Archives for category: Racism

Kellyanne Conway has been a bulldog for Trump. She recently announced that she was leaving her job to take care of her family. Her husband George, a co-founder of the Lincoln Project, is stepping back from his work there but said on Twitter that he supports its efforts, “Passionately.”

The apparent cause of the Conway withdrawals from politics is their daughter Claudia, who has been posting her disgust with Trump and both parents on social media. Claudia supports Black Lives Matter and according to reports, sent a tweet to AOC asking her to adopt Claudia.

George Conway explains in this video clip why he turned against Trump.

How could these two with polar opposite views of the most polarizing figure in the U.S. live under the same roof. Their children May be suffering. Or is Kellyanne a double agent? Could she be Anonymous?

Get ready for a vicious campaign. It has already started.

Trump, a man with no discernible religion, recently said that Biden, a faithful Catholic, will:

“Take away your guns, take away your Second Amendment. No religion, no anything. Hurt the Bible. Hurt God. He’s against God. He’s against guns. He’s against energy, our kind of energy.”

Now that Biden has chosen Kamala Harris as his vice-presidential candidate, the bigots are targeting her, and it will only get worse.

Trumpers say that she isn’t really black, because her mother was born in India. (She is half-black, half-South Asian).

They say she did not descend from American slaves, which is true. She descended from African slaves in Jamaica, on her father’s side.

They say that she isn’t really African American because her father was born in Jamaica. (On Twitter, someone asked, “Where do they think that black people in Jamaica came from?”).

Some claim that she can never be president because both her parents were immigrants. (Not true. She was born in Oakland, California, and native-born citizenship and the age of 35 is all the Constitution requires.)

Then comes the claim that her ancestors were slave owners, based on her father having written that he was descended from a slave owner in Jamaica. (Snopes judged thisa year ago to be “unproven,” but also notes that if she does have a lineage linked to a white Jamaican slave owner, it would likely be because he raped or cohabited with one of his slaves.)

On this blog, a Trumper dropped by yesterday morning to say that Harris is “unqualified” and to call her “an affirmative action hire.” Harris graduated from Howard University and earned her law degre from the University of California Hastings College of Law at San Francisco. Both of her parents earned Ph.D. degrees and were successful professionals. Harris was elected District Attorney of San Francisco, State Attorney General of California, and a U.S. Senator. Harris is highly qualified to be on Joe Biden’s ticket. Her qualifications are far superior to those of Trump and Pence. I judge the slur to be racist, sexist trash.

Expect more of the same from the flailing Trump camp.

In this post, Thomas Ultican reviews Steve Suitts’ devastating new book about the origins of school choice.

Advocates of school choice like to claim economist Milton Friedman as their godfather but Suitts, who has spent his career working in civil rights activism, shows that the true originators of “freedom of choice” were Southern governors and legislatures who were determined to thwart the Brown decision of 1954. Suitts doesn’t ignore Friedman. He points out that his 1955 essay proposing freedom of choice proposed that in a choice system, there would be all-white schools, all-black schools, and mixed-race schools.

The segregationists loved Friedman’s ideas because it mirrored their own. They knew that in a free-choice regime, the status quo would be preserved by racism and intimidation.

So when you hear libertarians and right wingers talking about the glories of choice, think George Wallace. Think Bull Connor. Think James Eastland. Think White Citizens Councils. Read Steve Suitts’ book and be informed. Don’t be fooled by those who claim falsely that choice advances civil rights. It does not. It never has.

Paul Horton teaches history at the University of Chicago Lab school. He has studied the history of the South, among other topics.

The Eighteenth Brumaire of High Cotton

In the South, everything is about geography and history.

Arkansas’s current junior senator, Tom Cotton, routinely ignores both subjects in his embrace of Tea Party agitprop, Grover Norquist-like tantrums about strangling the public sector, and in his willingness to be the most fawning and most ambitious toady of the Waltons, the Kochs, and the Trumps.

Cotton hails from Dardenelles, Arkansas, a town built on the loam and alluvial silt deposited by creeks flowing from the Ozarks to the immediate north and from the Ouachitas to the immediate south into the Arkansas river west of Little Rock.

