Carlson suggests that white supremacy, the philosophy, is nearly absent in America. This assertion proves that Carlson has no spine, since he touts the white supremacist line at every opportunity. Admit it Tucker, you are talking about yourself.
I have been South Africa many times, and have essentially lived there in a variety of circumstances for quite a bit of time. South Africa is a large, complex, and diverse country with an incredibly complicated history, so I won’t pretend to fully understand the place. But I’m sure I get South Africa far more, and with more nuance and detail, than the vast majority of Americans. So, allow me to tell you something about that beautiful country.
I don’t know how many times I’ve found myself at the listening end of roughly the same sequence of stories, more or less, from always white, usually but not always male, generally older, always Afrikaner (that is one of the cultures) there. There are several stories you hear again and again. The way this white South African lady killed a black with a rigged right side mirror on her backie. The way some blacks hid under the leaves to hijack a white driver but got run over several times instead. And so on and so on.
Make no mistake, South Africa, at the time I was there, before, and since, has had more than its share of brutal crime. The place is a real mess. Large swaths of the society have a huge percentage of fetal alcohol syndrome because wineries paid employees in “tots” (drinks) rather than money. Poverty is deep. The rich and the poor tend to be very far apart. International outrage about apartheid was significantly larger in magnitude than international help after apartheid. And so on.
But the story that Donald Trump is trying to sell, about the violent attacks on white land owners and the taking of their land, is nothing other than yet another steaming pile of shit dished out but post Apartheid angry white supremacists, and picked up and amplified by Fox News.
Chris Hayes is correct to point out that the historical source of Coates title is critically important and deeply disturbing (this is something we’ve talked about here in the recent past). He is incorrect, as Coates points out near the end of the second segment, that there will be a future in which we debate the relative merits of the Trump vs the Obama presidency. I have no idea what possessed him to day that (I see Hayes slip into the false balance mode now and then when he’s tired, maybe that’s what he did there for just a moment).
On the book:
“We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”
But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective—the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.
We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.
The policy of the Republican Trump White House is that if a reporter or commenter says something that the White House strongly disagrees with, the reporter or commenter should be fired.
It remains to be seen how the Trump White House will enforce this newly articulated policy.
The policy was provided as a response to a question about an African American reporter identifying Trump and the White House as being aligned with white supremacy, which is a widely held and well documented truth.
One mean spirited decision intended to end the effort to end slavery led to one million dead and the end of slavery anyway.
I spent some time this weekend comparing prosecutors and other legal eagles, who were all hoping to get the job of Attorney General. They were Candidates General, I guess. Trump was mentioned, and somewhere along the line, Dred Scott was mentioned as well. I turned to a highly placed official sort of dude and said, “Did you know that Dred Scott lived in Minnesota?” He did not know that. So I asked a couple of other people if they knew, and they did not. Finally I found the smartest person in the room and he didn’t know either.
Gee, I thought, if you want to be the Attorney General off Minnesota and you are going to invoke the name of Dred Scott, you really ought to know that he lived just a few short miles away from where you are standing there invoking!
So I wrote this:
In 1857, US Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney ruled that a person who is black and of African ancestry can never be thought of as an American citizen, and therefore, has no standing to bring a law suit in federal court. In the same decision, Taney determined that a previous act of Congress that prohibited slavery in most of the territory north of a certain latitude, in land that was in the United States but not in a given state, was unconstitutional. In so doing he decided and determined that the US Congress could not prohibit slavery.
This decision was made in response to a suit filed by a slave named Dred Scott, who lived for a while, during a very important part of his life, just south of the Twin Cities.
Mr. Scott had been born a slave in Missouri, but later lived in various non-slave territories, as one of his owners was in the military and moved around a lot. During that time, he met and married Harriet Robinson, who was also a slave. Mr. Scott was owned by a military doctor stationed at Fort Snelling, which had been built on Lakota-Dakota land known as B’Dote (or Bdote) near what is now Bloomington Minnesota, home of the Mall of America. Ms. Robinson’s owner was Lawrence Taliaferro, who was the fort’s Indian Agent. Since Taliaferro was a Justice of the Peace, it was he who both gave his slave the permission to marry her fiance, and it was he who performed the ceremony.
At the time, Fort Snelling was in “Wisconsin Territory,” which is why, I suspect, Minnesotans by and large don’t know that Dred Scott lived here. Wisconsin Territory included parts of North and South Dakota, all of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and possibly tiny bits of adjoining lands. But if you come across a reference to Dred Scott in a history book, the word “Wisconsin” is right there, and Minnesotans think of the Green Bay Packers and move on.
