With apologies to Star Wars and Yoda, CNN published a
“newly unearthed audio clip” today of Ronald Reagan calling the leaders of African nations “monkeys” in a recorded phone conversation with then-president Richard Nixon.
For any who challenge my observation that racism has been an integral part of the GOP belief system for generations, I offer this evidence. The transcript goes like this:
Then-Governor Ronald Reagan: Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did.
President Richard Nixon: Yeah.
Reagan: To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!
President Nixon: [laughing]The tail wags the dog there, doesn’t it?
President Nixon: The tail wags the dog.
Two white racists, one the most powerful man in the world, sharing racist stereotypes.
There is nothing new about the energy that put Donald Trump in office and that is destroying what is left of our culture today. The GOP has been pandering to this darkness for at least fifty years.
There is no excusing this racism. This language was as explicitly racist in 1971 as it is today. Both men knew it, that racism was the point of this shared “joke”. In more than fifty years of GOP dominance of American government (GOP ideology dominated American government even as a minority), we’ve seen racist policies put in place by wealthy white racist men.
It is no coincidence that America elevated the most explicitly racist public figure in the modern era to the presidency after two terms of our first Black president.
America was not ready for a Black president.