Although most of the cotton grown in Arkansas was and is grown in the Mississippi River basin in the east, the soils around Dardenelles supported three planters (slave owners who owned 20 or more slaves) before the Civil War. Mr. Cotton’s ancestors owned at least five slaves and several Cotton Gins in and around Dardenelles. It is a puzzlement to many in Arkansas that Cotton portrays his father as a cattleman, whitewashing his family’s history with two broad strokes: cattle and cotton do not go together that well outside of Texas, not in the nineteenth century anyway, and Cotton’s parents were both public servants of the state of Arkansas. His mother was a middle school teacher and principal and his father worked as a district supervisor of the Arkansas Health Department.

The Cotton family did own a local hunting lodge which allowed them to mingle with several generations of wealthy patrons from all over the South. So, although the Cottons were relatively modest in the last generation, they walked in “high cotton” because they accumulated a great deal of social capital as they rubbed elbows with the rich and famous.

Tom Cotton rode this “high cotton” at the crest of the Tea Party wave right into congress in 2012 and into a senate seat in 2015. He has made a name for himself in the last two years by standing up to those who support the Black Lives Matter protests and cancel culture that seeks to, in his view, silence patriotism and reason with a mindless adherence to “neo-Marxism.”

In a famous recent editorial in the New York Times, he declared that Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrating against police brutality and the murder of George Floyd should be given “no quarter.” The editorial cost the editorial page editor his job, but firmly established Cotton as Trump’s and Stephen Miller’s most loyal ally.

More recently Cotton has written legislation that would defund the “1619 Project,” a series of popular podcasts and teaching materials that tell the history of slavery in the United States. Although the “1619 Project” has been criticized for mistakes and misrepresentations by some prominent American Historians, almost all of the content of the Project is fundamentally accurate. What apparently angers conservatives is how it places slavery at the center of the American story and at the foundation of American capitalism. The Project makes use of a new wave of scholarship on American slavery that emphasizes the increasing economic efficiencies achieved by the slave regime in the South in sharp contrast to the work of an earlier generation of historians who followed the scholarship of Eugene Genovese, a Marxist, who argued that slavery was a pre-capitalist or feudal mode of production.

Apparently echoing the sentiments of many great libertarian thinkers (Von Mises, Hayek, and Friedman) who looked the other way when free enterprise thrived on coerced labor regimes and torture to build great efficiencies of scale that produce wealth, Cotton claimed that slavery was a “necessary evil.” The message from Cotton is that building American wealth was a necessary engine of American prosperity, a pronouncement that comes close to the slaveholder’s defense that the peculiar institution was a part of God’s divine plan.

In short, Cotton’s engagement in the culture wars of 2020 fit right into Stephen Miller’s and Steve Bannon’s playbook. Like the Bourbon restoration of France following the French Revolution, planters in the American South replaced Southern populist troublemakers with one party rule and white supremacy.

Cotton is the leader of the contemporary Bourbon counterrevolutionaries. The key to understanding the postbellum Southern Bourbons is that they played dirty and made little pretense of identifying with the “small fry.” Under the rule of the Bourbons in the South, convict labor camps exploded in size and were virtually unregulated. Elections were governed by racial intimidation and electoral fraud. Those who protested too loudly and persistently were permanently silenced by “white caps” or the Klan. Voting irregularities always supported white power, even in counties with black majorities. And finally, blacks and whites who voted together as populists were disfranchised.

Most importantly, the Bourbons whitewashed Southern History to legitimate their rule. Scott’s Waverly novels found their way onto the bookshelves in upstanding white middle class households. Lost Cause history glorifying the Antebellum South was written and Confederate monuments were built as thousands of black Americans were lynched or worked to death at such infamous places as Parchman Farm, Mississippi, or Alabama’s Kilby prison.

