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Systemic racism

To the editor:

There is much that could be said in response to the Human Rights Commission’s letter of July 17, but at the heart of it all is their contention that there is systemic racism in America. I would like to respond to that.

To begin with, if we are going to speak honestly, we must say that no society in all of history has ever been completely free from all forms of racism. No matter what historical age or country we examine, we will find that there were some individuals who said and did things that we would call racist. The same is true of America today. No matter how hard we try to rid America of all racism, we will never completely succeed. There will still be some who will allow skin color to determine how they will treat others. That’s not good, but it is a fact of life.

Are there still some in America who treat others in that way? Yes. Does that make America a racist country? No. Quite the contrary. Among all the nations of the world, our country has gone to the greatest lengths to rid itself of racism. In the 1800’s we fought a Civil War to end slavery. In the 1900’s we acknowledged the moral wrong of segregation and passed legislation to end it. We even passed laws that granted favorable treatment to ethnic minorities in employment and higher education. And today the overwhelming majority of Americans abhor racism and go to extreme lengths to treat other-skinned people with as much respect and consideration as possible.

America is not a racist country. And yet the HRC claims that there is “systemic racism” in America.

“Systemic racism” is a loaded term. It is an accusatory term. It accuses the people of America of having ill will toward people of color. It accuses us of using our government, our laws, and our law enforcement systems as whips and chains with which to prevent people of color from experiencing the fruits of freedom.

The HRC has made this accusation as though it were a universally accepted fact. It is not. Yes, many books and articles have been written to try to convince the American people that we are all racists. But the arguments they make do not stand up under closer scrutiny; they are propaganda set forth to promote a political agenda.

The accusation of systemic racism leads directly to the idea that we should dismantle the institutions that maintain peace, stability, and prosperity for ourselves and our families. Another word for dismantling a country’s institutions is revolution. For many of those who accuse us of systemic racism, the goal is revolution. That is what we’re facing here.

There are racists in America, but America is not a racist country. America’s institutions are not perfect, but they aren’t “systemically racist,” either.

Michael Thom

New Ulm

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