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America ain’t racist – reprised

America ain’t racist – reprised

Now that Black History Month is over for 2022, I will do my customary reprisal that summarized my basic opinion on American racism.  But before that, I want to make very clear that in saying that America is not a racist nation, I am not saying that elements of racism do not exist – both as a residual of history and as the sad fact that some folks on the fringe hold racist views – including some of those people of color.  There is racism to some measure in every society.  But that does not make America a racist society.

I see American racism as three categories – passive racism and active racism and institutional racism. 

Passive racism

Passive racism involves people who may feel uncomfortable associating with folks of different backgrounds (non-hateful) to those who believe that people of another “race” are inferior or dangerous by nature or culture (hateful).  But this group does not act on it – other than using derogatory terms in private conversations.

Active racism

Active racists are those who join hate groups and commit hate crimes.  They are at the root of racial violence.  And it cuts both ways – from gunning down a black person to assassinating a police officer.  I would emphasize that the active racists are a very very small cancer in our culture – but their actions rightfully draw a lot of attention.  They no more represent the American people than do bank robbers.  Just because we have bank robbers does not mean we are a nation of bank robbers.

Institutional racism

Institutional racism is where the instruments of government operate in an overtly racist manner.  It is the residual from the era of slavery and the era of violent racism that flourished in the old south for 100 years after the Civil War – and is seen in the segregated communities in our major cities to this day.

As it was in the days of slavery, and the era of southern racism, the remnant of racist governance is most evident in the cities that have had a long history of Democratic Party rule.  It can be in the form of de jure racism, in which the racism is codified and reflected in the manner in which government operates in an official capacity.  That was the racism in what was called “the Democrat southland.”

De facto racism is what we see today in the major urban centers.  The laws are not racist, per se, but their application of them is.  It is the reason that the segregated communities are characterized by poverty, inferior education, high unemployment, poor quality housing, high crime rates, unequal application of law, and lack of city services.

The American people

Despite these examples of racism, it is also true that they are no longer characteristic of the vast majority of the American public.  Racism is not prevalent in day-to-day life.  And that leads to the reprisal of my annual Black History Month commentary – even more true today than ever.

America ain’t racist

By Larry Horist

Upon reading the headline on my commentary today, the political left and no small portion of the minority community will be expressing an emphatic, “WHAT?”  It runs counter to much conventional wisdom.  Conventional wisdom is not always correct, however.  Racism may have been more ingrained in the American culture in days of yore, but it has virtually vanished in terms of any day-to-day impact for the vast majority of Americans of all backgrounds.

But wait!  I did not say that the residual of centuries of racism does not exist.  It is not totally eradicated, for sure.  The remnants of institutional racism do exist, and it is a serious problem.    We might look at racism like we see bank robbery.  Bank robbery occurs in America, but it does not make us a nation of bank robbers.

Of course, just the belief in pandemic racism impacts us politically, socially, and culturally.  Widely held misconceptions have the same influence on our actions as do actual facts.  But, to complete our journey to the post-racial society dreamt of by Martin Luther King we must understand the true nature and scope of racism.  Yes, we do need that much called for “dialogue on race.”  But, it must be more than “White people are racists and what can we do about it?”  I see three forms of racism in America – personal racism, counter racism, racism, and institutional racism.

Personal racism is the feeling a person holds in their heart.  This can range from a virulent belief in white superiority to a more apathetic discomfort about people who are different.  Personal racism is not the most serious form unless it manifests itself in racist actions – from violence in the streets to not hiring a minority person.  Today, we have laws to address that.  Personal racism has ebbed and will continue to ebb through education, assimilation, the rise of new generations AND the defeat of the remnants of institutional racism.

Despite the political rhetoric, personal racism is very rare.  To make the point, allow me to lift a passage from my hopefully soon-to-be-published book on racism in America.

“If we take a fresh look at America, we might just discover that we are not a nation of racists after all, but rather the victims of racial baiting by politicians and the mainstream media.  We should keep in mind that billions of times every day … yes, billions … black and white Americans smile and nod to each other as we pass on the streets.  We serve each other in restaurants and stores.  We work side-by-side in factories and offices.  We do favors for each other.  We come to each other’s aid. We cheer alongside each other on both sides of every sports arena.  We play on the same teams.  We chat on social media.  We die alongside each other in battle.   We become lifelong friends. We adopt each other.  We fall in love and marry each other. We laugh together at the same movies and we weep together at shared tragedies.”

