Opinion: Lindsey Graham Exemplifies Racist Incoherence Complaining About Monument Removal

Many Americans have been compelled by the recent mass protests to seek a fuller understanding of United States history and particularly the African American experience in that history, up to and including ongoing racism, discrimination, and violence against people of color. Black bookstores in particular are being flooded with orders for literary works that portray African American experiences, historical studies that chronicle U.S. history from an African American experience, and books that offer sociological analyses of race and racism in the U.S.  Even Amazon Prime created a category featuring films and television shows about African American life, culture, and history. read more

Bill O’Reilly Thinks Slavery is Okay if You Feed and House Them

Denial of reality is alive and well in Republican ranks. We have already seen how right-wing talking heads exploded at Michelle Obama’s words about the White House being built by slaves:

“That is the story of this country. The story that has brought me to the stage tonight. The story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, who kept on striving, and hoping, and doing what needed to be done. So that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters — two beautiful intelligent black young women — play with the dog on the White House lawn.”

Bill O’Reilly said on The O’Reilly Factor Tuesday that Michelle Obama’s remarks about slaves building the white house were “positive,” but he couldn’t help but pull the old “slavery wasn’t so bad” thing, excusing slavery by saying the slaves were “well fed” and had “decent lodgings.”

Yeah. I’m sure they were all saying “Yippee!”

Watch courtesy of Media Matters for America:

Finally tonight, Factor Tip of The Day. As we mentioned, Talking Points Memo, Michelle Obama referenced slaves building the White House in referring to the evolution of America in a positive way. It was a positive comment. The history behind her remark is fascinating. George Washington selected the site in 1791, and as president laid the cornerstone in 1792. Washington was then running the country out of Philadelphia.
 
Slaves did participate in the construction of the White House. Records show about 400 payments made to slave masters between 1795 and 1801. In addition, free blacks, whites, and immigrants also worked on the massive building. There were no illegal immigrants at that time. If you could make it here, you could stay here.
 
In 1800, President John Adams took up residence in what was then called the Executive Mansion. It was only later on they named it the White House. But Adams was in there with Abigail, and they were still hammering nails, the construction was still going on.
 
Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802. However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor. So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well. Got it all? There will be a quiz.
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