How Progressives Use Race as a Weapon Against Our Country
Civilizations die when they cease to believe in themselves.
Editor’s note: The Freedom Center is proud to debut its new pamphlet by David Horowitz, “How Progressives Use Race as a Weapon Against Our Country,” which unveils the Left’s use of race to delegitimize America and to erode our national legacy of tolerance and pluralism. Read the full pamphlet below or order your copy today by clicking HERE.
Civilizations die when they cease to believe in themselves, when they lose the will to defend themselves, and thus the will to survive. The empowering inspiration that created American civilization is inscribed in the certificate of its birth. The Declaration of Independence is a proclamation of the equality of individuals, whatever their race, creed or origin, and it asserts their inalienable right to liberty. This statement of national principles is unprecedented in the five thousand years of previous human history.
Most important is the American Founding’s view of its citizens as individuals, rather than defined by memberships in racial, ethnic, and gender groups. For this reason, the words “white,” “black” “male” “female” “slave” do not appear in the Constitution. The guarantee of individual rights to equality and liberty is the inspiration that created the culture and country that led the world in abolishing slavery, made Americans the decisive force for freedom in three global wars, and established a society that today is rivalled by no other in its inclusiveness, tolerance and freedom. It is America’s founding principles and their practice that has caused this nation to be hailed as a “beacon of freedom” for the entire world, and that led its greatest president to call it, “the last best hope of mankind.”
One might expect the election of America’s first black president to mark a culminating point in this remarkable, unique legacy - particularly since white Americans made up 56% of his winning coalition. In evaluating this statistic, bear in mind that there are no elected white presidents of majority black countries, or Asian countries. But the presidency of Barack Obama did not lead to a celebration of America’s achievement in creating a successful multi-ethnic and multi-racial society. It led to greater racial and ethnic tensions. That is because Obama was a lifelong political leftist who openly rejected this view of American exceptionalism, equating it with “British exceptionalism” and “Greek exceptionalism,” in other words not exceptional all. Obama’s presidency did not lead to a celebration of America’s achievement in creating a successful multi-ethnic and multi-racial society because Obama is the leader of a political movement that is at war with America and its achievement.
On the eve of his election Obama predicted that, “we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” as though America was so deeply flawed as to require a “fundamental” transformation. In a subsequent statement, near the end of his second term, Obama explained why. In his view not only was America not a beacon of equality and freedom, but was instead a racist society in practice and also by nature. “The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives … casts a long shadow, and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on. We’re not cured of it.”
This is the ideological conviction of progressives and the political left. With the election of Donald Trump it has reached unprecedented levels of self-condemnation. America it is said, is a “white supremacist society” – a claim that would have been dismissed out of hand as an absurdity during the previous administration when the chief law enforcement officers of the land, the head of the president’s National Security Council and the president himself were black. Today, however, the Democratic Party is home to constituencies and organizations promoting this defamation, however ludicrous and disregardful of the reality. In their official party platform, Democrats speak of “systemic” and “institutional racism,” even though systemic and institutional racism were explicitly outlawed over half a century ago in the Civil Rights Acts. In other words, to believe the Democratic Party platform one has to believe that the historic Civil Rights movement, which led to the Civil Rights Acts was an abject failure and achieved nothing.
Such extreme condemnations originate, and are intended, as attacks on America itself – on the American idea and its achievements. This is the meaning of the nationwide protests of the national anthem, and the attempt by the California NAACP to delegitimize and replace it as “racist,” and by the numerous attempts to destroy monuments to Thomas Jefferson and other American Founders, as though their legacy was not one of freedom but oppression.
