While Nikki Haley was saying there’s no racism in America, a white supremacist was being sentenced for intentionally murdering Black Americans
America is not racist but today's GOP is
Nikki Haley kicked off her run for President on Wednesday with a lie. (Actually, several lies—which means she is a real Republican.) Haley proclaimed to the audience in South Carolina –the first state to secede from the Union before the Civil War because they wanted to continue enslaving Black people—that racism in America was essentially over.
Her exact words were that, “Every day we’re told America is flawed, rotten, and full of hate. Joe and Kamala even say America is racist.” Haley later noted, “Take it from me, America is not a racist country," citing the fact that she—as the daughter of Indian immigrants--was elected governor of South Carolina.
The easiest fact check of Haley’s lies is her claim that President Biden and VP Harris had both said “America is racist.” As CNN fact checkers note, that is absolutely not true, writing: “Both Biden and Harris have explicitly said they do not think that America is itself “racist.” However, both have correctly acknowledged systemic racism that exists in certain institutions that need to be addressed.
Haley knows this but she also knows that lie plays well the GOP base—who are predominately white. If racism has in essence ended, then Republicans can say there’s no need to address the dangerous rise of white supremacy, teach Black history in school or rectify systemic racism in our criminal justice system.
But it was not just fact checkers that debunked Haley’s lie that racism in America was no longer a real concern. There was an even more glaring event taking place a little over 700 miles to the north in a New York courtroom that was LITERALLY playing out at the very same time Haley was spewing her fact free, red meat.
That is where self-avowed white supremacist Payton Gendron was being sentenced for his May 2022 deadly attack on a Buffalo, New York grocery store that left ten people dead. Gendron had driven nearly 200 miles from his hometown to Buffalo after researching the racial demographics of various neighborhoods to find the one with the highest percentage of Black people. He then livestreamed his deadly attack in the hopes of inspiring others to follow his lead.
During the sentencing, Gendron stated point blank why he targeted the people he killed, “I shot and killed people because they were Black.” He added, “I believed what I read online and acted out of hate.”
Gendron’s own 180 page manifesto tells us what inspired his white supremacist terrorist attack. He cited the “Great Replacement theory” that warns white people will be replaced by people of color and immigrants. He wrote of being concerned of a “white genocide.” And his manifesto also slammed “critical race theory” as a part of a plot that he viewed was designed to undermine white power.
This is the very same racist ideology cited by other white supremacist terrorists such as the gunman in 2018 who killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. That terrorist had blamed Jews for helping immigrants wage an “invasion” in the United States that would lead to a “genocide” of “his people.”
And again in 2019, a white supremacist went on a shooting rampage in an El Paso, Texas Walmart that left 23 dead in response to what he dubbed an “Hispanic invasion.” This terrorist claimed the attack was simply defending the country from the “cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by the invasion.”
Despite Haley’s claim that racism in America has ended, nearly 60% of extremist murders in the U.S. between 2009 and 2019 were committed by people espousing white supremacist ideologies like the replacement theory, according to the ADL.
What is even more alarming is that this Great Replacement theory is now a mainstream position within the GOP. Fox News Tucker Carlson (who I refer to as Tucker Klansman) has long been touting this dangerous philosophy on his show, telling viewers that there’s a sinister plan to replace white people with those of color and immigrants.
In fact, the night before Haley’s announcement speech, Carlson lied to his audience that the Biden administration had not been helping the people of Ohio address the recent train derailment because those suffering were “overwhelmingly white.” And Carlson was not alone on the right with this extension of the Great Replacement theory to a train accident, with MAGA media star Charlie Kirk claiming the Biden administration was refusing to help people in Ohio because it was part of a “war on white people.” Both Carlson and Kirk claimed that if Black people were impacted by the train, then Biden would’ve cared. (In reality, the GOP Governor of Ohio has stated Biden admin has been helping on the ground since Day one, offering anything they need.)
Amazing how GOP asks why do Democrats bring up race when all they do is talk about issues in terms of race!
From there, we’ve seen this racist Great Replacement theory embraced by Republican officeholders and candidates. For example, GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz tweeted in 2020, “There is an attempted cultural genocide going on in America right now…The left wants us to be ashamed of America so that they can replace America.” In 2021, Gaetz even defended Carlson’s saying he “is CORRECT about Replacement Theory as he explains what is happening to America.”
Others like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Scott Perry and Lauren Boebert have also espoused some version of the Great Replacement theory. But it’s not just them, a 2022 poll found nearly 50 percent of Republicans believe in this toxic theory.
The next logical step for Haley and others seeking the GOP nomination for president is to say not only is racism against Black and Brown Americans over but to claim the biggest civil rights issue of the day is discrimination against whites. I say that not hyperbolically but based on recent polls that found nearly 75% of Republicans believe discrimination against white people has become as “big as a problem” as discrimination against people of color. This is what the GOP base wants to hear.
Let’s be blunt: Anyone who espouses the Great Replacement theory is point blank telling you they support white supremacy. And that is what the GOP is telling us they believe in.
The truth is America is not racist county. But today’s GOP is a white nationalist movement. And Haley knows that—but she is using the fact she’s a minority to help the GOP whitewash their bigotry.
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