It appears as though the Left’s favorite word is “racism”, given they so often call the likes of Trump and those who support him that word. And in recent time, an Atlantic article tried to make the case that former President Ronald Reagan was a racist because of ONE STATEMENT he made that was bad.
NYU professor Tim Naftali, who is himself a connoisseur of John F. Kennedy (and we’ll get to that) recently wrote an article for The Atlantic titled: “Ronald Reagan’s Long-Hidden Racist Conversation With Richard Nixon.” As with many things on the MSM, this is, for the most part, fake news. Ronald Reagan did say something bad in the 12-minute conversation, but the title suggests the entire thing was filled with Reagan ranting to Nixon about minorities and smearing them. That is far from the truth.
The conversation between Reagan and Nixon occurred in October of 1971, when then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan called then-President Richard Nixon regarding the U.N.’s decision to recognize the People’s Republic of China (with representatives from African countries voting against the interests of the United States). Given these are communists now being recognized on the world stage, this severely irked conservatives like Reagan and Nixon.
Naftali sets up the context of the conversation:
“The day after the United Nations voted to recognize the People’s Republic of China, then-California Governor Ronald Reagan phoned President Richard Nixon at the White House and vented his frustration at the delegates who had sided against the United States. ‘Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,’ Reagan said. ‘Yeah,’ Nixon interjected. Reagan forged ahead with his complaint: ‘To see those, those monkeys from those African countries – damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!’ Nixon gave a huge laugh.”
So very obviously, Reagan offered a pretty elitist remark here (not racist. He was referring to the people in Africa, who are underdeveloped, not black people in general).
Still, CNN certainly had a field day, attacking Reagan on it (and also pretending the entire conversation was racially-charged) as well as alleging plenty of things calling Reagan a racist and that we “shouldn’t be surprised” by this.
However, Reagan historian and connoisseur Paul Kengor makes the case that Reagan, generally-speaking, didn’t have “a racist bone in his body”.
After reviewing the call and the elitist statement made by Reagan, and acknowledging that it definitely was bad, he went on to insist: “It’s very important to know, however, that Ronald Reagan was not a racist. This is the only – and I mean only – statement that I’ve ever read from him like this (and I’ve read just about everything). It’s so out of the norm that I find it hard to believe,” and then he goes on to mention how other Democrat Presidents (which I will also get to) like LBJ, Truman or Wilson have, themselves, often said highly offensive and racist things, but are not often talked about because the Democrats will do everything they can to subvert the truth of their history of racism and heavily imply, if not out-right assert, that it was Republicans who fought to keep slaves and segregation, when literally the opposite is true.
As far as Naftali goes, even he goes on to concede that, “Reagan’s racism appears to be documented only once on the Nixon tapes, and never his own diaries.” So despite how many tapes there are of Reagan, and how much of a public figure he was before and while he was President, this is really the only documented time when he made a bad remark of this caliber about anyone.
And THAT shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone because, unlike what CNN would like to assert, Reagan was NOT a racist and he doesn’t have a history of racism. Ronald Reagan was raised by devout Christian parents and believed racism to be a literal SIN. And there are plenty of times in which he made public and not-so public remarks or displays that highlight how he was most definitely NOT a racist.
For example, President Reagan once told the National Council of Negro Women at a White House event in July of 1983 that, “I’ve lived a long time, but I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t believe that prejudice and bigotry were the worst of sins.” Even in his Evil Empire speech regarding the Soviet Union, he made mention the fact that the U.S. itself struggled with an evil sin in its slavery days:
“There is sin and evil in the world, and we’re enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it with all our might,” later mentioning “our nation” which itself held a “legacy of evil with which it must deal… There is no room for racism, anti-Semitism, or other forms of ethnic and racial hatred in this country.”
