Who’s More Racist?/Dems Broke Our Inner Cities?


The Recent ‘Who’s More Racist’ Meme

Donald Trump, a man who is running to be President of the United States, can apparently say any racist thing he wants and still pretend to have the interests of those he maligns at heart. Our jaws are constantly dropping because nothing sticks to this guy. The media, cold one day, critical and willing to announce that this is a man who should never be our President turns around on the next day and conducts campaign business as usual. They interview him, play videos of his statements, broadcast round-tables full of media commentators from both major political persuasions and by doing so normalize his campaign once again, all of their hyperbolic complaints set aside to be revisited on another jaw-dropping day.

It is obvious that the press has no idea what to do in an unprecedented situation such as the election of 2016, although they have no trouble beating up on Hillary Clinton every day. I guess because she is not holding press conferences, where they can beat her up in front of a camera crew to be stored on video for all eternity, they are driven to destroy her in absentia. Hillary is being made famous by the Donald for making one tone deaf statement about African American young people in the 1990’s, which does sound bad and brings forth a wince when repeated in 2016, but is still only one statement no matter how many times it is repeated. Meanwhile Trump has hired a roster of advisors who don’t mind rubbing shoulders with White Supremacists or even members of the Ku Klux Klan, or who are prominent White Nationalists. And yet it seems we are supposed to be deciding who’s more racist?

His new campaign advisor has perhaps pointed out to Donald Trump that he cannot win the Presidential election unless he embraces at least one minority group. It looks like Americans of African Descent are the chosen ones because he just burned his bridges with Hispanics and probably Latinos also. Donald Trump, a man who knows next to nothing about history is now trying to rewrite American history for an electorate that also either knows and cares little about history, or has been entertained for the last decade by the twisted versions of American history as told by Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.

The Discovery of the Bigoted Democrats of the 60’s by the Republican Right Wing

These same media right wing guys have been so excited since they learned about the Democratic Dixiecrats — a group of Democrats who were virulently anti-integration in the South both before and after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the President at the time was Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat). It delights these grown men to crow about all of the segregationists with their whiter than white skin and their thick Southern accents who were members of the Democratic Party during the Civil Rights Movement. It is proof, they craftily contend, that Democrats are racists. Except that the Democrats were so inhospitable to Strom Thurmond, et al that the Southern wing of the Democratic Party (those very Dixiecrats) eventually left the Democrats and joined the Republicans where they found a better fit, and the Republicans became the party of Southern accents and perpetual bitterness at their loss in the Civil War, kept alive by the Confederate flags flown throughout the South, and on many a Republican truck bumper.


The Democrats Broke the Inner Cities (or Did They)?

Now Donald Trump has his people blaming Democrats for the fact that not much has changed in our inner cities. He is saying that 50 years of Democratic programs have done nothing to ameliorate poverty or to bring prosperity to Americans of African Descent. Sadly, in the absence of data, that does seem to be the case. There is some data available but Donald Trump is not a data miner. It is also true that Democratic programs have never been consistently funded and have been modified whenever Republicans had the votes. These programs have been under constant attack from the right who have made several very familiar arguments against such programs.

1) Giving people government support makes them dependent on that support and they will like the free money so much that they will never want to leave that support system or do anything to become self-supporting members of our society, so the very support government gives, turns people into the perpetually poor and dependent.

2) A strong central government is anti-American and will lead to authoritarianism or Communism; furthermore it is against the intentions of our forefathers as written in the US Constitution which gives more rights to the individual states than to the central government. This section of our Constitution is actually very brief and open to interpretation, so much so in fact, that our founding fathers wrote the Federalist papers to try to reach a consensus interpretation, which I believe they were unable to do.

Neither of these arguments represents more than a point of view. There is no proof that all people will see government assistance as a comfortable hammock in which to while away their lives or that having a very small federal government will insure our continuing freedom as a nation.

It does seem clear that societies without any support for those who are poor suffer more social chaos and economic inconvenience and health and hygiene challenges than those societies who do prop up their poorest citizens with at least minimal dietary and health initiatives, and that things improve even more when education, training, and work are offered also. We know these things because we have documented histories from societies that did not offer these thing to those who were at the bottom of the social and economic heap. (England, for example)

Do Republicans Have a Better Plan?
So when we have someone like Rudy Giuliani claiming that Democrats have failed Americans of African Descent for the past 50 years – after I get over my outrage at such a statement

[Would it have been better to have done nothing?

[Would tough love and state’s rights have produced better results?]

– it becomes important to look back over the past 50 years to see if Democrats really are the culprits who we should blame for the seeming stasis in our inner cities and if it is truly time to give Republicans a go.