The curricula of American schools originally designed to educate the citizens of a democracy are increasingly devoted to the doctrine that whites are racists, that America oppresses “people of color,” and that “whiteness” is a socio-political “construct” which must be abolished. As one Texas State college student, echoing Obama, wrote in his school paper, “White DNA is an abomination.” Nor is this a view confined to students and their teachers, but rather one with broad currency among the nation’s intellectual elites. According to the winner of the 2016 National Book Award, Ta-Nehisi Coates, “white America’s progress, or rather the progress of those Americans who believe they are white, was built on looting and violence.” In a 2017 book on Obama’s presidency, Coates declared: “white supremacy [is] so foundational to this country that it [will] not be defeated in my lifetime, my child’s lifetime, or perhaps ever.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates is the nation’s most celebrated and awarded black author. According to George Packer, another National Book Award winner, “Coates has become the most influential writer in America today; [his] latest _Atlantic_ essay is already being taught in college courses.” When Coates was appointed an editor of the Atlantic Monthly one of America’s oldest liberal journals, he reacted this this way: “I knew by then that I was not writing and reporting from some corner of America society, but from the very heart of it, from the plunder that was essential to it, and the culture that animated it. [emphasis added]” In other words, America is not only a racist enterprise; it is a criminal one.
Coates’ centrality as a public intellectual, along with the universal respect he has garnered from the political left, are reasons why his anti-white racism and virulent hatred for America are noteworthy, or why anyone should pay any attention to him at all. The subject of the Coates essay Packer refers to as already a college assignment is Donald Trump - Obama’s successor - whom Coates employs as a foil to attack America and everything it stands for: “It is insufficient to state the obvious of Donald Trump: that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this fact. With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness—that bloody heirloom which cannot ensure mastery of all events but can conjure a tailwind for most of them. Land theft and human plunder cleared the grounds for Trump’s forefathers and barred others from it.”
Coates’ repellent dismissal of a progress that includes what is arguably the greatest transformation of race relations ever, is also the theme of a contemporary campaign called the “Equal Justice Initiative.” This campaign intends to raise awareness of lynchings, a practice that was put an end to at least sixty years ago. It is more particularly a campaign to raise awareness of the lynchings of African Americans, and only African Americans, although about a third of lynching victims were white. The “Equal Justice Initiative” is funded and promoted by one of America’s – and indeed the world’s - largest corporations, Google. Its outrageous campaign theme is, “Slavery did not end; it evolved.”
America is under attack by forces both within and without, religious and secular, which seek to delegitimize and destroy it. A spear point of the attacks are these very claims - that America is racist, “white supremacist,” and, in some perverse sense, actually a slave society. MSNBC anchor and former Nation editor Chris Hayes has actually written a recent book, A Colony in A Nation (the “colony” is black, the “nation” is white) advancing this preposterous thesis. By undermining America’s self-image and esteem, these enemies of America hope to sap its will to defend itself.
Just before the attacks of 9⁄11 the left launched a movement for reparations for slavery, even though the institution was abolished well over a century ago. “The Case for Reparations” is the title of a 2014 Atlantic article which brought Ta-Nehisi Coates into national prominence. In fact, reparations is an idea that was in the 1960s rejected by all three major civil rights organizations, who viewed it as divisive and misguided, since the slavery power had been defeated by the very government the activists were holding responsible. The manifesto of the reparations movement was called The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks, and was written by Randall Robinson, who on completion of the book, repudiated his American citizenship and left the country for Jamaica.
The Debt begins with the following declaration: “This book is about the great still-unfolding massive crime of official and unofficial America against Africa, African slaves, and their descendants in America.” It goes on to claim, “The enslavement of blacks in America lasted 246 years. It was followed by a century of legal racial segregation and discrimination. The two periods, taken together, constitute the longest running crime against humanity in the world over the last 500 years… .”19 No wonder, according to prominent professor, television personality and leftwing ideologue, Michael Eric Dyson, “[Americans] can’t talk about slavery because it indicts the American soul.”
If true, Robinson’s statements would make American slavery a more heinous crime than the Nazi atrocities, the genocides of the Indians, or the thousand years of black slavery in Africa, which took place before a white man ever set foot on that continent. But they are false. Slavery existed in all societies for 3,000 years before anyone declared the institution immoral. That was a contribution of white Christian males in England led by Wilberforce, and even more importantly by Thomas Jefferson and the American founders. The actual enslavement of black Africans was carried out by black Africans, who sold them to Muslim Arabs, and only later to white Europeans in the Atlantic slave trade – a trade that began in 1526 and lasted for 300 years. In other words, Americans generally did not “enslave” black Africans but bought African slaves from their black African masters. They then transported them in the Middle Passage to the continental United States.
