The Cancel Culture is currently obsessed with eradicating the evil of racism. It is on an epic virtue-signaling cancellation rampage. All artifacts from America’s white patriarchal past are subject to scrutiny and potential erasure or demolition. Down goes the Christopher Columbus statue! Down goes the Robert E. Lee monument! Say goodbye to “Gone With the Wind”! Replace that Thomas Jefferson Street sign! The Memory Hole in Orwell’s Ministry of Truth is filling up fast.
Up next? Perhaps changing the name of the U.S. Capital to cease honoring George Washington, the slave-holding white patriarch who merely led a revolution of freedom against the most powerful empire on the planet and who helped found the greatest nation on earth.
But the most extraordinary aspect of the current Cancel Culture obsession is that it willfully turns a blind eye to the Democratic Party, which has done more harm to black people in the last 150 years than any other American institution.
The Cancel Culture is delving deep into the past to find and purge every memorialization of systemic bias against black people, but it has magically overlooked one of the most prolific offenders. The Cancel Culture excoriates Christopher Columbus, it condemns the 1619 arrival of the first black slaves in America, it denigrates the 1776 revolution by the slave-owning American founders, but it virtually ignores the Democratic creation of the Confederacy, the subsequent Democratic Jim Crow “separate but equal” laws, and the present-day Democratic paternalization of blacks.
If the mission of the Cancel Culture is to uncover the racial sins of history in order to punish the people and institutions of today, its biggest target should be the Democratic Party. It was the Democrats in the southern states who insisted on maintaining slavery during the 19th Century. It was the Democrats who led the Confederacy to secede from the Union in 1860 and 1861. It was the Democrats who fought the civil war against the Republican majority in the North. It was the southern Democrats who rejected the provisions of Republican President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln himself was assassinated in April of 1865 by John Wilkes Booth, in collusion with a small cabal of Democrats.
The systemic oppression of blacks by the Democratic Party did not end when the Civil War did. Shortly after losing the war, the Democrats regained control of the southern legislatures using the intimidation of paramilitary forces and restrictive election rules like poll taxes and literacy tests to suppress the voting of Republicans and blacks. The Democratic-majority southern state legislatures then enacted an imposing array of Jim Crow laws that continued repressing the civil liberties of blacks, despite the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution pushed by northern Republicans.
The Jim Crow laws enacted by the Democratic Party were designed to enforce broad racial segregation in the South. These racist laws were upheld in the famous Plessy vs. Ferguson Supreme Court case that crafted the “separate but equal” legal doctrine. This doctrine institutionalized separate educational systems, public transportation, and public places for blacks and whites. The separate services and facilities for blacks were usually underfunded and poorly maintained. Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, a southerner, expanded the doctrine to include racial segregation of federal workplaces in 1913.
Black cultural and electoral suppression by the southern Democrats was so profound during the Jim Crow era that black people were essentially invisible in the political process. In many ways, they were “emancipated” in name only. Though no longer in chains, they were systemically isolated from the mainstream of American civil society.
When the civil rights movement made immense strides in the 1950’s and 1960’s via landmark legislation and Supreme Court cases, the Democratic Party, realizing that the Jim Crow strategy of overt oppression was now untenable, seemingly transitioned to advocating for the blacks using a hypocritical strategy of identity politics. But the institutionalization of identity politics has become nearly as debilitating for blacks as the Jim Crow laws were. It could even be called Progressive Jim Crow, if honest conversation about it was actually encouraged. It is a conspiracy by Democratic intellectual elites to hold an entire race in vassalage to its political and social policies. To this day, blacks have not yet been fully emancipated from the Democratic overlords who have controlled their fate for 150 years.
The Democrats, with their endless race-biased government programs involving wealth transfers, subsidies, affirmative action, and bureaucratic dictates, have held fast to their implicit centuries-long assumption that blacks are incapable of succeeding in American society on their own. In a way, their modern assumption is not much different than that of the southern plantation owners – blacks are not self-sufficient and thus need the perpetual paternalism of their white administrative overlords.
The race-biased Administrative State advocated by the Democratic Party is an insidious form of white privilege. It is an aristocratic view that the entire black race needs shepherding and protection by a class of intellectual elites. This has led to a generational dependency on government protectionism that has trapped millions of black people in systemic poverty. It has also coincidentally made blacks a captive voting block for the Democrats.
The Progressive Jim Crow strategy has spawned entire new industries of consultants, lawyers, media influencers, social workers, bureaucrats, and advocacy groups, thus providing lucrative lifestyles for elites whose mission is to ensure that the blacks remain in the captive orbits of the Democratic Party and its overly-protective Administrative State.
Democrats will of course argue that their policies are well-intentioned tactics that protect black people from a privileged, antagonistic white society. But let’s examine the results of the Progressive Jim Crow strategy in the cold light of facts. Following are the bone-chilling outcomes that have resulted from decades of modern Democratic leadership and paternalism over the blacks.
The major cities with the worst black high school graduation rates, black poverty rates, and violent crime rates all have Democratic mayors. Most of these cities have had Democratic mayoral and city council leadership for decades. Detroit, for example, has had Democratic leadership for half of a century, and now ranks among the worst of the major cities in all of the above quality-of-life metrics.
Nationwide, 65% of black children live in single-parent households, compared to 35% for all races. The rate for black children was 25% in 1965, which was 40 percentage points better than today, despite 55 years of Progressive Jim Crow since then. Nationwide, 38% of black children live in poverty, compared to 22% for all races. The rate for black children in 1970 was 44%, which indicates a slight improvement over the past half-century, but still devastating and hardly commensurate with the massive investment that was made. Nationwide, 42% of blacks receive some form of governmental assistance, compared to 21% for all races. The rate for blacks in 1985 was 35%, which indicates that they are slipping further into dependency over time. It would be hard to find a quality-of-life statistic for blacks that has significantly improved as a result of half of a century of Progressive Jim Crow.
But perhaps the most disturbing statistic is that 36% of black pregnancies are terminated by abortion, at the rate of about one thousand per day. In the course of a normal week, more blacks are aborted than were killed during the entire Vietnam War. More black people are killed in the wombs of their mothers than by HIV, homicide, diabetes, accidents, cancer, and heart disease combined. In New York City, more black pregnancies result in abortion than birth. One could argue that the ardent Democratic advocacy for abortion is a form of racial genocide. Margaret Sanger, the leftist founder of Planned Parenthood and an advocate of racial eugenics, certainly considered it that. In her magazine Birth Control Review, she wrote, “Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”
The policies pushed by the Democratic Party are the exact opposite of color blindness – they are designed to institutionalize racial differences in all strata of society. Their issues and initiatives are often defined in terms of racial grievances rather than general citizenship. The Democrats are fomenting a permanent racial divisiveness that is in practice just a modern version of the Jim Crow tactic of “separate but equal”. The very last thing the Democrats want is for the racial issues to be resolved, because racial tension is the bedrock of their politics and serves as the financial and emotional fuel for their satellite organizations.
In order to further cement the permanence of racial divisiveness, the Democrats have poisoned the racial dialogue in America. In fact, they and their surrogates permit no honest dialogue. White people are told by the media and by academia to shut up except to confess their white guilt and denounce their white privilege, which is paradoxically a racist judgment by the Democratic Party of an entire racial group. On the other hand, the Democrats encourage black people to disparage the motives and intentions of white people – not just individual white people, but the entire white race.
These tactics fuel the ultimate racial division, where one race is encouraged to cast judgmental aspersions on another race, the members of which must remain silent and submissive in a kind of ritual humiliation. Every thought and action by a white person that disagrees with the political and cultural platform of the Democratic Party is automatically denounced as “Racist!”. These ubiquitous and baseless charges of racism shut down all real political debate. Without honest public dialogue, the underlying issues will never be resolved, which is perhaps the intention.
The Democrats, in a remarkable feat of legerdemain and despite their sordid history of oppressing and patronizing blacks, have conned the media, the educators, the popular culture influencers, and the Big Tech companies to propagate the myth that it is actually the Republican Party that has repressed the blacks all these years. The Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln. The Republican Party that authored and ratified the 13th Amendment to outlaw slavery. The Republican Party that believes every individual is equal, sovereign, and born with inalienable rights. The Republican Party that believes all people are capable of self-sufficiency and success. The Republican Party that wants to move forward toward a truly color-blind society.
After 150 years of systemic institutional Democratic oppression, black quality of life remains woeful in far too many cases. After the administrative malfeasance of Democratic leaders, our cities are on fire, protests have become riots, honest discussion about race is shouted down, and the country is perhaps as tribalized as it has been since the Civil War when the Democrats literally tore America apart. The Democrats are tearing America apart again.
If the goal of the Cancel Culture is to expunge the roots and the manifestations of historical and modern racism in America, their first and foremost target should be the Democratic Party, which has been the primary instigator of racism in America for the past century and a half.
And yet the Cancel Culture looks the other way. I wonder why.
(Written by James Keena, author of the gripping, thought-provoking new novel, “2084: American Apocalypse”, available in paperback or Kindle format by clicking here.)