Again, that is billions of times every day, and we see this every day all around us.  There was that news report about a black police officer who was killed coming to the aid of a white comrade who was also killed.  There was a recent report of an emotional reunion between a white citizen who saved the life of a black mother and her twin daughters during Hurricane Katrina.  Such reports are not rare or exceptional.  They are ubiquitous.  For every act of racial violence or hostility, there are innumerable acts of kindness and assistance – every day.

My life was impacted by such a simple kindness.  I again draw upon my manuscript.

“One of my early after school jobs was to retrieve shopping carts from the parking lot of the local Jewel Food Store.  One dark snowy winter evening, I noticed a woman on the far end of the parking lot struggling with three large brown paper bags of groceries.  I assumed she was carrying them because of the difficulty of pushing the shopping cart through the deepening snow.  I then observed a middle-aged black woman rushing toward her.  I expected the worst.  Was she going to attack the white woman?  Was she going to steal the groceries?  Was she a purse snatcher?  Instead, the black woman helped hold two of the stuffed grocery bags as the white woman dug around in her purse for the trunk key.  After depositing the bags in the trunk and slamming down the lid, I could see how thankful and appreciated the white woman was and how dismissive was the black woman of what appeared to be thankful compliments.

Suddenly my belief in the permanent hostility between whites and blacks was seriously challenged.  The black woman’s kindness had opened a new gateway to thinking about race relations.  I have often thought about that black woman and how she would never know how she guided my thinking and the course of my life.  Almost 60 years later, the image of that good deed remains vivid in my mind. “

In times of tragedy, and Hurricane Harvey is just the latest example, we hear the press and politicians talking about how people come together, “putting aside their differences.”  They express this as some sort of exception from what they infer to be more normal times.  These interracial acts of cooperation, however, are not the exception.  They are inherent in the diverse American culture.  It is there all the time.  We supposedly “come together” because we are never that far apart.   Yes, we come from different backgrounds and have different opinions, but we largely embrace the American culture of e Pluribus Unum.  We are by far good people.

The second form of racism is reactive.  It is fashionable among the academic community to proffer the argument that minority individuals cannot be racist.  Calling out black racism is often described as racist. This is a one-sided absurdity that defies all logic, common sense and fairness.  Of course, there are racist Black people on the fringe of the greater community.  When I hear any black person say that all whites are racist, I hear the voice of racism.  It is as ignorant a statement as saying that all black people are lazy, all Italians are Mafia and all Scotts are parsimonious.  Once you cast an entire group with a common negative trait, you are speaking from an “ism” of one form or another.  Such stereotyping is the currency of race-baiters from David Duke to Al Sharpton.

Like personal white racism, personal black racism needs to be addressed by education, assimilation, the rise of new generations AND the defeat of institutional racism.  And like white racism, it is only virulent if it generates violence or prejudicial actions.

The last and most serious form of racism is institutional racism.  In the first 175 years of our republic, during the eras of slavery and southern Democrat segregation, de jure racism was codified in our culture by national and local laws.  Alongside the de jure racism of the south, however, America saw the development of de facto racism in our major cities – and it is found there to this day.  Because it was not based on the law, it was able to survive every measure of civil rights progress since the Civil War – including constitutional amendments, laws, court orders and popular movements.  It did not endure on its own merits or even due to a foundation of grassroots racism.  It endured because it was and is beneficial to both black and white politicians who draw their power, prestige and profit from it.  In many ways, urban racism is the last vestige of America’s emergence from the pandemic institutional racism of our national inception.

It also brings us face-to-face with the real source of racism in America today.  The false narrative of pandemic cultural racism is really a political smokescreen to conceal the people who protect and carry out institutional racism.  As was de jure racism in the past, de facto racism — waning as it may be — is the operational characteristic of the Democratic Party.  Because of the power of these city political machines, urban de facto racism is tolerated at all levels of the Party structure in the same way that the national Democratic Party tolerated southern segregation for so many years.

It is the reason that virtually all the anger and frustration that boils over in minority communities in the form of demonstrations and riots is experienced in cities long controlled by the Democratic Party.  In fact, it is almost impossible to find minority uprisings in communities governed by Republicans.

These iconic urban segregated communities have many of the same features of slavery and southern segregation.  They are segregated pockets of impoverishment where citizens are denied their basic constitutional rights of education, equal justice under the law, access to career level jobs (and too often no jobs at all), social mobility, decent housing, personal safety and a well maintained infrastructure.  

