How a racist fan letter forced me to reckon with our nation’s history of prejudice

It is one of those moments you do not forget: the first time you receive a friendly note from a virulent racist. Nothing quite compares to that nasty realization that you have been deemed recruitment-worthy by the foot-soldiers of the Ku Klux Klan.

For me, this first happened in the spring of 2015, a couple of years into my career as a freelance writer. I had recently written a piece for The Federalist on the failures of Democratic urban policy. The piece was a crowd pleaser, and I felt good about it. Shortly after it ran, I got a note from a reader who assured me that I was a gifted writer who had made some excellent points. Unfortunately, he said, I had not yet gotten to the heart of the issue. The Democrats had their problems, but bad policy was not the real scourge of American cities. They were simply ungovernable, he said, because there were too many black people.

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I stopped on that sentence. My mouth was suddenly dry. I wanted to hit “delete” and consign this vile argument to oblivion. It was hard to look away though, so I read on to find a list of suggested books, ostensibly explaining the scientific basis for black violence and promiscuity. These books, I was assured, would truly open my eyes. At that, the reader wished me all success in my career and signed off.

I was rattled. Like most public writers, I was used to getting notes that were crude, crazy or even mildly threatening. Normally, I would say a quick prayer for these obviously troubled people and get on with my day. This time it felt different, precisely because the author wasn’t insulting or obviously deranged. He could spell, punctuate and summarize the central argument of a book. He was also a raging bigot. Worst of all, he saw me as some kind of kindred spirit. Why in the world would he think that?

Over the next few years, I would come to a clearer understanding of what that reader saw in my work. He did not mistake me for a fellow racist, which I am not. Still, there were reasons he thought I might be persuadable. In order to appreciate those reasons, I had to think more deeply about the subtleties of prejudice and the power of political narrative. By the end, I would understand more clearly why racial reconciliation has proven difficult, even in a society that overwhelmingly wants to distance itself from the injustices of a prejudiced past.

A Topic of Debate

I have spent much of my life among my fellow political conservatives. For most of that time, I genuinely believed that racism was not a significant problem in the United States. I thought we had successfully overcome the sins of our troubled history. Of course, I did notice that racial prejudice continued to be a topic of heated public debate. But I assumed (like many political conservatives) that this was politically manufactured outrage with almost no basis in reality.

Today I see things differently. Many do not though, so it is worth recalling why this perspective seemed reasonable to me for so long. I know many people who are politically conservative who could benefit from deeper reflection on racial prejudice and its historical roots. At the same time, I know many people who are politically liberal whose ignorant or intemperate comments have served to polarize and not to persuade. This results in the further entrenchment of complacent right-wing views.

I genuinely believed that racism was not a significant problem in the United States.

Why was I so sanguine about the end of racial prejudice? One reason was simply that I knew a great many political conservatives, none of whom seemed at all racist. They never said racist things or showed noteworthy favoritism toward white people. They agreed unanimously that slavery and segregation were terrible things, probably the aspects of our American heritage least deserving of pride. Why would I suspect them of harboring racial prejudice when I saw absolutely no signs of this?

I was proud of our non-racist society, especially because I had lived and traveled in places where people did openly display racial bigotry. In Italy, I once conversed with an older gentleman who told me that he had not enjoyed visiting the United States because “there were too many blacks and Chinese.” As a Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan, I was scolded by Uzbek acquaintances for befriending an Armenian woman because, they said, “those people are dirty, and they steal.” In the course of my travels and in my study of history, I had plenty of occasions to notice that racism is really quite a common human failing. Nevertheless, here in the United States I married a man of a different race without worrying for an instant that my conservative friends or family would be bothered. (They were not.) What a wonderful country!

In light of that experience, it was quite difficult to take seriously the hyperbolic left-leaning missives, lamenting the evils of right-wing racism. These warnings seemed especially shrill around 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president. Many people, it seemed, truly believed that racism was a primary explanation for conservative dissatisfaction with our 44th president. That seemed ludicrous to me. In such a polarized nation, was it really necessary to fall back on such damning explanations for political disagreement? I was especially amused by complaints that conservatives were “dog-whistling” to racist voters. The charge made me picture smoke-filled rooms filled with scheming strategists and pundits, debating effective strategies for pushing their readers’ ugliest buttons. This sounded to me like the silliest kind of conspiracy-mongering.