In a more honest time, an African American writer and American patriot, Zora Neale Hurston, saw the historical reality with great clarity: “The white people held my people in slavery here in America. They bought us, it is true, and exploited us. But the inescapable fact that stuck in my craw was [that] my people had sold me… . My own people had exterminated whole nations and torn families apart for profit before the strangers got their chance at a cut. It was a sobering thought. It impressed upon me the universal nature of greed and glory.”
America – the United States of America – did not sustain 400 years of slavery as was long claimed by her attackers, or 246 years of slavery, as Robinson claimed. It was only 78 years from the founding of America in 1787 with the signing of the Constitution, to the Emancipation Proclamation and the Union victory abolished the hateful institution. Thus, historically speaking – accurately speaking – black Africa enslaved blacks, and majority white America liberated blacks.
Every African American alive today owes his or her freedom to Thomas Jefferson and the American founders and the 350,000 mainly white but also black Union soldiers who gave their lives to end this evil. That is a heritage that black Americans share with white Americans, along with the entire multi-racial mosaic that makes up America today. Professor Dyson’s malice towards white Americans notwithstanding, of course they can talk about slavery, and with pride in their role in ending it.
In their attack on America, leftists don’t rest with their misrepresentation of the history of slavery. They seek to indict the very Founding that liberated black slaves by denigrating it as a “white supremacist” collusion with slave owners through the so-called “three-fifths compromise.” According to the left, the Founders were racists who regarded a black person as only three-fifths of a human being. This is just a display of historical ignorance. The issue before the Constitutional Convention was whether to count slaves – not blacks - as equivalent to free individuals for the purpose of congressional representation, in other words political power. It was the anti-slavery forces at the insisted that since slaves were not free and could not vote, they should only be equivalent to three-fifths of a free person for this purpose. They did so to diminish the power of the slave-holding south. The Constitution, as already noted, doesn’t use the words “black,” “white,” “slave,” “male” or “female” precisely because its creators were dedicated to creating a society – the society we enjoy today – where the law of the land holds that everyone regardless of race, gender or origin is to be treated equally.
Why three-fifths then? Why not zero? Why compromise with the slave south at all? The answer should be obvious. America’s enemy at the time was the greatest empire in the world at the time. In War of 1812, the British managed to burn the White House. If the anti-slavery northerners had declared war on the slaveholding south (which is what not compromising would have meant) the empire would have formed an alliance with the south and crushed them, preserving the slave system. Even decades later, when America was much stronger, the outcome of the war between the states was far from certain.
The anti-Americans project this destructive revision of the historical record into the present by distorting its reality through an ideological prism that is collectivist and racist – the very antithesis of this nation’s founding vision. Progressive ideology is generally referred to as “identity politics,” but is more accurately described as “cultural Marxism.” Cultural Marxists have taken the Marxist model of warring classes and transformed it into a model of oppression by race, gender, and sexual orientation. The reduction of individuals into group objects, creates a new indictment: “people of color,” women, and non-heterosexual groups are said to be “marginalized” and (therefore?) “oppressed” by white supremacist males –America’s ruling caste.
The facts offered by the left as evidence of “racism” and “oppression” are not actually evidences of racism and oppression. Instead they are statistical disparities between group categories, as the left defines them. Consider these statements in the 2016 Democratic Party Platform: “It is unacceptable that the median wealth for African Americans and Latino Americans is roughly one-tenth that of white Americans. These disparities are also stark for American Indians and certain Asian American subgroups, and may become even more significant when considering other characteristics such as age, disability status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
This is not just a regret that there are such disparities accompanied by a wish that something could be done about them. It is part of an indictment of America as a society characterized by “systemic racism” and “institutional racism” – and of course “sexism” and other isms that populate leftist indictments. The Democratic platform vows “a societal transformation” that will “end institutional and systemic racism in our society.” To establish some connection to the real world, the platform claims that, “The racial wealth and income gaps are the result of policies that discriminate against people of color and constrain their ability to earn income and build assets to the same extent as other Americans.”
