In today’s episode of Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Nimrata, presidential candidate Nikki Haley has spent the last week or so being a very whiny white woman (who isn’t white, apparently) over the relatively polite criticism former President Barack Obama leveled at her and fellow presidential hopeful from South Carolina, Sen. Tim Scott, over their insistence that racism in America is a thing of the past.
First, let’s start with what Obama said. From The Guardian:
In a podcast interview, Obama, who became the first Black US president when he was elected in 2008, said that while presenting a hopeful message on race relations was important, “that has to be undergirded with an honest accounting of our past and our present”.
Scott is the only Black candidate in the 2024 Republican presidential primary race and Haley is Indian American.
Asked about Scott’s messaging, Obama said there was sometimes a tendency among Republican candidates to gloss over the effects of racism, arguing that candidates need to address racial disparities to be taken seriously on the subject of American unity.
“There’s a long history of African American or other minority candidates within the Republican party who will validate America and say, ‘Everything’s great, and we can make it,’” Obama told the Democratic strategist David Axelrod on the CNN-hosted Axe Files. He added that he thought Nikki Haley “has a similar approach”.
Obama said that approach does not include “a plan for how do we address crippling generational poverty that is a consequence of hundreds of years of racism in this society, and we need to do something about that.
“If that candidate is not willing to acknowledge that, again and again, we’ve seen discrimination in everything from … getting a job to buying a house to how the criminal justice system operates,” he added.
First of all, Obama did not tell one lie here. It is the demonstrable truth that Republicans parade around the relatively few non-white voices who are willing to say all the white people-friendly things, including that systemic racism is a myth perpetuated by liberals and democrats (as opposed to the myriad of Black academics, social scientists and the vast majority of Black community members who know racism in America is alive and well).
It’s also a simple truth that the conservative tactic for ending the racial divide in America is to abstain from talking about racism as opposed to addressing and correcting racial disparities.
It’s statistically true that the average Black American family’s net worth is about 10% of that of the average white American family. It’s statistically true that Black men are given 20% longer sentences than white men who commit the same crime and have the same criminal history. It’s statistically true that White Americans use and sell drugs more often than Black Americans, but Black people are arrested on drug charges at far higher rates than our white counterparts. It’s statistically true that the average non-white school district receives $2,226 less per student than a majority-white school district.
Data shows that Black people are more likely to be stopped by police. Data shows evidence of racial segregation in homeownership. Data shows that white people account for about 60% of America’s population but make up at least 77% of Congress. Data shows that every single state legislature in America is disproportionately white. (Scott is literally the only Black Republican in the U.S. Senate and the first Black Republican elected in the South since Reconstruction.) Yet, Haley and Scott would ignore all of this and, instead, fix the racial divide in America by simply declaring that the racial divide is already over.
The other thing I find interesting about all of this is that Obama barely even mentioned Haley in his (accurate AF) criticism, yet Haley responded by claiming she was “attacked” by the ex-president, who she erroneously claimed, “set back minorities by singling them out as victims instead of empowering them.”
Besides the fact that Haley, who previously described herself as the “proud daughter of Indian immigrants,” doesn’t appear to include herself among the “minorities,” it’s interesting that she used the words “singling out” in reference to literally all non-white people in the U.S. Secondly, conservatives really love throwing the word “victim” around anytime factual and statistical evidence of racial disparities is pointed out, despite the fact that said evidence exists whether “minorities” see themselves as victims or not.
On Wednesday, Haley posted another tweet about Obama saying that he “had 8 years to pull our country together, but he chose to further divide us by race and gender,” and that he’s now “doubling down by accusing America of being defined by racism,” which he absolutely did not say (although it wouldn’t exactly have been a lie if he did).
Here’s a question: What mystical powers does Haley believe Obama or any president has that they can “pull our country together” or “set minorities back” single-handedly? And does she blame all presidents for the same failure to end racial division in America, or is it only the Black guy who’s at fault? What exactly has Donald Trump done during his presidency to unify Americans? What about George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Bush Sr., Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter etc.?
Also, does Haley not remember Obama’s presidency? Was she under a rock when the first non-white president spent his entire two terms defending his legitimacy as president against birthers, bigots, Islamaphobes (despite the fact that he’s not Muslim, not that it should matter) and other assorted racists?
Anyway, Haley would honestly have done well to keep her comments on Obama in the drafts, because ever since she started sprinkling her off-white tears all over social media, the fine folks on Twitter have been coming with receipts to demonstrate the sheer degree of her delusion and hypocrisy. Those receipts include the fact that she attended segregated schools, the fact that she repeatedly refused to remove and stop praising the Confederate flag, and the inference that she declined to go by her first name, Nimrata, in favor of a much more America-friendly name, which would be an odd thing to feel compelled to do in a non-racist country.
The bottom line here is that Haley has spent the last week demonstrating that one doesn’t necessarily have to be white to experience white fragility. Sometimes being white-adjacent is enough.
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