What Segregationists Really Believed: Read the Racist Rant That Couldn't See Print in 1962

Earlier this week, Reason.com published Bill Steigerwald's explosive "Whitewashing John Steinbeck: Why partisan politics and virulent racism were cut from the celebrated 'non-fiction' road book Travels With Charley," which looked at the ways in which the Nobel laureate soft-peddled various aspects of his trip across the "real America" at the start of the 1960s. Specifically, Steigerwald looked at the way in which Steinbeck's political partisanship was excised from the final published version of the book and the way that Steinbeck and his publisher yanked an explicit account of segregationists attacking parents and schoolkids daring to enter a newly integrated school in New Orleans. (Previous literary detective work by Steigerwald, also published by Reason, explored the fabulism in Travels With Charley and sparked a New York Times editorial decrying academic indifference to its exposure.)

Given ongoing assertions by defenders of Barack Obama that hostility toward the nation's first African-American president is motivated in some way - consciously or unconsciously, partly or wholly, or just necessarily due to the country's tortured history of racism - it's worth remembering how far we have come as a society in terms of race relations. If conservatives sometimes glibly dismiss the ugly reality of a pre-Civil Rights America and lingering racial resentments, liberals sometimes similarly refuse to acknowledge the vast distance that separates the America Obama was born into and the one over which he presides. 

As Steigerwald tells it, John Steinbeck in 1960 visited the William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans precisely because of the overt racism on display. A group of mostly women protesters (dubbed "Cheerleaders") ringed the school (made famous in a Norman Rockwell painting) and taunted the black and white kids entering the building.

Steinbeck drove to New Orleans specifically to see the daily circus of hate and what he saw rightly disgusted him. He felt that the “sad sickness” of that racist sideshow could not be conveyed unless the foul things the working-class women screamed were put down on paper for all to see. Writing that he knew there was “not a chance in the world that my readers will see” the women’s “bestial and degenerate” words, he quoted—or, more likely, he wrote down a condensed version of how he remembered them....

This is what Steinbeck said one woman shrieked at a white man who was defying the boycott by bringing his child to the virtually empty school: “You mother fucking, nigger sucking, prick licking piece of shit. Why you’d lick a dog’s ass if he’d let you. Look at the bastard drag his dirty stinking ass along. You think that’s his kid? That’s a piece of shit. That’s shit leading shit. Know what we ought to do? Strip down them fancy pants and cut off his balls and feed them to the pigs—that is if he’s got any balls. How about it friends?”

If you care about literature and history - and the mist-covered border between fiction and non-fiction - read Steigerwald's story and visit his ongoing exploration of those themes at his blog.

In the published version of Travels with Charley, Steinbeck mentions the "bestial and filthy and degenerate" epithets the women screamed without quoting them directly. From today's vantage, arguably the most-striking thing about it is that people felt so comfortable expressing it so openly. Contemporaneous with Obama's birth, large segments of Americans still believed in legally enforced segregation, often claiming that both races preferred such separation (an explanation that, if true, would have made laws dictating it unnecessary).

We live in a better America not simply because virtually no one would voice such vile racist sentiments in public, but because virtually no one even thinks them anymore. And the improvement is not simply in terms of the worst sort of George Wallace-Strom Thurmond-style racism. Across a wide variety of indicators - most notably when it comes to interracial marriages - America has progressed to a much better place than where it was when it was Steinbeck was writing Travels with Charley and Obama's parents were married.

Race still matters in American life, and to the extent that it does, there is still work to be done in terms of improvement. But as Obama's own election and polls show, race clearly is not a deciding factor in presidential politics. Assertions that race is at the heart of - or even a contributing factor to  - Obama's rotten poll numbers is blame-shifting of the worst kind. Yet folks ranging from New York magazine's Jonathan Chait to Salon's Joan Walsh to the New York Times' Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd to many others are ready and willing to do so. 

