It is almost amusing to see, hear and read how the U.S. press, politicians and academicians weep and wail, moan and groan and huff and puff about Russia’s attempt to take propagandistic advantage of the White supremacy that has been a pivotal force in this country’s life for the past 400 years.
What Russia is doing is nothing new. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, American presidents responded to White supremacist attacks on Black people mainly because the Russians were using such attacks as something to be exploited during the so-called Cold War. If there wasn’t/isn’t White supremacy, the Russians wouldn’t have anything to exploit.
Foreign policy needs
Civil and human rights changes are not the result of changes in attitude of White supremacists. They result from foreign policy needs.
For instance, President Dwight D. Eisenhower reluctantly nationalized the Arkansas National Guard to protect the Little Rock Nine who were being attacked by White supremacist opponents of the desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High School. He reportedly acted only after photos of the attacks were published in a Russian newspaper.
President John F. Kennedy did the same when Black youngsters in Birmingham, Alabama were attacked by White supremacists. Like Eisenhower, he said the federal government had no legal right to intervene. Both eventually and reluctantly took action because of foreign policy propaganda needs.
President Lyndon Johnson also signed the civil rights bills of 1964 and 1965 because of concerns about Russia using White supremacy attacks as a propaganda weapon against the self-proclaimed “Leader of the Free World.”
Black leaders knew
Black leaders such as Brother Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were well aware of the U.S. government’s fear that its opponents would use the race issue against the United States.
That’s why Brother Malcolm was developing plans to have the U.S. condemned by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights for being “either unable or unwilling to protect the lives and property of Black people.” That’s also why Dr. King, in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, spoke of the Civil Rights Movement as being similar to the liberation movements in Africa and Asia.
Even the more conservative NAACP and Urban League leaders were aware, though they would never say so publicly, that U.S. foreign policy propaganda considerations were a plus factor in the battle against overt promoters and defenders of White supremacy.
Who should be on top?
This will be the case as long as the U.S. proclaims itself as a bastion of equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity, while at the same time most Whites still believe that they should be the dominant force in the national and international arenas.
Finally, it must be stated that the Russians are not exploiting America’s race issue for moral or humane reasons. They believe just as strongly as their fellow European-descended counterparts in America that Whites are superior to all other people. Their disagreement with the U.S. is basically over which group of Whites should be top dog.
A. Peter Bailey’s latest book is “Witnessing Brother Malcolm X, the Master Teacher.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.