It’s hard to hold out hope for improving understanding between communities when you have people like Rep. Steve King (R) of Iowa speaking their mind.
I’ve watched them pit us against each other for a long time. And by the way, it also should be said that someone like Lacy Clay, who’s a member of the Congressional Black Caucus — there is no ‘Congressional White Caucus.’ It is a self-segregated caucus and it is a caucus that they drive an agenda that’s based on race. And they’re always looking to place the race card. They’re always looking to divide people down that line. And I have friends in that caucus. I get along with them personally, but their agenda is to play the race card. And we have a President who had a perfect opportunity to eliminate a lot of this friction in this country, and instead, he and his attorney general have been in a place where they’ve created friction rather than eliminated it.
Mr. King checks off nearly every square in White Privileged Patriarch Bingo. You’ve got I’m The Victim Here, Some Of My Best Friends Are Black, The Race Card, The Politicization Trope, The Outside Agitators, and of course the all-time favorite, They Don’t Know What They’ve Got.
Mr. King would be genuinely shocked if you called him a racist. He didn’t use the N-word, he never said anything about black people “knowing their place,” and he would remind you that his views are no different than a lot of the people he represents and a lot of people he works with in the United States House of Representatives.
That’s the problem. He and his friends see it all as something someone else caused and can be fixed only if someone else does something. Look how nicely we treated them: they can go to our schools, they can use our bathrooms, they can even have big celebrities who are a credit to their race. But instead they loot and riot, and even when we white folks benevolently grant them the boon of electing one of them to be president, they do nothing but play golf and stir up trouble. And now they expect us to stop being suspicious of them? Good golly.
Being lectured on race relations by a man and a mindset that says every person who is some Other is a threat to our America of white picket fences, Wonder Bread, and good old American heterosexual family values tells me that while we may have progressed from where we were fifty years ago, we’ve barely begun.