A crucial ideological plank of the modern Republican Party is the insistence that racism simply doesn’t exist in America anymore beyond the odd small pocket of bigotry here and there. It’s an inexcusable attempt to gaslight the country into ignoring its deep-seated racial issues. GOP politicians vehemently deny the existence of systemic racism even as they reap its benefits by disenfranchising voters of color to keep themselves in power.
Recently Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s Ambassador to the United Nations, correctly stated that “the original sin of slavery weaved White supremacy into our founding documents and principles.” No one with even a passing understanding of American history could possibly disagree with Thomas-Greenfield, who is herself a Black woman. The Three-fifths compromise alone proves her point.
Our founding documents, for all of their brilliance in some areas, are deeply flawed in others. The course of American history has largely been about correcting these flaws and working slowly, often painfully, towards a more just society.
Of course, conservatives refuse to admit that the Constitution is anything other than a flawless, unimpeachable document. There is no room for nuance in their approach to the American project. It’s either fully good or fully evil. Not surprisingly then, conservatives were outraged by Thomas-Greenfield’s remarks and some even called for her resignation or firing.
Today, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked during her briefing if the Biden administration intends to fire Thomas-Greenfield because her remarks were allegedly “parroting Chinese Communist Party talking points.” The question is silly at face value. China is never good faith when criticizing the United States, but that doesn’t mean that their criticisms are never true. China pointing out America’s racist history doesn’t suddenly erase that history. If China says the sky is blue that doesn’t suddenly make the sky red.
As usual, Psaki knew exactly how to handle the question.
“Is the president going to remove an African American woman with decades of experience in the foreign service who’s widely respected around the world from her position as Ambassador to the UN? He is not,” said Psaki.
“He is proud to have her in that position. She is not only qualified, he believes she is exactly the right person in that role at this moment in time. I have not seen her comments. I will say that there is no question that there has been a history of institutional racism in this country and that doesn’t require the U.N. Ambassador to confirm that,” Psaki explained.
The reporter pushed back, saying that Thomas-Greenfield gave “essentially the same lecture” that the Chinese gave to Secretary of State Tony Blinken. She asked if President Biden thinks “our founding documents are racist,” clearly fishing for a gotcha moment.
“I would say that I will leave my comments to speak for themselves and certainly I think most people recognize the history of systemic racism in our country. And she was speaking to that,” responded Psaki, avoiding the pitfall.
"Is POTUS going to remove an African American woman w/ decades of experience in the foreign service who's widely respected around the world from her position as ambassador to the UN? He's not" — Jen Psaki wasn't having a question about if Biden will fire Linda Thomas-Greenfield pic.twitter.com/VZOHKJDkOX
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 16, 2021
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