people who are trying to get to a phone after a Car Accident thang, and Oscar Grant, and the entire Trayvon Martin fiasco, and Cliven Bundy, and Ted Nugent and his "blacks are to blame for their own oppression" crap, and Newt Gingrich with his "Welfare President" talk, and Bill O'Reilly and the "M-Fing Ice Tea" and Dr. Laura and her "Nigger Nigger Nigger Nigger" rant, and Donald Sterling Racist Appeaser Sugar-Daddy, and the the "That Fucking Nigger" (Now Ex) Police Commissioner, and Skip Gates getting arrested for trying to unstick his own front door, and Kid after Kid after Kid getting Shot by Police (like in San Bernadino this weekend) when their unarmed and THE WRONG DAMN PERSON, and the 67-year-old guy this weekend who got thrown to the ground face-first by Police for daring to try and move into his own brand new home and not showing them enough supplicant deference to the Po-Po who had no real good reason to be bothering him in the first place, or this guy on Hannity the other day who says that "Racism is now a Myth", but also that "black people are now the Racist ones" which by the way - is pretty Fracking Racist to proclaim - is ALL just a big Phantasm of the Left and crybaby racist welfare-addicted blacks.

    But Black People be too forgiving... that's our big problem. Natch.

  •  Your diary series has just been spectacular (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wasatch, chrislrob, Val, mungley, Cartoon Peril

    Thank you so much for posting them here.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Tue May 20, 2014 at 11:01:03 PM PDT

  •  What's wrong with the few who say such things... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrislrob

    ...is the real question. The diary you present is triggered by people who try to use that particular incoherent rhetorical question in the first place yet you focus not on them but the incoherence which is, kind of, obvious even to the casual racists probably. It has nothing to do with anyone but the ones who asked that self-serving low-information purely-political challenge and nothing to other repubs, whites, or blacks. Thanks.  

  •  Pitch perfect (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, chrislrob, Egalitare

    When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion. - Abraham Lincoln

    by EntrWriter on Wed May 21, 2014 at 10:52:49 AM PDT

  •  Sure, Ted Bilbo was a Democrat and a racist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrislrob, MHB

    And Jacob Javits was a Republican, a liberal, and a man of the highest quality.  But that was then.  This is now.  When the Republicans get rid of the Tom Tancredos and the Ted Nugents and the rest of the nitwits, then we can talk.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Wed May 21, 2014 at 03:52:54 PM PDT

  •  Blacks allowed to have subprime debt forgiven ? (0+ / 0-)

    Why Can't Blacks (Be Allowed To) have their subprime debt forgiven?
    Don’t think they got any change, just business as usual...

  •  Given that their are Black people still alive (3+ / 0-)

    who lived through Jim Crowe, the overall forgiveness repeatedly astounds me. Especially the forgiveness of those who lived though that, that generation.

    Jim Crowe basically was ending around when I was born in the mid 60s. It is so hard to wrap my head around. I didn't live in that country (in my memory). I've read what it was like. I've heard from people about how it felt not being allowed to sit where they want and having to not eat in a restaurant or use a water fountain or bathroom-as if there very essence or presence was a contamination. The idea is horrific and we did that to people who are still alive. We sent that message to millions of little children who are adults today.

    I repeat that often to people who think we are post racist or wonder why affirmative action is or was important or don't understand why Black people and some Dems seem to see "everything" through the tint of race (umm, because a lot happens that is colored by race, and that is the history of things in our country).

    •  my mom told me those stories but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MHB, chrislrob

      made a distinction between blaming the Democrats and the Dixiecrats

      and she also told me that there were moderate Republicans who deserved respect because they helped black folks

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Thu May 22, 2014 at 06:46:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was born in '59 (0+ / 0-)

      And spent the first 6 years in segregated schools, the last 6 in integrated schools. I learned early on that shared experiences would not create organic "truth and reconciliation", which is what I think proponents of aggressive integration probably hoped against hope would happen. We are still in need of a more formalized "truth and reconciliation" but I suspect it will not happen in my lifetime. I'm not sure that the official point at which "pigment-challenged" folk are no longer the racial majority will automatically "trigger" such a thing either.

      Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Thu May 22, 2014 at 06:47:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One of the most destructive Republican memes... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MHB, fenway49

    from the party of Breitbart and O'Keefe is the narrative that the Democratic party of today is the same Democratic party that fought so violently for Jim Crow segregation and that the Republican Party of today is the same Republican Party that Abraham Lincoln led. It is not. Why are people unable to keep this in their memory banks? The parties switched ideologies in the mid-1960s. Their records are quite consistent since then.

    In the 1960s, the Democratic Party moved toward integration, and the segregationist wing abandoned the Democratic Party.

    Why? To form the new Republican Party, whose "big tent" includes white segregationists, white sexists, white big-businesspeople, white retirees, white Christians, white patriarchalists, and white neoconservatives. See? A very big tent.

    •  This had been going on for 40+ years before (0+ / 0-)

      People should check out the 1924 and 1928 Democratic conventions. In the early days of large-scale Irish immigration the two parties (Democrats and Whigs then) were divided ideologically and regionally only to a lesser extent. The poor, newly-arrived Irish were largely outside of those disputes and streamed into the party that would have them: the Democrats.

      White Southern support for the Democrats hardened as the Whig Party disintegrated in the 1850s. Southern Whigs weren't about to join that party's anti-slavery successor, the Republicans. So a great many Southern whites who hadn't been Democrats before 1855 became Democrats.

      But demographics weren't on their side. Over time the non-WASP immigrants coming into the Northern cities came to outnumber the Southern Democrats. By 1924 the heavily Catholic Northern wing of the party wanted an anti-KKK plank in the platform, in large part because the resurgent Klan of the post-1915 period disliked Catholics, Jews, and immigrants almost as much as it disliked blacks. The Southern Democrats, many of whom were in the Klan (it being right respectable in some places at the time), opposed such a plank. It was a close and bitter fight.

      In 1928 the Democrats nominated NY Gov. Al Smith, a Catholic, for President. Pretty amazing for a party until recently dominated by Southerners who despised Catholics. The anti-Catholic venom that year was appalling and Smith was crushed by Herbert Hoover, with many Southern states voting Republican for only the first or second time ever.

      In the years between 1928 and 1964, as the Democratic Party's liberal wing took over and moved slowly toward civil rights, you see a gradual drift toward the Republicans among Dixiecrats, one that accelerated with Nixon's Southern Strategy in 1968 and Reagan's code words. Now it's a done deal.

      “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people... And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:03:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tactic to deflect from GOP's present racism too (0+ / 0-)

    A family member of mine who's totally hook-line-and-sinker in the GOP, under cover of being a libertarian which is also somewhat typical, had to be reminded by me that racist conservatives left the Democratic party in response to the Civil Rights bills.

    It's a neat but ultimately transparent bit of head-fakery they try to pull off - because they also want to fool themselves. They don't want to understand their own party's history, because it's painful to them (as well as their party's present is painful to American right now.)

    The unspoken mechanism behind their theory, Democrats have always been liberals and Republicans have always been all conservatives. Lincoln is explained, and Theodore Roosevelt and Eisenhower get ignored. Then Hoover is rationalized by how nice he was as a person or whatever.

    "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton | http://ideaddicted.blogspot.com

    by jbeach on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:29:07 AM PDT

  •  My father, (0+ / 0-)

    A very serious and sober black man, often observed that racism in America would not end until two things happened that are completely unrelated to each other:

    1.  Blacks must forgive whites for the past.
    2.  Whites must forget the past.

    One is far more likely than the other.  Discuss...

  •  I truly appreciated your diary... very thoughtful (0+ / 0-)

    In a way, it's like having two ships, each somewhat different from the other but not that terribly so -- except that one of those ships is infested with rats and the other has hardly any.  

    There is a plan in the works to burn the rat-infested ship down to water level and sink what's left.  

    But then, because of a terrible storm, or lack of food onboard the infested ship, or whatever explanation you want to give, literally overnight, that barely infested ship is now infested by most of the rats that were previously on the other, formerly rat-infested ship, that now has almost no rats...

    I would suggested that the moral of this story would be, "It's not the ship, it's the rats."  

    Make sure it's the ship with the rats that you condemn and torch.  It's no longer the one named "Democratic"

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