Sunday, December 4, 2016

Recognizing the Roots of Racism

In the December 4, 2106 The Dallas Morning News, Chris Vognar reviewed two books that explore the "resurgence of white nationalism." Vognar says that the "white supremacy" ideology has been an integral part of our country since its foundation.  The two books profiled are: Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped From the Beginning and Carol Anderson's White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide. The authors write that the white rage stems from "racist policies and self-preservation of the ruling class" (Kendi) and "the trigger for white rage, inevitably, is black advancement" (Anderson).

The ideas expressed by the authors help explain the resurgence of white supremacy that coincided with the election of Barrack Obama. Anderson writes that the election of a black president "was a catalyst for a level of voter suppression activities that had not been seen so clearly in decades." Her comments echo those expressed in Ari Berman's Give Us the Ballot, White Rage.  Berman examines efforts to suppress black voting.

These books help explain the rise in "white nationalism" and "white supremacy" and should be read by all Americans who want to gain a better understanding of their roots. As Vognar concludes, "Recognizing the roots makes it easier to identify - and to stand on the right side of history.

I present these books to emphasize that the issues that gave rise to the American Civil War are still present and that their prominence today is part of an "historic continuum" that "ebbs and flows." Only by understanding the history of racism in America can we hope to overcome its threat to our nation.  

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