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Normalization of Racism Isn’t New

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One of the conversations to take center stage in America since the November 2016 election has focused on the normalization of the “alt-right” bigots. This framing of the conversation ignores the fact that this country has always normalized radical racism. Ignored, erased, edited, and purposely forgotten, the history of the horror of racism as a founding principal of the country has us stuck in the eternal loop of America repeating the same behaviors and victimizing the same citizens.

It was the normalization of racism that allowed the founding fathers to call for the equality of all men while owning slaves. It was the normalization of racism that initiated the slaughter of natives by branding them “savages” that allowed America to kill, abuse, and steal from them indiscriminately. It was the normalization of racism that allowed slavery in her midst by dehumanizing African people. It was bolstered by the false belief in enacting some Christian duty to civilize them that gave the country the excuse to be okay with the Jim Crow Era that proceeded slavery. It was the normalization of racism that allowed Jim Crow laws to be written by people who considered themselves “God Fearing Christians” to use lynching as picnic entertainment.

This country has always normalized its racism in a number of guises from Christian Duty to Eminent Domain by way of vilifying the most vulnerable. It is pure irony that the very people who applaud the need for stronger and more forceful handling of “radical Islamists” are typically the ones who fit so squarely in the ranks of the “alt-right” Radical American terrorist.

As many stand in shock of the mistrial of Michael Slager or the insufficient “punishment” of John R. K. Howard of Idaho, we should be aware that every time someone attempts to dismiss slavery as “not so bad,” citing “kind masters” and “happy negroes” who had food and shelter, you are witnessing the normalization of the “alt-right” murderers, rapists, and abusers.

This country’s focus on white, male-centric history and the glorification of competition and a winner-take-all mentality has made monsters of generation after generation as they have been raised not only to normalize hatred but to encourage it and to justify it.

So, as A&E plans to air its new series “Generation KKK” in January 2017 or as we watch President-Elect Donald J. Trump nominate people like Jeff Sessions and Steve Bannon to his cabinet, we must see this problem and address it as a long-standing and enduring history rather than some new behavior brought about by our man-child President to be. To do otherwise minimizes the huge and embedded culture of racism in this country.

The normalization of the “alt-right‘ White Supremacist is the cornerstone of America herself.

Written by Pamela Getz

Writer and Activist. Follow Pamela on Twitter @goddesspamela.

Pamela Getz is Editor of International Affairs for Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

One Comment

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  1. This always gets to me. But let me just say when people do it and you toss it right back at them in some why that hits home for them they don’t care for it much and the bulb kinda goes off a little… just a little. But nothing gets me more that the instant toss out of THE FIRST SLAVE OWNER WAS BLACK… some dude throwing his own under the bus does not make the skid marks nicer to wear or the accomodations more comfortable.

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Normalization of Racism Isn’t New