HORIST: Democrats can take no pride for their role in civil rights
Errol Louis, the host of “You Decide” podcast and a CNN contributor, made a comment on television that needs to be addressed. It was a bit offhanded but still drew my attention. He said, “Democrats should be proud of their role in integration.”
As a person who has researched race relations vis-a-vis the Democratic Party, Louis’ reminded me again just how much the false narrative of Democratic Party beneficence to blacks has become the believable big lie.
The false narrative has become believable because there are so many black Democrat leaders who advance it. They work for the predominantly white racist’s establishment in return for privilege, prestige, power and profit. This is not new.
Throughout history, there has been a segment of the African American community who have joined with racists and white supremacists to hold down and oppress their black brothers and sisters. It started centuries ago when black tribal leaders cut deals to sell captured Africans to white slave traders.
During the slave era in North America, white plantation owners would use black overseers to keep the working slaves in line. They did so for the same reasons that exist today – privilege, prestige, power and profit. Not well known among the general public – including a lot of folks in the black community – there were successful black slave owners in the old solid Democrat south. Even the highly racist Mafia used black enforcers – such as the infamous Bumpy Johnson — to control Harlem.
Way back in the late 1800s, Booker T. Washington warned his black brethren to be wary. He said:
“There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”
In the more volatile 1960s, another black leader echoed that same warning – albeit in a less eloquent and more graphic manner. Black Muslim leader Malcolm X saw racism in both parties but emphasized that “… the Democratic Party is more racist than the Republican Party.” In what became known as his “chump speech,” Malcolm X declared that any blacks who vote for Democrats are “chumps” and a “traitor to their race.”
Malcolm X gave black Democrat leaders a name. in a 1963 speech entitled “Message to the Grassroots,” he drew the distinction between House Negroes and Field Negroes in the era of slavery. It was an analogy to black Democrat leaders who perpetrated the white de facto racist policies and traditions – especially in the major American cities.
When Louis calls on people to be proud of the Democratic Party’s role in advancing civil rights, he is 100 percent wrong. Most people know that the Democratic Party was the Party of slavery with Republicans mounting the battle for abolition. Virtually all the abolitionists of the 1800s were Republicans. So far, no reason for Democrats to be proud or blacks to be appreciative to them.
We also know that it was the Democratic Party that took over the old defeated Confederacy and reigned for 100 years over the most oppressive, ruthless and criminal racism in post-Civil War history . They ignored the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments that were supposed to guarantee blacks equal rights and equal justice. They ignored the laws of Congress – passed by Republicans over Democrat opposition and filibusters — and the rulings of the courts. Nothing for Democrats to be proud of here.
Democrats enforced the deadly racism with a number of paramilitary organizations, such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Knights of the White Camellia, the Red Shirts and the White Citizens’ Councils. Shame would be more appropriate than pride for Democrats.
President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs were drafted by racists – including KKK member Hugo Black – and designed to take jobs away from blacks during the Great Depression. The NAACP referred to the National Recovery Act (NRA) as the Negro Riddance Act. And you know how proud Democrats are of the New Deal.
It was not just in the Solid Democrat South, as it was called. No. No. No. An equally virulent form of racism described as de facto was in full force in most major American cities – cities long controlled by powerful Democrat political machines for generations. A shame on Democrats that persists to this day.
And what about the era of civil rights in the mid-1900s? It did not begin in 1964 as we are led to believe. The first civil rights acts since the 1870s were the 1956 and 1960 civil rights acts passed by Republicans in Congress and signed by Republican President Eisenhower.
They were not as effective as they might have been because they were watered down – removing enforcement provisions – by the Democrats who controlled Congress – including such luminaries as then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson and a young Senator Jack Kennedy. Like former Vice President Joe Biden in the 1980s, they both made common cause with their southern Democrat colleagues to thwart integration – part of the Democrats proud history that does not hold up to fact-checking.
Both the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voters Rights act only became law because of the overwhelming support (votes) of congressional Republicans – over the opposition and filibustering of Democrats. So, who should be proud – Democrats?
It was Republican Minority Leader Everett Dirksen and Senate Republicans that defeated for the first time a Democrat filibuster of a piece of civil rights legislation. And it was Dirksen who drafted and introduced the Voting Rights Act. Nothing there for Democrats to take undue proud.
The 1960s era of civil rights brought out the most ferocious opposition efforts since the Civil War. Some of the most powerful Democrats in Congress signed the Southern Manifesto in opposition to school integrations. They closed or privatized schools in the south rather than integrate them. Democrats unleashed a wave of intimidation that killed hundreds of peaceful protestors and innocent citizens. They assassinated civil rights leaders. Are those the actions Democrats should be proud of?
And what about today?
Where in America are blacks still segregated, impoverished and endangered? Where do blacks suffer from lack of proper education, quality housing, unequal justice and high unemployment? Where does the frustration of oppression and inequality result in demonstrations and violent riots against those in charge? And who are those in charge? For generations, Democrats have failed and oppressed the black community for generations – with the help of black leaders who benefited from the suffering of the masses.
So, to Errol Louis I say … no. Democrats can take NO pride in their role in civil rights and integration – or the grand false narrative they have been perpetrating with the help of a corrupt news media for generations. As far as the Democratic Party and integration is concerned, the proper word is “shame.”
So, there ‘tis.