Using racial animus as the go-to explanation for any real or imagined reversal of fortune for President Obama - remember when Slate's Jacob Weisberg implausibly decreed "Racism is the only reason Obama might lose" in 2008? - may comfort liberals now that the president's stimulus inarguably failed to energize the economy as promised, that his more-Bushian-than-Bush embrace of limitless executive power has alienated left-wing civil libertarians, and his recent statements about government's role in building the Internet and all business successes (but never, it seems, failures) have alienated many voters.

But that comfort is purchased at the expense of being able to grasp an electoral reality that has seen voters evacuate the Republican and Democratic parties - and their cynical manipulation of rhetoric and reality - in record numbers. If conservative Republicans can't understand that fewer people want to associate with them because they lied when they said they favored a government that did less and spent less, nothing can save the party of Lincoln from eventual receivership. And if liberal Democrats can't fully grasp that voters are turned off not the color of Obama's skin but by the failure of his presidency, they too will continue to see fewer and fewer people marching under their banner.

Nick Gillespie is the editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason.tv and the co-author with Matt Welch of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, now out in paperback with a new foreword.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    The TEAM BLUE idiots will grasp any straw, no matter how ridiculous, that will allow them to avoid facing the reality of how Obama fucked and used them, and how he's basically Bush III, and how fucking stupid they are for believing otherwise, and how fucking cultishly retarded they behaved (and continue to behave) towards a guy who has turned out to be an incompetent, business-as-usual, self-aggrandizing asshole.

    If "it's because everyone but my TEAM is a racist" allows them to do that, they will grab on with both hands. And it seems they are.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    You're problem, Epi, is that you just don't hear Obama's music.

  • ||

  • VG Zaytsev||

    No that's Hillary's music.

    This is Obama's musik.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    I saw, I clicked, I cried.

  • Timrek||

    And you're racist!
    Hell...This whole article's racist!!

    Even MLK, Jr. would hate Obama and the Dems.
    "
    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

    Unfortunately, the content of Obama's character is completely lacking...like nearly everyone else in the Federal Government at this time.

  • ||

    Not to mention the fucker managed to win the election because he was black.

    Talk about comprehensively pissing on MLK's words.

  • wareagle||

    ^^^that. Glad I am not the only one who believes that Obama's race HELPED much more than it hurt.

    The notion of criticism = racism re: Obama begs the question of why did folks criticize the 43 previous, and white, occupants of the Oval.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Racism.

    Not only is it inherent in us all to hate Obama because he is black, but according to liberal theology political doctrine, all of our policy choices are a result of racism.

    We don't want to get rid of the welfare state because it will enhance the lives of everyone and end the cycle of intergenerational dependence on welfare, but because we hate blacks and want to see them starve.

  • PapayaSF||

    Of course it helped, which makes the cries of "racism!!" from Obama defenders all the more ludicrous. Right, all those white people who voted for him four years ago and don't support him now, well, their racism must have returned for some reason. Probably because of Fox News.

  • wareagle||

    you forgot redneck AM radio.

  • Silly ol' Bear||

    you forget redneck libtard radio.

  • ||

    It couldn't possibly be that we despise Obama because he's an iniquitous, contemptible petty tyrant and an unfailingly and fantastically incompetent fucking moron. No. We've got to be racist.

    I guess we just all forgot our swastika armbands at the cross-burning ceremony.

  • Brutus||

    I, for one, prefer that a white iniquitous, contemptible petty tyrant and an unfailingly and fantastically incompetent fucking moron be installed in office and immediately put his boot on my neck.

  • ||

    I'm a Romney fan, for your information. *Fume*. But he's probably what we're stuck with come November.

  • ||

    The squirrels are major assholes.

    *I'm not a Romney fan.

  • ||

    you should have just left it and let the whole reason comment section explode.

    I lack the talent but could someone take the bullet and pretend to be a Romney supporter for the next few months.

    That would be awesome.

    Note: And I don't mean the better of two evils support that Tupla gives. I mean a full on Romney apologist like Shrike and Tony do for team Blue.