However, I warn you, almost the only thing that the Republicans have to go on is that tricky time we already discussed when Civil Rights hung in the balance, when half of the Democratic Party (the Southern half) was a 60’s version of Dino’s or Democrats In Name Only, men so bigoted that the Democratic Party eventually could not contain them. It is the tale of those very Dixiecrats who eventually fled to the open arms of a Republican Party, a party which has obstructed social programs vehemently ever since (whenever they could get away with it and still get elected to public office) that is providing Donald Trump with his opportunity to “zap” Democrats.

Throughout the Obama years we have heard their spokesman, Paul Ryan, hailed by the party until recently as a truth teller, repeat the wisdom he gleaned from multiple readings of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand — that we are destroying the character of the poor by propping them up and that the poor are takers who will demand more and more from the middle class until they too join the ranks of the poor – the story of the takers and the makers. It has been a compelling story, but is it true?

It seems to me that we lose more as a society by not helping poorer citizens than we do by helping them. The jury is still out on determining what positive and negative effects the past 50 years of programs offered to the poorest Americans have had. If the same families whose grandparents were poor are still as poor as that previous generation, then why is that the case? Is it the failure of the programs, or the failure of the modifications to the programs, or some other factors altogether that are responsible for the lack of change, of growth? Whatever the reasons I do not believe that the Republicans have mentioned any approaches that will help inner city communities in any way.

My Conclusions

Neither party is blameless when it comes to the stubborn stasis in our inner cities and so when Donald blames this on the Democrats he is being disingenuous and the most obvious reason is because it is politically expedient to do so. He has no insider knowledge that will help us unravel this stubborn problem and the Republicans sink or swim approach is a way to deny any blame for the current state of affairs and wash their hands of dedicating any more tax dollars to improving the situation. At this juncture I would say that actually going into our cities and asking residents what they believe would help the most and what their particular needs are seems as if it would be a great start.

Some of the Information and Historical Evidence I Reviewed

In order to refresh my own memory about the history of this argument about which party is more racist and which party has “broken” our inner cities I researched a number of topics.  First I looked at the roots of welfare which are older than you might think. http://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/bria-14-3-a-how-welfare-began-in-the-united-states.html


Welfare and Social Security programs began during the Great Depression with the New Deal of FDR and, says Wikipedia, ended when Bill Clinton (Democrat) faced with a majority Republican Congress passed the Welfare to Work bill in 1996. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_Responsibility_and_Work_Opportunity_Act

If is instructive to watch some of the video record saved on You Tube and elsewhere on the internet. When you hear the question “which party is more racist” and then you watch the evidence you are likely to be confused. Some of these men were saying racist things as members of the Democratic Party because they were from the South and they were vehemently opposed to integration. But this view was not typical of the Democratic Party overall. Lyndon B. Johnson, prime mover of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was also a Democrat. Eventually these immovable Southern men had to take their anger and hate and huffily leave the Democratic Party. When they did that they found their new home with the Republicans. So when you listen to Strom Thurmond and Bull Connor and George Wallace talk on these videos they are Democrats. But not for long.

strom thurmondbig




The Confederate Flag


Bull Connor and Civil Rights



George Wallacebig

George Wallace

Segregation forever –




And even the Republican hero President, Ronald Reagan, appears very different when seen from a more liberal point of view:

Bill Maher on Ronald Reagan


RT.com on Ronald Reagan


Rachel Maddow on Reaganomics and how it hollowed out the middle class


Black folks and Reagan


Republicans may also try to convince you that the War on Drugs belongs to Democrats but the War on Drugs began in 1914 and has been a fairly consistent policy in the US since that time. It is true that Americans of color have been pursued and incarcerated at a much higher rate than white Americans or even than guilty Americans, but Democrats alone are hardly to blame in this regard.

War on Drugs


Actually began in 1914 – A Democrat and a member of the House of
Representatives named Harrison proposed the first bill in Congress which passed

Nixon (Republican) used the name War on Drugs

Drug Czar appointed under George H W Bush and raised to cabinet level status by Bill Clinton

Drug free media campaign act of 1998

Sentencing disparities have been well documented

Nixon creates War on Drugs


Stop and frisk


Lately we have also been made aware of how real estate practices like redlining (used by Donald Trump to avoid renting apartments to people of color) also made it difficult for some minority citizens to leave inner cities.