For all of his attention to the “1619 Project,” one would think that Cotton might know something about history as a Southerner. But counterrevolutionaries whitewash the past to serve the forces of reaction. The land that the Cottons claimed in Dardenelles became available only after the Native Americans who lived there were forced west following Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act. During the Civil War Northwest Arkansas was a hotbed for Unionism. The 1880s and 1890s produced the most progressive and vibrant biracial Populist feeder organization The Agricultural Wheel was founded and spread throughout the upper South before merging with the Knight of Labor into the Populist party. Rather than embracing what might be the most inspirational democratic legacy of nineteenth century that historically thrived in what is now his state, Cotton made a point of emphasizing the founder’s suspicions of democracy in his senior thesis at Harvard.
When Cotton called for “no quarter” for Black Lives Matter protests he expressed the same set of attitudes that the planter class and the later the Klan expressed during the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Jim Crow era. “No quarter” was given by Confederate troops was the official policy of the Confederacy. In Arkansas, dozens of surrendered Black Union soldiers were given “no quarter” at Poison Spring, a site in senator Cotton’s former congressional district. In Arkansas after WWI black farmers were hung summarily in Elaine for standing up for their economic rights. Things were so bad in the Arkansas Delta during the Jim Crow era that Penn. State historian Nan Woodruff has written a book about the area that is called American Congo.

Cotton apparently knows so little about Arkansas history that one is left to wonder how he got into Harvard. For all of his belly aching about the evils of affirmative action, we are left to wonder whether Harvard admitted him because he is from Arkansas and it needed to make a state by state quota.

But this cannot be true: affirmative action was never white and no one is admitted to competitive educational institutions because they are recommended by very wealthy and powerful white people.

Fred Klonsky writes here about “cancel culture” and about opinion columnist John Kass, who lost his prominent spot in the Chicago Tribune after his references to George Soros as a bad guy. Kass did not get fired, but his column did lose its highly desirable spot on page 2 of the paper.

Here is what you need to know about George Soros. He was born in Hungary, survived the Holocaust, and became a billionaire. He has used his fortune to promote democracy and civil society in eastern Europe and elsewhere. He is Jewish. When rightwing fringe elements invoke his name, they are using his name, irrespective of facts, as an anti-Semitic slur, to imply that his money (Jewish money) is supporting whatever they oppose. This is a “dog whistle” in the new lingo of our day.

I have been interested in “political correctness” and censorship for many years. In 2006, I published a book called “The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn.” The book has a list of hundreds of words, phrases, and images that will never appear in a textbook or on a test because someone finds them objectionable. So, for example, students will never encounter references to owls or witches or Halloween or death on a test. They will never see an image of an elderly person using a cane or a walker. They will never see a rainbow or a picture of a man with his hands in his pockets. The list is hilarious and at the same time sad. The book contains many examples of books that were banned from school libraries and from classroom use, decades ago. It also goes back in history to demonstrate that censors bowdlerized Shakespeare to remove references to sex that the censors found objectionable.

“Cancel culture” (another new term, but not a new practice) has a long history, rooted in Puritanism and prudishness.

I only recently became aware of “dog whistle” and figured out its meaning from the context.

Here is the online definition:

dog whis·tle
noun
noun: dog whistle; plural noun: dog whistles
a high-pitched whistle used to train dogs, typically having a sound inaudible to humans.
a subtly aimed political message which is intended for, and can only be understood by, a particular group.
“dog-whistle issues such as immigration and crime”

Merriam-Webster added the word to its dictionary in April 2017:

The earliest, and still most common, meaning of dog whistle is the obvious one: it is a whistle for dogs. Dog ears can detect much higher frequencies than our puny human ears can, so a dog whistle is nothing more than an exceedingly high-pitched whistle that canines can hear, but that we cannot.

dog whistle
Figuratively, a ‘dog whistle’ is a coded message communicated through words or phrases commonly understood by a particular group of people, but not by others.

Yet there’s another dog whistle we’ve been hearing about lately: a coded message communicated through words or phrases commonly understood by a particular group of people, but not by others.

Given that the term dog whistle has been around for over 200 years, it seems odd that it only developed a figurative sense recently. After all, it’s the perfect word to use to describe something that some people can hear, but others cannot. Yet it is only within the past 20 years or so that it has seen this figurative sense take hold. And it is primarily used to describe political speech.

If you want to cast him as just a nativist, his slogan “Make America Great Again” can be read as a dog-whistle to some whiter and more Anglo-Saxon past.
—Ross Douthat, The New York Times, 10 August 2015

Saul introduces the concept of the “figleaf,” which differs from the more familiar dog whistle: while the dog whistle targets specific listeners with coded messages that bypass the broader population, the figleaf adds a moderating element of decency to cover the worst of what’s on display, but nevertheless changes the boundaries of acceptability.
—Ray Drainville, Hyperallergic, 12 July 2016

Dog whistle appears to have taken on this political sense in the mid-1990s; the Oxford English Dictionary currently has a citation from a Canadian newspaper, The Ottawa Citizen, in October of 1995, as their earliest recorded figurative use: “It’s an all-purpose dog-whistle that those fed up with feminists, minorities, the undeserving poor hear loud and clear.”