But are they? If such policies existed they would be illegal under the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, not to mention the 14th Amendment to the Bill of Rights. If they existed one can imagine the armada of suits that would fill the courts over which a goodly number of Obama appointees preside. But this is not happening and that is because the disparities are realistically explained by individual details, for example the presence (or lack) of two-parent families, the degree of education or lack of education, or whether (in the case of so-called Latino Americans), they are English speakers, and here legally, so able to get well-paying jobs. More generally, wealth and income are determined in large part by what cultural attitudes guide the choices that families and individuals make. Otherwise Japanese Americans, who are “people of color,” would not be among America’s richest economic groups.
The very categories are suspect – and racist. Is there a category, “Latino Americans” that is useful for these purposes? Cuban Americans are not really comparable to Puerto Rican Americans for example in education, economic status and cultural attitudes. There is a very large African American middle class in America – encompassing between 40% and 50% of the African American population. In 2014, 21% of African Americans earned more than $75,000 per year. If American society could really be categorized as systemically racist, how did these African Americans succeed while others didn’t? It is only by factoring out the decisions that individuals make, since erasing individuals is the normal practice of collectivists, that leftists can make the ludicrous claims that make up their indictment of a society, which has done more than any other in the world with such large minority populations to provide them the opportunity to succeed.
The ideological category that underpins the message of the anti-American collectivists is “people of color,” a term they use to define the marginalized and oppressed, which is not even grammatical English. The whole world is people of color – the oppressed – except for white people, the designated oppressors. According to leftists, only white people can be racists, because only white people have power. This is an absurdity, but that doesn’t prevent it from being a staple of the anti-America/anti-white cause.
But does “people of color” even define a coherent group with a common social identity that can serve as a marker separating oppressor from oppressed? Tell that to the Rwandans, who are all people of color but are divided as Rwandan Hutus who carried out a genocide against the Rawandan Tutsis, or the Pakistanis and Indians who share a skin color but are at war against each other, or the ISIS slaughterers of Egyptian Coptics and Islamic Sufis, Arabs all. To the left these are all “people of color,” therefore oppressed. This bastardized term’s sole purpose is to divide the world into oppressors and oppressed: white people and non-whites, so that white people can be demeaned and attacked.
This racist view is behind every assault by the left against America today. Take the central claim of the most powerful racial movement on the left, Black Lives Matter. This organization was founded by three self-styled Maoists, and has adopted as its icon a Marxist revolutionary and convicted cop killer, Assata Shakur, who is a protected ward of the Communist dictatorship in Cuba. Not surprisingly, Black Lives Matter condemns America as a “corrupt democracy” and “white supremacist system,… built on Indigenous genocide and chattel slavery,” and claims that it “continues to thrive on the brutal exploitation of people of color”; that blacks are routinely “dehumanized” and rendered “powerless at the hands of the state, … deprived of [their] basic human rights and dignity,” and targeted for “extrajudicial killings … by police and vigilantes.”
Black Lives Matter has been the chief organizer of riots in Ferguson, Baltimore, Dallas and other cities, inciting violence against police with the claim that there is a “war on blacks” and that the law enforcement agencies - headed in each of the cities named by African American chiefs of police - murder unarmed blacks as a matter of course. This lie has led directly to dramatic increases in the number of homicides – mainly black on black homicides in 56 American cities, including Ferguson and Baltimore, where the murder rates increased by 47% and 60% respectively in the immediate wake of riots organized by Black Lives Matter.
The actual facts about police and the black community are quite different. “According to the Centers for Disease Control,” writes black attorney and media commentator Larry Elder, “police shootings against blacks have declined almost 75 percent since 1968. Of the 963 people shot and killed by police in 2016, 233 were black, and 466 were white. Last year, a grand total of 17 unarmed blacks were killed by the police, according to The Washington Post. Contrast this with the approximately 6,000 to 7,000 blacks killed annually, almost all — as many as 90 percent — by other blacks.”
Racist and violent, Black Lives Matter is an organization officially embraced by the Democratic Party, and bankrolled with tens of millions of dollars from Democratic Party donors like George Soros. In the direct wake of the killing of five police officers by a black racist in Dallas during a Black Lives Matter anti-police “protest,” President Obama invited its leaders to the White House, and endorsed its mission: “I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter. Rather, what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that’s happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”
A resolution endorsing Black Lives Matter, adopted by the Democratic National Committee, was more explicit citing the alleged existence of “many…lost in the unacceptable epidemic of extrajudicial killings of unarmed black men, women, and children at the hands of police” (a reference evidently to the 17 cases actually recorded), attributing this “nightmare” to “the vestiges of slavery, Jim Crow and White Supremacy.”