Answering Painful Questions

A few years later, I started actually writing for right-wing political outlets. I was never invited into those nefarious smoke-filled rooms. But I did start to realize that things were more complicated than I had supposed.

It was discomfiting to realize that bigots really were out there, identifying me as a potential ally.

The racist fan mail gave me my first jolt. It was discomfiting to realize that bigots really were out there, identifying me as a potential ally. Things really began to shift, though, when I engaged in an extended research project on criminal justice reform. Initially, I became interested in the issue as a rare area of politics, in which productive, bipartisan conversations still seemed to be taking place. As I dug deeper into the history of criminal justice, however, it became increasingly impossible to ignore the relevance of race.

The justice system is one part of American life that has always been riven by racial tensions. As I read further on the subject, it struck me that there really has not ever been a point in our nation’s history when black Americans could confidently believe that they would be viewed as equals in the eyes of the law. Criminal justice has always been a flash-point for racial tensions, from the lynch mobs of the old South through Jesse Washington, Marquette Frye, Rodney King, O. J. Simpson and now Tamir Rice, Philando Castile and Stephon Clark. As a conservative, I had long taken pride in our nation’s vaunted legal tradition. Now I wondered: Might I feel differently if those faces were the ones I first associated with the arm of the law?

These questions are painful, throwing us into difficult reflections about predators and victims and how we recognize each category. I started thinking about cycles of violence and how they could arise between law enforcement and civilian populations, just as they arose between feuding families or warring ethnic and religious groups. These struggles, I realized, had deep historical roots; it was short-sighted how pundits always wanted to bring things back to an endless debate over “racist cops” and “black-on-black crime.”

Writing about these insights in The Federalist, National Review Online and the National Catholic Register earned me more mail from racist readers. They were not fans anymore. But the most revealing responses did not come from extremists pitching racialist pseudoscience. Far more interesting were the responses from mainline conservatives of a more familiar sort. I was genuinely startled by how bothered some of them were. One acquaintance showed up to a social event with a list of talking points, anxious to rebut my latest essay on criminal justice reform. On another occasion, a reader sought me out at a parish talk to explain that my “social justice activism” was giving aid and succor to the left and that black Americans could improve their own neighborhoods quite easily by simply “not killing each other.”

I do still believe that Americans, in general, want to have a harmonious, multi-ethnic society.

In these reactions, I now saw a kind of cultivated insensitivity. Why, I wondered, should it be so terrible to agree that black communities today suffer disadvantages, which are connected to our unfortunate history of racial injustice? In admitting that, one need not confess to personal guilt. Neither is it necessary to disavow love of country. All societies have sins and shortcomings that need to be addressed; indeed, we should want to address these precisely because we love our country. As I saw it, I was merely asking my right-wing readers to consider that historical injustice might have long-lasting effects. Why was that so offensive to some people?

The fact that they took offense made me wonder whether the problem might be worse than I had feared. I also started to notice subtler cues that had escaped me before. What kind of placement did right-leaning publications give to pieces about rioting black youth, as opposed to other violent events? Which parts of the famed “Moynihan Report” did they best remember, and when did they bring them up? I started noticing how certain writers cherry-picked their data in such a way as to reinforce right-wing assumptions about the heroism of law enforcement and the deep lawlessness of black culture. One day it occurred to me: Maybe that was what liberals meant by “dog-whistling.”

Political narrative is easier to recognize when you are looking across the aisle rather than at those beside you. It was easy for me to recognize how progressives were prone to intemperate or hyperbolic statements, presumably meant to galvanize readers. Now I saw what should have been obvious: Conservatives do this, too. On their side, the goal is usually to persuade readers (or voters) that racism is overwhelmingly a historical phenomenon and that struggling minorities today have only themselves to blame for their problems.

Nothing quite compares to that nasty realization that you have been deemed recruitment-worthy by the foot-soldiers of the Ku Klux Klan.

