My message to Nikki Haley’s staff: Please hire a historian.
First there was this:
Just to be clear, the Civil War was about slavery. We addressed this here.
Then there was this:
And then there was last night’s CNN town hall with Jake Tapper:
So let’s try to sort this out. Is America a racist country?
- At the time of the founding, the United States was a racist country. Most, if not all, of the founders were white supremacists. Based on this belief, many of them thought it was just fine to own slaves. Racism was systemic at the time of the founding. This is a historical fact. I am not sure why Haley will not admit this or acknowledge this. Well, actually I do. She needs to pick-off some Trump voters.
- The founding fathers put in place a series of ideals about liberty, freedom, and equality that when applied later in our country’s history resulted in the end of slavery, the civil rights movement, and other progressive reforms. Haley is right to say that things are better today than they were 50 or 100 years ago.
- Slavery and race are different things. The United States ended slavery after the Civil War with the 13th Amendment, but our history of racial discrimination did not go away, as evidenced in Jim Crow laws, lynching, segregation, etc. We should thus expect that the long legacy of racial discrimination in the United States has shaped our culture much in the same way that the founders’ high ideals of liberty, freedom, and equality have shaped out culture.
- Haley would like to think of America in terms of #2 above without acknowledging the truth of #1 and #3. This is a pretty common conservative position these days. Progressives, on the other hand, seldom want to talk about #2.
Compared to Donald Trump, Haley’s views on race make her look like the second coming of Rosa Parks. We need to remember this whenever we criticize Haley for her miscues.