Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves Says 'There Is Not Systemic Racism in America', but He Also Declared April 'Confederate Heritage Month,' So...


Illustration for article titled Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves Says 'There Is Not Systemic Racism in America', but He Also Declared April 'Confederate Heritage Month,' So...
Photo: Mandel Ngan (Getty Images)

Every now and then I choose a story to write up, not because I think the story is particularly important in and of itself, but because it provides me with an opportunity to make a point. I’d like to thank Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves—who recently declared on Fox Noose that systemic racism isn’t a thing while having also declared the month of April to be Confederate Heritage Month—for being kind enough to provide me with said opportunity.

Right now we appear to be in the midst of a national non-debate on whether or not America is a racist country. I call it a “non-debate” because it’s really just a bunch of fragile white conservatives who have no concept of what racism is tripling down on their typical dismissal of the testimonies and lived experiences of millions of Black people in favor of the relatively small number of Black conservatives like Tim Scott, Candace Owens, Jason Whitlock and Ben Carson who are willing to say all of the white people-friendly things that make people like Reeves feel all warm and fuzzy inside. (They are also apparently really angry about people calling Scott “Uncle Tim” as if they ever have kind things to say about their liberal counterparts of any race—but no, they’re right; we’re totally being hypocrites...somehow.)

Anyway, The Washington Post reports that on Thursday, Fox Snooze host and white America’s favorite KK-Karen Laura Ingraham assembled a panel of white people to discuss whether or not systemic racism in America is a thing. One doesn’t need to be Negrodamus to predict how that conversation went.

From the Post:

“Governor Reeves, activists say it is criminal to say there is not systemic racism in the country,” she said. “That video of George Floyd, other law enforcement involved shootings of African American men, the video plays and unrest often erupts. Your reaction to what he claimed about the systemic racism.”

“There is not systemic racism in America,” Reeves replied. “We live in the greatest country in the history of mankind. And I’ll just tell you in Mississippi, I was very proud of the fact that last year we had, we had peaceful protesters, but we did not have one event in which there was a riot. And the reason for that is because in our state, we back the blue, we support the police.”

Then there’s this:

Reeves has had a pretty good week. In addition to his Fox News appearance, he got Monday off since it was a state holiday: Confederate Memorial Day. In fact, he was speaking to Fox at the tail end of what he on April 7 declared to be Confederate Heritage Month. April, according to the proclamation obtained by the Mississippi Free Press, should be a period in which Mississippians “honor all who lost their lives in this war” and to “come to a full understanding that the lessons learned yesterday and today will carry us through tomorrow if we carefully and earnestly strive to understand and appreciate our heritage.”

So here’s my question: Why the fuck are we even listening to the opinions of people on systemic racism in America who insist on celebrating a time when there is no denying that America was a racist country?

To be clear, America is a racist country now. The Root even went through the trouble to provide all of the data that proves it. But let’s just say for the sake of argument that systemic racism in America ended with slavery and the Confederacy. (Guys, stop laughing, I’m trying to make a point here.)

Republicans never pass up an opportunity to whitesplain that Democrats are largely responsible for slavery and the Ku Klux Klan. It’s a disingenuous, southern strategy-ignoring narrative, but even if it were true, what does it matter when conservative Republicans are the ones who are currently hellbent on celebrating the legacy of slavery while calling it “heritage?”

I’ll even set aside the ridiculousness of slapping the word “heritage” on a thing that only lasted for four years. (Wait, was Donald Trump’s presidency a heritage? If so, I want to shout out Obama for lasting in the White House for two whole heritages.) The real issue here is white people who take pride in a time in history when systemic racism in America was undeniable thinking they should be the arbiters on whether systemic racism currently exists in the country.

What is white supremacy denial supposed to be worth coming from unabashed white supremacists?

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