  • wareagle||

    john's a Romney supporter but I don't that he rises to full-blown apologist.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    john said that he'd vote for Gary J if Romney was the republican nominee.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I mean a full on Romney apologist...

    First of all, what is there to "apologize" for? Mitt Romney has a solid track record in both business and politics.

    In his career in business he successfully managed over 60 MA deals worth well over $40 billion. He was responsible for creating tens of thousands of jobs. It's not like his money was just handed to him. He has taken his family's wealth and expanded that as well. He is an excellent manager of both money and people. These are the traits I look for in a politician.

    As a politician, he was instrumental in revolutionizing how America tackles problems in the health care industry. "Obamacare" was actually modeled on the government owned healthcare program adopted by Massachusetts, signed into law by then Gov. Romney. His bold, forward thinking plan will save the US billions of dollars, and deliver health care to millions who could not previously afford it.

  • ||

    An "apologist" is usually someone who tries to justify something. It's one of those weird "root word" things. Stupid Latin.

  • ||

    +1 EDG reppin' LBC

    But the question is can you keep it up with vomiting?

  • ||

    Tulpa should TOTALLY change his name to Tupla, so he can start marketing Tuplaware.

  • ||

    Unless Paul pulls a rabbit out of his hat. If he somehow wins the nomination, I'll run through San Francisco naked cheering obscenely.

  • Silly ol' Bear||

    Paul is just too weird, and has no concept of foreign policy, I had rather elect Mickey Mouse.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Nope you wrote it. I read it. From here on out RPA will be known as a Romney fan. Looks like shrike was right about you.

  • ||

    Does that mean I also have to be That Racist Libertard (tm)?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    If the jackboot fits...

  • Libertarian||

    RPA = Romney's Primary Apologist. Coincidence? I think not.

  • Brutus||

    Me either...I'm a Johnson guy. And not like T o n y's a johnson guy, either.

  • ||

    Lol. An Internet -- you have earned it. *Hands Brutus a shiny, golden Internet.*

  • DJF||

    Since Steinbeck is now known to have repeatedly lied in the writing of “Travels with Charlie” why do you believe what he wrote about New Orleans? It could be just as much a lie as his claims that he spent most of his time on the road and alone.

  • Bill||

    My question exactly. Those words are terrible and obviously people were much more racist 50 years ago.

    But, if he made up half of the other shit (at least the interesting bits) in the book, why wouldn't he embellish what the woman said?

    That's why it's dangerous to say you are writing non-fiction and then to fictionalize it.

  • SIV||

    The language sounds about right for a striker to yell at a scab crossing a picket line, so it fits in the context of the event.

  • Killazontherun||

    This made me wonder as well. In previous instances Reason has deconstructed Travel's With Charlie as an unreliable text, so why should I bother believing it in this instance for no other reason than the narrative is more to my liking?

  • BakedPenguin||

    It wasn't from the published work; Bill Steigerwald (Lucy's dad) got the incident from Steinbeck's unpublished notes.

  • ||

    Exactly. And if anyone doubts that this exactly the kind of language that was heard at anti-integration demonstrations they only need to check the contemporary reports - both anecdotal and recorded - of what kind of abuse "nigger-lovers" were subjected to.

    My parents had friends and acquaintances who got this kind of thing, up to and including death threats, in the late fifties/early sixties. Just because they found themselves judged to be "nigger-lovers".

    I have never been given any reason to believe that those stories were false. Part of the reason for this is that it was only a few years past the time when a "nigger" could readily find himself lynched for being "uppity".

  • Suki||

    Sounds like something that could happen on Capitol Hill if a Healthcare Reform Act passed. Except it didn't. The only time it happens is when the lefties are not getting their way.

  • Killazontherun||

    It's not the time and place accuracy of the dialog, it's the person and the fact that he made up so much else in that travelogue.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    This x100. If Steinbeck lied in part, why not in whole?