Why are so many conservatives so ready to believe this? There are many reasons. Sometimes, they may just want to protect the reputation of people they are strongly inclined to admire. Most conservatives like the police, for instance. They warm to the “thin blue line” ideal of law enforcement as a bulwark against the ever-present threat of chaos. It is unpleasant to think about instances in which the police really have not been the good guys. Many conservatives also have warm feelings about certain historical periods, in which racial injustice was obviously very real. Racism was obviously still a significant force in the mid-20th-century United States, following World War II and before the civil rights movement hit its stride. Conservatives know this, but many still cherish the memories of this period, when our heroic veterans settled down in clean-cut suburbs to raise healthy families. Even acknowledging that their great-grandparents’ racism was itself reprehensible, it is still more pleasant to think of that as a somewhat-incidental blemish on an otherwise admirable age.

Some motives are less benign. In our age of political tribalism, a regrettable number have been willing to think in racial terms, using skin color as a semi-reliable proxy for defining friend and foe. Some right-wing personalities (including, regrettably, our own president) have encouraged this in fairly transparent ways. It is especially easy to do this in economically desiccated places where people feel left behind. They may resent this especially in light of their ancestors’ historical contributions as farmers, soldiers or builders of railroads. They feel these contributions entitle them to a certain sort of life, which others may not deserve as richly. It probably does not occur to them that these claims of historical entitlement should at least be set alongside more serious reflection on the duty to make amends for historical injustice.

It is common for right-wing narratives to treat racial prejudice as a freakish historical oddity, which we regret but prefer not to discuss.

Relatively few people descend to the dangerous extremes of my original bigoted correspondent. Still, it is easy enough to see how it happens. It is common for right-wing narratives to treat racial prejudice as a freakish historical oddity, which we regret but prefer not to discuss. Popular right-wing pundits like Heather Mac Donald will readily agree that racism is shameful and wrong and even that racist attitudes may surface now and again in particular misanthropic individuals. But they treat this as just an aberration, with relatively little significance. For a certain kind of contrarian, that is a veritable invitation to breach the taboo, re-envisioning U.S. history through a new racialist lens. Conservative writers like myself, as I did when voicing my former perspectives, can unwittingly lay the groundwork for that transition, even when that is not our intention.

Despite everything that has happened in the United States these past few years, I am still proud of the steps we have taken toward racial reconciliation. We have come a long way over the past half century and even further, since our nation’s original founding. I do still believe that Americans, in general, want to have a harmonious, multi-ethnic society. But for that to happen, we may need to be less defensive, more generous and more open to contemplating the far-reaching effects that racial injustice can have. Conservatives need to relax their triumphalist impulses a bit and appreciate the tragic aspects of American history more fully. Liberals should be less zealous about wielding racial accusations as a weapon. All of us should recognize how hard it is to persuade people to be open-minded when they themselves are hurting. Correction is much likelier to be heeded when it is offered in a loving spirit.

St. Paul tells us that in Christ there is “neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female.” Our earthly identities, however important they might be to our experience and understanding of each other, do not define our worth. And in order to understand these identities, we must first see each other as children of God. It has always been difficult for groups of human beings to understand and live with people unlike themselves. Through grace, perhaps we can learn to see the humanity that we all share.

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Todd Witherell
7 months ago

the terror of American history

genocides and near genocide
against indigenous First Nations
(the rest hard pressed to reservations)

centuries of race-based chattel slavery against African populations
(then Jim Crow and segregation)

imperialist expansion
justified as Manifest Destination
(the Empire of Liberty as obligation)

unjust expansionist wars
against Mexico, Vietnam, Iraqification
(the violence given theologization)

Some call this USA! USA! USA!
I call it abomination.
(Deliver us, Lord, from Americanization)

Kristin Wiener
7 months ago

So one conservative realizes conservatives have a rather racist history over the past 40-50 years - what this article doesn't answer is the question of how to address all the racism now innate to the Republican party that, since Trump, is actually getting worse, not better. The GOP claims to be the "party of Lincoln" but consistently does and says many, many racist things. Out of something like sixteen presidential primary candidates in 2016, conservatives chose the most racist and hateful among them. So one conservative decidea this is wrong - does that really matter in the scheme of things? The left has been working on it's own racial sins for decades and has made progress - but that is greeted with derision and cries of "libtard" and "SJW" by most conservatives. When I see a MAJORITY of conservatives speak out about the racism inherrant in their own party, I'll believe change is possible. Until then, I won't be holding my breath.

