Ronald Reagan: The 100-Year-Old Racist?

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With segregation as a dying issue, Southerners turned their attention to other matter: low taxes, smaller government and support for the Vietnam War and a strong national defense. The Republican Party fit their political views and cultural values more than did the Democratic Party. How could the GOP serve as a refuge for bigots when the party’s House and Senate members voted for the civil rights acts, by percentage, more than did their Democratic counterparts?

But didn’t Reagan appeal to Southern racism by giving a “states’ rights” speech in Philadelphia, Miss., a town immortalized in the movie “Mississippi Burning”? In 1964, three civil rights workers were murdered there. To the left, “states’ rights” is code for preferred parking at a Klan rally.

Reagan spoke for 15 minutes at the Neshoba County Fair, about seven miles outside of Philadelphia, in that politically “in-play” state carried by Jimmy Carter four years earlier by 14,000 votes. Eight years later, Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis spoke at the same Neshoba fair.

Here’s what Reagan said at the fair about “states’ rights”: “Programs like education and others that should be turned back to the states and the local communities with the tax sources to fund them. I believe in states’ rights. I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and the private level.”

Not exactly, “Turn back the clock!” And immediately following his speech, Reagan headed to New York, where he spoke before the Urban League, one of the nation’s oldest black civil rights organizations.

Yes, Reagan opposed race-based government “affirmative action.” Democratic icon President Jack Kennedy, in a 1963 interview, said: “I don’t think we can undo the past. In fact, the past is going to be with us for a good many years in uneducated men and women who lost their chance for a decent education. We have to do the best we can now … but not hard and fast quotas. We are too mixed, this society of ours, to begin to divide ourselves on the basis of race or color.”

Even among blacks in the 1960s, there was opposition to state-sponsored racial preferences. Bayard Rustin, a top MLK aide who was gay, opposed preferences. So did the National Urban League board of directors.

Reagan hired future Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and future Secretary of State Colin Powell. He signed legislation making Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday and signed an extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act for another 25 years. He granted amnesty to nearly 3 million illegal aliens.

Ronald Reagan was no racist.

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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!