Is America really a racist nation? Or does it just seem that way because public remarks against African Americans have recently dominated US headlines?
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, 67, became a national hero to right-wing conservatives about two weeks ago, after challenging the federal government over grazing rights and the Bureau of Land Management’s threat to confiscate 500 head of his cattle.
But Bundy’s celebrity lost its luster when he added some controversial remarks about African Americans and slavery at a town hall meeting in Bunkerville, Nevada.
According to the New York Times, Bundy said:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,"…They didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do,”
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Suggesting that slavery would be a better way of life for anyone demonstrates harsh and backward thinking, as well as a lack of genuine knowledge of the human suffering and torture African Americans were forced to endure as the “property” of white people.
Cliven Bundy is free to speak his mind in our democracy. But just because he can make racist remarks in front of a camera doesn’t mean he should.
Slavery is a painful part of American history that is nothing to be proud of. The fact that there are people like Bundy, who look back at slavery with longing, only proves that racism is still engrained in the minds of some Americans. And it is still nothing to be proud of.
Author’s note: The opinions and commentary included in this report are based on the author’s original reporting and independent analysis of official documents and public information.
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