Carl McColman
7 months ago

I admire Rachel Lu for her candor and her willingness to describe a political evolution that may leave her feeling less affirmed by her political tribe. But her analysis feels incomplete to me. I would like to hear her address the question of social privilege — that there is far-reaching, entrenched ways of seeing and behaving that continually reinforce America's racial hierarchy. At a conference last year I saw a poster that proclaimed, "White privilege: if you can't see it, that means you've got it." This article leaves me thinking that, in addition to her admirable growth in consciousness, Ms. Lu still has a few blind spots to overcome.

J Cosgrove
7 months ago

Ms Lu offers no way forward. She just decries racism apparently everywhere. Is this true? But then she says it’s rare. She is actually making the case that conservatives are less racist but she cannot say that here. It’s what she doesn’t say that is most revealing.

J Cosgrove
6 months 4 weeks ago

There is a joke going around. “Someone is a racist when they win an argument against a liberal.”

Mark Ammer
7 months ago

Rachel - you sound intelligent and caring and thoughtful. I guess I am wondering (I am an admitted liberal) - what draws you then to a conservative viewpoint? Maybe it would help with defining some key values and tenets - I must be assuming some things that are not true, because it seems to me often that it is very difficult to separate racial intolerance (or at least nationalism) from conservatism. I do not write this to taunt - I truly am trying to understand

Paul Marasa
7 months ago

You mentioned that the response from your fellow conservatives was that they were "bothered" and felt "that black Americans could improve their own neighborhoods quite easily by simply 'not killing each other,'” and you term this a "cultivated insensitivity." Recent research in sociology indicates that U.S. racism has entered this phase, a sub rosa racism that would never burn a cross or condone segregation, slavery, lynching, and so on, but whose overall attitude reduces the issue to "personal attitudes" or "after-effects" of those overtly racist acts. Like the "white moderates" of MLK's era, their inaction/refusal to admit the problem is in its way worse than the KKK's blatant behavior. It normalizes unconcern, it eliminates the "sociological imagination" that sees public issues, not private problems. Yes, we are all children of God. But color-blindness is not the solution because Christian love is too often mitigated by that low hum of racism we barely hear, or shrug off as a passing, even imaginary, disturbance.

Peter Schwimer
7 months ago

Unfortunately, white America has never taken responsibility for slavery. We still have monuments to the traitors of the Civil War and depending on where you live those traitors could be either Union or Confederate.

renegade runner
7 months ago

Agreed.

Roland Greystoke
7 months ago

There are a great many Americans who are fed up with racists & bigots. I actually had 2 racists denied re-enlistment in the military AND told my family to take a hike when they did not like my dating a black woman. And it's been a wonderful life. Here's some more fed-up folks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR-Yx4yF3Fw&t=53s

Cynthia Yoshitomi
7 months ago

Unless you chose to become part of the Solution you chose to remain very much part of the problem. I honor your story but it lacks any reflection on white Privilege and your status as a women within the racist paradigm we are all living in.
Passion and Empathy is lacking in the story but you are on your way.

alan baer
7 months ago

Your willingness to turn around and take a careful look at yourself inspires me to turn around and look carefully at myself. You inspire hope that even in our fearfully polarized society there may yet be constructive dialogue. This is a great gift. Thank you for this courageous article and for nurturing the love that shines through it.

Ellen B
7 months ago

Thank you for a thoughtful piece. Unlike many of the commenters, I think your article is a good start. Before digging into the details of "how" you improve, which invites people to go back to their silos, first you have to realize and admit that there's a problem. For me, how you could live through the Willie Horton ads and not recognize exactly what was being called a dog whistle is a little puzzling but people tend to see what they want. I see progress in this country however, the founding fathers used the verbiage "... more perfect union" for a reason. They realized that our country wasn't perfect, wouldn't be perfect & that each successive generation would have to strive toward something better. If conversations can start & if we can be honest, there's a chance.

Richard Bell
7 months ago

Oh, oh! My new resolution for 2019 is to stop reading long autobiographical essays.
1. The writer’s long journey to heightened consciousness: “Why would I suspect [conservative opinion leaders] of harboring racial prejudice when I saw absolutely no signs of this? . . . Now I saw what should have been obvious: . . . On [the conservatives’] side, the goal is usually to persuade readers (or voters) that racism is overwhelmingly a historical phenomenon and that struggling minorities today have only themselves to blame for their problems.”
2. The writer’s conclusion: “[Conservative opinion leaders] may need to be less defensive, more generous and more open to contemplating the far-reaching effects that racial injustice can have. Conservatives need to relax their triumphalist impulses a bit and appreciate the tragic aspects of American history more fully.”