    Same with Obama's "memoirs" and his composite girlfriend. If he lied in part, what's to say the whole thing isn't a lie? His good word? We've already seen that's not worth a thimble of horse piss.

  • Suki||

    Did he lie about being from Kenya on the book jacket too? Hard to tell.

  • Chris Mallory||

    Race matters because human beings are tribal and always will be. Diversity kills.

  • Killazontherun||

    Race still matters in American life, and to the extent that it does, there is still work to be done in terms of improvement.

    The Era of the Cronkite Consensus is dead and thankfully so, but you still see the sentiments living on in journalism like in this instance. It is a different time, and our heads no longer hang low as spoils to the victor, the Civil Rights Movement. I don't know of this sentiment you feel of white guilt first hand so it doesn't bind, and neither should it bind your children or else you are offering them up as sacrifice to the Jonathon Chaits of the world who will gladly exploit them for his and his party, the party of government's gain. Look after your own, and put their welfare first, or else you are damning them to serfdom. That is the shadow that is long on your child's and my child's face today, just as the legacy was the shadow that lingered at your back when you were young, Nick.

  • wareagle||

    race primarily matters as a political play and a tool for the intellectually lazy. Since no other president in history was ever criticized, the only possible reason anyone could look askance at Obama is his color.

    Sure, there are some folks who hate others because of race but that exists in every culture and for reasons beyond race. Sunni/Shia, Catholic/Protestant, and Japanese/Chinese come to mind.

    All you can control is your own actions. Treat folks right and they tend to extend the same courtesy.

  • Silly ol' Bear||

    You MUST be joking! Every president has been criticized! Obama b/c he is the current idiot in office. The fact that he is black is irrelevant, he is just plainly a very poor president.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Hey SoB, check the batteries in your sarcasmotron.

  • Silly ol' Bear||

    I did they are working great. Let me think...hummm, did anyone ever criticize Bush, or Reagan, or Carter, or Johnson, or Kennedy...I think the answer is a VERY big "YES!"" The last Democrat in office had a major problem with cigars and Monica Lewinski, or did we forget that as well? Everytime some black guy/woman gets in hot water they invariably call out the race card, surprise, surprise to quote Jim Nabors...well, not surprised at all, black people are more prejudice than white people any day.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Okay. Jeez. I was just trying to point out to you that wareagle was being sarcastic.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Jesus, you're stupid. Come back more often to entertain the troops, dumbass.

  • jdgalt||

    I believe that a huge number of people voted because of race in the last presidential election and will do so again this time around.

    And all of them support Obama.

  • Apostate Jew||

    "And all of them support Obama."

    It's funny because it's delusional.

  • brec||

    There's a big jump, 33%, in the mid-90s shown in the first poll graph in the post showing approval of inter-racial marriage. What happened then?

  • ||

    segregationists who were 40+ years old in the 60s got old and died.

    The graph looks very generational to me.

    Not so much individual people's views changed but more like people who held one view all died off.

  • PapayaSF||

    Perhaps the endless barrage of interracial couples in movies and TV made a difference.

  • Taggart||

    People's kids started marrying people of different races, and people had to accept or disown their kids, and most people accepted, and got to know their kids-in-law, and to like them.

  • JSebastian||

    Except for the Jews....notice that there are no shows featuring Jewish characters in an interracial relationship?

    Do you want to know why there never will be?

  • Voice of Doom||

    Sir! You have now crossed the Jewbicon! Prepare to be blacklisted by the SPLC!

  • PapayaSF||

    I think you are correct. Why is that?

  • Arbeit Macht Frei||

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Except for the Jews....notice that there are no shows featuring Jewish characters in an interracial relationship?

    No. Ever notice that there are numerous actors/actresses on those shows that are the children of Jewish interracial relationships? For instance, Rashida Jones.

    And rapper/actor Drake.

  • ||

    Looking at that marriage between blacks and whites graph I wonder if there ever was a time before 1958 when the number was above 4%.