Previous legal decisions, and a certain amount of common logic sprinkled with a sense of humanity, had already determined that a slave who then lived as a free person for a while got to be a free person for the rest of their lives. Since slavery was not legal in what was to eventually become Minnesota, and other territories in which Scott lived, he had a pretty solid legal case to make that he should be freed even after his owner moved him back into a slave state at a later time.
In order for Justice Taney to determine that Scott’s case was invalid, he had to create law that made the federal abolition of slavery in all non-state territories impossible, and to make all blacks non-citizens. Taney’s ruling was only the second time the Supreme Court had found an act of Congress unconstitutional, and of all the SCOTUS decisions ever made, this one had by far the greatest and most negative ultimate consequence.
Mr. Scott’s history is more complicated. There were changes in who owned him. He had tried to buy his freedom. He and his wife had children, including children born in non-slave territory. Abolitionists got involved. The Dred Scott vs. Sandford supreme court case, and all the legal events that preceded it, were major news at the time. The final result of Taney’s decision sealed the fate of the United States, set back civil rights by a century and a half, and contributed materially to the violent deaths of about a million people.
Fast forward to 1879.
From the time of the birth of the nation, but with greater intensity staring around 1830, and getting more and more intense in subsequent decades, the United States continuously wrestled with the issue of slavery. Abraham Lincoln had always thought slavery was bad, but he was enamored with the US Constitution and could see no easy direct way to make slavery illegal country-wide. He felt it would eventually die out as a practice, through a combination of legal and social changes.
But reducing or eliminating slavery had become an order of magnitude more difficult than it ever had to be because of Taney’s Supreme Court ruling. When Abraham Lincoln was elected to be president of the United States, slave owners felt that their ownership of other humans, and their right to spread that practice to the other sates simply by moving to them (with their property, their slaves) was threatened. This threat was sufficient that they assembled armies, caused their states to separate from the Union, and attacked the US Federal government with military force. The ensuing Civil War is the reason most of the previously mentioned million people died, but many others, blacks, have been killed before, during, and after the war by white supremacists. (This includes Union soldiers who were black, who were routinely killed on the spot when taken prisoner by Southern soldiers.)
After the war, there was a rapid and remarkable shift in society and politics in the south. Federal authority made it possible and relatively safe for southern Blacks to run for office and to vote in elections. Suddenly there were black faces in state legislatures and the US Congress.
But at the same time organizations like the Klu Klux Klan formed, and these organizations and their supporters infiltrated local and state governments. In some cases, they set up separate governments. On election day, in some jurisdictions, there were two voting boxes, and you could pick which one to cast your ballot in. The white supremacists had their vote, everyone else had a different vote, and when the results were different, the federal government would enforce the correct vote. At times, these disputes turned into small shooting wars, and were sometimes accompanied by random slaughter of blacks living in local communities.
Eventually the new fight over the old south fully evolved at the federal level and things got really strange.
In 1876, the United States had its most contentious election for president ever. Democrat Samuel Tilden, a Democrat (and thus of the party of the South) from New York (and thus maybe not so much from the party of the south) won 50.9% of the vote to Rutherford B. Hayes’ 47.9%. Hayes is credited with having had 185 electoral votes to Tilden’s 184.
Initially, however, the count was Tilden with 184 electoral votes, Hayes with 165, and 20 votes from that special category of votes that involved the multiple voting boxes and other shenanigans. The states with the bad votes were Florida (of course), Louisiana, and South Carolina (and there was a small problem in Oregon as well).
Eventually, a deal was struck. This deal was almost certainly illegal and extra constitutional, but even if that wasn’t the case, the deal was bad. But it is hard to say because the process and even details of the decisions made in the deal were kept secret and to this day we are not entirely sure what happened.
Rutherford Hayes, the Republican, was awarded all the messy votes, and became president. But, in return for keeping the Presidency out of the hands of the Party of Slavery, the federal authorities that were in the South keeping the white supresists at bay were withdrawn.
This is the beginning of the Jim Crow era, the era of terror and and harassment, hate and murder, bestowed by southern whites on southern blacks.
OK, fast forward to 1879 but for real this time, now that you have the context.
Slavery, a fight against slavery, Roger Taney personally ensures the continuation of slavery for a few, as well as the many, and produces the most bone-headed court decision ever, which is on the top list of three or four reasons that definitely led to the Civil War, followed by a lot of white supremacist whinging about, followed by the Jim Crow era.
