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Is America Fundamentally Racist?

Vice President Kamala Harris condemned America as a racist, sexist, xenophobic country last week in Atlanta. Strong words that I am sure resonate with many.

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“Racism is real in America and it has always been.” ~ Vice President Kamala Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris condemned America as a racist, sexist, xenophobic country last week in Atlanta. Strong words that I am sure resonate with many. Is America fundamentally racist or have the mainstream media and politicians fashioned a template that paints a distorted picture of racism in America?

Are there White people who are racist? Absolutely. Are there Black people who are racist? Absolutely. Are there Asian people and Hispanic people who are racist? Absolutely. Are the vast majority of people in America racist? I don’t believe that.

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I spent last weekend doing security detail at a state basketball tournament in northern Alabama. Observing, I was struck by how race is viewed. It was an enlightening and sobering experience.

The venue for the weekend was for ten and under girls basketball teams from all over Alabama. There were all-Black teams and all-White teams. Periodically, they played one another as the tournament progressed.

The second game on Friday night was the first of several games that pitted a Black team against a White team. The referees were two older gentlemen, one Black and one White. As the game unfolded a girl on the all-Black team charged and physically ran over the White girl defending her. The White girl laid on the court clearly shook up and hurt. The White coach of the team ran out on the court and picked her up in his arms and carried her to the bench as he shouted about how this game was getting out of hand. The refs didn’t call a foul and didn’t warn the benches or the fans in the stands. The referees never took control of the game and it continued to intensify. The all-White team won the game in a close nailbiter. What was disturbing was how the Black coach, his wife, and the fans of the all-Black team reacted. They felt that the refs had blatantly favored the all-White team and robbed the all-Black team of a win. Even with two refs where one was Black and one was White.

Saturday night pitted another all-Black team against an all-White team. Two different teams than the combatants on Friday night. The referees were two middle-aged White people, one woman and one man. The game was close and intense. It was noticeably physical. The Black team was very athletic but lacked discipline. The White team was fundamentally sound and well coached. As the fouls added up against the Black team their fans began to berate the refs. It was clearly a heated situation from my viewpoint and as a security guard. The White team won a close game and as the final buzzer sounded the fans of the Black team headed towards the two White refs to surround them and confront them. I had to physically escort the refs out of the gym and the building to their vehicles. The Black fans felt that these two White refs had favored the all-White team. These refs were high-quality high school refs that had years of experience. They had no interest in who won or lost. They controlled the game on the court yet through the eyes of the Black fans they were judged as being racist in their calling of the basketball game.

Sunday brought one more match-up of an all-Black team against an all-White team. It was the semifinal game of the tournament. It pitted the all-Black team from Friday night against the all-White team from Saturday night. I already had a sense from a security perspective that this could be a powder keg. The referees were two middle-aged White men both with years of calling high school games throughout Alabama and at state finals. They both controlled the game on the court. Again, the fouls mounted on the all-Black team. At one point it was a ten to one discrepancy. The Black coach shouted at the refs about the foul discrepancy and he received a technical foul. His wife on the bench kept berating the refs and they warned the coach to calm his wife down or she would get a technical foul and be ejected from the building. She continued to swear and harass the refs ignoring the warnings and was ejected. I had to physically escort her out of the gym and building as she screamed verbal epithets at the refs. The all-White team won decisively in a very physical game. Yet again, the Black coach, his wife, and their fans viewed the loss through a lens of race.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

This past weekend made me think about race. I have never viewed people through a racial lens. I see people as they are. I judge people by the content of their character not the color of their skin.

I don’t believe America is fundamentally racist. What I observed this past weekend though made me think. Have the mainstream media and politicians fostered a narrative that racism is so prevalent that it has colored people’s perceptions and perspectives?