Racism and Hillary Clinton

If it wasn’t
for seven years of the blatant resurgence of racism in America then we might
not need Hillary Clinton. Sadly Obama’s presence in the Oval Office allowed
racial meanness to rise to the surface in Washington, DC and outside our nation’s
capital. When we should have felt proud of America on the 50th
Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, when we should have been celebrating, we
were instead seeing the festering remains of racism being exposed in far too many
areas of American society.
The Supreme
Court struck a huge blow when it said that certain southern states were no
longer subject to clearance before they could change their voting laws. The GOP
shamelessly began passing restrictions on voting in those same southern states
where clearance had been used to guarantee racial fairness in voting. They
justified their actions as necessary to circumvent voter fraud, which turned out
to be almost nonexistent. They said they were not being anti-Black, they were just
making it harder for Democrats to vote, but they knew, all the time, how
important the Black vote was to Democrats. They got two licks in for the price
of one.
We have seen
all too many unarmed Black folks shot under suspicious circumstances by policemen.
It begins to seem as if certain individuals join the police force to
deliberately wipe out Black people, a sort of vigilante routine. I don’t know
if there is a group that has planned this or if this is just lone racists
acting on their own and I admit I may be seeing a trend where there is really
only a series of terrible accidents, but we should not have racists on our
police forces and if there is any way to root them out we should do it.
We have
allowed Black folks to languish in poverty in our inner cities – and I don’t
mean languish in a nice way – I mean it in a hopeless way. We have not found
strategies to entice all young African-Americans into the schools and that is
what we need to do. We also need to learn how to make school relevant enough
that they will stay and go “all the way” through. We need to stop concentrating
poor black, brown, and Asian people in our center cities and find ways, perhaps
through real estate options, to intersperse poor Americans in more affluent
neighborhoods where people can afford to help lift them up.
Yes, we have
finally been made aware of how over-zealously and unequally the War on Drugs
was conducted. We have been shocked by the staggering numbers of Americans of
African Descent incarcerated for minor drug offenses and the role unaffordable
cash bails have played in this. This was one of those cases where a program
that folks thought would help solve a problem, exacerbated the problem and
created new ones. I’m not sure it was intended as a “racist” policy, it was
supposed to “scare people straight” in dangerous inner city neighborhoods, but,
in retrospect, we can see that the enforcement of this program affected
Africans-Americans far more than white Americans and either the program and/or
the enforcement of the program was racist in the way it was implemented in the
lives of real people. In this case a flawed answer intended to solve a social
problem has produced terrible consequences and most of these consequences were
visited upon Black people. If may take decades to turn around the effects of
over-incarceration and inappropriately harsh sentencing.
We have also
seen how we have allowed the South to revere the defeated Confederacy and to turn
the white folks in Southern states into martyrs and heroes in a Civil War we
should never have had to fight. We see how this has become another way to keep
racial hatred alive – to remind Black folks of their “shameful” roots in our
nation and to insure they don’t get “uppity”. How any of this shame accrues to
Black folks is impossible to even imagine, unless you grew up in the South I
Americans of
African Descent have been here longer than most Americans, although not by
choice. If they did not have black or brown skin they would have blended in
long ago. Why can’t we get over this idea that the more pigment one has the
less human one is? We have to all get past this. What will happen if we are
confronted with a truly alien species?
Because the
GOP has shown itself to be especially prone to letting “racial” traits and
their own fears inform their behavior (or misinform it) we cannot elect a
President from among the Republicans. If you consider all of the candidates for
the 2016 election Hillary has shown the best understanding of what America needs
to do to address fairness, equality, and opportunity for Americans of African
Descent. I don’t think Bernie is any more racist than any of us, but I do think
he believes his policies will lift all boats and perhaps doesn’t understand the
unique obstacles Black Americans face.
I think it
might be true that we are nicer when we feel more affluent, when our economy is
humming along; but how long must these Americans, who have been here since our
beginnings, be kept from the freedoms that should be theirs as well as ours.
Clearly this particularly stubborn issue of “racism” did not disappear in more
prosperous times, but there was a more generous spirit and it looked, for a
while, like things might have turned a corner.
If the existence
of all this hate and inequality and separation had not bubbled up from the
depths it had been stuffed into, up into the light of day – that would be a bad
thing. Let’s not try to contain it away from view of white eyes once again. Let’s
try to solve this and heal America once and for all. At the risk of sounding
corny perhaps that is what Hillary means when she talks about making America “whole”.
By Nancy

