Are Americans Racists?
Paul Craig Roberts
“Racist” is the favorite epithet of the left. Every white person (except leftists) is a racist by definition. As we are defined as racists based on our skin color, I am puzzled why we are called racists a second, third, and fourth time due to specific acts, such as favoring the enforcement of immigration laws. For example, President Donald Trump says he is going to enforce the immigration laws. For the left this is proof that Trump has put on the White Sheet and joined the KKK.
The left doesn’t say what a president is who does not enforce the laws on the books. But let’s look at this from the standpoint of the immigration laws themselves. In 1965 a bill passed by the “racist” Congress and signed by the “racist” President Lyndon Johnson completely changed the racial composition of US legal immigration.
In 1960 75% of US legal immigration was European, 5% was Asian, and 19% was from Americas (Mexico, Central and South America and Caribbean Islands).
In 2013 10% of legal immigrants were European, 30% were Asian, 55% were from Americas, and 5% from Africa. http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/fifty-years-1965-immigration-and-nationality-act-continues-reshape-united-states
The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act is a very strange law for racists to have enacted. Would racists pass a law, which has been on the books for 52 years, that fundamentally transformed the racial profile of the US by limiting white immigration, thereby ultimately consigning whites to minority status?
We could say the racists did not know what they were doing, or thought they were doing something else. However, the results have been obvious at least since 1980, and the law is still on the books.
We live during a time when there is an abundance of information, but facts seldom seem to inform opinions. The left delights in branding the Founding Fathers racists. The left was ecstatic when a 1998 DNA study concluded that Thomas Jefferson was one of eight possible ancestors of Eston Hemings, a descent of Jefferson’s slave Sally Hemings. The left seized on the implied sexual relationship as proof of Thomas Jefferson’s racism.
Let’s assume Jefferson had a sexual relationship with Sally Hemings. Does this prove he was a racist, or does it prove the opposite? Why is it a sign of racism for a white to have sex with a black? Does this prove that James Bond was a racist in the film “Die Another Day”? Do we really want to define racially mixed marriages as racist, as a white conquest over a black, Asian, or Hispanic?
The left has declared the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to be racist documents and, therefore, proof that the US was founded on racism. The left is particularly incensed that the Constitution counts enslaved blacks as three-fifths of a white person. Is the three-fifths clause a sign or racism, or was it a compromise to get an agreement on representation in the House of Representatives?
It was the latter. Indeed southerners, such as James Madison and Edmund Randolph, wanted blacks to be counted one to one with whites. It was northerners, such as Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania, who wanted blacks to count as fractions of a person. Why was this?
The issue was whether the North or the South would have majority representation in the House. The country already had different economic interests which came to conflict in the War of Southern Secession, which is mischaracterized as a civil war. (A civil war is when two sides fight for control of the government. The Confederacy was not fighting for control of the government in Washington. The South was fighting to secede from the union in order to avoid economic exploitation.)
The southern states were agricultural, and from early colonial times long before there was a United States or a Confederate States of America the absence of a work force meant that the agricultural labor force was imported as slaves. For the South slavery was an inherited institution, and from the South’s standpoint, if blacks were not included in the population on which US representation in Congress would be based, the South would have a minority voice in Congress and would not agree to the Constitution. The three-fifths clause was a compromise in order to move the Constitution toward agreement. It had nothing to do with racism. It was about achieving balance in regional representation in Congress. http://www.blackpast.org/aah/three-fifths-clause-united-states-constitution-1787
The Southern Secession resulted from divergent economic interests and was not fought over slavery. In former times when the left had real intellects, such as Charles A. Beard, a historian who stressed class conflict and a founder of the New School for Social Research and president of both the American Political Science Association and the American Historical Association, the left understood the divergence of interests between northern industry and southern agriculture. Those who think Lincoln invaded the South in order to free slaves need to read Thomas DiLorenzo’s books on Lincoln. DiLorenzo establishes beyond all doubt that Lincoln invaded the Confederacy in order to preserve the Union, that is, the American Empire, which has continued its growth into the 21st century.
