Beyond Bigotry: GOP Needs Self-Examination Over Racism
To hear conservatives talk about racism, it is as though America has moved away from racism and it is only because liberals, or in other words Democrats, are the ones who keep bringing up the racism card. However, if racism is over with in this great country of ours, why does it keep popping up its ugly head? Liberals will be glad to stop talking about racism when no longer does racism affect minorities’ lives, when it comes to employment, housing and education. Racism is the blame for poverty for so many and will continue to be so as long as there are those in positions of power who allow it to dictate their actions.
Of course, there will always be people like Cliven Bundy, the rancher who suggested that black people would be happier if they were still slaves, and Donald Sterling, the L.A. Clippers owner whose taped conversation with his girlfriend, shows his anger over her being photographed with a black person, who happened to be Magic Johnson. It is when these kinds of people are either lifted up or else allowed to affect other people’s lives because of their racism, that racism makes a difference. Racism will always exist in those of narrow minds, but those with narrow minds should not be in positions of power.
Perhaps the biggest problem with racism is not the instances where it is revealed but where it is hidden and consistently reaching out to cause harm. Every day in America, someone is turned away from a job because of his or her skin color. Every day many African American kids and Hispanic kids go to schools that are underfunded thanks to the neighborhoods they live in. Every day, black men are more likely to be arrested because of racial profiling and every day, suffering continues for those who happen to be born black, with little means to escape the poverty they have always known.
However, those on the right would have us all believe that racism is no longer a problem. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity, and that growing up in neighborhoods with schools that are overcrowded and dilapidated and with gangs running the streets, has nothing to do with what a person does with their lives. Certainly, there are always exceptions. There will always be those who can rise above their circumstances and find a way out of the slums and into the middle-class or even into the upper crust. Still, average kids, no matter what race, cannot be expected to excel without a decent chance to do so.
Our U.S. Supreme Court, which unfortunately leans too far to the right, also turns a blind eye to the racism that still exists. The conservative majority’s ruling when it comes to the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action proves that blindness. We can only hope that one or even two of the more conservative justices will retire before yet another Republican president manages to snag the White House.
The Republican Party needs to dig out a new pathway toward ending its tolerance toward racism in its own ranks. Unquestionably, many of the GOP’s members have long ago moved onto higher ground and firmly stand against bigotry. Still, because its membership base most likely would dwindle without the support of Tea Party types, bigotry still dominates much of its agenda. As always, to hear Tea Party members tell it, their ranks are not filled with racist but actions always speak louder than words and the consistent racially tinged attacks on our president indicates otherwise.
The GOP would be wise to draw a clear line between what the party represents and what the Tea Party represents. As long as the Tea Party element in the Republican Party controls its base, bigotry and extremism will rule and will control where the party is headed, which at this moment in history, points away from where a more enlightened nation has already set its compass.
Gay rights, Immigration reform and equality for all is where a majority of Americans stand, yet Republican legislators on both state and federal levels buck the trend at their own fate. If those conservative members believe that somehow, America will turn back to its former ignorance and the Tea Party mantra will eventually rule over the hearts of the majority of Americans, then they will continue to lose, as even their gerrymandering in states will give over to demographic changes to every state in the union. Even average Republican voters are beginning to become more liberal in their views as yet many Tea Party members refuse to open their eyes wide enough to see that their hate leads only to disillusion and an continued downward spiral as the Average American no longer marches to the beat of their misinformed drums.