The Republican Party has had an economy-sized credibility gap with the black community for some time. It dates back to the days of the Civil Rights Movement, when it threw open its doors to segregationist Dixiecrats who weren’t at home with the national Democrats finally woke up and supported eliminating discrimination based on race.
In recent years, the GOP and the conservative movement have tried to close that gap, primarily by trying to use social issues to wedge blacks away from the Democrats. The thinking is that most blacks are devoutly religious, and at bottom their social convictions don’t square with the Democrats’ increasingly liberal social bent. It’s the same playbook that worked wonders with white evangelicals.
One of the conservatives’ main poster boys in this effort is Jesse Lee Peterson. For some time, Peterson has been one of the loudest members of a very exclusive club–black conservatives who are all in for Donald Trump. Indeed, Peterson’s loyalty to Trump is such that he believes anyone who opposes Trump is a child of the devil. Apparently he thinks that only the devil could blind us from seeing that Trump is a sterling example of a real man.
But Peterson has made statements about the Civil Rights Movement that sound like something out of the script for a white supremacist rally. He has stated not once, but twice, that blacks were better off during the days of Jim Crow. He has also claimed that streets named for blacks are almost always ghettoes.
For good measure, he actually thanked God for slavery. No, this isn’t snark. Watch here.
We got more of the same on Wednesday, when Peterson said–with a straight face–that blacks had morals in the days of slavery and Jim Crow, but don’t anymore.
Peterson took a call from a woman who asked about something he said a few weeks earlier–that kids of mixed race could pass on their characteristics to blacks, thus making the black race better. The caller wanted to know how that was possible in the days of slavery, which saw large numbers of black women raped by their masters. People of the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip of Peterson’s response.
Peterson said–again, with a straight face–that mixed-race kids who were born during slavery fared better “because they were not told that they were victims” and that whites were trying to “hold them back.” Hmmm–has Peterson forgotten that many slaves were deliberately kept in ignorance of their unequal state? Obviously he slept through years of history classes.
As has become SOP for him, Peterson kept digging himself into a deeper hole. He claimed that during the days of slavery and Jim Crow, blacks actually had more morals.
Black people were moral people back then, and they are immoral now. Since the Civil Rights Movement, they have been relying on the government, they feel like victims, they blame everybody else for their weakness. And they didn’t do that prior to the Civil Rights Movement. They were independent.
The historical ignorance is staggering. How were blacks independent if they could legally be turned away from certain neighborhoods solely because of their race? Or if they had to use separate bathrooms, water fountains, or entrances at public places?
The caller asked if blacks were angry at whites because of the legacy of slavery. Peterson replied–again, with a straight face–that blacks only got angry during the Civil Rights Movement, when “race hustlers” spread lies about just how bad off they were under slavery and Jim Crow.
Well, that’s interesting. Those “race hustlers” like Martin Luther King, Ralph Abernathy, Rosa Parks, John Lewis and others inspired blacks to fight for the rights that they were entitled to have, but had been denied for the better part of 200 years. So being angry about not being treated as an equal is a bad thing?
One has to wonder if this was the kind of thing that was standard fare on Southern radio stations during the Civil Rights era. After all, Peterson was effectively suggesting that blacks had lost their moral compass when they started getting “uppity.”
Peterson claims to “rebuild men” through his nonprofit, the Brotherhood Organization for a New Destiny. Well, if being a rebuilt man thinks that the leaders of the Civil Rights era destroyed the black community’s moral fiber, Peterson is long overdue for a date with the wrecking ball.
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