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Opinion of the Day: America Was a White Nationalist Country Until Last Week

2017-08-20

The author of this opinion piece is a graduate student in history and, until fairly recently, in agreement with the rest of his family that white nationalism was a good thing.  The point he makes is that America was founded as a slave-holding country and only allowed citizenship to free, white men.  The Civil War only abolished slavery; it did not give black people equal rights.  This situation only changed in the fifties and sixties with, first, the integration of the Army, then repeal of segregation policies and securing the right to vote for black citizens.  The final piece was to be affirmative action, but that has been weakened officially and only exists voluntarily in private institutions.  So the equal rights movement is still far from its goal of winning the hearts and minds of Americans.    Oh, and you can forget about reparations.   Here is a quote from his opinion piece in the NYT:

The United States was founded as a white nationalist country, and that legacy remains today. Things have improved from the radical promotion of white people at the expense of all others, which has persisted for most of our history, yet most of us have not accepted the extent to which white identity guides so much of what we still do. Sometimes it seems that the white nationalists are most honest about the very real foundation of white supremacy upon which our nation was built.

The president’s words legitimized the worst of our country, and now the white nationalist movement could be poised to grow. To challenge these messages, we need to acknowledge the continuity of white nationalist thought in American history, and the appeal it still holds.

It is a fringe movement not because its ideas are completely alien to our culture, but because we work constantly to argue against it, expose its inconsistencies and persuade our citizens to counter it. We can no longer count on the country’s leader to do this, so it’s now incumbent upon all of us.

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