And even going back to his childhood, biographers often take note of the fact that, in the early 1930s when Reagan was in college, he brought home two African-American football teammates, who both were barred from staying in a local hotel due to the color of their skin. Reagan (or “Dutch”, as people called him then), offered to let his two teammates spend the night at his house. Despite Dutch being so amicable towards them, the two were not so sure how his parents would be. Given the atmosphere of racial segregation and discrimination against black people at the time, it definitely was extremely rare for white families to be so friendly with African-American people.
But when the three got to Reagan’s house, Reagan’s mother greeted them by saying: “Come in, boys,” all with a warm smile as well. Reagan himself recounted that “she was absolutely color-blind. These fellows were just two of my friends. That was the way she and Jack [Reagan’s father] had always raised my brother and me.”
Keep in mind that this was in the early 1930s. Beyond the difficult economic hardships of the time (and I think even that is an understatement), African-Americans suffered plenty due to the added general atmosphere and environment of racism and discrimination. But Reagan’s family, and Ronald himself, were people ahead of their time. They were Christians who absolutely believed that Christ is for everyone and everyone ought to be treated with love and respect (and people that I’m sure, if they were alive today, would be absolutely repulsed by the hatred of today’s Democrat Party).
Reagan has a history of being against racism, even long before he was a public figure. To smear him as one because of ONE bad and elitist statement is outright unfair, and something Naftali himself has admitted would not want done to JFK. Naftali once wrote: “As I write a biography of JFK, I’ve found that this sort of racism did not animate President Kennedy.” It’s not clear exactly what Naftali was referring to, but it’s not like JFK or other Democrats are free from racist remarks tainting their pasts.
I’ve said this before, but JFK himself said that he thought of Hitler as a sort of “legend”. After touring Nazi Germany in the 1930s, Kennedy came back to write in his diary: “I have come to the conclusion that fascism is right for Germany and Italy... The Nordic races appear to be definitely superior to the Romans.” And JFK, going back to that “legend” remark, specifically noted that Hitler was the “stuff of legends… Hitler will emerge from the hate that now surrounds him and come to be regarded as one of the most significant figures to have lived.”
As far as Harry Truman goes, 10 months before Israel was independent, he wrote: “The Jews, I find, are very, very selfish. They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated as DP [Displaced Persons] as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power, physical, financial or political, neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the underdog. Put an underdog on top and it makes no difference whether his name is Russian, Jewish, Negro, Management, Labor, Mormon, Baptist, he goes haywire. I’ve found very, very few who remember their past condition when prosperity comes.”
In other words, Truman was saying that the Jews were no different to, perhaps even worse than, the very Hitler whom he just fought against and defeated and whom just subjected millions of Jews to extremely harsh conditions that killed 6 million of them, or 60% of those who were killed during the Holocaust, according to some estimates.
This is the same kind of anti-Semitism that Reagan despised and called evil and the same kind of anti-Semitism that one can easily believe would be shared by the modern Democrat Party, particularly from members of “The Squad”.
And Woodrow Wilson is often credited for almost single-handedly reviving the Ku Klux Klan, having had Southern sympathy following the Civil War and the reconstruction period (having been raised and lived during and after those events in the Democrat South).
And let’s not get into the Democrat Party of today and their anti-white racism that they arrogantly claim is not actual racism.
Historically and presently, the Democrat Party is MARRED in racism, bigotry and hatred. From the first Democrat President, Andrew Jackson, essentially screwing over Native Americans, to just about every Democrat President moving forward all having racist and bigoted sentiments towards those different from them (and including Democrats who were not President as well), racism DEFINES the Democrat Party. To allege that Reagan is a racist because of one unfortunately elitist comment (that is being regarded as racist, when it is not) is ludicrous and totally unfair to the guy, not to mention hypocritical of those alleging this.
What Reagan said was definitely unfortunate, but hardly enough to ruin his entire legacy. And he certainly should not be the only one to be looked at when it comes to former Presidents being racist when an entire political party has an entire history of it that lasts to this very day.
1 Samuel 16:7
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: a man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
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