Former Democratic congressman turned presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke of Texas said during an event in Arkansas on Saturday that the United States was founded on racism.
In the past, these kind of comments would be something that we would have to learn about from released organization, but O’Rourke proudly posted the video for us on Twitter on Sunday.
“This country, though we would like to think otherwise, was founded on racism, has persisted through racism, and is racist today,” he said at the Arkansas Democratic Party’s Clinton Dinner in Little Rock, Ark. on Saturday night.
He pointed to disproportionate wealth, incarceration, and disciplinary actions in school as examples.
He then blamed President Donald Trump for bringing the racism out into the open.
“Though this racism, though foundational, literally kidnapping people from West Africa, bringing them here to build the greatness of this country on their backs, and then denying their ancestors the meaningful opportunity to enjoy in the wealth that they had created, for so long it had flown under the surface, at least for people like me, a white guy from Texas, born every day by people who do not look like me who had a different experience, but it was only until this administration, this president, that this racism was invited out into the open,” he said.
He then cited some of President Trump’s more egregious and racially insensitive rhetoric some of which has been taken out of context and reported unfairly, some of it hasn’t. I’m not going to defend the president.
Chattel slavery is a stain on American history no doubt, period, full stop. Segregation is a black mark on our history.
This country was not founded upon racism. Racism was not the foundational idea behind our republic. Racism and chattel slavery were not the foundation of the national economy. Indeed, slavery was a prominent feature of the antebellum South’s economy. How much it drove the entire national economy is debatable and it likely held the South back.
Innovation was (and is) the foundation of America’s economic growth, not slavery.
Racism certainly existed and racist people exist today. The problems facing the black community that O’Rourke cites in his speech can not be entirely boiled down to racism, that’s a simplistic, thoughtless approach.
Racism is not more prevalent today than when I was growing up; it’s just that the racists now have Twitter accounts. We have grown as a nation. We have improved. Attitudes are changing. There is equal opportunity. In not acknowledging that fact, O’Rourke misleads.
Are we perfect? No, because we are a nation of people, sinful, fallible people not bound to a single race.
Yes, President Trump’s comments has stoked racial tension, but so has the identity politics of the left that have also divided us. O’Rourke demonstrated he is part of the problem, not the solution.