Racism in United States politics

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This article discusses topics and events in United States politics that deal with racism or are considered racist.



Jim Crow era[edit]

Racist Democratic Political Poster, 1869
"Of Course He Wants To Vote The Democratic Ticket" by A. B. Frost, 1876
"Niggers in the White House," Published in Sedalia Sentinel, October 25, 1901

Civil Rights era[edit]


  • Earl Butz (R) – In 1976 Earl Butz, former Secretary of Agriculture who served under President Nixon and Ford, was asked by Pat Boone in private why the Republican party is failing to attract African American voters. Butz replied with "The only thing the coloreds are looking for in life are tight pussy, loose shoes, and a warm place to shit."[10] After the comment, he was forced to resign.
  • David Duke (R) – In 1991, the Louisiana gubernatorial race gained national attention with former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke being the Republican candidate for governor. During a debate with the Democratic candidate Edwin Edwards, Duke was confronted with his past anti-Semitic and racist remarks by moderator Norman Robinson. Duke tried to reason saying "I don't think there's a human being on this earth or in this state who hasn't been at some time intolerant in their life"[11] and that he regretted his words.[11] Robinson said did he not think he was being honest.[12] Duke lost the election, but had a surprising turnout. Today, Duke is a white nationalist and regularly posts anti-Semitic conspiracy related articles on his website.
  • John McCain (R) – In February 2000, then-presidential candidate John McCain said "I hate the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live."[13] He was using the term to describe the people who captured him in Vietnam. He refused to apologize for his comment and lost the Republican nomination to George W. Bush.
  • Robert Byrd (D) – In March 2001, in a Fox News interview, West Virginia senator and former KKK chapter founder[14] Robert Byrd used the term "white niggers". His office later issued an apology.[15]
  • Joe Biden (D) – In early 2007, Biden faced criticism after giving the description about then-senator Barack Obama: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy".[16] He later apologized for his comments.
  • Chip Saltsman (R) – In 2008, Chip Saltsman, who was running to be the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, sent several CDs to RNC members containing the song "Barack the Magic Negro".[17] As a result of controversy he dropped out and lost the election to Michael Steele, who is black.
  • Donald Trump (R) – In June 2015, in Donald Trump's speech announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, Trump made a very controversial and widely publicized statement about Mexicans: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."[18]
  • On November 22, 2015 presidential candidate Donald Trump personally retweeted[19] an image with inaccurate racially charged crime data between blacks and whites. The first use of the image appeared to be from a neo-Nazi Twitter user.[20] When asked about the image in an interview with Bill O'Reilly, Trump claimed that the picture came from very credible sources.[19]
  • Justice Scalia – In December 2015, the late Justice Scalia stirred up criticism after saying, "There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well."[21]
  • Bill de Blasio (D) – In April 2016, in a staged joke skit done for charity, de Blasio said he was on "C.P. time" (Colored People's time) for not previously endorsing Hillary Clinton for President. Leslie Odom Jr. then said he did not like the joke. After that Clinton delivered the punchline that it was supposed to mean "cautious politician time". This was criticized as racist and tasteless. The response was that it was clearly a satire without intention to offend anybody.[22][23]
  • Karl Rove (R) – In June 2016, the former White House aide to President George W. Bush gained attention for telling a joke about slavery to Donna Brazile, an African-American woman. Rove said: "I did you a great favor bringing you into politics in the 1860 campaign and this is how you repay me? We're happy you got the right to vote but it wasn't your current party that was responsible for it."[24] The incident happened during a hedge fund conference, and did not go over well.
