Ronald Reagan: The 100-Year-Old Racist?


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Ronald Reagan “tortured” blacks. Tavis Smiley, the PBS television host, once said this about the former president. NBC’s Bryant Gumbel and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, among many others, consider Reagan a racist.

“There they go again,” as Reagan might have said.

The economic lot for blacks and Hispanics improved far more than it did for whites after Reagan’s steep tax cuts. In late 1982, Reagan’s second year in office, the unemployment rate for blacks was 20.4 percent. By 1989, his last year, the black unemployment rate had fallen to 11.4 percent — a 9 percent drop. In late 1982, the unemployment rate for Hispanics was 15.3 percent. By 1989, it had fallen to 8 percent — a drop of over 7 percentage points. White unemployment, by contrast, fell “only” 4 percentage points.

What about black-owned businesses? In 1982, according to the Census Bureau, there were 308,000 black-owned businesses. By 1987, the number had increased to 424,000, up 38 percent. The number of all U.S. businesses was up “only” 14 percent. Receipts for black-owned businesses went from less than $10 billion to nearly $20 billion — a 100 percent increase.

But didn’t Reagan apply the “racist” so-called “Southern Strategy” to get elected? And weren’t the Southern Republicans on whom Reagan relied merely racist former Dixiecrats chased into the GOP’s open arms on the issue of civil rights?

Pat Buchanan, former Richard Nixon speechwriter, invented the term “Southern strategy.” “We would build our Republican Party,” he said, “on a foundation of states’ rights, human rights, small government and a strong national defense, and leave it to the ‘party of (Democratic Georgia Gov. Lester) Maddox, (1966 Democratic challenger against Spiro Agnew for Maryland governor George) Mahoney and (Democratic Alabama Gov. George) Wallace to squeeze the last ounces of political juice out of the rotting fruit of racial injustice.’”

For over 100 years after the end of the Civil War, Southern whites supported de facto and de jure segregation against blacks. Yet Southerners, unlike Democrats in other parts of the country, believed in low taxes, smaller government and a strong national defense. On social and cultural issues, Southerners were more religious and less supportive of abortion. Racism against blacks was the glue that bound the South to the Democratic Party.

Then came the modern civil rights movement, followed by the civil rights acts of the ’60s. Southern whites knew their world had forever changed. Racism — legally, politically and morally — was in full retreat.

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  • Steve Chavez

    Can I pretend to be Bill Cosby for this post?: Didn't 92% of Blacks vote for Obama BASED ON HIS SKIN COLOR AND NOT THE CONTENT OF HIS CHARACTER? Obama went to a church that preached Black Liberation Theology, which is about as "racist" as it gets, and then preaching Social Justice and the Gospel of Marx who said "there is no God." Millions of other Blacks sang Spirtuals of the Gospel in praise of Jesus so what common "character" did they have with Obama to vote for him?

    Martin Luther King's Dream turned into his worst Nightmare! What percentage of Blacks will support him, no matter what, because of his "skin color?"

    A Bill Cosby Truth!

    • Raphael Britt

      Steve, it is true that 92% of Blacks voted Barack Obama in the last election, but what Democratic Presidential Nominee hasn't recieved at least 85% of the black vote prior to the 200 Presidential Election.

      Further, do you think Alan Keyes would have recieved 92% of the black vote if he had ever became the Republican Presidential Nominee?

      • Amused

        I can answer that …….hell no . The notion itself that Steve is tryinjg to peddle , is RACIST on its face . And Steve knows it .

        • USMCSnpier

          Racism is the dispensing of and/or witholding of privilleges and/or punishments based an a persons race. Examples of racism are affirmative action, the moratorium on the execution of blacks in Maryland, job quotas, admisions quotas, and minority contractor set asides, and the fact there is even such a thing as the "Black Caucus" in the Congress of the United States. Here is Obama's ne USA National Anthem fpr you!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l46t_nrySg4

  • Campana

    Having been forced to come to america and spend several centuries struggling with political and social madness is the worst nightmare for a senior citizen like myself.

    The narcissistic arrogance of some of these posters is at least 50% of what is wrong with this country.

  • Amused

    It's called WHINING .

  • Amused

    90% of the "back and forth " going on between these two main CRYBABY political parties in the U S , is based on what either side THINKS , the other side is thinking , or doing . Facts are a mere distraction .

    • I understand

      I know this is an old post but i have to let you know, you still don't get what Campana is saying, it's way people talk to each other with arrogance and name calling , for example CRYBABY in capital letters.

  • http://www.TheNoirEffect.com TheNoirEffect

    Black people did not vote for President Obama because he's Black. To bring a bit of clarity to the conversation he's neither Black or white, he's biracial. I believe Blacks and others alike who voted for President Obama voted because they wanted him to bring about a change in Washington. The finger pointing must end. It's not President Obama's responsibility to perform a 180 – it's up to the senate and congress to take the accountability and do their jobs.

  • http://www.TheNoirEffect.com TheNoirEffect

    Black people did not vote for President Obama because he's Black. To bring a bit of clarity to the conversation he's neither Black or white, he's biracial. I believe Blacks and others alike who voted for President Obama voted because they wanted him to bring about a change in Washington. The finger pointing must end. It's not President Obama's responsibility to perform a 180 – it's up to the senate and congress to take the accountability and do their jobs.

  • http://www.buydress.ca Kurtis Minniti

    Lol,I admire MJ! He was the most talented to ever sing! We will never have someone like him! RIP to the GREATEST!