Marilyn Martin
7 months ago

I admire Ms. Lu for examining her failure to see the racism inherent to conservatives/Republicans. But it's hard to read her conclusion "I do still believe that Americans, in general, want to have a harmonious, multi-ethnic society." I believed the same thing--until Trump was elected. The fact that he won close to a majority of the vote--despite the many racist, sexist, misogynist, and just plain hateful things he'd said during the campaign and the reports of his history of ill treatment of his tenants, workers, and contractors--showed what a large number of Americans truly accepted, and even championed, his ugly views. And a startling number of these Americans were Christians; that was even harder to have to admit. Trump still inspires hateful chants at his rallies and in social media posts. Plus 40 percent of Americans (not a majority, but a large number of people) are in favor of his wall. So I wouldn't say that "Americans, in general," reject racist views and want to share the many goods of America with people unlike themselves. Let's pray that that will be the case . . . someday.

Scott Cooper
7 months ago

Were it not for that last paragraph, the writer would have totally lost me.
Until we learn to dispense the notion of race—blackness versus whiteness versus people of color, etc—and get down to what is really wrong, we have no hope in overcoming this hatred of one another, here in the US or anywhere else in the world.
A few points first:
1. Race is nothing more than a social construct that allows societies to lump similar, but often still distinct, ethnic, tribal, and/or cultural groups into much larger groups in order to achieve power over other large groups of similar, but still distinct, people.
2. We are a nation of mutts for the most part in the US and that is a good thing. Even most “whites” cannot claim pure English or German or even pure European blood—any “white” in the US is likely to carry DNA that was already co-mingled long before their ancestors reached these shores through multiple migrations, wars, conquests, failed attempts at genocide, and other vagaries of history. And that co-mingling has continued here. No one is a pure blood—if you are, you probably suffer the effects of too much inbreeding and your bloodline is probably destined to die out if you keep that up. It is a fact that a not-insignificant portion of human beings alive today still carry traces of Neanderthal in their DNA. How’s that for co-mingling? To which “race” do those people belong?
3. Race recognition is all about power on a large scale, whereas recognition of tribal differences is about power on a much smaller scale. Racists have always used race to keep large groups of people down (as in the white supremacist slave holders or segregationists of our recent past or as in our more recent examples of leftist and/or liberal politicians and demagogues who use it to stay in power by keeping oppressed groups oppressed, but then blaming it on conservatives—this is infantilization of these oppressed people so that they keep needing their saviors who are fighting for them).
A few personal points:
1. I have known, and known of, a number of racist conservatives and it is truly chilling to hear them wax eloquent on the issues of racism and race, much like the letter writer that first gave the author of this piece pause about her own attitudes on race. Intelligent and articulate, making a good appearance, but with a darkness that would take much light to dispel. My son’s freshman year roommate was one of these, a true card-carrying bigot, a provost scholar, all the more dangerous because he wasn’t some stammering, halfwit cracker from central casting.
2. I also know a few racist liberals, both family and friends, who are also dangerous because they are not only intelligent and articulate, they also do not have a clue regarding the depths of their own bigotry. They carry themselves with a smug self-righteousness that blinds them. Because they vote for the right people and donate to the right causes, they think they are free and clear. Eg., my sister-in-law from Silicon Valley, and a card-carrying progressive liberal, on one of her first trips to visit us in Baltimore and on a trip to the touristy Inner Harbor, “You really have a lot of black people here,” with a very clear nervousness about being outnumbered as a white person.
Example 2—a good progressive liberal friend of mine, who also happens to be Jewish as are his entire family and from the East Coast, and who often gives me a hard time for my conservative Catholicism, including my pro-life beliefs. For his daughter’s bat mitzvah, he featured a beer that he had made himself called, “Mighty White of You.”
I got the joke; I just didn’t think it was funny.
Liberals, “white” or otherwise, need to take stock of themselves just as conservatives do.
My larger point is that this is all very complicated and the only way we can achieve any progress is to talk to each other honestly and openly about our hopes and fears and try to find common ground as a tribe of God’s children.

