In a recent column in The Pilot, Robert Levy used Malcolm X to expose the hypocrisy of white liberalism. Levy shared the quote, “The white liberal is the worst enemy to America and to the black man.”

Respectfully, using the slain civil rights icon to make the case that white liberals, not the systems of exploitation inherent in supply-side economics, are to blame for the economic oppression that disproportionately affects people of color makes Mr. Levy guilty of exactly the kind of hypocrisy Malcolm X accused white liberals of.

Malcolm X’s derision of white liberals, unsurprisingly, shows up a lot on white nationalist websites, and it’s not entirely wrong. The stereotypical white liberal politician who shows up to shake hands and feign concern before elections only to disappear between elections is no myth.

Even for the most well-meaning white people, learning to see through (let alone shed) the privilege that our pigmentation engenders does not come easily. We have to expand our consciousness with the understanding that the paradigms we are comfortable in may not apply.

Being an effective ally doesn’t begin with offering a plan, it begins with paying attention and asking, “How can I help?”

It is also worth noting that as Malcolm X was warning black people about white liberals, white liberal allies were sacrificing their lives acting in solidarity with their black brothers and sisters. In 1963 William Lewis Moore, a postman from Baltimore, was killed for marching to deliver a letter to the Mississippi Gov. Ross Burnett opposing segregation. In 1964 the Rev. Bruce Klunder was crushed by a bulldozer while blocking the construction of a segregated school.

Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were killed along with James Chaney for organizing civil rights efforts in Neshoba County in Mississippi. In 1965, the Rev. James Reeb was beaten to death in for participating in the marches in Selma, Alabama. Two weeks later,

Viola Louizzo, a Michigan housewife and mother of five, was murdered in a drive-by shooting as she ferried marchers during the March to Montgomery.

The Freedom Riders filed their wills before they traveled. The risks were understood.

By 1968, white Southern segregationists who felt betrayed by Lyndon Johnson’s passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act shifted the “solid South” from blue to red, and the party that calls itself the “Party of Lincoln” became the de facto “Party of Jefferson Davis.”

The inoculation of racism into more traditional conservatism was the price some conservatives were willing to pay to expand their power. What began as the Southern strategy broadened into ceaseless appeals to the anxieties of white people everywhere who fear that “others” are out to take what’s theirs. That strategy culminated with the election of Donald Trump.

I’m writing this on a Sunday morning after two mass shootings 1,500 miles and 15 hours apart claimed 29 lives. I am a white liberal independent who left the Democratic Party because of the disproportionate influence of economic neoliberal leadership within that party — the kind of liberalism Malcolm X referenced. Still, it is impossible today to conflate the two parties today the way that Malcolm X could in the 1960s.

Under the leadership of Donald Trump, the Republican Party is not the party of Lincoln, and it’s not even the party of Jefferson Davis. It is the party of Dylann Roof.

Trump has the confidence man’s flair for telling us that he’s not a racist even though his whole life is testament to that racism, and he cannot help himself from affirming it on a daily basis. He’s not just a racist, he’s the Pied Piper of racism.

Principled conservatives have abandoned the ship. Those who remain seem unable to acknowledge their leader’s racism for fear of confronting their own. One cannot support this president without accepting complicity in his overt racism.

I am reminded of another quote from Malcolm X: “I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing … I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation.”

That clash began with the murder of nine African-Americans in a historic church in Charleston in June of 2015, and it has accelerated in the three years of fear-mongering and race-baiting that have defined the candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump.

I’m a white liberal in America in 2019 and I know where I stand.

Kevin Smith lives in Aberdeen. Contact him at kevin

(11) comments

Sally Larson

Racism shows up when people dehumanize and criminalize another group. "Those people", "They are criminals", "They are coming here to harm us", "They are all the same", "Those people are coming here to take our jobs".... Taking away the humanity of a group and taking a superior position over them is being racist. I believe every one of those quotes were made by our President.