    Were we always so intolerant and loathsome?

    If the state of man has always been such how the hell did Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens ever get it on?

  • Killazontherun||

    I saw the 1850 census for my own family. The ancestor who held the paternal line at that time was a bachelor who owned a pair of teenage mulatto sisters. The eldest of which gave birth to a male who kept the birth right name and continued the line in spite of being a quadroon according to the racial classification and legal system built upon it in New Orleans of that time.

  • PapayaSF||

    +1 for using the word "quadroon."

  • wareagle||

    it comes down to a few things:
    --no one really wants to be the first or only one of any type. Each instance of mixed-race marriage made the next a bit easier.
    --marriage is work in any circumstances; separate races makes it harder
    --as society integrated, each race figured out that the other was not nearly as scary as portrayed by tribal elders.
    --marriage goes beyond husband/wife; it also involves other family members and the older ones bring different views to the table. As they die out, any perceived stigma is lessened.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    If the state of man has always been such how the hell did Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens ever get it on?

    Because a man will do things with his penis in the dark of night that he would never admit to in the cold light of day.

  • Silly ol' Bear||

    Well there are 2 theories, one we intermingled, which I seriously doubt, or 2, we just killed them off. Knowing homo sapiens as well as I do (and being one) I imagine we did the latter.

  • ||

    we intermingled, which I seriously doubt

    DNA evidence says otherwise.

  • Brutus||

    Looking at the chart, I don't know how I would reply, even today. Is there an option for "It's none of my fucking business?"

  • ||

    Yeah.

    What the fuck do two strangers need my approval for? I don't want to be interjecting my opinion into their marriage and I am pretty sure they wouldn't want me in there either.

  • Silly ol' Bear||

    I still have an original hardback copy of "Travels with Charlie," a WONDERFUL book. I did not vote for this guy b/c I knew he would be a poor president...guess what, I was right. It had nothing to do that he was a muslim, sketchy, American black.

  • T o n y||

    Ugh what a stupid article. "Steinbeck blah blah blah... and that reminds me, ever notice how liberals cry racism too much?"

    How much racism is a factor in opposition to Obama is something that can be measured, though not without difficulty. It's probably the case that racists won't vote for a Democrat anyway, and in comparing Obama to Clinton, the level of conspiracy theorizing seems about equally insane, though certainly Obama's nonwhiteness adds some special color to the ones about him.

    Of course it's implausible that racism has dissipated nearly completely. There are still large disparities in economic success along racial lines, and none of you idiots can explain that without making racist claims.

    Maybe you're all colorblind (though I'm not), but just need a primer on racial dogwhistles you don't apparently know you're blowing. "black people are more prejudice than white people any day." Is a modern racist comment. Yes, a long way from "You mother fucking, nigger sucking, prick licking piece of shit." But still, there's not even necessarily a virtue to more insidious racism.

    And none of it matters nearly as much as Republicans actively trying to suppress the black vote, which they've all but admitted to. All the while their parade of pandering lying lunatics running for president have been dog whistling about Obama till blue in the face.

  • ||

    How much racism is a factor in opposition to Obama is something that we pretend can be measured

    Fixed part of your post for you.

    "black people are more prejudice than white people any day." Is a modern racist comment.

    This is racist, but claiming that white people are more racist isn't? Talk about your double standards.

    Republicans actively trying to suppress the black vote

    This isn't a racist claim, but certainly a bigoted one. Since racism is just one sort of bigotry, I don't think you're much different than people who are bigots because of race.

    And I'm glad you, of all the Reason commenters, have such immaculate wisdom you can "hear" inaudible "dog whistles". Fortunately, I CAN TOO. Your post is full of them, you racist, racist bastard you. Seriously. In addition to being racist, it's obvious from your post you hate gay people. Self-hate sure is weird, but it's clear from everything you say how much you hate gay people. You hypocrite you. It's sort of odd you don't know you're blowing those dog whistles, but then again you probably do.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "Maybe you're all colorblind (though I'm not)"

    Then you have no place chastising others for mere criticisms of things some people do, Tony.