One can argue calls in a game. I have played plenty of sports throughout my life. A bad official is a bad official. There are bad officials throughout sports. The officials that refereed the game Friday night were just bad officials. They never took control of the game. The officials on Saturday and Sunday were quality referees. There was no bias or racism in their calls. From my perspective, they could have called a foul on every play. They didn’t because that would have stopped the flow of the game. Their calls were fair and accurate.

What I found disconcerting was the consistency with which these all-Black versus all-White games were viewed. To view these games through a lens of racism falls short of Martin Luther King’s dream. I didn’t detect any racism from the White people in that gym all weekend. What I observed was a distinct perception though by the Black coach, his wife, and the Black fans that judged and convicted the White refs as overtly racist in the way they called the games.

Maybe these Black people living in Alabama have seen the ugliest racism imaginable. That may explain their actions this past weekend but doesn’t excuse them. Whether their actions are understandable given the history of race relations here in Alabama to continue to judge people through a lens of race, no matter what the color of your skin, is unacceptable.

I believe the vast majority of people have moved past racism in everyday life. I think most Americans are generally good people who say live and let live. Unfortunately, there are some people in America who must continue to keep the perception of racism alive and burning. They wish to continue to divide America to conquer it. Divisiveness fosters anger and resentment. Anger and resentment leads to distrust. Continuing to proclaim racism as a fundamental problem in America only leads to more division and distrust and fails to unify our country. It’s long past time we ignore these people and institutions that seek to divide us through race and gender and judge people by the content of their character.

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Michael was born and raised in Wisconsin and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a BA-History. He started writing a blog in January 2016 called, Conservative Thinker, and has written about politics, foreign policy, economics, and social issues with a historical perspective. He resides in Cullman, AL and enjoys hiking, photography, and traveling in his spare time. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @buckyboymike and follow his blog at conservativethinker.net.



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News

Are Cops Racist or Victims of a New Revolution?

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revolution
Photo credit: Clay Banks

Racism or revolution? It’s a fair question in any honest assessment of our current chaos. Cop shoots black man, people cry racism, protests turn into lawless looting and destruction. What isn’t talked about is the key to the entire mess—personal responsibility. And what lurks in the background is a new revolution.

First, who’s responsible for George Floyd’s death? Daunte Wright’s? One could say former Officers Derek Chauvin and Kim Potter, respectively, but this would be lazy thinking and dishonest. Here’s a better question: Who’s responsible for their lives?

Before we poke the hornet’s nest, let’s consider facts.

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Both men had criminal records. Both were known by local police. One was an addict; the other had a warrant out for his arrest. Both men chose to commit crimes; George Floyd tried to pass off a counterfeit bill; Daunte Wright illegally possessed a firearm. He also drove with an expired license plate. Keeping one’s vehicle current is a basic responsibility for all licensed drivers. Wright failed to do so, which led to his being pulled over. This is when he made his fatal choice.

Choices and consequences

Imagine yourself in his situation. An officer is arresting you. Your choices are: A) allow yourself to be handcuffed or B) break free and get back into your car or run or fight or anything other than acquiesce to arrest. Any rational and honest person has to know that he alone is responsible for his actions. Everyone is responsible for his or her choices—personally responsible. 

What did Daunte choose to do? He chose flight. This triggered the arresting officers, which prompted Officer Potter to use what she says she thought was her taser in order to subdue Wright. The fact that she used her firearm and then expressed shock and dismay afterwards indicates incompetence, not racism.

George Floyd and Daunte Wright chose to commit the crimes that invited police attention. They had criminal records because they chose to be criminals. They alone bear responsibility for setting the stage for negative interaction with law enforcement. We can debate the culpability of the officers, and a jury is deciding whether Derek Chauvin is guilty of anything more than excessive force.

They may find him guilty of much more, but the inconvenient truth for Black Lives Matter is that George Floyd and Daunte Wright would likely both be alive today had they not chosen to commit crimes. Their lives would truly matter because they’d be alive to make better choices. They could choose to become ex-criminals.

