A totalitarian mindset
Black militants pursuing racial equality were always buoyed by the American principle of “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Consequently, some Blacks were extremely tolerant of the abusive conduct of some racist whites. Nothing illustrates this more than the survivors forgiving racist Dylann Roof for his murderous assault on the prayer session at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. in 2015. However, Russia’s attack on Ukraine should raise questions among many Blacks.
It was shocking to many Americans that Vladimir Putin could be responsible for a reign of terror against his own brother and sister Slavs. The provocation was that Ukrainians refused to bow and become subservient to the president of Russia. This inter-Slavic hostility brought to mind the continuing racial conflict in America.
Putin is an autocratic leader who holds office without the benefit of an honest election. This is a government structure that is inconsistent with the democratic requirements of the U.S. and Western European countries. But it is also the structure that would be required for the U.S. Confederacy to impose slavery.
Sen. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina was one of the most articulate advocates of slavery in the U.S. His 1837 speech, “Slavery is a positive good,” was an effort to rebut William Lloyd Garrison and other Northern abolitionists. Calhoun asserted that continued efforts for abolition by the North create an untenable political system for the South. He claimed that “abolition and the Union cannot coexist.”
Calhoun continued, “be it good or bad, [slavery] has grown up with our society and institutions, and is so interwoven with them that to destroy it would be to destroy us as a people.” Such language sounds similar to Putin’s condemnation of Ukrainians who fail to extend their allegiance to a despotic Russia that will consequently have amassed a great Russian empire that will be respected throughout the world.
Sensible Ukrainians have rejected Putin’s proposal just as Blacks in America have fought to end slavery and have challenged racial discrimination wherever it arises. But just as the U.S. Congress has made lynching a federal crime, it appears that brutal murder to intimidate other population groups remains an acceptable strategy of Russia.
Calhoun asserted “… that in the present state of civilization, the two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, and the relation now existing in the slaveholding states between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good — a positive good.”
The separate groups that Calhoun describes are not politically equal. He merely provided a rationale for one group to dominate the other. Today’s political conservatives in America would support Calhoun’s definition of the separate races, but they would try to make the distinctions acceptable in a democracy. Their support of the abject despotism of Putin has induced them to destroy the sanctity of an honest voting system that is essential for the American brand of democracy.
Perhaps the inhumanity of Putin’s despotism will induce some American racists to question how they benefit from Trumpism. At any rate, Blacks should be leery of political strategies that would support the indiscriminate bombing of women and children. Blacks must remain aware that the racial differences defined by Calhoun unfortunately still exist in the minds of many bigoted Americans.