Dionys Murphy
7 months ago

Unfortunately this hints of eracism. The idea that race is a social construct or that we need to 'not see color' to eliminate racism is yet another example of an oppressive paternalism. Yes, we need to move beyond simply stating that racism exists, still exists and still has a significant impact on the lives of people of color, but we absolutely need to acknowledge that clear and present fact.

Mike Macrie
7 months ago

What bubble has the writer been living under. The GOP does not stand for Social Justice issues. Until recently the Catholic Church had not spoken out forcibly on Social Justice issues. You don’t bite the Hand that feeds you. It took Pope Francis and Latinos who are beginning to leave the Catholic Faith to get the Catholic Bishops to speak out with a louder voice on Social Issues. The Catholic Bishops pushed the Pro Life issue at the expense of every other Commandment to the extent that the Right feels that Racism isn’t a real sin.

Patrick Nugent
7 months ago

Thank you for this thoughtful piece. I live in a rural community centered around farming and harvesting the products of the Chesapeake. I encounter overt, untrammeled racism nearly daily. Rather than just conversing with political pundits, the author should try hanging out in Trump Country a bit, without betraying her education and class.

It is also remarkable that the author detects racism and admits its reality only by listening to fellow conservative (and, I dare to suggest, mostly white) intellectuals. Why wouldn’t the author believe the firsthand accounts of black and other intellectuals of color? Why is there not even the hint of recognition that the testimony of black folk, readily available on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble, might have believable evidence of the persistence of racism? Clearly the author doesn’t have too many black or Latino folks in her circle of friends, from whom she could hear first-hand about the persistence and daily experience of racism? Why are black thinkers completely absent and invisible from her account of the evidences of contemporary racism? In discussing racism, do only the voices of white conservatives matter?

Decades of testimony from black and Latino authors don’t count as evidence or even deserve a mention?

Arthur Sullivan
7 months ago

A wonderful, thought-provoking piece. Thank you, Ms. Lu.

James Mackay
7 months ago

As an outsider, from the UK, I am wondering how the position of the indigenous Indian population fits into Rachel Lu's view of rascism in the US at this time. A thought-provoking article.

J Cosgrove
7 months ago

Orlando Patterson, a black sociologist at Harvard, said about 20 years ago concerning racism in the United States

America, while still flawed in its race relations ... is now the least racist white- majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protection of minorities than any other society, white or black; offers more opportunities to a greater number of black persons than any other society, including all those of Africa .

Judith Jordan
6 months 4 weeks ago

Mr. Cosgrove: That does not negate the continual struggle we face resisting racism, especially with a racist sitting in the Oval Office.

J Cosgrove
6 months 4 weeks ago

I suggest you read “Death of a Nation” and you will find out who the real racists are in the United States. It's a little over the top hyperbole but accurate. Amazing history lesson. If you read Ms. lu’s article you will notice she points to no actions.except sentencing and who is trying to do something about that? She cannot point to a conservative policy causing the problems in black America. She knows the truth but doesn’t say it. Why? It wouldn’t get published here. It would be too uncomfortable.

Judith Jordan
6 months 3 weeks ago

Mr. Cosgrove--
You often recommend books by Dinesh D’Souza. I responded to you before that D’Souza is a right wing ideologue who distorts American history with revisionism and wild conspiracy theories.

It is not just liberals who condemn his dishonest work. Conservative individuals and groups have rejected his research and believe he damages the conservative movement with his unhinged theories. The National Review, founded by the famous conservative William Buckley; and, members of the American Enterprise, a conservative think tank, have both criticized his work. He is a pariah in most circles.

More importantly, history scholars who devote their lives to researching history repudiate his work. One article below is Kevin M. Kruse, a professor of history at Princeton University, using postings to respond to some of D’Souza’s wild claims point by point. D’Souza is in over his head and degrades himself by calling the professor names and tries to be dismissive of him.

The fact that D’Souza is a convicted felon for lying and cheating about campaign funds hardly bolsters his reputation.

Below are two articles to review his reputation. Enjoy!

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1024360878760779776.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/08/dinesh-dsouza-is-making-a-comeback/567233/

J Cosgrove
6 months 3 weeks ago

I suggest you read the book. You are the second person to bring up D’Souza’s campaign contribution convinction. Actually that just shows he must have been getting close on something. It is one of the most egregious sentences I’ve seen. You can get a Kindle sample of the book for free that includes a discussion this conviction and and most of the first chapter.

