Mitch McConnell’s moment of truth: For many whites, Black people aren’t real “Americans”

Chauncey Devega in Salon:

Years ago, a prominent Black psychologist told me that racists almost always tell on themselves. That advice has proven very useful in my life. That tendency — if not compulsion — to reveal their racist beliefs and values is especially powerful for the affluent, the influential and others with a public voice. You just have to know to listen. Sometimes the reveal is obvious, and at other times it is subtle. But they almost always tell on themselves.

Why? This is likely a function of hubris and arrogance, along with a deeply held belief that people like them will not be held responsible for their behavior. They also believe that most other white people agree with them, albeit if in secret, but are constrained by politeness or “political correctness.” In essence, they think white racists are America’s real “silent majority,” and moreover that white people are the most authentic and “real” Americans. Black people and other nonwhites are something else, something second class or less than — they are diminished Americans at best, in various ways, inauthentic or suspect.

Such a belief about the inferiority of nonwhites, at least until proven otherwise to the satisfaction of the white gaze, is a type of background noise constantly present between the beats of so much of American life and history.

Last week, in response to a reporter’s question about the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “If you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.” Later that day, on Jan. 20 — the one-year anniversary of Joe Biden’s inauguration — Senate Republicans refused even to allow a vote on the bill named for the legendary civil rights leader, which would help ensure that the voting rights of all Americans are protected. The meaning of those words was clear enough, no matter how McConnell sought to spin them afterward. The Republican leader in the U.S. Senate was saying that Black people are not exactly “Americans,” as compared, quite obviously, to white people.

More here. (Note: At least one post throughout the month of February will be devoted to Black History Month. The theme for 2022 is Black Health and Wellness)