This de facto racism permeates every department of the city government.  It is seen in failure to enforce building and safety codes against crony slumlords who illegally subdivide unsafe tenements.  It is seen in the crumbling parks and infrastructure.  It is seen in the unending depression level unemployment.   It is seen on the bloody streets of the inner city.  It is seen in the segregated school systems which provide separate and unequal education that is the foundation of the inner city’s racially imposed poverty.   In a very real sense, the inalienable and constitutional civil rights articulated above have been supplanted by the singular faux civil right of generational welfare dependency. 

Urban institutional racism is not just the product of an all-white power structure.  It can be found among black public officials who are cronies or benefactors of the system – also drawing from it their own power, prestige and profit.  That is why cities such as Baltimore, with a long history of black leadership, suffer the same racial and economic segregation and oppression as the ghettoes of Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.  It is not a far stretch to compare many of the black leaders to the house slaves or the black slave owners of the early 1800s – gaming the racist system for personal advantage.  

It is difficult to imagine more widely held and pernicious false narratives as the assertion of pandemic American racism and Democratic Party civil rights advocacy.   If we are to have a serious and meaningful dialogue on race – and we most certainly should — it is essential that we understand what it is, where it comes from AND who is responsible.  To do that, we must look outside the box of false narratives for a much broader dialogue of discovery.

As a concerned citizen and a prominent civic leader, Larry Horist has investigated virtually all facets of urban racism.  He has personally investigated ghetto housing, police brutality, criminal justice, inner city unemployment, black economic development and the failure of the public education system that serves the urban minority communities.  In all his business, political and civic endeavors, he has opened leadership opportunities for minorities – often for the first time.  He has seen both the fiction and reality of racism as the father of a black daughter for more than 40 years.  He understands that pain of many black families, having lost a black Marine grandson in Afghanistan.  His work has earned him a number of honors and awards from minority groups.  His soon to be published book is a testament to his lifelong passion for equality and equal opportunity.

Editor’s note:  Having traveled to more than 30 different countries, my personal experience is that the United States is the least racist country in the world, with the possible exception of Canada. My travels have included Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe. The difference is that America has free speech and a robust political discourse. We air our dirty laundry for all to see. 

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

33 Comments

  1. Ben

    Blacks bring a lot of trouble on themselves with their attitude.

    • Ben

      Would that be uppity? Shiftless?

      • Ted

        Right

    • Larry Kuhn

      Ben, I’d go a step further and surmise that most of PBP readers ( with the exception of the two cucks that post here) would agree that it’s not lack of opportunity, institutional racism, or the prison industrial complex, BUT blacks themselves that cause their own hardships.

      • Bob

        Yeah, KKKuhn, Especially the unarmed ones who get shot. Or he ones who take less pay for the same job. Or the ones who have to listen to your tripe.

        • Rose

          Thinning the herd

          • frank stetson

            And Rose thinks that’s a good thing no doubt. And others can’t see any racism on this site whatsoever. And Larry sees it, but it’s mostly Democrats. How can truth become such a mysterious thing. I guess when you accept 30,000. lies in four years from your president., that’s one reason.

    • B4CE

      Ben, I’d like to point out that by you impersonating me and saying racist things, you actually are helping to disprove Larry H’s narrative. You already have two of the 8 people that read this blog agreeing with you.

      Just goes to show that Larry H has no idea what is going on in this Country

      • Cathy

        Racism is always being alleged on this site. I haven’t seen it. I wonder who is the most racist person to ever post. Like I said, I haven’t seen racism. It’s all bull shit from leftist fools that have no platform and are wrong on issues.

        • frank stetson

          Just look at Rose’s post. A mere two paragraphs up.

          • Rose

            Maybe I was referring to antilope herds in Wyoming Around Casper, where I’m from, they are overbreeding. Just like some people

          • frank stetson

            Well, I guess you get your choice Rose. You’re either a redneck racist from a rural area or a blithering idiot who just rants off topic because you saw an antelope outside your window and happened to be on the website. I’m not sure there’s a lesser of evils in this choice. Then again, since I blither and dither on a regular basis, I guess that one is OK.

    • larry Horist

      I do not see the problems of the segregated inner cities as a people problem. You get those conditions any time people are confined to economic discrimination and political oppress. We know that because wherever institutional racism is eradicated, the cultural issue change dramatically. The problem is institutional racisms — and not the people who suffer under it. I cannot tall you how many times my old Democrat precinct captain claimed it was because blacks are lazy … prone to crime. But that is untrue and is the pitch you get from the racist political machine. You are sounding a bit like the Democrats I have heard over many years. Blame the victims.

