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The Silencing of Coretta Scott King Is an Act of Systemic Racism


The Silencing of Coretta Scott King Is an Act of Systemic Racism

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

On Tuesday night, during debate about the nomination of Jeff Sessions for attorney general, Republican extremists silenced Senator Elizabeth Warren as she was discussing Sessions’s record. They did not object to the facts she cited. They refused to hear them.

This is what systemic racism looks like in America.


Actually, the systemic racism was Strom Thurmond's failure to put King's letter into the record in 1986. What happened Tuesday night was more sexism, as demonstrated on Wednesday when 4 male senators successfully read the letter into the record. Jerk of the other knee. Or just being jerks.


that is a very narrow way of looking at things.
You are discounting years of struggle around the racism that has kept this very letter taking its rightful place in our history, which is directly related to racism

There is no doubt that white MALE supremacy is paramount to powers in question here, but the act also reinforced this power stance that has been on going for years.


Didn't I say that Warren's act was primarily to give King the voice she should have had in 1986? That's giving value, not discounting.


The "systemic" aspect of Dr. Barber's title should be looked at here.

What creates or makes a systemic institution?
The indoctrinated differentiation imbibed in the minds by defined or amorphous institutions, such as those immediately visually identified, makes this systemic.

It is pretty well established in the south and the midwest.
Mr. McConnell, being from Kentucky, knows this well, notwithstanding his not so white wife.
He knew how to exact this methodology at our previous president.
And there enough people in Kentucky who love him for that.


Why wouldn't the American Taliban Party (formerly called GOP), being the party of systemic racism that they are, continue to perform "acts of systemic racism" ?


Many outstanding points here, not surprisingly, considering the writer (a man for whom I, and so many others, have tremendous respect). Many of these points, however, are extremely difficult to discuss today because of surprisingly rigid "guidelines" that so narrowly confine the public discussion.

Doesn't Sessions' own record of racism define his character? As for referring to Sen. Warren pointing to Session's record of racism as an "attack," even though she only shone a light on the record of facts, this seems to have become the norm. Rather than address the issues, they block out any discussion by referring to it as an "attack."

"We need to have a grown-up conversation about race in America." Is this possible today? Racial tensions have increased in recent years. I'd ask how such a discussion would sound. For years, the race discussion has been severely constrained, and it can be unwise to try to expand the discussion beyond those constraints -- all of which makes actual communication/the exchange of ideas impossible.


It has been my strong impression that males (in general, though not all) of every race believe it is their right and their role to dominate women.


Oh, it's quite possible to have those discussions one-to-one or in small groups. I've done a lot of it in the Presbyterian Church (USA) (which today issued an apology to those harmed by its past behavior). And I see an ease among my children's (Xish) generation that warms my heart. It's coming. Remember the shrieks over the Cheerios commercial with adorable mixed-race Gracie? And now the advertisers are falling over each other to include interracial families. Not always doing it well, no, but this is how we get there. I even hope that my mixed-race grandnephew may live peaceably to a ripe old age.


Indeed! Racism, fear, hatred, and greed are what the GOP has been about, for many years now.


I really appreciate the points you raise.

My approach is to try to do more listening - and reading - than talking. In that spirit, it makes sense to me to try to hear those voices that least get heard (and that are most humane). I'm reading Dr. Carol Anderson's White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide right now, and it's eye-opening to find out so much more about how persistent and pervasive this country's history of systemic racism is. Most of us, I think, have a lot to learn from her.

She also led me to Rhon Manigault-Bryant's An Open Letter to White Liberal Feminists, which is both a seminar on how racism and sexism often intertwine, and a pointer toward dealing with both.


I can support a Senate rule outlawing ad hominem attacks on Senators so debate can focus on what’s in issue. However, where the issue is the hominem, whether a person should be confirmed as Attorney General of the United States, in that case to exclude from the debate any evidence that may show that his character or past history makes him entirely unsuitable for the post, is clearly an abuse for which Mitch McConnell deserves condemnation.