J Cosgrove
6 months 3 weeks ago

The book contains literally hundreds of separate arguments. Neither of the two reviews you provide come close to addressing many of his arguments let alone the core of what he is saying. That is very telling. Ask what are the problems of the black community in the United States and what caused them? You would not be sble to point to anything Republicans or conservatives did that caused these problems. There is a whole chain of policies enacted by Democrats that lead directly to the problems of Black America.

Boreta Singleton
7 months ago

Dear Ms. Lu,
Thank you for your article. It is obvious to me that you have come to a deeper awareness of the systemic sin of racism here in our country. I would encourage you to continue to explore this area by connecting with people of color. Hearing their truth will help you to continue to get in touch with your on-going understanding of the complex concern of racism. As an African American Catholic, I realize that some white people choose not to want to hear what their fellow people of color have to say because their reality does not touch them ( re: white privilege.) In 2013, Dr. Peniel Joseph at Princeton University did a study in which he found that 60% of white people did not have any friends of color. Please get to know more people of color ( I realize you stated you are married to a person of a different race than you) and, as you said, "Through grace, perhaps we can learn to see the humanity that we all share."

Todd Witherell
7 months ago

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-us-canada-40915356

According to this article from the BBC, citing the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 1600 active White Supremacist groups in the U.S. Not in 1843, not in 1943, not in 1967, but now. When Trump pretends not to know David Duke and when they rally in Charlottesville (the city of slave-owner Thomas Jefferson who insisted that the consciousness of black people does not differ from barnyard animals even while bedding his own teenage black mistress and keeping his own biological children as slaves because they had brown skin), and Trump calls these neo-Nazis with tiki torches “very fine people”, it is an indication that white racism, America’s Original Sin, still remains. You’re born into this life payin’ for the sins of somebody else’s past. Adam raised a Cain! Adam raised a Cain!

Judith Jordan
6 months 4 weeks ago

Todd Witherell . I agree with you. To think that in 2019, we have a racist in the White House is depressing.

Todd Witherell
6 months 4 weeks ago

Thank you, Judith. The night he was elected I was in Ireland. The next day several papers ran the line, “The Americans have lost their country”. One good thing about his overt racism is that it brings hidden racism out into the open where it can be named, stared down, and fought. Best wishes to you! - Todd

kenwayboss@yandex.com
7 months ago

This is a serious issue and we need to speak up https://newjetnet-aa-login.com/

Jai Sen
6 months 4 weeks ago

As others have stated, I think the issue is that conservative economics do not factor in systemic social problems—particularly the “conservatives” of today who dismiss, distort, or exploit the gravity of social issues in demonstrably bad faith.

Today’s conservative economics lack sufficient coherence and consistency to debate properly, but a few chestnuts still cling to the tree.

For example, the notion of reducing the size and function of government to promote economic “freedom,” slashing “entitlements” to the poor so everyone can pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Conservative economics have never acknowledged that the playing field is not level for all (and how is viewing the poor and disadvantaged with contempt compatible with Christian values anyway?). And recently, the demographics of poverty, a product of such economics, is used as a cudgel to further justify them.

I think the convergence of racism with economic ideas that dismiss systemic social issues was inevitable. Today, you can’t even be sure whether self-proclaimed conservatives even understand or believe those economic theories or anything that was once substantive about them, much less is there a chance to actually debate them in what has become an increasingly degraded and hateful discourse.

J Cosgrove
6 months 4 weeks ago

particularly the “conservatives” of today who dismiss, distort, or exploit the gravity of social issues in demonstrably bad faith.

Who are these people? I have not come across any and I am what is called a conservative and familiar with economics. Actually I am a classical liberal and always recommend Thomas Sowell, conservative economist par excellence.