      • frank stetson

        I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about and who you’re talking to. You speak in vague generalities. offer no supporting evidence, except one anecdote about a racist democrat police captain. I’m sure that is true. But statistically has no value whatsoever. I do believe there is institutional or systematic racism. I do believe that laws supported by Democrats have contributed to that. But to say it’s a democratic problem only is just ignorant. It’s a white person’s problem. It’s an American problem. It’s a problem in all 50 states., 300 largest cities, whatever you want. It’s a local issue. State issue. It’s a federal issue. Someone pointed out that recent events in Ukraine support it. it’s a worldwide issue.

        I realize you need your political bias to create political spin to create money for your pocket. but you offer up ******** generalities with no supporting evidence. Once again, this dog don’t hunt.

        • larry Horist

          Frank Stetson … It is very obvious that you have not spend much time in the inner cities with the people. It is obvious that you have not spend much time fighting the racism in those segregated communities. It is obvious that you have not studied the issue of racism in the major cities. it is obvious that you have not read much history about racism in America. It is obvious that your view on racism is completely distorted by your political biases. You do not see the facts. Frank … you are offing opinions and accusations on a matter that you no next to another about. You don’t even connect logically. Democrats control the major cities with the segregated populations for generations. The folks rise up against the institutional racism. The people are oppressed … poor education, dilapidated housing, no jobs, high crime. You cannot see any of it. It just be some partisan denial because I cannot believe you are that ignorant. You challenge my opinions based on years of experience and yet you offer not explanation as to why the Democrat-run cities have those large segregated and oppressed populations for generations. Explain that one.

          • frank stetson

            Again, I really don’t have any idea what you’re talking about., but once again, there’s certainly no facts in this passage, except that your opinion of me is not very good. You are very good though at mirroring back exactly what I just said about you. Again, no facts. It’s not that I’m challenging your opinion., I am challenging your opinion due to a lack of supporting evidence. You keep telling us what your opinion is, but you don’t show your work. You asked us to take your opinion on faith due to your resume. Which is also something you ask us to take on faith. I respect your resume. And trust its accuracy., but that’s still does not give you a free ride to tell me what I think without telling me why.

          • .frank stetson

            Wow Larry, you just beat these weird ideas into your own head to the point where you’re just not open to anything. I don’t have a clue as to what protest occurred on which administrations watch, Democrat or Republican. I can’t imagine that you do and of course, facts are not your friends and you never leave any on the table. Once again you ask us to agree with your opinion, agree with your conclusions, without any evidence whatsoever being brought forth.

            The George Floyd protests started in May 2020; that would be trumps watch. Enough said. I’m sure if I go back there will be no problem whatsoever proving the same under administrations of both parties.

            No, I am sure there are laws that are been passed by the Democrats that either intentionally or unintentionally caused systemic racism. Likewise I am sure the same can be said for Republican laws. As to an exact statistical count of who did what to whovin the zoo, I am pretty sure neither you or I have a clue. But apparently you do have a conclusion. You just don’t have facts you can put on the table to back it up. Apparently Larry don’t do supporting facts.

          • Frank stetson

            Again Larry you pretend to bring fash to the table and you bring none. It’s just your conclusion based on your opinions. You’re welcome to have them, but why would anyone else believe them unless they already believe already.

            And no amount of calling me stupid will change that. You have made a lot of assertions here and you proved none.

        • larry Horist

          Frank Stetson… of course you have no idea what I am talking about. That was the entire point of my comments. You say you want the “evidence” of racisms in our cities. Good God! Have you been sleeping. If I say stars exist are you going to need a 101 course in astrophysics. You claim to do research. Well do it. There are thousands of books and millions of examples of institutional racisms in Democrat cities — Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Philadelphian, etc. etc. etc. Honestly, I think you are making a fool of yourself with that denial or ignorance of the well documented evidence over many years. I have never met a person so oblivious of institutional racism in our major cities — not Republican or Democrat … liberal or conservative … black, white, Latino. You stand out as uniquely uninformed or a hopeless partisan denying reality. You concede Democrats have passed racist laws .. and that Democrats control the cities where the problem exists but they say it is NOT a Democrat problem. That is just crazy talk. How can you even claim to be so uninformed on such a major issue?

          • Frank stetsoN

            I am sorry you’re unable to come up with any supporting evidence except to say “it’s out there.”

            Of course, this is what you do for most of your diatribe. It’s amazing how when you asshole and approve it around here, crickets.

            I think one of the first request in almost any debate is source material, source information, even a fucking link. You refused to provide any.

            All I did is ask the question.

            BUSTED: little or no support for argument and allegations.

