It is time for conservatives who hate racism to take a stand.
I’m not talking about the false racism that the left sees in every facet of American society. This isn’t about intersectionality and microaggressions. It is about genuine hatred of people whose skin is a different color.
I’m talking about the type of racism that makes people march in Charlottesville while chanting “you will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us.” It’s the type of racism that motivates a man to drive his vehicle into a crowd of people — the brand of bigotry that makes a man shoot nine innocent people to death in a church.
When President Donald Trump gave a speech addressing the carnage in Charlottesville, he condemned bigotry and violence on “many sides” He refused to address white supremacy by name – and in so doing, he missed an enormous opportunity. While he did condemn white supremacist groups by name the next day, it was too late. The establishment media had all the ammunition they needed.
While it’s easy to disparage President Trump for his response to the situation in Charlottesville, it seems more important that conservatives collectively reconsider their approach to the issue of race relations in the United States. While conservatives are good at exposing the left’s obsession with race, we are lacking when it comes to attacking actual racists.
Let’s face it. Conservatives are perceived as racists by many on the left. They have managed to convince the American public that the GOP is full of bigots. Instead of just blaming the lefties, we must understand where we went wrong.
Conservatives’ near-silence on racism made it easier for the left to lump Republicans in with white supremacist groups. It seems the only time conservatives bring up the Ku Klux Klan is when we’re talking about how they originated with the Democratic party. Here’s the problem: Nobody cares anymore. The Democratic Party has separated themselves from the Klan. Most white supremacist groups now vote Republican. If the Democrats can differentiate themselves from these fringe groups, so can we.
The reason conservatives tend to disregard the impact of racism is that we don’t subscribe to the left’s view that racism has infested every facet of American society. However, discounting race issues is a mistake that has done critical damage to the GOP’s brand. David Marcus of The National Review explains:
Too often, people of color find themselves trapped between a Left that exaggerates racism and a Right that pretends it doesn’t exist. Under these circumstances it is difficult to blame them for choosing the former. Black Americans in particular feel gaslighted by conservatives. They experience racism, they explain it to us, but instead of addressing it we tell them it is marginal, rare, and unimportant if we acknowledge its existence at all.
While rejecting the left’s obsession with race, the right has gone to the other extreme. A refusal by Conservatives to address the issue of racism has allowed those on the left to seize control of the conversation. What else would explain how the social justice movement has injected their preposterous ideas into the national conversation about race? By disregarding the issue of racism, we have abdicated our place in the discussion.
Instead of staying out of the conversation, we should focus on areas in our society where bigotry does exist. We did not need the incident on Charlottesville to show us that there are real racists in the United States. Put simply, we must attack their ideas just as viciously as we do the left and we must criticize them from a conservative perspective. These people believe in a vile ideology that has nothing to do with conservatism – and we need to make sure that the American public understands this.
It is not enough to give vague, general criticisms of white nationalist groups. Empty platitudes will not help us accomplish our objective. We need to condemn their arguments at every level – in detail. We should not wait until a white supremacist commits an act of violence like James Alex Fields or Dylan Roof. Instead, we should consistently show our disdain for these people without becoming overly fixated on them. This strategy will make it harder for the left to draw a false connection between the GOP and white supremacy. It also gives us a better position in the debate – while the left is concerned with intersectionality and the impact of microaggressions, we are targeting real racism in the United States.
The issue of racism has become an increasingly frustrating issue for conservatives because we have allowed the left to control the dialogue on race relations for decades. They have shaped this issue into a cudgel with which they hammer anyone who holds opposing views. Some on the right might feel that the battle is futile because the left is going to continue labeling conservatives as bigots no matter what they do. Regardless of how vigorously the right condemns racist acts, the left will still call us bigots. However, the issue isn’t the left – the issue is the minds we wish to reach. We should not excoriate racists to appease the left – we should do so to show those in the middle that the left is lying.
If we remain silent and allow the left to pummel us with unfair accusations of bigotry without responding, the people who are more open to hearing other views will believe the falsehoods the left is telling. If conservatives show that they are willing to address the real issue of racism in the United States, we will make it harder for the left to convince the American public that the GOP is motivated by prejudice.
Bigotry and racism are some of the most important issues in American culture – too important for us to overlook. If we fail to carve out our place in the discussion on race in America, the left will continue to use this issue as a political weapon against us.