August 22, 2019

Race Remains America's Great Unresolved Issue

“We learned yet again this week that race remains the great unresolved factor in the complex American equation—the factor that has bedeviled us for 243 years, the one that keeps coming back, the one that the greatest nation on earth still can’t lay to rest.

Indeed, in this already long and hot summer, it feels the country actually may be going backward in solving the equation. We are debating anew the virtues and demerits of busing during the 1970s. We are seeing an already raw argument about immigration become hopelessly intertwined with the ongoing struggle over race.

And now we have found that we can’t even agree on who is and who isn’t a racist.

When President Trump tweeted that four Democratic congresswomen of color should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” rather than criticize America, many cried racism. The places “from which they came” are, for three of the congresswomen, the Bronx, Detroit and Boston, because they are American-born citizens. (The fourth of Mr. Trump’s targets, Rep. Ilhan Omar, became an American citizen after moving from Somalia to the U.S. at the age of 10.) Thus, the president’s critics concluded, the attack on them actually was based on what makes them different—their “otherness”—which is their race. In news stories, The Journal has described Mr. Trump’s tweet as racist.”

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