          • Frank stetson

            Should read “when you stand up and say prove it around here.” I think my spellchecker and voice recognition is psychotic. Or maybe it’s self learning…

          • Frank stetson

            Tell you what Larry, I decided you’re right. So, I did take the time and I looked at all up on the web. Turns out you’re totally wrong. Everywhere I looked said so. Everyone out there said so.

            You can look it up yourself. It’s out there.

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson …. now you are lying. Could not find ANY evidence of institutional racism?….lol. I know you are trying to be cute …. but you are just bullshitting. We can end this dialoged on urban racism since you are intellectually ill-equipped to participate.

          • Frank stetson

            Larry, amazing how we’ve gone through this incredibly tedious passage, you have broaden your thought to “institutionalized racism.“ As you know, I noted above, for the umpteenth time, I do believe there is institutional racism.

            My bone to pick with you is your allegation that it’s all Democrats, all the time, and only in democratic cities. I think I’ve been pretty clear on where I just don’t believe your allegations.

            And you’re right, there’s a very good chance I’ll meet up what I said I found in research. I only have two words for you Larry: prove it.

            And of course, you will then dismiss me saying I’m being pedantic and you will go onto your next article full of fun , lacking any credibility, because you just don’t show the facts.

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson … we should both be able to agree that one indicator of institutional racism is the reaction of the oppressed communities. Now take all the protests, demonstrations and riots in the past 100 years and count those that were against Republican administrations and those that were against Democrat administrations — right to the current day. That would give you all the evidence you need. Check out the work of Martin Luther King and his crusades. can you find a single crusade against institutional racism that was directed at a Republicans administration. You keep talking about some sort of equivalency but where is YOUR evidence?

          • Frank stetson

            Oh my goodness Larry. Now that you cannot show us any proof that Democrats have caused institutional racism in democratic cities, you pivot to say most demonstrations take place on the Democrats watch and therefore it’s the Democrats fault. Not only is the logic faltered, but once again you ask us to believe your conclusion without a shred of proof.

            For example, the George Floyd protest which definitely were against institutional racism, started in May 2020. I believe that’s trumps watch. So either demonstration‘s happen when the Republican administrations are in office, or Trump is just the worst Republican ever. But you like his policies.

            I really don’t think you have any statistical evidence to support your claim here. And I can’t imagine where I would look to find some. It’s a crazy notion. And a complete pivot from the discussion we were actually having. Or I was having and you were deflecting.

            It’s easy Larry, I’m just looking for one factoid to support your claim. One law the Democrats have passed that resulted in institutional racism. I’m actually pretty sure you could find one, but the fact is you made up your mind it’s true and the facts don’t matter anymore. You certainly don’t have them on hand.

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson. I am astounded at you at your stupidity. Virtually all uprisings against racial injustice have occurred in Democrat cities. It has NOHTING to do with who is in power in Washington. It is the city administrations that run the police … the schools … the housing … the infrastructure … and the policies that keep the cities segregated and jobless. This is simple 2+2=4. I cannot believe you would embarrass yourself with such a nonsensical retort. It is like having a dialogue with a five-year-old. Youi either are that ignorant … or cannot have an opened mind or objective analysis. I know … I am not discussing the issues because YOU are the problem. You incredible lace of knowledge and ability to reason on this issue. FACT: virtually all racial protests and riots happen in Democrat Cities — for generations. FACT: Democrats administrations govern over the police, schools, housing, infrastructure, segregations, jobs. Therefore. who is responsible? Get it? Unfortunately, this platform does not enable me to respond to you in crayon.

  2. B4CE

    I kinda feel like if you have to write a blog on how NOT racist your Country is, there might be more of a problem than you’d like to admit. Also, the fact that this is coming from an global elite, old, white man may not be the best source to tell us America isn’t racist.

    • Joe Gilbertson

      How about an old white man who has traveled and worked in more than 30 countries who can cite examples of worse racism in each of them?

      • Ben

        And that makes our racism a-ok Joe?

        We are the lesser of evils so it’s a higher and better evil. Not so good on gun evils though.

    • larry Horist

      B4CA … Racism is never ok. The problem is that you limousine liberals ignore it when it comes from your party. I never could understand the disconnect. Racism is oppressing millions — and killing many every year — in Democrat-run strongholds — and you are unwilling to point to the cause. You defense the worst and most deadly racism left in America. Then maybe a white presons is not the best source of saying America IS racist. You just playing the race card again. Forget the facts … attack on age and ;with the race card. Shame on you.

      • ben

        spreak English much? Looks like the old man is trying to thumb talk from his phone again.

        • Buck wheat

          Black power

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