And that is when art and antiquities collector William Walters (of the Walters Museum), who had hid out in Europe during the Civil War and seems to have been involved in about zero political activities as far as I can tell, paid for the erection of a monument to Roger Taney in Baltimore.
Now, fast forward a bit farther to March 6th, 2017. That is when this happened:
This is Charles Taney III, a great great grand whatever of Roger Taney, hugging Jynne Jackson, a great great grand whatever of Dred Scott, in front of the Taney statue. This photograph was taken at a ceremony in which Taney publicly apologized to Jackson.
Lynne M. Jackson winced outside the Maryland State House on Monday as she listened to Charlie Taney repeat some of the words his great-great-grand-uncle wrote in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision 160 years ago.
Black people cannot be U.S. citizens and have no rights except the ones that white people give them. Whites are superior to blacks. Slavery is legal.
“You can’t hide from the words that [Roger Brooke] Taney wrote,” Charlie Taney said, standing a few feet from a statue of his ancestor, who lived in Maryland and was chief justice of the nation’s highest court from 1836 until his death in 1864.
“You can’t run, you can’t hide, you can’t look away. You have to face them.”
Then Charlie Taney turned to Jackson, the great-great granddaughter of Scott, an enslaved man who sued for his freedom. He apologized — on behalf of his family, to the Scott family and to all African Americans, for the “terrible injustice of the Dred Scott decision.”
And just a few short months later. during the early morning hours of August 18th, as a result of civil unrest stemming from pro-Nazi and pro-white supremacist remarks made by President Donald Trump, that Taney statue was removed:
Many of the Southern statues related to the Civil War, or, I suppose,pro-slavery supreme court decisions, were installed at about the same time as the Taney sculpture. The motivation behind the Taney statue, and possibly, who was really behind it, are an enigma, but in many cases, statues or monuments were erected by local governments under pressure (from within or elsewhere) by organizations like the KKK or other post war white supremacist groups and individuals. These statues were put up after the election of 1876 and the start of the Jim Crow era and their erection was very much part of that social movement.
A second wave of statue building and memorializing of things Southern happened during the 20th century Civil Rights Era. At this time, many schools were named after southern notables.
So at the start of Jim Crow, blacks living in southern cities were served up a reminder of their place in southern society. During the Civil Rights Era, black students were served up a reminder of their place in southern society, during the period of forced integration of schools.
No wonder so many northerners require southerns to prove that they are not a) assholes or b) stupid before giving them a break. Considering that our least racists and overall best presidents have come from the South, and Donald Trump comes from Queens, New York, northerners should give southerners more of a break. But we can do that while at the same time noting that there are a lot of people in this country that don’t deserve anyone’s respect because of their hateful views.
Meanwhile, in Bloomington, MN, you can find a memorial to Dred Scott, as well as a Dred Scott miniature golf course, a playground, and a car repair place.
I’d tell you what the plaques in Bloomington say, but I can’t find the text. I will visit the park soon and report back, it is not too far from me.
Meanwhile, if you live in or near the Twin Cities, get over to Fort Snelling and visit the place where Harriet and Dred lived. There is some interpretive history there, and the rest of the historic site is pretty interesting too.
The truth about the Statue of Liberty and that poem and everything.
The Statue of Liberty has been a symbol of American openness to immigration since it was built. However, modern White Supremacists want us to believe it was something else. I found one example of that on the Internet, writtne by Hunter Wallace with the tags “Identity” and “The Jewish Question,” and titled “David Brooks: The Great War for National Identity”:
…millions of Jews came to the United States during the Great Wave. Much of the early 20th century is the story of how these Jews rose from working class occupations into the American middle class before ascending into the highest levels of the American elite.
By the mid–20th century, America’s traditional Anglo-Protestant elite was being replaced by a more cosmopolitan New York-based Jewish elite. This new elite wasn’t and never has been exclusively Jewish (it included, for example, Catholics like the Kennedys), but was predominantly so, enough for Jewish intellectuals to have a major impact on American culture.
Around the mid–20th century, Jewish intellectuals began to change American culture and rewrite American national identity. They introduced new concepts like “racism” and new taboos like “anti-Semitism.” They concocted the myth that America was “a nation of immigrants.” Previously, Americans had no clue that there was even such a thing as “racism,” or that “anti-Semitism” was immoral, or that “we are all >…immigrants.” As Jews became more concentrated in culturally sensitive institutions (i.e., the elite news media, top universities, the entertainment media), they introduced an entirely new moral code.
