Deborah P. Ashton, Ph.D., CDM
President, Planet Perspective
Founder, Equity Rising
The 1950s and 1960s are back. The far right and Fox News are promoting that any discussion regarding systemic racism is cultural communism, Black Marxism and is anti-American. These are the same charges that Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement faced from the right and the FBI; as Fox News ironically quotes Dr. King’s “content of their character,” for making their allegations. Dr. King was accused and investigated by the FBI for over a decade until his death of being a communist and the Civil Rights Movement was seen as subversive. Dr. King was called a militant and a communist by the right in the 1950s and 1960s, even though Reverend King wrote, “Communism and Christianity are fundamentally incompatible.” He was NOT a communist!!
And the vast majority of people who are confronting systemic racism today only want the USA to live up to the American creed and the ideal that all are created equal. When the discussion of race comes to the foreground the kneejerk reaction of some on the right is to deny that racism still exists and to grab onto the comments of a few outliers to paint all who are confronting systemic racism with a brush of communism. Addressing systemic racism is like addressing addiction. It is time for an intervention and tough love. It has to be seen and acknowledged to change it. Denial is no longer working. Loving one’s country is to want it to be the best it can be. To be the best, the flaws must be addressed.
To be clear systemic racism does not divide itself along party lines. Yes, it was under a Democratic administration that some of the most detrimental laws to the Black community were passed. And yes, under the Trump administration the First Step Act was signed into law for criminal justice reform—to reform some of the damaged the Clinton administration left behind in its wake. The ‘three strikes’ bill, which included drug crimes that gave mandatory life sentences, ran havoc on the Black community. The drug focus was on the Black community and crack cocaine, which was cheap, not on Wall Street and powder cocaine that was for the well off. ‘Three strikes’ was supported by Biden and, even, the Black Caucus. If only they knew then what they know now!
The irony is that tactics of the McCarthy era are being used by the right and by the far left! The right is trying to squelch free speech and the anti-racism movement by wielding the communism red scare campaign of fear and paranoia. The far left has suggested that anyone connected with the Trump administration not be allowed to have access to social media and be barred from future employment! The far right and the far left need to look at themselves in the mirror. Neither are promoting the American ideal.
Hear the voices in the wilderness, suffering from systemic racism. The right talks about migrants yearning to come to America as proof that systemic racism does not exist. It is a faulty argument. America cannot be the land of second chances, when it fails to be the land of first chances for all who are here! Wrapping oneself in the flag is not patriotism. Patriotism is tough love—seeing and acknowledging the flaws and choosing to change to make the idealized America the reality for all.
I implore ‘the woke’ on the far left and ‘the patriots’ on the far right to refrain from throwing down the gauntlet of McCarthyism. I implore you to reject the tactics of the 1950s and the 1960s and embrace the USA with its grace and flaws to make a change for the better.