The recent appearance of the figurative use does not mean that dog whistle has not been used previously to describe the habit that politicians occasionally have of sending coded messages to a certain group of constituents. In 1947, a book titled American Economic History referred to a speech by Franklin Delano Roosevelt as being “designed to be like a modern dog-whistle, with a note so high that the sensitive farm ear would catch it perfectly while the unsympathetic East would hear nothing.” However, saying that speech is like a dog-whistle (which is a simile) is not quite the same as saying that it is a dog whistle (which is a metaphor), and this subtle distinction is what causes us to judge the phrase as having originated in the 1990s, rather than the 1940s.

Trump is the master of the dog whistle. Every time he talks about his reverence for Confederate monuments and the Confederate flag as “our heritage” and “our history,” that’s a dog whistle, which racists hear clearly. It is such a loud dog whistle that even non-racists and anti-racists can hear it.

The National Education Policy Center released a report recently by Kristen Buras, one of my favorite scholar-writers. It focuses on dramatic racial disparities in New Orleans as the COVID-19 pandemic spread in the city. Her earlier book about the privatization of the public schools of New Orleans is powerful and, aside from my review, did not get the attention it deserved. It is titled Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance.

NEPC announces the new report by Buras:

BOULDER, CO (July 28, 2020) – To inspire support for public health directives, many warn COVID-19 does not discriminate—everyone’s susceptible. The reality is more complicated. We are not “all in this together.” Racism ensures this, and New Orleans’ experience following Hurricane Katrina illustrates one way that racial inequities play out in times of crisis.

In a report released by the National Education Policy Center, “From Katrina To Covid-19: How Disaster, Federal Neglect, and the Market Compound Racial Inequities,” professor Kristen Buras of Georgia State University draws on history, storytelling, and political analysis to describe how the government neglect that disproportionately affected communities of color during Katrina is again evident during the COVID-19 crisis, with similar devastating results.

On August 29, 2005, Katrina struck New Orleans with disastrous effects. Yet while Katrina is regarded as one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, Buras argues that government neglect and market-driven public policy generated the worst effects, especially for communities of color. Despite forecasts that Katrina could kill tens of thousands, federal, state, and local governments did little to protect those in geographically vulnerable neighborhoods or evacuate those without cars. In New Orleans, African Americans were left to drown in floodwaters and dehydrate on rooftops, disproportionately suffering an array of harms.

But the harms did not end there. As floodwaters receded, policies aimed at privatizing assets in African American neighborhoods, including public schools, were enacted, compounding racial inequities wrought by a history of white supremacy.

Almost 15 years later, on January 20, 2020, the first U.S. case of COVID-19 was detected. Despite warnings that a pandemic could wreak physical and economic havoc, the federal government failed to take preventative action.

As a result, communities of color are again suffering disproportionately, with African Americans and other racially marginalized groups overrepresented among those who have died from the virus. Yet states have been slow to produce racially disaggregated data or provide racially targeted healthcare and other support. Instead of coordinating a federal response to the crisis and corresponding disparities, policymakers have advocated free market solutions, leaving states to compete for lifesaving medical supplies. The CARES Act, ostensibly passed to assist vulnerable communities, has been used to consolidate the wealth of corporate elites.

Katrina and COVID-19 have been framed as “natural” disasters—one ecological and the other biological—but Buras contends that government inaction and racism have been most responsible for the disproportionate harms experienced by communities of color. With COVID-19, African Americans and other marginalized communities risk infection as low-paid workers, struggle to access food and healthcare, worry about rent and eviction, confront a digital divide amid shuttered schools, and die at higher rates.

