This post, Racists Under Every Bed, by Kent Scheidegger, first appeared on at http://www.crimeandconsequences.com/crimblog/.
During the infamous McCarthy Era, it was said that Senator Joe McCarthy and his cohorts were “seeing communists under every bed.” Accusations of racism today occupy exactly the same as position as accusations of communism then. There are, of course, real racists today just as there was some amount of communist infiltration then. But the grossly excessive accusations on the thinnest evidence and the willingness of far too many people to pounce on the accused has created a witch-hunt atmosphere.
The latest incident is so absurd that it could very well be a satire in The Onion, but it is not. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, giving a speech to the National Sheriff’s Association, said, “The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo American heritage of law enforcement.” Who could possibly object to an innocuous and historically accurate statement like that? According to Aaron Blake at the WaPo:
Perhaps the two most full-throated responses came from Sen. Brian Schatz
(D-Hawaii) and the NAACP. Schatz called it “appalling.” The NAACP said they were Sessions’s “latest racially tinged comments” and that it “qualifies as the latest example of dog-whistle politics.”
Blake quotes a Schatz tweet: “Do you know anyone who says ‘Anglo-American heritage’ in a sentence?”
Well, we can start with the Supreme Court of the United States: see, e.g., Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487 U.S. 815, 818 (1988); Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304, 316, n.21 (2002); Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 575 (2005).
Schatz’s tweet continues: “What could possibly be the purpose of saying that other than to pit Americans against each other?” How on earth can anyone think this pits Americans against each other? Anglo-American heritage, when speaking of our legal system, is not limited to the descendants of the English settlers. It is the basis of our Constitution, including the Bill of Rights. It is something all Americans can and should be justly proud of, wherever their ancestors may be from.
As for the NAACP saying this statement is “racial tinged,” it is just one more example of how far that organization has fallen from the glory days of the civil rights movement.
What pits Americans against each other, Mr. Schatz, is witch-hunt attitudes like yours.