    Also, your hatred of straight people precludes you from casting stones on the gay-hatred topic.

    Now, if you could only distinguish between *actual* racism and homophobia, instead of tossing those words around in your usual, cavalier fashion... ahh, fuck it. You'll never evolve.

  • T o n y||

    When did I claim white people were more racist? What I would say is that black people are more often the victims of racism. Meaning actual, physical victimhood, not theoretical harm coming from thought rays.

    I think you're mistaken about my alleged antigay dog whistles. I almost exclusively prefer the company of gay people. They're a superior race.

  • ||

    WOW! Both antigay AND anti-straight dog-whistles in the SAME post! Impressive.

    What I would say is that black people are more often the victims of racism.

    And who would be victimizing them, perhaps? White people? In the claim that black people are more often the victims of racism, there is the implicit claim that non-black people are more often racist, with most people understanding "non-black" as "white". If that isn't a racist claim (and I don't think it is), saying black people are more racist isn't a racist claim either. Now, if someone claimed that black people were more prejudiced than white people because they're black, that WOULD be a racist comment.

    Remember, kids. Saying [Group A] acts a certain way isn't racist, even if some people think [Group A] is a race. Saying [Group A] acts a certain way because they're [Race A] IS.

  • JSebastian||

    It is impossible to measure how much racism is a factor in opposition to Obama, for statistical reasons, but it is a snap to measure how much racism is a factor in *support for* Obama, since he got 95% of the black vote.

    If there were no racism we would expect the black vote to split the way that it does for other ethnic groups. And of course, there is a huge amount of racism in the white vote for Obama as well, seeing as how much of it is motivated by good old fashioned white guilt, the staple of the elite left.

  • T o n y||

    Clinton got about 85% of the black vote, so at most 10% of the black vote was switched due to race alone, though another way of saying this is the GOP has gotten even more white. I think the more disturbing picture is the GOP's racial uniformity, not the Democrats' racial diversity. We're a racially diverse country. Blacks overwhelmingly support Democrats, and at most 10% were swayed by a black candidate for president--though let's not forget Obama's margin was large among all groups by recent historical standards.

    And in case you were wondering, your screeds here are a thinly veiled modern incarnation of racist thinking. Yes black people can be racist. But it is less of a social problem because racism against whites doesn't do anything to alter whites' relative socioeconomic success.

    I'm sorry, you don't get to whine about the victimization of whites from racism. It's not equal. Not unless you're doing something very specific and academic. Otherwise it's transparent modern racism. Being born white is a huge advantage over being born black in this country, and that's all there is to it.

  • Apostate Jew||

    Oh, please.

    You can't imagine any reason, not a single one, why black people might favor black candidates over white candidates?

    You're not very imaginative, are you.

  • Brutus||

    It's probably the case that racists won't vote for a Democrat anyway

    Who do you think the New Black Panther Party will be pulling the lever for in November? La Raza? Mecha? Nation of Islam? Ever hear of Robert Byrd? Bull Connor?

  • Your Old TV||

    But as Obama's own election and polls show, race clearly is not a deciding factor in presidential politics.

    Do I really need to point out that while Obama won the election, he did it with only 43% the white vote, an accomplishment that would have been impossible in any earlier generation?

    We live in a better America not simply because virtually no one would voice such vile racist sentiments in public, but because virtually no one even thinks them anymore.

    See comments.

    Race still matters in American life, and to the extent that it does, there is still work to be done in terms of improvement.

    Can we add Gillespie to the list of clueless, out-of-touch SWPL's who's going to be very, very surprised when he finds out to just what extent race still does matter in American life?

  • Taggart||

    Obama got more of the white vote than either Kerry or Gore did. I guess that's because racist white people are more inclined to vote for black Democrats than for white Democrats?