Christi Dea
6 months 3 weeks ago

I enjoyed this article very much. I was once a died in the wool Democrat, a practicing social worker, fresh out of school that had taken at least 15 graduate level courses on disenfranchised groups, but after awhile, as the Democrats became more about changing the definition of marriage, promoting abortion and eliminating God from every public sector I abandoned ship. I tend to vote conservative, but I've been a registered "Independent" since around 1995. But I have to say, this idea that conservative values equals racism I find particularly disturbing. It is actually possible to love and value all life and be willing to vote that way and NOT be in favor of a legal justice system that is unjust toward ethnic minorities. It is possible to love and pray for those who feel marginalized due to their same sex attraction AND still feel that marriage is a sacrament defined by God and not just a legal status. It's annoying to have people assume you are racist because you don't support whatever their reasons are for voting for their favorite liberal candidate whether they be a Socialist, a member of the Green Party, a Democrat or whatever

Beth Egbers
6 months 3 weeks ago

Instead of virtue signalling, why not write about stories of what people have in common instead of making race a dividing characteristic? The writer indicates conservatives are racist, but what of Nathan Phillips and co. and the Black Hebrew Israelites of recent news stories, both groups expressing anti-white racism, but get away with it while a bunch of white Catholic kids get falsely accused of racism? In the current climate, if I am interacting with black people, I generally feel that for my own self-interest I have to assume, until there is evidence to the contrary, that they will think I'm a racist. If I am interacting with people who I know are liberals, I don't have to assume, I know they will think I'm a racist. And the writer of this article falls in that category. Her conservative days are behind her. Why can't she write of, for example, ways for any kids and their parents and teachers to help the kids succeed in school to get ahead in life--studying hard, being humble and respectful, thinking of others, living chastely, i.e., take the lead from her Bible quote--neither Gentile nor Jew, servant nor free etc.? Now that would be a real contribution. This fingerpointing is absolutely useless.

J Cosgrove
6 months 3 weeks ago

The author knows that conservatives are less racist than liberals. Notice what she does not include in this article. There is nothing specific, just a few commentators to her articles and some reactions of a few colleagues. If conservatives were the real racists then she would point to policies or actions but she doesn't. It is possible to point to policies by Democrats that are the main cause of the problems in Black America. They have never disassociated their party from these policies . Democrats have governed the heavily black urban areas for over 60 years and things have gotten worse.

Judith Jordan
6 months 3 weeks ago

Mr. Cosgrove---
Your focus on liberals as being the racists and conservatives as being pure contradicts studies and events. When Obama was elected, the Secret Service had to increase his protective detail because of all the racists’ threats BEFORE he was even inaugurated. There was a huge increase in membership of white supremacists groups BEFORE he was even inaugurated. Meanwhile, neo-Nazi and white supremacists groups have endorsed Trump. I suggest you take another look at the record.

Your attempt to show that liberals are racists because “Democrats have governed the heavily black urban areas for over 60 years and things have gotten worse,” does not prove racism. It may show a failed policy in an attempt to help, but it does not prove racism. But, if you want to look at the status of communities and who runs them, I suggest you look at some southern towns which are run by conservative whites. Vast segments of the whites and blacks live in abject poverty, lack access to good health care, are poorly educated, and have an extraordinarily high rate of reliance on federally financed social programs. Almost one half of the state budget of Mississippi is provided by the federal government.

I am not claiming that no liberals are racists, but to state that the liberals are racists and the conservatives are not is just silly and defies studies on the issue. Below is a good article about this. Its title is, “What social science tells us about racism in the Republican party.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/11/what-social-science-tells-us-about-racism-in-the-republican-party/?utm_term=.81a9a58a8560

Bruno Benavides
6 months 3 weeks ago

I am deeply trouble to read in two consecutive days two articles by authors that realized that their conservative peers were far away from the authors’ catholic believes. Is it really possible to still be naive in this extremely polarized society?

Bruno Benavides
6 months 3 weeks ago

I think that the American society is facing much more than plain racism. What we are really facing is contemporary slavery. The US maybe one of the very few countries which Constitution regulates slavery. The 13th amendment makes slavery acceptable for those that are punished for a crime. But there is another, more subtle slavery mechanism. I think that the whole purpose of the persecution of migrants and the efforts to keep the migration topic high in the political agenda, only seeks to terrorize the millions of migrants living in the country. The “wall” and the stereotyping narrative that shows all migrants as criminals is the mechanism to block the access to a legal stay in the country for millions, but -at the same time- keeping them in the country as a cheap workforce for which the modern social protection programs don’t exist. Unfortunately, it looks like America never broke ties with slavery, but rather modernized it and made it legally acceptable under new conditions.

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