The Presidential Elections and Racism in America
NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY


  November 6, 2012

The Presidential Elections and Racism in America


Larry Wilkerson: A look in American prisons shows that racism and the ideas of the civil war are still alive
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   


audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



TRNN has... made its mark with amazing original reporting on the Middle East and international protest movements. - Caroline Lewis
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


biography

Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled "National Security Decision Making."


transcript

The Presidential Elections and Racism in AmericaPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network, and welcome to this week's edition of The Wilkerson Report with Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson. He now joins us from William & Mary College, where he's a adjunct professor. And if you don't know—you probably will, but if you didn't, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson was the former chief of staff of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. He's a regular contributor to The Real News Network. And he's adjunct professor, as I said, at William & Mary. Thanks for joining us again.

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON, FMR. CHIEF OF STAFF TO COLIN POWELL: Thanks for having me, Paul.

JAY: So you created a bit of a stir. You were on MSNBC this week on The Ed Show, and you said something that got you a lot of email. What was it, and what was all that about?

WILKERSON: Basically, Paul, I responded to a question about racism and what role it was playing with regard to my political party, the Republican Party, and I responded somewhat passionately, a little bit hyperbolic. I said the Republican Party is full of racists, and what many in the Republican Party want is not necessarily a vote on content of his character or his competence, in terms of President Obama, but a vote against him because he's a black man.

And I've gotten all manner of email since then. I've gotten profane ones, obscene ones. I've got ones that I wouldn't dare quote on even this network. I've had—probably the majority of them, though—clearly the majority of them—I wouldn't say what that majority was, maybe 80, 85 percent had been positive. But as I said in my response to many of the more negative emails, the shoe must fit, or the truth hurts, or something like that.

It's absolutely unbelievable to me in some respects that members of my party, especially those who ought to know better, don't understand the so-called Southern Strategy, when strategists, political strategists for Richard Nixon essentially told the Dixiecrats in the solid south, theretofore solid south, since Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, solid South Democrats like my grandmother, told them, you're unhappy with forced busing, you're unhappy with desegregation, you're unhappy with the Civil Rights movement in general? Come on over into the Republican Party. We got a home for you in the Republican Party. And a lot of those people flocked into the Republican Party. And many of them flocked because they saw the Republican Party as a place where they could vent their racism, whether covertly or overtly, in a much more conducive political environment. And we still have those people in the Republican Party, and they are flat-out racist.

JAY: Now, the corporate Republicans who sort of see the strategy of the Republican Party in terms of lower taxes for the rich and such, to what extent do you think racism is also part of their basic outlook on life?

WILKERSON: One of the things—the emails that were reasonable and established a reasonable discourse with me, one of the things that they talked about in saying that I'm not a racist, here's why I oppose Obama, was the economic question, if you will. And their responses ranged from he's a socialist and here are the reasons I think that, and usually that centered in Obamacare, as it were, his Affordable Health Care Act, all the way over to questions about what he means by saying he's going to cut taxes on small businesses—and what that really means if you look underneath it is that what he wants is more hiring at minimum wage. I can't follow the logic there, but I'm not an economist. But most of the reasonable responses that have come back to me have been on the economic issues, and they have said simply that they thought a businessman like Mitt Romney would be able to deal with those issues and improve their lot vis-à-vis those issues better than a person like Barack Obama. These were the reasonable discourse responses, if you will.

JAY: It seems to me that this battle between—at the ideological or philosophical level between the Democrats and Republicans to some extent does echo some of the fight that took place during the American Civil War. And, you know, a section of the American elite at that time wanted overt slavery, and it's where the—you know, the northeast wanted modern capitalist wage slavery, some people call it—certainly an advance from overt slavery. But to what extent do you think we're still seeing kind of a echo of that split?

WILKERSON: Paul, all you have to do is look in our prisons, to be up close and personal with that lingering residue, if you will, of our great Civil War. Right now I think the figures are roughly 15 percent of the American people—that's a lot of people; that's over 40 million—are being incarcerated either for life, murdered, or in some way usually connected with the drug war, which as you well know has different penalties for people of color than people who are lily white like you and I.

This is a war. This is a war not on drugs, but a war on the lower classes in the United States. I've been in the schools, Paul, in our inner cities. I worked in the D.C. public schools for ten years in rural areas. Our schools are as segregated as they were before the civil rights movement.

This is not something that's just happenchance. This is something that people in both parties—but, majority-speaking, in my party—have worked for, have striven for, are still working for, and that is to keep the minorities in this country, brown and black in particular, down as long as they can in what you just called this kind of economic or cultural servitude. The fact that it's still with us, very much so [incompr.] people who ought to know better when they object to what I'm saying, and I think, where are you? What are you smoking? What world do you live in? Have [you] been in a maximum security federal penitentiary lately? Have you been in Victorville Federal Prison in Victorville, California, where you sit in the waiting room and some 200 people pass you visiting their husbands, brothers, sons, whatever in the prison and they're all black or brown? Do you know what's going on in the U.S. prison system? This is the best indication. Someone once said, if you want to know the state of a civilization, look in its prisons. Well, look in our prisons and you know the state of our political process.

JAY: Thanks very much for joining us, Larry.

WILKERSON: Thanks for having me, Paul.

JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

Clinton vs Trump Debate: Is One Section of the Oligarchy More Dangerous?
Corbyn Wins Leadership, But Can He Unite the Labour Party?
Danny Glover on the Struggle for Democracy in Haiti
Should Third Parties Be Included in Televised Debates?
Anti-BDS Campaign Aims to Undermine Academic Freedom and Free Speech on Palestine
Ecuador Proposes Worldwide Elimination of Tax Havens
Why the Federal Reserve Needs To Go Beyond Interest Rate Policy
'Hands Dripping with the Blood of the Afghan People': US Agrees to Pardon and Reward Warlord
Recall Referendum on Maduro Moves to Next Phase in spite of "Irregularities"
Gary Johnson Supporters: Privatize Everything, But Not the Commission on Presidential Debates
TPP Will Effectively Kill Climate Treaties
US National Security Policy for Climate Change Seeks Security for Corporate-Controlled Assets
U.S. Policy in Syria: Regime Change or Regime 'Facelift'?
Berlin Election Outcome Signals Merkel's Tenuous Grip on Chancellorship
Charlotte Protests Escalate as Police Refuse to Release Video
Dangers of the Proposed Bayer-Monsanto Merger
Police Killings from Charlotte to Tulsa Spark Calls for Boycotts and Justice
SEC Accusations Against US Billionaire Highlights Centrality of Insider Trading to Hedge Fund Profits
MST Occupies Government Building in Salvador, Bahia
Baltimore City Council Candidate: Neighbors Need to Organize to Change the City
Israeli Arms Industry Faces Existential Threat in New US Aid Agreement
Trudeau's Liberals Adopt Harper Government's Carbon Targets
Corbyn and the Roots of Labour's Discontent
With Most of Dakota Access Pipeline Approved, Final Battle Remains Over Critical Portion
Does a Golden Parachute Await Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf?
US Indifference to Congolese Repression Ensures Its Access to Nation's Mineral Resources
Chris Hedges: To Stop Terrorism, End U.S. Occupation of the Middle East
Can a Lebanon-Style Solution End the Syrian War?
Yale to Face Protests for Whitewashing Paul Kagame's Human Rights Record
Record US Aid to Israel Reflects Growing Influence of Military-Industrial Complex

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting