Rev. Norman Franklin. Photo provided

By Rev. Norman Franklin

Herald Contributor

The presidential primaries are off to their usual start. The Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primaries, the first in the nation to cast their votes, purport to put their stamp of聽approval on the candidates. The rest of the nation takes note of the overrated results.

But neither are bellwethers of the political flavor of America. The demographics show that neither reflects the diversity that is authentic America. Iowa is 87.9% White. The remaining 12% is divvied up between Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Only 32% of the 3.2 million state population hold college degrees or have completed some college courses.

New Hampshire is also one of the least diverse states in terms of race. Eighty-nine percent of the state鈥檚 population is White, 10.4% Black and indigenous persons of color. The demographics of these two early primary states make for safe campaigning. Candidates can parrot the mindset of the voters on the issues and avoid polarizing issues of race altogether.

To be the first in the nation to hold primaries means little if the demographics are not a diverse representation of the nation. The 14 states casting ballots on Super Tuesday will be a more accurate gauge of the nation鈥檚 political bend. Forty percent of the nation鈥檚 population is represented in the voting.

Iowa and New Hampshire only give us the political mindsets of White voters in those two small states.

It was a misspeak by Nikki Haley that thrust race into the conversations. At a townhall event, Haley was asked what was the cause of the Civil War? Her nuanced response was that it was about the right to govern, the right to set your own standards of living without government interference. She failed to acknowledge slavery as a contributing cause.

The unspokenness of the actual cause sparked the smoldering embers of racism and fanned ablaze the debate of race, systemic racism and its role in America. Haley asserts on Fox News, 鈥淎merica is not a racist country and has never been a racist country,鈥

In the vein of semantics, I can accept Haley鈥檚 assessment. We cannot personify America.

America may not be racist, America鈥檚 institutions of education, its city, county, state and federal governments may not be racist; America鈥檚 public, private and commercial businesses may not be considered racist. But the common factor in America, its institutions of government, education and business is that the people in positions of authority, often the beneficiaries of systemic filtering, ofttimes exhibit racist tendencies, attitudes and behaviors.

These institutions, these people who are in decision making positions of authority, represent America; their attitudes, their behavior, their proclivities for bias against people of color, makes America a racist country.

So, you may be right to say, Candidate Haley, that America itself is not a racist country, you overstepped when you claimed it never has been. Your miseducation of American, African, and African American history explains away your ignorance of the cause of the Civil War, but not the content of America鈥檚 social strata.

Here鈥檚 a brief history lesson on America鈥檚 racist past.

After the Civil War, Southern states codified Jim Crow laws that shackled the new liberties of Blacks and reigned with terror, sanctioned murders, lynchings, and denied access to the ballot. Jim Crow justice ruled the institutions of education, commerce and the criminal justice system. All white juries never convicted a White person of crimes committed against innocent Blacks. But according to you, 鈥減residential wannabe,鈥 it wasn鈥檛 racism.

America allowed 100 years of Black bodies swinging from trees, bridge girders, and poles. Some tarred, feathered and set on fire as they swung. No crimes, no charges were ever brought against the White lynch mobs. Low hanging fruit on America鈥檚 trees.聽

Entire thriving African American communities were burned to the ground, and聽 its Black citizens ruthlessly murdered by raging White mobs; no Whites were ever convicted of crimes; Rosewood, Fla., Tulsa, Oka.

But it wasn鈥檛 racist, America has never been racist.

Murder by lynching was not a crime. America would not enact laws to make it a crime, Presidents failed to see the need. More than 100 years, and thousands of murders later, the Emmitt Till Antilynching Act was passed in 2022.

But America has never been a racist country.

Perhaps, Nikki Haley, your campaign trail should lead you by the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. If you cannot see racism after you stroll through, reading the panels of the innocent victims and their petty offenses, then you are without a hint of justice, and have no vision for America.

Presidential 鈥榳annabes鈥 campaigning in the safe environs of regions with a scintilla of diversity is safe. but the results send errant messaging to the rest of the nation.

Candidates can play the 鈥淎merica is not racist鈥 card and the voters can nod their heads in agreement. We must not be misled by overrated early election results.

Editor鈥檚 Note: The views expressed in this commentary piece do not necessarily the express the opinions of The 天堂影院.

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