  • JSebastian||

    see "white guilt" on wikipedia for an explanation of that.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    See comments.

    When somebody in one tribe gets bricked in the face by somebody else in the other tribe, words get ugly fast. Sometimes actions go along too.

    But so long as we continue promoting tribes, such will remain. Right now, in today's society, only some tribes are 'tolerated' in polite society and that doesn't work. I want to be in a tribe, too.

  • ||

    I'm part of the "anti-tribe" tribe. I really hate all those tribalists, they aren't even human, really.

  • AlgerHiss||

    The words “racist” and “racism” have absolutely no value anymore because they have lost any meaning they ever had. They have been so overused and misused and abused, it makes one’s eyes rotate in opposite directions.

    To be a racist, or participate in racism today in this country, all you have to do is disagree with a leftist black person about anything. It could be who makes the best ice cream, or what car transmission is most durable: But if a white person disagrees with a leftist black person about any of these things, then that white person will be called a racist that is engaging in racism.

  • JSebastian||

    Agree. I have never once seen the term used properly in a post.

    All it takes to be labelled a racist is to dispute the liberazi credo that all people are exactly the same in every way. That race, ie, genetics, plays no part in transmitting any qualities or flaws whatsoever.

    Which of course is total bullshit. You are what your parents and theirs before them were. We are our genes. We also have other influences , ie, environment or "nurture", but the genetic influence cannot be erased.

  • Apostate Jew||

    Eugenics? You're a real piece of work, Sebastian. Reason's attracting an interesting crowd these days.

    I might sympathize with you but I can't erase my genetic influence. That, and you appear to be an Illinois Nazi, and you all know how we feel about those.

  • Lee Reynolds||

    The key is not caring.

    Leftists lie. That is who they are. To Walk on pins and needles hoping that they won't tell abusive lies about you is to enslave yourself to their goodwill. I'd much rather see them tarred and feathered.

    Leftists shriek "raaaaaaciiisst!" because they assume the victims of such abuse will not fight back.

  • Reverendcaptain||

    I grew up in the deep south. 100 miles from New Orleans. The kind of language he has the woman using doesn't strike me as authentic in any way. Yeah there were plenty of racists back in that time but women just didn't speak like that in public spaces.

  • JSebastian||

    Nick confuses a desire for the freedom to segregate with a desire for a mandate for segregation. Few people today would evince a desire for mandatory separation, and an apartheid society. What people DO still want, is the ability to voluntarily segregate themselves, and that is exactly what we have observed ever since the Civil Rights era; specifically most people have been interested in not living around blacks, because of the prevalence of social issues such as crime, poverty, and racial antagonism.

    Today, in large cities, one can see the desire for racial enclaves, in any place that has a Chinatown, a Koreatown, etc. And still, the benchmark of desirability of a neighborhood is still in part based on how much one can minimize exposure to minorities, specifically to the blacks and hispanics; the two groups that contribute the most to social unrest, and the risk of personal victimization.

    Mandatory segregation is morally flawed, but so is mandatory integration. Because we have a constitutional right to freedom of association, it should include the right not to associate with anyone for any reason. That is what Rand Paul means when he said he would have voted against the CRA.

    Don't force people into associations or proximity they do not wish to enter into. The left with itts white guilt complex would have you believe that mandatory integration is a civil right rather than a violation of a civil right. That is how upside down and thru-the-rabbit-hole the left is.

  • Keith3D||

    I grew up in the south also, and knew some very racist people. But most of them didn't hate blacks, at least nothing like that hilarious woman in the story. I knew one racist old guy who always talked about blacks going back to africa. He would also pull over and help fix their tires when he saw them broken down on the side of the road, just like he did for everyone else.

    The system wasn't this caricature you see in nutty protesters, it was a class system. Most people didn't hate blacks any more than people in a system where women are second class, actually hate women. They think they are inferior, which is perhaps much worse, but also very common in history, not remotely the uniquely-american horror its made out to be. I'm just sick of hearing "hate hate hate". That's such a childish description.

  • JSebastian||

    "I knew one racist old guy who always talked about blacks going back to africa."

    Was it Abe Lincoln? He was hoping to figure out how to send them all to Liberia.

    " He would also pull over and help fix their tires when he saw them broken down on the side of the road, just like he did for everyone else."

    Sounds like Abe to me. Tall guy, top hat?

  • johnd2||

    The racist segregationists of the past did even more damage than to the people of the era. By refusing to behave decently at the state level, they more or less forced the forces of equity to go to the federal level. The result was a trashing of state soverignty and we will pay for that error for a long time.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    We are a long way from 1960 in race matters, but Rush Limbaugh works pretty hard to picture white folks in the U.S. as under seige from black thugs, all thanks, somehow, to Obama's presence in the White House. And how about that U.S. district court judge who sent out an email from his office computer telling a seriously smutty "joke" about the president? For every liberal saying that Obama is in trouble because of his race, there are 99 saying it's the economy, stupid.

  • ||

    Rush Limbaugh works pretty hard to picture white folks in the U.S. as under seige from black thugs

    Isn't Bo Snerdley black?

    Anyway Rush is far more overt about using American military might to go adventuring around the globe then any hypothetical race agitation that you claim.

    Why don't you bitch about him over that?

    Oh yeah I forgot Obama also likes to use American military might to go adventuring around the globe.

    We would not want you to go off of TEAM BLUE's messaging now would we.

  • Lee Reynolds||

    "Rush Limbaugh works pretty hard to picture white folks in the U.S. as under seige from black thugs"

    Not that I've ever heard, though I must confess I don't hang on his ever word.

    If you have to tell lies about someone in order for them to look bad, it means you are wrong.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    While Democrats definitely overplay the race card by trying to attribute every obstacle they run into to racism, the Republican too often go to the other extreme by acting like there is no racism anywhere. One big example would be the failure of the party to deal with the parts of their base obssessed with Obama's birth certificate.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Sounds like both teams have an incentive to keep it going, to me.

  • ||

    One big example would be the failure of the party to deal with the parts of their base obssessed with Obama's birth certificate.

    If Obama had a French dad it would have been the same thing.

    After Clinton and the Monica lewinsky mess I think it should be understood that conservatives are always looking for a catch to remove the guy who beat their guy.

  • Lee Reynolds||

    His birth certificate doesn't claim he's white.

    I do agree that the birthers are nutters and idiots, but that doesn't mean they are motivated by racial animus.

    Had Obama's parents been a Frenchman and an American, and had he spent much of his life pretending to be from France, even going as far as to seek and accept a scholarship for French students, and publishing a brochure as a young writer saying he was born in France, the birthers that would exist in such a circumstance would be indistinguishable from the ones that exist now.

    The problem with the birthers is that they're stupid, not that they are racists.

    The facts are clear. Obama was born in Hawaii, but prior to deciding he wanted to be president, he worked to hide this fact and assumed the persona of a foreigner with an American mother. Why? Hard to say, but that may have been the COOL thing to be within the circles he traveled.

    What this shows is not that he is from Gondwanaland, but that he is fundamentally dishonest and will say anything, assume any persona, and pretend to believe anything if it will help him achieve a goal. He is a con man, which is the very last thing you want in public office. If the birthers had any brains, this is what they would be pointing out.

  • Lee Reynolds||

    The only thing worse than a Republican is a Democrat.

  • Nodnarb the Nasty||

    Oh my gawd this is terrible! Y'all might want to check out this piece by an academic from the Silicon Valley. It's about a southerner named Lester Maddox who was both a racist and a property rights defender. Was the guy a hero or a bum? Judging by Gillespie's article I'd say he was bum...

  • LifeStrategies||

    Racism is bigotry in action. Yet those complaining of racism when it's simply dislike of unworkable although sincerely held policies are actually the racists themselves. They see bigotry where there is none...

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement