Column: Catching Air
We hear a lot these days about systemic or institutionalized racism, especially in connection with the police and persisting economic disparity between races. Protesters say historical racism is so embedded in our western culture that we need to erase symbols of our tainted past like statues and the names of cities, schools and sports teams. But who are the racists and where would this end?
Racism is often thought of as a remnant from black slavery in pre-Civil War America, but from a historical perspective, slavery has existed in many forms and in different parts of the world for thousands of years, including ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire and many other cultures. Slavery in Africa existed for centuries, both before and after the transatlantic slave trade (beginning in the 15th century) when many of the pre-existing local African slave systems began to supply captives for slave markets outside Africa.
Native American Indians enslaved members of competing tribes long before the European settlers arrived, and they owned black slaves after that, even past the time when the Thirteenth Amendment to our Constitution formally abolished slavery. Tragically, institutionalized slavery still exists in many places, including current slave labor in North Korea, Uzbekistan, China and other parts of the world.
Race-based discrimination has also existed throughout the centuries, often linked to religious persecution, We Americans are painfully aware of our nation’s unjust discrimination against blacks and other people of color, but other examples in recent history include Americans discriminating against Irish and Chinese immigrants, Catholics, Japanese Americans and Muslims. There are countless examples worldwide, including the current persecution of Muslim Uighurs and Christians in China and persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
Nothing excuses slavery or race discrimination. But if we are to blame Americans now for what their distant ancestors did, should that include American Indians whose ancestors owned slaves? What about any African Americans with ancestors in Africa who might have been slaveholders or even sold slaves? How about Americans whose ancestors discriminated against Irish, Chinese, Catholic, Japanese or Muslim immigrants?
Democrat Party Racism
The Democrat Party supported slavery before and during the Civil War until it was legally abolished by Abraham Lincoln elected from the newly formed Republican Party. Even after slavery was abolished, however, the Democratic Party continued to oppose civil and political rights for African Americans. Democrats were heavily associated with Jim Crow laws, segregation, the Ku Klux Klan and poll taxes.
The Democrat Party eventually acceded to civil rights legislation in the 1960’s.
Since then, the Democrat Party has tried to reinvent itself generally as a supporter of minority rights, but there is a lot of evidence that their paternalistic, big government policies have in many ways damaged black families and led to urban poverty and violence, especially seen now in the Democrat-controlled big cities.
While we’re at it, let’s recognize that it was Franklin D. Roosevelt, the great Democrat Party icon, who ordered the overtly racist incarceration of Japanese American citizens during World War II.
If the current protesters want to erase all racist history, should we ban the Democrat party for its past history in support of slavery and racial discrimination?
Planned Parenthood Racism
The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was an openly racist eugenicist who viewed contraception as a way to “purify” and strengthen the society.
Sanger spoke at a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan and supervised a program entitled “The Negro Project,” writing in a 1939 letter to Dr. C.J. Gamble “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population…”
Yet despite Margaret Sanger’s odious racist beliefs and goals, Planned Parenthood continues to this day to define its mission as an outgrowth from Margaret Sanger, bragging on their website that “Planned Parenthood traces its roots back to nurse, educator and founder Margaret Sanger.”
Planned Parenthood remains true to its founder’s racist goals, targeting locations heavily populated by minority groups for its abortion clinics. According to 2010 US Census results, 79 percent of Planned Parenthood surgical abortion facilities are placed within walking distance of communities largely comprised of minority groups. By strategically placing the abortion facilities in select neighborhoods, some large cities, such as New York City, now have more African American babies being aborted than being born.
We can only assume that Margaret Sanger would be proud of the organization today.
The number of black babies aborted in the U.S. is significantly larger than their share of the general population, as confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in its most recent report covering abortion trends in 2016.
The Guttmacher Institute has reported that Black, non-Hispanic women saw the highest abortion rate in 2014 (27.1 per 1,000 women aged 15-44) compared to other racial groups, nearly three times the rate of white abortions (10 per 1,000 women aged 15-44.)
Planned Parenthood continues to actively recruit among the black population.
According to the pro-life group Live Action, Planned Parenthood posts job and internship opportunities specifically for black people, boasting in a recent annual report that it opened 18 of its 81 new campus chapters at Historically Black Universities and/or Minority Serving Institutions.
Abortion, relentlessly promoted by Planned Parenthood and the Democrat Party, is the leading cause of death within black communities.
According to the CDC, there have been over 15.5 million abortions performed on African Americans, outnumbering the deaths of black people from AIDS, violent crimes, accidents, cancer, and heart disease combined.
Should we outlaw Planned Parenthood for its racist history and practices?
Media and the Entertainment Industry Racist effect
For many years we have witnessed a concerted effort by the liberal media and entertainment industry to dismiss traditional family life as an outmoded thing of the past. We see this in movies, television and popular music portraying extramarital recreational sex and broken families as the norm and promoting nontraditional sex and gender ideologies without any acknowledgment of the physical and psychological health issues or the social and economic consequences.
These attacks on the traditional two-parent family seem to have impacted black Americans disproportionately.
According to 2016 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 38.7 percent of African-American children under 18 live with both parents compared to 74.3 percent of white children. More than 33 percent of the black children in the United States under age 18 live with unmarried mothers.
Social scientists have long known that children from single-parent households statistically have some serious disadvantages compared to children from intact families, including economic, educational, health and other issues. Children of single mothers are more likely than children with married parents to use drugs, to become gang members, to be expelled from school or sent to juvenile detention centers. Single parent households are more likely to fall into poverty and children from those single parent families are more likely to fall into poverty themselves in later years.
Should we ban the liberal media and entertainment industries for their anti-family programming that seems to have a disproportionately harmful effect on black families?
Government Policy Racist effect
Our country’s laws have become increasingly antagonistic to traditional marriage and family life. Examples include laws on same-sex marriage and laws denigrating traditional gender roles and distinctions. The resulting damage to traditional families, statistically greater in the case of black families, makes them increasingly dependent on government programs and “safety nets” to address the resulting social and economic problems.
In many cases it seems that the government programs designed to “help” damaged families simply lead to further dependence on the government, creating a vicious circle where individuals from broken families are led to vote for more government “assistance” from the very politicians who have led them to that position… almost like a cruel, cynical new form of slavery.
As U.S. president Ronald Reagan famously said… “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”
So who are the racists?
Politicians and Planned Parenthood pay lip service to racial equality, but true to their history, they promote the destruction of the American family through laws and programs that encourage single parent households, abortion and unhealthy lifestyles, ultimately leading to increased poverty, crime and general hopelessness, statistically prevalent among black Americans.
The media and entertainment industry reinforce and amplify the damage to traditional families by bombarding us with models of unrestrained sexual license and social re-engineering without any concern for the consequences.
Black families seem to be disproportionately affected by this, so let’s consider carefully who really are the racists.
David G. Bjornstrom is a Santa Rosa, CA-based attorney at law with 36 years specializing in business, estate and tax law. He may be reached at David@CatholicBusinessJournal.biz
David G. Bjornstrom is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court bar and retired California attorney at law with 38 years specializing in business, estate and... MORE »