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Most Americans Are Not Virulently Racist – Words and Flags Aside

Much was recently made about President Barack Obama uttering “n—-r” during a Los Angeles interview.

Discussions on racism in America these days tend to much more visceral than intellectual in nature. The recent killings of churchgoers by a white supremacist  in Charleston, S.C., not only shocked Americans, but provided the president, and the left, with an opportunity to exploit such outrage to try to temper our nation’s bigotry and thoughts.

“Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say n—-r in public,” Obama said on the podcast WTF with Marc Maron.

Very dramatic. Probably one of the president’s best “distraction of the day” moments that he has refined as a political art form during his presidency.

Here’s how The New York Times started its report of the event:

“It was a single word, just six letters long, but one that has not been spoken by an American president in public for generations.”

It’s a given that every decent American was horrified by the act of a white racist shooting up the black church in Charleston. But apparently, the president had a need to take it a step further, to allege, wrongfully, that racism continues to flow through our collective American veins of its citizens.

Instead of continuing to focus on the horrific racial killings by a lone racist gunman in Charleston, and examining the growing hold of white supremacy as a mantra for disenfranchised and poor whites, it became all about the use of a very politically incorrect use of the word “n—-r.”

And although there was mention of the powerful display of Christian forgiveness made by some of the parishioners of that church, all focus became centered on South Carolina’s official use of the Confederate flag, and whether that standard should be banned much like the Nazi flag is forbidden in modern-day Germany. It became an issue of political correctness rather than highlighting the goodness of such religious spirit and its potential to fight racism.

Then Donald Trump added more fuel to the fire when in his presidential campaign debut he denounced Mexico for “sending people that have lots of problems” to America including rapists, drug runners, and other criminals.

The backlash from Trump’s drawing attention to the negative aspects of the decades-old migration of Mexican illegal aliens, oops, I mean undocumented workers, into this country became, again, an issue of racism rather than of how debilitating our failed immigration policy is to our economy and our neighborhoods.

Both the president and Trump struck a nerve in terms of how divisive the discussion on American racism can be for Americans.

But framing the debate solely in terms of words and symbols does nothing but continue to flame passions and make things worse. That’s very destructive, and counterproductive in terms of combating bigotry.

For the most part, we need to recognize that most Americans are not virulently racist, and that although we have more work to do, we have come a long way in the past half century in terms of mutual respect and even admiration of one another. And that continues to set us apart from the rest of the world.

Stephen Kurlander blogs at Kurly’s Kommentary and writes for Context Florida and The Huffington Post and can be found on Twitter@Kurlykomments. He lives in Monticello, N.Y.  Column courtesy of Context Florida.

This piece was reprinted by the Columbia County Observer with permission or license.

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