The experience of Katrina, then, has policy implications for the current moment, including concerns over profiteering and who will have a voice in rebuilding communities disproportionately affected by economic shutdowns and school closures.
Professor Buras ends her report with race-conscious, equity-focused policy recommendations spanning health, education, housing, labor, and democratic governance. These are necessary, she concludes, to realize an equitable future and hold accountable those whose negligence has inflicted and compounded harm for communities facing the crisis of not only COVID-19, but racism.
In sum, Professor Buras’ report critically analyzes the following:

*Reliving Katrina
*The Effects of Disaster Are Not Natural: Federal Neglect Kills—And Kills Unequally
*Crisis Reveals Preexisting Inequities and Exposes Tolerance for Racism
*Profiteering and Privatization Dispossess Communities of Color
*The Question of Who Has a Voice in Rebuilding the Economy Is Critical
*Negligence Is Racist and Criminal
*Toward an Equitable Policy Future

Find From Katrina To Covid-19: How Disaster, Federal Neglect, and the Market Compound Racial Inequities, by Kristen L. Buras, at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/katrina-covid

DFER (Democrats for Education Reform) is an organization founded by Wall Street hedge fund managers to support charter schools. They believe in privatization; they actively undermine public schools that belong to the community. They believe in high-stakes testing, and they strongly support evaluating teachers by the test scores of their students, although professional associations like the American Statistical Association does not. They love Teach for America, because they don’t like experienced professionals or teachers unions.

Their main function is to raise money for political candidates, which gives them immense leverage. Once a political candidate gets on the DFER recommended list, they can count on money flowing in from friends of DFER around the country. DFER does not have a large membership but it has a very rich following among hedge funders and venture capitalists.

In this publication, DFER tries to demonstrate that “school choice” is a Democratic idea. It lists the Democratic politicians who support charter schools. It trumpets the support of the late AFT leader Al Shanker for charter schools, but fails to mention that Shanker turned against charter schools as he saw them turn into a weapon of privatization to undermine public schools and teachers’ unions. Shanker was all for charters before they existed, but he recoiled when he saw what they were becoming. By 1994, he concluded that charter schools were no different than vouchers, and that both were intended to smash teachers’ unions and privatize public schools. PLEASE STOP CITING SHANKER AS A CHARTER SUPPORTER!

Charter schools today are 90% non-union. Real Democrats are not opposed to teachers’ unions.

Charter schools today are more segregated than real public schools. Real Democrats do not support racial segregation.

Everyone who thinks that charter schools are connected to Democratic Party ideals should read Steve Suitts’ powerful book “Undermining Brown,” which shows that the idea of school choice was created by Southern segregations who were fighting the Brown decision.

The DFER document fails to mention that charter schools enjoy the support of Charles Koch, Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump, ALEC, and every Republican governor. School choice diverts funding from genuine public schools. If DFER put out a publication of the governors and Senators and members of Congress who support charter schools, the Republicans would far outnumber the Democrats.

If, as DFER maintains, charters are “public schools,” why did so many of them apply for and receive millions from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, for which public schools were ineligible? Are they “public schools” or are they “small businesses” or “nonprofits” but not public schools?

The DFER report also fails to mention the staggering failure rate of charter schools. The document lauds the federal Charter School Program, created by the Clinton administration when there were few charter schools, but neglects to mention that about 35-40% of the new charters paid for by the CSP either never opened or closed soon after opening.

To be clear: School choice is not a Democratic Party idea, unless you mean the party of George Wallace and the Dixiecrats. School choice is beloved by libertarians who want to destroy public education (ALEC) and by Republicans who want to privatize public education (Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Jeb Bush).

Sarah Jones is an amazingly perceptive writer who has trained her sights in the real crisis in American education: not low test scores, but underfunding and stark disparities of funding.

Her latest article is brilliant. It begins:

Andrew Worthington’s public school was in trouble even before the coronavirus struck. “We have lead in the pipes,” the Manhattan-based English teacher said. “We have all sorts of rodents. There’s soot in the ventilation system. The bathrooms are constantly out of service.” When school is in session, Worthington said, most classes have over 30 students. About 80 percent of the student body qualifies for free and reduced lunch, and many lack the tech they now need to keep up with classes.

After the pandemic turned classrooms dangerous, Worthington’s students faced widening gaps. The iPads the school handed out could only do so much. “It’s hard for them to write essays on a tablet,” Worthington observed.

