What is it with Steve King (R-IA) and these public pronouncements? He lost his Congressional seat after complaining that it’s no longer politically correct to advocate for white nationalism, but he can’t seem to stop.
As reported last month, King still likes to tweet dogwhistles and even clear white supremacist propaganda, such as assertions about Western culture being the best.
Now, in a strange tweet that seems to invoke Martin Luther King Jr. as some sort of defense against being called out for racism, King laments the progress of racial equality in the United States, appearing to hint that desegregation was the first mistake in a series.
America has gone from “separate but equal”(1896) to forced integration & equal access(1954) to equal opportunity(1964) to self segregating minorities demanding “equity” and reparations(2021). After reparations, what’s next, dhimmitude for whites? I stand with Dr.King.
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) July 1, 2021
King lays out a timeline that, if nothing else, makes it clear he hasn’t been listening to equality advocates, basically ever.
First, according to him, there was the Separate But Equal doctrine — segregation, which anyone who has cracked a history book knows was not actually equal.
(It’s not clear whether King has forgotten what was before that — slavery and open inequality — or if he’s just leaving it out as irrelevant to his narrative.)
Second in King’s list came what he calls “forced integration.”
That’s not necessarily a complete misnomer, considering that there were Black children who had to actually be escorted to school by police for their protection, but is King complaining because racists fought against desegregation, or because it happened at all?
Then he lists “equal opportunity” as occurring in 1964, which is an interesting point of view since discrimination in hiring and housing, among other sectors, still take place in 2021. Here’s American Progress on the current state of job discrimination, as published in 2019:
The hurdles that African Americans face in the labor market from discrimination, pay inequality, and occupational steering are also apparent in indicators of job quality and not just in measures of job availability. Black workers, for example, typically get paid a great deal less than white workers. The typical median weekly earnings for Black full-time employees was $727 from July 2019 to September 2019, compared with $943 for whites.
Granted the Civil Rights Act signed in 1964 was supposed to provide equal opportunity, but to say that equal opportunity actually happened is disingenuous at best.
Finally, according to King, marginalized groups are currently “self-segregating” and demanding reparations for centuries of abuse and maltreatment.
Well, as to the segregation issue, Time did recently (last year) report that segregation is actually worsening, but this is predominantly through generations and decades of racist policies including housing and employment discrimination.
King, however, is more likely echoing right-wing extremist talking points that claim things like the Black Lives Matter movement, and Black graduation ceremonies are ‘segregation’ or somehow ‘racist.’
As for reparations? Well, according to the Wall Street Journal, the movenent for reparations for slavery — that is, for kidnapping generations of human beings and forcing them into unpaid labor — dates back to at least 1672, when Quakers actually banned slaveholding (long before the nation caught up) and the founder argued that freed slaves shouldn’t be sent away with nothing for their labor.
That history continues with numerous resurgences, including the most recent revival following Ta-Nehisi Coates’ publication of The Case For Reparations in The Atlantic in 2014.
Of course, it’s not just King’s timeline that’s off, but the fact that he sounds aggrieved by each of these steps along the way.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com