Therefore be it resolved that the DNC joins with Americans across the country in affirming “Black lives matter … efforts to make visible the pain of our fellow … Americans as they condemn extrajudicial killings of unarmed African American men, women and children …
It is left to Ta-Nehisi Coates – also a guest of the White House – to reveal the racist mentality behind this adoption by the political left of a movement so hostile to the American idea. A pivotal event in Coates’ National Book Award winner, Between the World and Me, is the killing of his friend, Prince Jones, by a policeman. According to the officer, Jones tried to run him over with his car while the officer was arresting him for drugs. A classic case of what Black Lives Matter is concerned about? Not quite: “Here is what I knew at the outset,” writes Coates. “The officer who killed Prince Jones was black. The politicians who empowered this officer to kill were black. Many of the black politicians, many of them twice as good, seemed unconcerned. How could this be?”
Coates answers his own question first by dismissing black crime all together and attributing it to the evil whites – to white supremacists who pull the strings behind the scenes and manipulate apparently passive blacks into committing criminal acts. According to Coates, “‘Black-on-black crime’ is jargon, violence to language, which vanishes the men who engineered the covenants, who fixed the loans, who planned the projects, who built the streets and sold red ink by the barrel. And this should not surprise us. The plunder of black life was drilled into this country in its infancy and reinforced across its history, so that plunder has become an heirloom, an intelligence, a sentience, a default setting to which, likely to the end of our days, we must invariably return…. The killing fields of Chicago, of Baltimore, of Detroit, were created by the policy of Dreamers [i.e., white believers in the American Dream], but their weight, their shame, rests solely upon those who are dying in them.”
Having blamed whites for every suffering, every deficiency in the black community, and even criminal act by blacks, Coates is ready to answer the question of how it is possible that a black cop killed his criminal friend: “The Dream of acting white, of talking white, of being white, murdered Prince Jones as sure as it murders black people in Chicago with frightening regularity.” Whites killed his friend. Whites are responsible for every black on black crime. d It would be hard to imagine a more racist view. It would be hard to imagine ravings by an actual white supremacist more demented than this. Yet, Coates is an intellectual icon of the progressive left, the toast of the President and the cultural elite.
This is the nature of the assault on America. It is racist and collectivist, eliminating individuals in favor of groups, laying guilt on some because of their membership in groups and removing guilt from others for the same reason. This is the totalitarian ideology savaged by George Orwell in 1984, which led to the murders of a hundred million souls in the last century. Yet despite this historical catastrophe so close to hand, the same destructive ideas are already deeply embedded in the nation’s culture and politics. America does not deserve this. Over two centuries it has shaped itself into the most tolerant and inclusive society of its kind in the world. Orlando Patterson, a renowned African American liberal and Harvard sociologist whose award-winning works specialize in the study of slavery and race, has said of America, that “is the least racist white-majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protections of minorities than any other society, white or black; offers more opportunities to greater numbers of black persons than any other society, including those of Africa.” To believe the opposite is not only to deny a reality. If enough Americans are seduced into believing these noxious ideas, it will set the stage for a nation’s suicide.
 Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me, 2016 p.5
 Ta-Nehisi Coates, We Were Eight Years In Power, p. 159 Kindle edition
 We Were Eight Years In Power, p. 113
 Coates, We Were Eight Years in Power, p. 341 Kindle edition
 Robinson, The Debt, op. cit. p. 8. Emphasis added.
 Kevin Grant, “Socialist Professor Addresses Student Audience on Reparations and Race Relations,” Arizona State Press, April 24, 2001. Dyson, a leading African American intellectual, is a professor at DePaul University and was flown in at University expense to provide a rebuttal to a case against reparations I had been invited by students to present.
 Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks On A Road, 1997
 Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me, p. 83. Kindle Edition.
 Coates, op. cit. pp. 110-111