The Statue of Liberty is one of my favorite examples:
“The Statue of Liberty myth provides a good case study of the shift to a post-WASP, consensus-liberal version of America. In current parlance, the Statue of Liberty is viewed as a symbol of the openness of America to immigration, and the plaque at its base by Emma Lazarus, which urges other nations to “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” is believed to be organically connected to the statue and its liberal-universalist narrative. Unfortunately, reality is not so simple. Lazarus’s poem was not present when the statue was inaugurated in October 1886. Nor did President Grover Cleveland make any mention of the statue’s significance for immigrants in his acceptance speech.
Some Americans, especially Protestant clergymen, greeted the gift of the statue cautiously. In addition, the statue was often viewed less as a beacon for immigrants than as a guardian of American purity. As for Emma Lazarus’s oft-quoted poem, it was first erected on the interior wall of the immense statue in 1903 owing to the financial contribution of one Georgina Schuyler. Schuyler had donated the bronze plaque in memory of Lazarus, an obscure poet of Jewish ancestry whose work she admired. Not until the 1930s did the contemporary myth of a statute to immigrants arise – exactly the period in which the cosmopolitan ideas of America’s organic intellectuals were starting to win wider elite acceptance. In turn, this attitude change prompted officials to relocate Lazarus’s obscure poem to its current position at the base of the statue. …”
Kauffman is a fairly obscure figure, but he seems to have promulgated the myth that America, as a country, was made up at the time of the American Revolution of almost entirely white British Protestants. That is a myth that ignores the non-Protestants or at least non-mainstream Protestants such as Quakers, Shakers, and various other sundry groups, Catholics, non-religious, etc. white people from Britain, all the non-British that came from Europe, all the Africans who were here non-voluntarily (about 20% of the population in the 1770s), and the Native Americans (about 100,000 within the colonial boundaries, but a strong majority in the western areas being settled at the time). White British Protestants were probably a minority in the land between the coast and the farthest extent of settlement (up to the French territories) at the time of the revolution, and that proportion of society certainly shrank further in the decades immediacy following the Revolution when additional lands occupied mainly by Native Americans, but also French and Spanish and others, were added to the US. And, it shrunk father when immigration from across Europe including many Germans, and across the rest of the world, including, obviously, more Africans, and many from the Middle East and Asia, occurred as well.
Roughly speaking, by 1790, English members of the US population was about just over half of the total, with non British Europeans being about 10%. British-Protestants may have been just barely a majority, but just. We were not a pure land of wasps at the time, or any time since.
The Statue of Liberty was at the time it was built, and is recognized today as having been built as, a monument to American Liberty, as in the American War of Independence. It dates to the centenary celebration of the Declaration of Independence, more or less. From Wikipedia:
The torch-bearing arm was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, and in Madison Square Park in Manhattan from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened by lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, started a drive for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar.
As part of the fundraising effort, Emma Lazarus, who was at the time heavily involved in helping refugees who had left eastern Europe under pogroms there against Jews, was asked to write an original poem. Clearly, the idea of freedom and liberty and the promise of America were tied together in the minds of all the people involved in erecting this statue, which is why the poem linked to both the statue and the fund raising was about the openness of America to receive the tired, poor, huddles masses.
The original manuscript for the poem, “The New Colossus,” is curated by the American Jewish Historical Society, which is always happy, I’m sure, to do its part in the Great American Jewish Conspiracy to annoy 21st century white supremacists.
Here is the poem:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Stephen Miller, representing the White House and Donald Trump, gave the White House Press corps a pretty straight forward White Supremacist line. Me? I’d rather have the coarse and belligerant Scramucci than this guy. Well, neither, actually.
In The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction, Charles Lane describes the events — several years of events including the Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, though only briefly — that led up to the Colfax Massacre. What happened was incredibly complex and only a very detailed description can do justice. But, I’ll try to summarize it his way: A war was fought over slavery, and slave holders lost. A conflict then ensued between the new, victorious, anti-slavery government and the racist pigs of the Confederacy, who insisted on repressing blacks and, essentially, emulating slavery in any way possible. In Louisiana, some two thousand blacks were killed over a period of time, maybe more, between the Civil War and the Colfax Massacre, and another 150 on that day. The Colfax massacre was the largest single one-event racial killing event in the United States. The exact number killed is uncertain, but it is known that most of those killed had been captured by white supremacists who had formed an illegal militia. The prisoners were then summarily executed. Many, possibly most, of the bodies were tossed in the river.
