Tuesday, January 16, 2024

If Not Slavery, What?

Evidently, not everyone who graduates from Orangeburg Preparatory School in Orangeburg, South Carolina remember Article I, Section 2 of a fairly important document.:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the favorite Republican presidential candidate of cable news of the center or left:

Haley states to Fox News host Kilmeade "We're not a racist country, Brian. We've never been a racist country." As to whether the USA currently is a racist country, your mileage may vary. As to whether the USA ever has been a racist country, there can be little doubt when the most important of our founding documents reinforced slavery as an institution and defined its victims as three-fifths of a person. "Blacks are by nature inferior to whites" would have been a little more explicit, but not by much.

She's running a con. Haley adds "I know. I faced racism when I was growing up..."  However, she was, albeit perhaps through no fault of her own, an intimate part of a bigoted system when she was growing up. In 1989 Haley graduated from Orangeburg Preparatory Schools, an "independent, college-preparatory , coeducational day school enrolling students in preschool through twelfth grade," which was formed from the merger of Wade Hampton and Willington Academy. 

The academy was founded in 1964 for parents to circumvent the integration of public schools which had begun in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Or as "a group of Orangeburg parents" stated, "separate private school facilities must be provided...)to) avoid the pernicious 'experiment' being foisted upon the people of this state and nation."

And so in 1971, all 1500 students were white. In 1989, the year one of its graduates was the future presidential candidate, only one of its students was black, and he then moved out-of-state. In 2007, 90% of the town's public school students were black while 95% of Orangeburg's students were white.

Haley may have faced racism as a young person. We know for certain, however, that she studied at a segregated academy existing so white students wouldn't have to attend school with black students.

This "I personally have endured racism but this is not a racist country" game has been played before. Delivering the GOP rebuttal to President Biden's State of the Union address in 2021, Senator Tim Scott claimed

I have experienced the pain of discrimination. I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason. To be followed around a store while I’m shopping. I remember, every morning, at the kitchen table, my grandfather would open the newspaper and read it — I thought....

I’ve also experienced a different kind of intolerance. I get called “Uncle Tom” and the n-word by progressives, by liberals.

Then with no apparent sense of self-awareness, Scott declared "America is not a racist country."

The message is "America is exceptional- but I've always been a victim."  And so it is with former UN ambassador Haley, who not only contends "I faced racism while growing up" but that the USA never has "never been a racist country." Never.

Maybe it's something in the water in South Carolina, which Haley previously served as governor and Scott still serves as a United States Senator. Or perhaps it is prompted by the difficulty of being a candidate for the Republican nomination for President, a race Scott withdrew from in November.

More likely, it is "of color" individuals trying to have it both ways. Republican voters don't want to acknowledge flaws in American psyche or in the narrow narrative of America the Greatest which has been predominant in our national culture and, until recently, our educational system. At the same time, they want to remind primary voters that they can nominate someone who would allow them to deny being racist or being part of a racist party, a "some of my best friends are colored" candidate. And, of course: victim.

In a generous interpretation, Nikki Haley has a complicated relationship with the Civil War. However, it could be less complicated than simple hypocrisy. and it may be difficult to discern definitively her motive. However, the left-wing media, itching for a Republican nominee and President who is not a white male, should ask this one how she would describe considering people 40% inferior because of their race.

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