Personally irresponsible

In any era prior to our present age of victimhood and “systemic racism,” both men would bear personal responsibility for making choices that led to their deaths. This is not to say that Derek Chauvin isn’t guilty of manslaughter or murder.

The truth is that George Floyd and Daunte Wright and Michael Brown and others are solely responsible for their life choices—especially those that put them at odds with law enforcement. We all are. Rather than confront this truth, opportunists (and true believers) cry racism. The reality is that the vast majority of police aren’t any more racist than you or I. Many are simply weary and wary of the same people saying the same things in order to avoid personal responsibility. And now they’re called racists and badgered and beaten down as they try to do their jobs.

The beatdown manifests itself in rising crime and resistance to arrest, anti-cop antagonism, calls for defunding, accusations of racism, vilification and worse. Our legal system, which also isn’t racist, found no truth in claims like, “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” Sadly, race hustlers like Al Sharpton and the Black Lives Matter founders have weaponized these words to further an agenda that doesn’t help the people they claim to champion. They seem more interested in self-enrichment and political change than in equality.

The revolution

The Black Lives Matter grifters value equity over equality and revolution in place of our republic. Black “victims” of police racism and brutality are mere pawns in a new race war as the means to their end—a Marxist Utopia. Hatred, chaos and division are their weapons.

Why do we see looters presented as peaceful protesters by corrupt media? Why do young white anarchists participate in BLM protests after police shootings of black suspects and criminals? It’s opportunity.

What better way to usher in a new reality than with a new revolution? America rebelled against an English tyrant because of inequities involving class and representation. Because America was built on visions of equality, freedom and the merits of hard work and opportunity, class warfare has no legs here. Race is the ticket. Marxists tried it in the ’60s, but were thwarted by reform. Inadvertently, an entire ethnic group in America were turned into victims and semi-wards of the state.

The result? Critical Race Theory, white privilege, reparations, the vilification of police, and reverse racism against “white” people. The racist oppressors are our justice system and law enforcement. According to the revolutionaries, slavery is our original sin, and we have yet to fully repent of it.

In reality, we’ve made great steps toward equality. America is like any other republic—flawed and imperfect. America is also a beautiful experiment in self-governance. Rather than transform it, we should hold one another responsible for our choices and encourage each other toward unity and true equality.

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Life

Quick Movie Reviews

Here is a look at three current movies

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Here is a look at three current movies, two worth seeing, and one that is a misfire:

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

This forgettable movie, nominated for several Oscars no less, is as revolting as its regrettable title, surprising for a film produced by Denzel Washington. The makeup and wardrobe to make Viola Davis look 40 pounds heavier and decades older is ridiculous.

The first 20 minutes of the film is nearly unwatchable, like a bad Eugene O’Neill play, all staged-dialogue, in one room. As the braggadocio horn player, the non-stop banter by the late Chaz Boseman, to whom the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will posthumously award an Oscar, is simply irritating.

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The use of blatant stereotypes – black and white – in this ‘woke era’ is mindboggling: Ma’s white manager is a milquetoast, the recording studio owner is exploitative, the Klansmen (only referred to in a soliloquy by Bozeman) vicious, Ma’s niece is promiscuous, the black band members are accommodating, etc.

The United States vs Billie Holiday

This film is surprising. On par with Renée Zellweger in Judy, singer Andra Day in the title role, is quite convincing. Along with Carrie Mulligan, in Promising Young Woman, I think she shares the lead for the best female actor award.

As with four of the other nominated movies for the April 25 telecast, in arguably the worst line-up in Oscar history, the upshot is the same: All white men are bad, all black people are exploited.

Rose Plays Julie

This is a little-known movie that deserves a larger audience. A young woman finds her birth mother, then decides to track down her ignominious father.

Without giving away the story, the film proceeds at a slow pace, but it’s not boring in the least: it is quiet and intriguing, and I recommend it.

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