Connecting the Dots with columnist John Bos: Is racism systemic? – The Recorder

Critical race theory (CRT) is the latest target in the cultural clash of values, ethics and morality that characterizes the poisonous polarity between right and left-leaning Americans.

Conservatives have been pushing back against the recent reexaminations of the role that slavery and segregation have played in American history and the attempts to redress those historical offenses. Their shorthand for this unwanted review is an idea that has until now mostly lived in academia: critical race theory

Elizabeth Harris, in the Aug. 15 Sundays New York Times, wrote that Fox News and other right-wing media have aggressively taken aim at critical race theory, a scholarly framework that examines the role of law and other institutions in perpetuating racial inequality, rather than focusing on individual prejudice. Critics say it is a divisive system of beliefs that portrays whiteness as inherently bad and unfairly paints the country as irredeemably racist, but academics who embrace critical race theory say it has been intentionally misrepresented and widely misused. CRT is often compared by critics to actual racism.

The My Turn essay by two members of the Hawlemont Regional School Committee last Thursday echoes this view. Critical Race Theory is a poisonous, disruptive ideology meant to divide, not unite us they wrote.

In Adam Serwers book The Cruelty Is the Point: The Past, Present and Future of Trumps America, he defends a backlash thesis in which Trumpism must be seen as the white supremacist reaction to societys cultural and political decline. Serwer therefore sees Trumpism as a cruel backlash to the election of Barack Obama and the possibility that Hillary Clinton might be his successor. Serwer writes, Trumps supporters look to him to use the power of the state to wage war against the people who threaten their white supremacist vision of America.

Then there is the 1619 Project, an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. Its purpose is to reframe the countrys history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.

Twelve Civil War historians and political scientists who research the Civil War wrote to The New York Times Magazine concerning the 1619 Project. They were troubled that the Project was to become the basis of school curriculums with the imprimatur of the New York Times while lacking additional historical facts. That said, the letter began with It is not our purpose to question the significance of slavery in the American past. None of us have any disagreement with the need for Americans, as they consider their history, to understand that the past is populated by sinners as well as saints, by horrors as well as honors, and that is particularly true of the scarred legacy of slavery.

In another new book Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court, Orville Vernon Burton and Armand Derfner offer a learned and thoughtful portrayal of the history of race relations in America through the lens of the Supreme Court.

In his review of the book in The Nation, Randall Kennedy writes that Burton and Derfner state The Supreme Court has often been the most anti-progressive branch of the federal government. It has been and continues to be deeply implicated in the countrys history of racial oppression. It permitted the creation of a pigmentocracy that reached its fullest elaboration in the South, where states formally segregated people of color and excluded them from government. Recently, Kennedy notes, the court eviscerated the Voting Rights Act the high point of the civil rights activism of the 1950s and 60s ruling that Congresss continued imposition of special regulations on covered jurisdictions (mainly Southern states with histories of stubborn racial disenfranchisement) was unacceptable in light of positive changes in the demographics of voting. That decision, in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), written by Chief Justice John Roberts for a 5-4 conservative majority, was an outrageous act of judicial delinquency. It minimized evidence of an ongoing effort to discriminate against Black voters individually and collectively. It failed to give appropriate deference to congressional policy-making.

Bottom line is that it has again eased the way for an increase in voter suppression and a roadblock to achieving true equality.

Trumps failed attempts to strip immigrants from the 2020 Census count was designed to benefit older, white voters. Racism remains embedded in our legal, political, financial, medical and real estate systems.

Connecting the Dots appears every other Saturday in the Recorder. John Bos is a contributing writer for Green Energy Times and the editor of a new childrens book After the Race available on Amazon.

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Connecting the Dots with columnist John Bos: Is racism systemic? - The Recorder

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