Last week, Joseph Klein noted Communist Chinese racism against black Africans living in China. In similar style, Stalinist North Korea deploys racism against blacks, including the first African American president of the United States.
A May 2, 2014, dispatch from Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency said President Obama has the “shape of a monkey” and “It would be better for him to live with other monkeys at a wild animal park in Africa and licking bread crumbs thrown by onlookers.” This vile rant was not a one-off.
In December of 2012 North Korea’s news agency said, “Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest.” The North Korean Ku Kluckers drew little response from the Rev. Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters, Jesse Jackson and all. They were apparently unaware of Communist racism in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The world’s first Communist state came billed as a workers paradise, and during the Great Depression of the 1930s, many Americans, including blacks, sought work in the USSR. One of them was Robert Robinson, a skilled machinist, inventor and author of Black on Red: My 44 Years Inside the Soviet Union, published in 1988.
“I observed their system not as a white idealist but as a black man who had been well trained by racism in America to judge the sincerity of a person’s words and deeds,” Robinson wrote. “I can say as an expert that one of the greatest myths ever launched by the Kremlin’s propaganda apparatus is that Soviet society is free from racism.” For the white Communist Party bosses, “all non-Russians are considered inferior.”
As Robinson discovered, the Soviets considered ethnic groups from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other regions as stupid, smelly, lazy, and untrustworthy. The Communists ranked blacks below these groups and every black person Robinson knew in the USSR was “painfully aware of Soviet racism.” Official correspondence came addressed to “Negro Robert Robinson.” He received no compensation for his invention, a one-ton separator, but blacks living under Communism had more serious worries.
“Every single black I knew in the early 1930s who became a Soviet citizen disappeared from Moscow within seven years,” Robinson wrote, and that oppression did not end in the 1930s.
“In 1962 race prejudice against blacks reached a fever pitch,” Robinson wrote, with “all blacks treated as second-class human beings.” All told, it was “worse than anything I recalled in the United States during the 1920s and without question worse than in the United States after the decade of the 1950s.”
The American Communists, for their part, displayed toward blacks who were high-profile Party members. One of them was the brilliant Richard Wright, author of Native Son, Black Boy and other books. In his contribution to The God That Failed, Wright explained what it was like for an African American in a Communist Party whose leadership was overwhelmingly white. Under this leadership, Wright wrote, “a man could not have his say.” Party bosses derided the black American writer as a “bastard intellectual” and “incipient Trotskyite” with an “anti-leadership attitude.”
The Communist Party, Wright recalled, “felt it had to assassinate me morally merely because I did not want to be bound by its decisions,” adding, “I knew that if they held state power I should have been declared guilty of treason and my execution would have followed.” Contrast Richard Wright with Frank Marshall Davis, the beloved “Frank” of Dreams from My Father.
This African American stayed in the Communist Party long after Wright and others had departed, and Davis spent most of his life serving an all-white Stalinist dictatorship. By contrast, the Kenyan Barack H. Obama, though a man of the left, was wary of Soviet-style Communism.
If Barack Obama had been a Communist, he would have chosen Patrice Lumumba University in the USSR, and might have regretted it. As Robert Robinson noted, the Soviets mocked the place (now renamed the People’s Friendship University of Russia) as a “monkey zoo,” in the style of North Korea. As it happens, that brand of racism traces all the way back to Karl Marx.
He called the socialist Ferdinand Lassalle a “Jewish nigger,” based on his “cranial formation” and hair growth. His paternal grandmother or mother, Marx said, was “crossed with a n–ger” and “the fellow’s importunity is also n–ger-like.” That business about “cranial formation” derives from Marx’s passion for phrenology, quackery that extrapolates character from the shape of the head. Recall that Communism purported to be “scientific.”
Those who adopt a quack ideology like Marxism do not thereby shed any human vices, and those vices do not disappear when a Marxist gains power. As F.A. Hayek noted in The Road to Serfdom, the dynamics of socialism guarantee that the worst get on top.
That’s why Communist regimes commit murder on a massive scale. That’s why blacks disappeared in the Soviet Union. That’s why Stalinist North Korea says the first African American president of the United States has a “shape like a monkey.” That’s why Africans experience racism in Communist China.