Mark Hayes

Sally : The America Presidency Project. President Bill Clinton Jan 24, 1995. Address before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union. Read it , very thoroughly, compare as to what was then, and what is now. Seems Clinton and Trump had more in common than today's Democrats would like to believe. But carry on, as I know many will.

Sally Larson

So you are agreeing with me?

Mark Hayes

Sally, not quite sure if you read the part addressing Bill Clinton's mentioning as to

" how/why we should keep illegal immigrants out of America ". Another Clinton statement, " this guy ( Obama ) a few years ago would be getting us coffee ", I could go on, but what would it accomplish ?

Sally Larson

Mark, not sure if you read my comment on racism and how dehumanizing groups of people is racist behavior and our President demonstrates that technique often. That's all I'm saying.

Mark Hayes

I continue to come back to this article out of contempt for those like you, and yes contempt can run both ways. After going back and reading several of the columns you have contributed in the past, it appears you have must carry the burden of guilt for being a Caucasian. I don't share that sentiment, I'm quite proud of my heritage, not quite sure where it all began, but it seems that of being long time Irish ancestry. It was that preposterous line of " learning to see through ( let alone shed ) the privilege that our pigmentation engenders does not come easily ", that has prompted this reply, as I see it, that is over the top . You propel racism, you accuse others of what you must have at one time felt, if not you would not be so easily able to depict what you portray others as being, racist. Just for the record, many, myself included did not live the privilege life as you describe, and to take the liberty to even suggest that shows what little you know about the White race ( Caucasian ) . The limitations are endless for those who want to prosper, skin color is not the deterrent for success, and those like you are the problem, not the solution.

Mark Hayes

The Pied Piper of racism, that is a good one, sorta like referring to Obama as the Antichrist. You give far more credit to Trump than is due, he did not create the racial atmosphere within this country, and to my knowledge I know of none that blindly follow, or agree with him on every issue. The pronounced accusations and negative reporting when it comes to racism, is in fact the revival of Democrat politicians using the racial atmosphere of this country, an atmosphere that Democrats created, one that served the Democrats since the Kennedy years. They Democrats are currently using race now to advance their chances of becoming the next majority in our senate and congress, and then President. It is foolish to contribute letters such as this, but many often do. Again I suggest you continue looking into the WRAL daily arrest records, we have a problem, and it is not one that Trump created.

ken leary

I didn’t read any of the articles listed which were found in about ten minutes. There are hundreds more. It does beg the question: Who exactly is suffering from what is termed TDS? Why do people deny or dispute that Trump is a racist? I say fascist, but why quibble. Why do people turn their back on him when it is obvious that they agree with him, and his world view is, to any aware person, obvious. It’s dishonest, and I might add, cowardly, to deny Trump his truth. That said, it is too bad you consider yourself a liberal Kevin. Does that mean you will vote for anybody but Trump. If so you might be guaranteeing another four years for him because there are a lot of us that won't.

”'This Is a Distraction.' Republicans Worry Trump's Racist Comments Will Hurt Him in 2020 (Time)

Paul Ryan: Trump made "textbook definition of a racist comment”

(Anderson) Cooper examines Trump's history of racist comments

10 times President Trump's comments have been called racist (USA today)

A Racist in the White House (the New Yorker)

He always doubles down’: Inside the political crisis caused by Trump’s racist tweets

House Condemns Trump’s Attack on Four Congresswomen as Racist (NYT)

Trump’s racist comments find support in Montana (NPR)

Trump’s racism: An oral history (The Atlantic)

Mark Hayes

You should start writing one of these letters each time there is a shooting incident in Durham, Wake, and Johnston counties, been several murders just within the last weeks, and don't forget to look into the Durham Most Wanted list, believe me, it is not a white racist doing the killing, and committing the crimes.

Kent Misegades

Note that the leaders of segregation were all Democrats, especially Bill Clinton’s mentor Senator Fulbright.

Richard Wright

People are not racist because you say so but because they act as racist. What facts support your contention Kevin? The flames of racism are stoked by those who have redefined racism into an amorphous term meaning I have no real facts to argue why I hate the current President.

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