Opinion: Racists Deny That Racism Exists

Walter Rhein

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I get a lot of comments from people who say things like, “You see racism everywhere.” Or, “Yawn, another article about racism.”

When you take a step back and look at those comments, you’ll realize they’re really quite shocking. Perhaps that becomes apparent if you substitute the word “abuse” for “racism.” Now the comment is, “Yawn, another article about abuse.”

What is wrong with people when they are indifferent to the suffering of their fellow human beings? Do these people sit around in church saying, “Yawn, another lecture about sin?”

The fact of the matter is that the United States is an appallingly racist country. Many Americans are ignorant of this fact for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons is that citizens of the United States often like to celebrate their ignorance. You see a lot of people saying things like, “I know a lot of foolish people who have fancy degrees.”

Yes, you can still be a foolish person with a degree. A degree doesn’t make you smart, but it does make you marginally less ignorant.

The other problem is that, in the United States, education has been largely corrupted with conservative messaging. This is why it’s so bizarre that people claim education has become too “woke.” For some reason, the general population conveniently forgets that conservatives essentially run everything in the United States.

Conservatives run everything because our election system provides greater influence to people living in rural areas. These people tend to vote conservative. One example of this can be seen in the state of Wyoming.

Remember, Wyoming has a population of under six hundred thousand people. Compare that to California which has a population of just under forty million people. Yet, both of these states are able to send two Senators to Congress.

This is just one of many instances that tilts the balance of power in Congress to conservative viewpoints even though those viewpoints don’t represent the will of the people. Because of this conservative tilt, our nation is burdened with absurd conversations that normalize laughable viewpoints.

For example, there are many Americans who continue to insist that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery. That belief is factually wrong and all you have to do is consult historical documents to verify it. The letters of secession from Confederate states specifically mention they are seceding because of slavery.

However, in the United States, many people who espouse a conservative viewpoint will not change their position even when presented with irrefutable facts.

Most Americans don’t realize that in the Jim Crow era, the United States of America was viewed as a world leader in racism. When Nazi Germany wrote the Nuremberg race laws, they partially used American Jim Crow laws as a model.

Another example of American racism can be seen in how black soldiers were treated after World War II. Remember that World War II took place during the Jim Crow era.

The Jim Crow era is not ancient history. Many scholars say it ended in 1965 with the Voting Rights Act. However, the Voting Rights Act was gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013. Therefore, it could accurately be said that we are living in a second Jim Crow era today.

But, getting back to the black soldiers who served honorably in World War II. Much of the wealth of modern Americans has its roots in the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (or G.I. Bill), signed into law in 1944. This bill provided funds for education and housing among other things.

White soldiers were allowed to benefit from this bill, but black soldiers were unfairly denied any benefit. These were the same soldiers that fought with bravery and honor, often side-by-side with white soldiers. But when the time came to be rewarded for their sacrifice, the black soldiers were denied any benefit.

This is just one of many, many stories like this. That’s why people prove their ignorance when they say things like, “America is not racist.” Blatant examples of American racism can be seen anywhere. However, if you try to discuss them in classrooms, people accuse you of “teaching CRT” or “being woke.”

On top of that, conservatives also act to cut funds for education entirely. The result is that we have a nation that elects its leaders based on an overrepresentation of ignorant rural voters who have nothing but contempt for intellectualism.

Anti-intellectualism becomes normalized, and uneducated people feel emboldened to make ignorant comments like denying the existence of racism.

Perhaps the worst part is that our nation has developed a large population that calls for cutting safety net programs even though these programs serve people living in poverty of all races. Essentially, uneducated voters in rural areas regularly throw their support behind awful programs that will condemn their own children to poverty.

This is why we need to discuss racism in the United States. Every year, the rich become richer, not by the merits of their labor but through the theft of political power. Racism is just one of the tactics that are used to oppress and exploit working-class people.

If you want a better world for your children, then it’s your obligation to work for a better world for everybody. Anyone who says that racism doesn’t exist is condemning their own children to a hopeless life of servitude.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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