Not Just About Freddie Gray

All the white indignation in the world will not
solve any of the systemic problems of our minority neighborhoods. We have known
that there have been people, our neighbors, who, for whatever reasons, have
opted out or have been left out of America’s economic prosperity and who have
been left isolated on cultural-economic islands that we became frightened to
build bridges to or visit. I don’t care who is at fault. There is plenty of
fault to go around.
Americans of African Descent have been shunned and
the more they were shunned the more cut off they became from the culture as a
whole. Their own pride and the defenses they erected to show that they did not
care and that perhaps they did not want anything to do with white people either seemed
to effectively burn any bridges or stop people from building bridges altogether.
There have been programs to lift people in pockets
of stubborn poverty up and out. Someone always puts shame into these programs,
accuses poor folk of taking something for nothing (when it seems as if that must have been the whole
idea) before the programs can do their work and then either abandons the
programs or turns them into just another burden.
I was around for the last bout of “riots” in the
sixties which were mostly concerned with securing basic civil rights. Our
government did throw some money at these problems at that time. I worked
for a program that helped people who left school, or graduated but still lacked
the basic skills they needed to get along in areas like reading, writing and
math. A bit of money was wasted before these programs got up to speed, got rid
of the greedy few trying to rip off the government, and started making true inroads into preparing adults for
college. Students in these programs were saddled with big loans in the early
years because they would be given school loans and they would fail their
courses and drop out again, being still improperly prepared for higher
education but now, also, in debt. Eventually the programs improved and were
able to help almost every student earn a college degree.
There were still factory jobs in those days and
Americans of African Descent had a tough time getting hired at factories (men
more than women) because employees worried about their work ethic, sometimes
with justification, sometimes not. No sooner did people from poor neighborhoods
begin to get jobs in factories than all of the factories left America. At the
same time Washington decided to link welfare to work (sometimes educational or
training programs were also acceptable). With good paying jobs disappearing
poor people were once more put between that proverbial rock and a hard place.
Everyone in America wants success – everyone wants
to get rich. Our changing economy and attitudes towards the poor left Americans
of African Descent with few choices – music (entertainment), sports, or drugs.
I taught young people who would refuse to read at all unless the material was
about rap or basketball. I was not so married to western culture and tradition that
I refused to pick up some magazines at the bookstore which centered around rap
and basketball. Such materials still functioned to raise reading levels, which
was my main goal. Then we could read some Shakespeare.
But, of course, selling drugs is a criminal act.
Flashing around town with a big car and diamonds in your teeth did not sit well
with the establishment. They declared a “War on Drugs” and so we began the
years of locking up black men and women, breaking up families (isn’t this the
same thing that happened to black families in slavery and yet we wonder why
intact black families are sometimes rare) pitting cops (policemen) against
segregated neighborhoods, creating an impetus for the formation of gangs to
fight the law and to protect the turf. Call something a war and it becomes a
war. Language matters.
That puts us right where we are today in almost any
American city with a community at war with law enforcement to defend the
criminal activities some of the poor see as the only “opportunity” they are
left with to achieve the American Dream. The police form that blue wall to
protect themselves, but that same blue wall is now a wall bad policemen can hide
And so we ask how does a black teen get killed
making a convenient store run for Skittles and iced tea? How does a black man,
admittedly a large black man, end up dead for selling a few “loosies”? Why is
running away from policemen when they have never been your friends something
that leads to your being shot in the back? How does a healthy young man get
taken into police custody for no discernible reason and end up dead with a broken
And why won’t the police every say they are sorry,
admit they were wrong, make amends, at least explain what they are afraid of
that is making them gun down innocents like a 12-year-old with an air rifle?
Why does everyone act so surprised when people get upset because they are never
given an honest answer? Our police forces have to deal with this. It almost
seems as if they have been told to shoot first and ask questions later. There
must be some transparency in these matters. We all want answers. People were told they would get answer about Freddie Gray this Friday, May 1st. Now we are told that will not happen. And yet people are expected to stay calm, to not get angry.
The War on Drugs is supposedly over, but it isn’t.
The War on Poverty ended too soon and did too little to be effective. We should
be putting money into schools in poor neighborhoods. Higher education and/or
training should be free, on us, paid for, with no loans as part of the package.
We need to declare peace and a cease fire and mean it. We need to empty jails
of low level offenders. We need to go back to community policing and mentoring.
We need a few more moms like the Baltimore mom who show their children that
they really mean it when they say they want them to have good lives.
I have heard some great ideas being kicked around.
Now we need to collect them, plan how to implement them, and get on with it.
Perhaps we’ll fail again, but we have to at least try. Let’s ignore the cries to
do less, and do more! We have a long, long list of issues we need to deal with. Income inequality is supposed to be at the top of this list. Well here it is, in Baltimore and cities all across America. Americans need to know that it is still possible to find opportunities to succeed and be prosperous in America.
By Nancy Brisson