Like any natural disaster, the pandemic is a stress test for our systems and institutions. It locates their weak spots, and presses until something snaps. Public education could be its next casualty, advocates and experts told Intelligencer; a victim not just of the virus, but of something older and more deliberate, too. America’s public schools haven’t been properly funded for years. Twenty-nine states spent less on public education in 2015 than they did in 2009, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has reported. Local governments in 19 states cut per-pupil spending over the same time period; elsewhere, small increases couldn’t make up for drastic, state-level reductions. If schools buckle now under the weight of the pandemic, lawmakers bear much of the blame.

With school back in session, administrators and teachers alike must stretch already scarce resources to meet new demands. If school buildings reopen at all, social-distancing demands smaller class sizes and more teachers. If schools keep classes virtual, poor students need tools that their districts might not be able to afford. Because the pandemic helped spawn a recession, schools also face crippling cuts as state and local tax revenue contracts. A new report from the American Federation of Teachers projects a funding gap of $93.5 billion for pre-K–12 education, and an additional $45 billion gap for higher education. Unless Congress and Donald Trump can agree on a rescue package, the union estimates that around one million jobs for pre-K–12 educators will disappear.

Maybe no one could have prevented coronavirus, or something equally drastic, from transforming public life and public schools. But the situation didn’t have to be quite so dire, said Diane Ravitch, an education historian and the founder of the Network for Public Education. “We have been through a long period of devaluing public education, especially the education of children who are poor,” she told Intelligencer by email. “High-wealth communities invest in their schools. In poor neighborhoods, where children have low test scores, politicians have opened charter schools and offered vouchers, which saps funding from schools that need it most.”

Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the president of the National Education Association, put matters in even blunter terms. “I hear the word ‘chronic,’ and that’s a good word,” she said. “But there’s another word that has to be put with it, and that’s ‘intentional.’” Lawmakers, she added, “are intentionally, chronically underfunding our schools.”

Trump has repeatedly defended the Confederate flag as a representation of Southern heritage, and he has defended Confederate monuments as part of “our history.” The military doesn’t want Confederate symbols and doesn’t want the names of Confederate leaders on its bases, which is deeply offensive to those who understand that the men so honored were traitors, not heroes.

Since there has been so much agitation about the Confederate flag and what it represents, it seems worthwhile to hear directly from the Vice-President of the Confederate States of America, Alexander H. Stephens, who gave a famous speech called “the Cornerstone Speech,” in 1861.

It is too long and tedious to print in full, but you can open the link and read it.

Here is the key section that explains the Cornerstone of the Confederacy.

The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side, complete throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.

As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are and ever have been, in the various branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Galileo it was so with Adam Smith and his principles of political economy. It was so with Harvey, and his theory of the circulation of the blood. It is stated that not a single one of the medical profession, living at the time of the announcement of the truths made by him, admitted them. Now, they are universally acknowledged. May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature’s laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.” The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders “is become the chief of the corner” the real “corner-stone” in our new edifice. I have been asked, what of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be against us, when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, if we are true to ourselves and the principles for which we contend, we are obliged to, and must triumph.

Thousands of people who begin to understand these truths are not yet completely out of the shell; they do not see them in their length and breadth. We hear much of the civilization and Christianization of the barbarous tribes of Africa. In my judgment, those ends will never be attained, but by first teaching them the lesson taught to Adam, that “in the sweat of his brow he should eat his bread,” and teaching them to work, and feed, and clothe themselves.

To understand what the Confederate flag represents, ponder the words of one of its leaders. It is a symbol of white supremacy and black subordination. It has no place in our country today other than as a relic of a terrible war that was fortunately lost by the racist Confederate States of America.

This entry appeared today in Garrison Keillor’s “The Writers’ Almanac.”

It was on this night in 1967 that an uprising began in Detroit. An all-white squadron of police officers decided to raid a bar in a black neighborhood where there was a party to welcome home two recent veterans of the Vietnam War. The police stormed the bar, rounded up and arrested 85 black men and began loading them into vans.

The riot that broke out raged for five days. Thousands of soldiers from the Michigan National Guard were called in, along with tanks. The National Guardsmen fired off more than 150,000 bullets over the course of the riot. Citizens were terrorized, beaten, and murdered, as depicted in the movie Detroit (2017), based on the recollections of witnesses to the Algiers Motel Incident.

Forty-three people were killed and whole blocks of the city went up in flames. After the riots, many of the white residents of the city moved to the suburbs in “white flight.” Detroit became one of the poorest cities in America.