The preponderance of war correspondence on both sides shows that few were fighting for or against slavery. According to the 1860 US census, slave owners were a small fraction of the Southern population. http://www.civil-war.net/pages/1860_census.html The Confederate Army consisted almost entirely of non-slave owners who fought because they were invaded by Union armies.
The large agricultural interests (slave owners) had the money necessary for raising armies and were represented in the governing bodies. So naturally, their interests would be represented in the articles of secession.
As the war began with Lincoln’s invasion of the South, we should look to see Lincoln’s explanation for the war. The reason he gave repeatedly was to preserve the Union. Most historians understood this until “racism” became the explanation of all white history and institutions.
As for Thomas Jefferson, he was opposed to slavery, but he understood that the agricultural South was trapped in slavery. The “discovery” of the New World provided lands for exploitation but no labor force. The first slaves were white prisoners, but whites could not survive the malaria. Native Indians were tried, but they were not only as susceptible to malaria as whites but also used their native knowledge of the terrain to resist those who would enslave them. Blacks became the work force of choice because of genetic superiority in resistance to malaria. As Charles C. Mann reports in his book, 1493, “About 97 percent of the people in West and Central Africa are Duffy negative, and hence immune to vivax malaria.”
Thus, the real “racist” reason that blacks became the labor force was their survivability rate due to genetic superiority from their immunity to malaria, not white racists determined to oppress blacks for racial reasons.
The myth has taken hold that black slavery originated in white attitudes of racial superiority. In fact, as a large numbers of historians have documented, including Charles C. Mann and the socialist economic historian Karl Polanyi, brother of my Oxford University professor, the physical chemist and philosopher Michael Polanyi, black slavery originated and flourished in Africa where tribes fought one another for slaves. The victorious would market their captives to Arabs and eventually as time passed to Europeans for transport to the new world to fill the vacuum of a missing labor force. (See for example, Karl Polanyi, Dahomey and the Slave Trade.)
It is a mystery how the myth of Thomas Jefferson’s alleged racism and love for slavery survives his drafts of the Declaration of Independence. One of Jefferson’s drafts that was abandoned in compromise over the document includes this in Jefferson’s list of King George’s offenses:
“he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, & murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.” http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/declara/ruffdrft.html
Jefferson’s attack on King George sounds like the left’s racist attack on Jefferson.
It is amazing how proud some Americans are of their ignorance and how quick they are to hate based on their ignorance. In America the level of public discourse is so far below the gutter level that a person who ventures forth to tell the truth can expect to be met with violent hatred and every epithet in the book. Criticize ever so slightly the Israeli government’s theft of Palestine, and the Israel Lobby will immediately brand you an “anti-semite,” that is, a hater of Jews who wants to send them to the gas chamber. If you don’t denounce whites, especially Southern whites, as racists, you are not only a racist but also a member of the KKK who wants to lynch blacks.
Yes, I know. It works also in the other direction. If you don’t hate the left, you are one of them. Because I criticized the George W. Bush regime for its war crimes, conservatives branded me a “pinko-liberal-commie” and ceased to publish my columns.
Hardly anyone, even southerners, understands that racism in the South originated in the horrors that were inflicted on the South during the Reconstruction era that followed the military defeat of the Confederacy. The North inflicted blacks on southerners in ways that harmed prospects for relations between the races and gave rise to the KKK as a resistance movement. As Reconstruction faded, so did the KKK. It was later revived as a shadow of its former self by poor whites who were ambitious for personal power.
The question remains: How can President Trump or anyone unite a country in which historical understanding is buried in myths, lies, and the teaching of hate?
Try to imagine the expressions of hatred and the denunciations that this factual article will bring to me.
If we care about humanity and the creatures on Earth, our task is to find and to speak the truth. That is what I endeavor to do.
When the left abandoned Marxism and the working class, the left died. It has no doctrine to sustain itself, just hatreds based on historical ignorance and misunderstanding of the limits within which life is lived. Humans are not superheros or magicians who can reconstruct humanity by waving a wand or smashing evil. Everyone lives within limitations, and the many submit more than do the few.
It is the few who fight against the limits to whom we owe the defense of our humanity.
It is the haters who are the barriers to moral and social progress.