  • Chuck Schumer (D) – Schumer faced criticism in March 2018 for voting against one of President Trump's judicial nominees. In a speech on the Senate floor, Schumer stated he was voting 'no' because the nominee is a white man, and would be succeeding two black Obama-era nominees.[25][26]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) – In a 2018 interview discussing political correctness, Clinton responded to the interviewer, who apparently mistook two different African-American men, by saying ‘I know, they all look alike’. This was played off as a joke, but was taken seriously by the African-American community.[27][28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Taliaferro, John (1828). Supplemental account of some of the bloody deeds of General Jackson, being a supplement to the "Coffin handbill.". Northern Neck: Members of Congress.
  2. ^ McKenney, Thomas Loraine (1846). Memoirs, Official and Personal; with Sketches of Travels among the Northern and Southern Indians; Embracing a War Excursion and Descriptions of Scenes Along the Western Borders. Volume I. Second Edition. New York: Paine and Burgess.
  3. ^ Lamson, Peggy. The Glorious Failure: Black Congressman Robert Brown Elliott and Reconstruction in South Carolina. New York: W. W. Norton and Company. 1973. 134.
  4. ^ Hammond, James Henry (1857). Plantation Manual, 1857-58. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress.
  5. ^ Pritchard, Jeter Connelly (1900). On the Proposed Amendment to the Constitution of North Carolina. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.
  6. ^ White, George Henry (1901). Congressional Record, 56th Cong., 2d session, vol. 34, pt. 2. Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office.
  7. ^ Tillman, Benjamin (1909). The Struggles of '76.
  8. ^ Bell, Debra (June 11, 2013). "George Wallace Stood in a Doorway at the University of Alabama 50 Years Ago Today". US News. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  9. ^ Windham, Ben (March 11, 2012). "SOUTHERN LIGHTS: Malcolm X, George Wallace shared similar qualities". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  10. ^ Noah, Timothy. "Earl Butz, History's Victim". Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Applebome, Peter. "Duke: The Ex-Nazi Who Would Be Governor". Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  12. ^ "Louisiana Gubernatorial Debate". Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  13. ^ "McCain Criticized for Slur / He says he'll keep using term for ex-captors in Vietnam". Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  14. ^ "Flashback: Hillary Clinton Praised Former KKK Member Sen. Robert Byrd". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Sen. Byrd Apologizes for Racial Epithet". Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  16. ^ Thai, Xuan & Barrett, Ted. "Biden's description of Obama draws scrutiny". Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  17. ^ Sinderbrand, Rebecca. "RNC chairman candidate defends 'Barack the Magic Negro' song". Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  18. ^ Ye Hee Lee, Michelle. "Donald Trump's false comments connecting Mexican immigrants and crime". Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  19. ^ a b Feldman, Josh. "O'Reilly Grills Trump on 'Totally Wrong' Tweet; Trump: 'Am I Gonna Check Every Statistic?'". Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  20. ^ Gettys, Travis. "That racist Trump tweet about blacks killing whites isn't just false, it's neo-Nazi propaganda". Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  21. ^ Abdullah, Hamilah. "Justice Scalia Under Fire For Comments About Black Students". Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  22. ^ "Hillary Clinton, Bill de Blasio criticized for race-based joke". CBS News. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  23. ^ Howard, Adam. "Bill De Blasio's 'Colored People's Time' Joke Hits Sour Note". Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  24. ^ Legum, Judd (June 6, 2016). "Karl Rove Made A Joke About Slavery To A Bunch Of Hedge Fund Managers. It Didn't Go Well". Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  25. ^ Athey, Amber (February 28, 2018). "Schumer Will Vote 'No' On Judicial Nominee Because He Is White". Daily Caller. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  26. ^ Swoyer, Alex (March 1, 2018). "Trump judicial nominee confirmed despite Chuck Schumer complaint that he's white". The Washington Times. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  27. ^ NewsOne Staff (October 29, 2018). "In Joke Gone Horribly Wrong, Hillary Clinton Sarcastically Suggests All Black People 'Look Alike'". News One. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  28. ^ Emily Birnbaum (October 29, 2018). "Clinton teases interviewer who confused Holder and Booker: 'They all look alike'". The Hill. Retrieved January 6, 2019.