This is how Democrats and Republicans used to do politics in the South. (Reminder: In those days, the Republicans were the good guys, the Democrats were the bad guys, and in Louisiana, of where we speak now, that is not an oversimplification.)
The back and forth between Democrats and White Supremacists on one hand and Republicans and Free Blacks on the other hand had involved military and paramilitary battles, individual homicides, massive voter intimidation efforts, and so on. The Colfax Massacre was a key point in that series of events. The Battle of Liberty Place was a continuation. Five thousand white supremacists, organized as the “White League” (a paramilitary group that was part of the Democratic Party) fought the New Orleans police and the state militia. Federal troops eventually showed up to end the fight. The battle was over who should be placed as governor. There was one election but there were two sets of vote counters, the white supremacists on one hand and those representing the Federal Government and the state on the other.
Unlike the Colfax event, only a few dozen were killed, and the deaths were more even on the two sides.
Years later, in 1891, a monument was erected at the site of the Battle of Liberty Place. It was erected at the time to commemorate the white supremacists and their attack on the Republicans and government, and to reify their position that the election had gone their way (it had most definitively not). Eventually, in 1932, an inscription was added to the marble obelisk, in line with the original meaning of this edifice. It read:
[Democrats] McEnery and Penn having been elected governor and lieutenant-governor by the white people, were duly installed by this overthrow of carpetbag government, ousting the usurpers, Governor Kellogg (white) and Lieutenant-Governor Antoine (colored).
United States troops took over the state government and reinstated the usurpers but the national election of November 1876 recognized white supremacy in the South and gave us our state.
That monument is one of the monuments that has been removed in New Orleans in recent days. It is a monument to the murderous repression of African Americans in Louisiana over decades of time following the loss by the Confederacy of the Civil War.
You hear talk about these monuments, about how they are Civil War monuments and how they commemorate the dead on both sides. This monument was clearly erected to celebrate an event that happened many years after the Civil War was over, and it was erected to commemorate a failed paramilitary insurgency by self described white supremacists.
Later, an interpretive marker was put up near the monument. This was in 1974. It read:
Although the “battle of Liberty Place” and this monument are important parts of the New Orleans history, the sentiments in favor of white supremacy expressed thereon are contrary to the philosophy and beliefs of present-day New Orleans.
That was nice to do that. But probably not enough. The monument was moved in 1993, to a warehouse, with the diea of eventually putting it in a museum. But the idea of putting giant monuments nobody knows what to do with in a museum is easier said than done. No museum in its right mind would accept such an artifact. So, it was placed in a new location, less central, still in New Orleans. At that time, the original inscription was replaced with this:
In honor of those Americans on both sides who died in the Battle of Liberty Place … A conflict of the past that should teach us lessons for the future.
Which, of course, is a bald face lie.
And that is the history of what would by 1860 become the Republican Party and the coalition of Democratic abolitionists and others in the North, on one hand, and the would be Confederates on the other, from the 1830s to the war itself. To a Democrat, compromise looked like making the other side do what you want and screaming bloody murder when that did not happen. To the Republican coalition, led eventually by Abraham Lincoln, compromise looked like agreeing to do much of what the opposition insisted you do, red-faced and clench-fisted, tantrum enthralled, and violent, and hope they don’t hit you. When the Republican coalition looked like it might gain sufficient power to lead the country out of absurd treasonous states rights and slavery, the south violently attacked the north and started the war. After the Union destroyed the South in a war the South would not allow to end until the maximum number of their own people, and a good number of Yankees, were dead on the battle field, the south continued to kick and scream and whine and fight and punch and shoot and kill.
This is a monument to that. And when the monument was being dismantled a few days ago, threats to shoot or lynch those removing the monument were made. Representative Karl Oliver (firstname.lastname@example.org) said this:
“The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, “leadership” of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.”
The other monuments in question were of Jefferson Davis, General P.G.T. Beauregard, and Robert E. Lee.
Davis was, of course a war criminal for a number of reasons, not the least of which was Andersonville. Lee had nothing to do with New Orleans. Beauregard was a native of Louisiana but his involvement in the Civil War included that famous moment: Attacking Fort Sumter to begin the war. Otherwise, he fought in and around Virginia and the Carolinas, but never in Louisiana. After the war he got a job as the supervisor of the Louisiana Lottery. So, maybe they should have kept that one statue up. For good luck.