Welcome to South Carolina: A State of Denial

In the United States of America, the stated law of the land is “innocent until proven guilty.”

However, police in the U.S. shoot and kill about 1000 people a year, denying them due process, acting as judge, jury, and executioner instead of the claimed role of “protect and serve.”

The U.S. is experiencing a mild reckoning, specifically linked to the killing of George Floyd but broadly connected to how policing and the legal system continue to be racially inequitable—or as many conservatives and the media refuse to state, racist.

A vocal and likely substantial portion of the U.S.—mostly white and often white men with power—have decided that naming racism is more harmful and offensive than actual racism.

Police killing citizens must also be put in the context that the U.S. stands out among peer nations in terms of gun violence.

It is mid-2021, and the world is suffering more than a year in a global pandemic.

It is mid-2021, and the guilty verdict of Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin still lingers in the news.

Yet, Republican leaders in South Carolina have decided that a pressing issue is the death penalty—voting to reinstate the firing squad.

South Carolina, the home of one of the most horrific mass shootings targeting Black people sitting in church, has Republicans who are choosing to give the state the right to shoot and kill convicted prisoners in a legal and prison system that disproportionately convicts Black people.

Conservatives and Republicans in South Carolina—again, it is 2021—continue to wave the Confederate flag in one hand while thumping the Bible in the other—are endorsing gun violence by the state.

Very Christian.

Christian, that is, in the tradition of the KKK.

As reprehensible as this move is by Republicans, it simply isn’t the only evidence that white men with power are the most fragile people in the U.S.

Republicans in South Carolina have jumped on the white-washing of history bandwagon, prompted in the final days of Trump.

Republicans in South Carolina have ended federal unemployment benefits.

Republicans in South Carolina seek open carry, finding any and every way to appease their gun fantasies.

But possibly the most stark example of denial and white fragility is bill H630, which ends with this jumbled nonsense:

1.105. (SDE: Partisanship Curriculum) For the current fiscal year, of the funds allocated by the Department of Education to school districts, no monies shall be used by any school district or school to provide instruction in, to teach, instruct, or train any administrator, teacher, staff member, or employee to adopt or believe, or to approve for use, make use of, or carry out standards, curricula, lesson plans, textbooks, instructional materials, or instructional practices that serve to inculcate any of the following concepts: (1) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (2) an individual, by virtue of his race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (3) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his race or sex; (4) an individuals moral standing or worth is necessarily determined by his race or sex; (5) an individual, by virtue of his race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; (6) an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his race or sex; (7) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race; and (8) fault, blame, or bias should be assigned to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as prohibiting any professional development training for teachers related to issues of addressing unconscious bias within the context of teaching certain literary or historical concepts or issues related to the impacts of historical or past discriminatory policies.

2021-2022 As passed by the Senate

Republicans across the U.S. are simultaneously know-nothings and people with disproportionate power to impose that lack of understanding not simply on public policy but on the very education of the children who will inherit the country.

This senseless passage at the end of bill H630 is the exact language being used in several states and it grows out of the fear-mongering around critical race theory.

Please take the 8 minutes to watch Marc Lamont Hill interview Dr. Imani Perry about the Big Lie around critical race theory now spreading across the country:

And as Victor Ray, professor of sociology (University of Iowa), explains:

Critical race theory arose to explain why structural racism endures. Given the racial conflicts roiling American politics, scholarly analysis of the causes and consequences of racial inequality may be more important now than at its inception….

Despite internal disagreements, critical race theorists have documented a stunning (and disturbing) array of racial inequalities that can’t be explained by the acts of individual racists. 

Perspective | Trump calls critical race theory ‘un-American.’ Let’s review.

But let’s return to the exchange between Hill and Perry.

As they note, this Republican attack on critical race theory is mostly a lie since those attacking it do not know what the term means, and, this is important, critical race theory simply isn’t being taught in the vast majority of schools in the U.S.; as Hill notes, it is a solution in pursuit of a problem.

Republican leaders and those who support them persist to prove James Baldwin correct:

rigid refusal

Lies and deception are the foundational strategies of Republicans, reaching back to William F. Buckley.

They can’t handle the truth—a truth that, once again, Baldwin asserted:

Every white person in this country—and I do not care what he or she says—knows one thing. They may not know, as they put it, “what I want,” but they know they would not like to be black here. If they know that, then they know everything they need to know, and whatever else they say is a lie.

On Language, Race and the Black Writer, James Baldwin (Los Angeles Times, 1979)

The Big Lies of the Republican Party are really not about denying racism, but about protecting their white advantages.

Thus, as Perry implores, “We cannot be held to their terms because their terms are deceptive.”