Amid the recent surge in Russophobic politics in the US, mainly premised on fake news (the failure of “Russiagate” makes a particularly good example), the media controlled by US intelligence agencies just recently tried to unleash an aggressive anti-Russian propaganda campaign, alleging Russia played a role in inciting racial hatred among Americans in the run-up to the 2020 United States presidential election.
However, there is clearly no way the racial tension that has just boiled over, engulfing every state in America, could have been masterminded by Russia. Its roots lie in the policy enforced by American authorities, as inciting racial hatred remains Washington’s main tool to influence American society.
This has not only been confirmed by the recent tragic events provoked by police brutality and the killing of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis, which has compelled people to take to the streets demanding change across a growing number of American states, and it is estimated that hundreds of these protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement are being arrested by law enforcement agencies every day!
Even the British Guardian which tends to take a friendly stance towards the current administration in Washington highlights that racism remains rampant in the United States, with more black people inflected with Covid-19 dying in America than white people. They are almost 2.5 times more likely to die a Covid-19-related death than whites, and twice as likely as Latinos and Asians, despite the fact that African Americans only account for 13% of the country’s population. An article published in the Guardian notes that roots of modern American racism can be traced back to America’s first years and the days of its early European colonizers, when white supremacy was a founding principle. African Americans were considered to be property, not citizens, and were deprived of wealth and resources. This overt and deliberate racism has been practiced for longer than unconscious or hidden racism. Even though it has been almost 70 years since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the US state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools are unconstitutional, the racial lines drawn 400 years ago still divide the nation, proving that the country’s current political elite’s rhetoric about freedom and equality is just empty words.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American law enforcement agencies engage in racial profiling, regularly monitoring, stopping, detaining, searching, interrogating and arresting a disproportionate number of African Americans relative to the total US population. According to statistics, one in every thousand African Americans can expect to die at the hands of the police.
However, African Americans are not the only people who are subjected to racism in the United States. The US has set a shameful new record for the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents. The human rights organization Anti-Defamation League counted more than 2,100 anti-Semitic incidents committed in the United States last year, the highest number seen since the organization began recording statistics 40 years ago. More than half of the physical acts of anti-Semitic violence were assaults that occurred in New York City, which boasts a reputation of being a highly cosmopolitan city. In Brooklyn, more and more unidentified people are attacking Orthodox Jews. Last year, Jews were the targets in more than half of the 428 hate crimes committed in New York. Even educational programs to combat prejudice and discrimination against different races and faiths are not doing enough to stop the spread of hatred and aggression, writes The New York Times.
In May, the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, Elan S. Carr, said that the United States has been hit by a “a wave — a tsunami” of anti-Semitism on the internet.
Fox News quoted the Republican National Committee’s Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in March, who said that the Democrats saw the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to “sow division”. Fox News also highlighted that Congress was delayed in passing the coronavirus bill as “House Democrats crammed it with totally unrelated political priorities, identity politics stoking racial division”. For instance, their version of the bill requires that the employees to fight Covid-19 be chosen on the basis of their race and disability status, and companies receiving coronavirus aid from the state would be required to report employees’ skin color.
First the White House initiated the trade war with China, followed by the coronavirus conflict, and then Beijing was officially accused of bearing responsibility for the terrible consequences of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the deaths of more than 100 thousand Americans from Covid-19. As these events unfolded over recent months, the United States saw a resurgence in Sinophobia. There has been a huge surge in gun and ammunition sales in the United States due to general coronavirus-related fears and some Americans’ more specific fears of being targeted in xenophobic and racist attacks. The Trace reported that “in Washington state and California, locations of early outbreaks of the virus, gun sales increased acutely propelled by Asian Americans fearful that they could face xenophobic and racist violence against their families given that the original source of coronavirus was China.”
The political climate in the US has grown more and more toxic recently. Racism and hostilities between different groups of Americans have not gone away. There are so many people who are prepared to use weapons against someone of a different skin color or with different beliefs to their own and there is so much mutual hostility in the United States today that the country can hardly be considered one which is safe from extreme acts of discrimination.
It seems the United States has once again resorted to racist policies to try and solve its domestic problems, to find a scapegoat to blame for its numerous failures, the Russian bear or Chinese dragon, who are just waiting for an opportunity to prey on America, undermine its democracy, and weaken people’s faith in the institutions of American civil society. Yet numerous examples have shown that America’s famous racial tolerance, which Washington is constantly reminding people about, is really nothing more than a myth.
Hidden behind a shiny façade painted by Washington’s propaganda with its self-proclaimed victory over racism and triumph of tolerance is an uglier picture of American reality. A poll on the state of race relations published by the Gallup Institute on January 27 found only 36% of Americans felt satisfied with the state of race relations in the country, while 58% of respondents said they were dissatisfied. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey on a similar topic carried out on January 24 found that only 34% of Americans rate the state of race relations in their country as good or excellent. Given the disproportionate impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on different races and the events provoked by the police killing of an African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis, the current state of race relations in the United States would undoubtedly be given a far more negative rating if these surveys were to be conducted today!
Many American media outlets have now published information about how police officer Derek Chauvin who knelt on George Floyd’s neck and has now been arrested and charged with the third-degree murder had abused his position of authority, frequently harassed the African Americans he arrested, and was thought to have worn a cap on his days off work with the racist slogan “Make Whites Great Again”. It was his racist ideology that ultimately took over when he killed George Floyd, however, Chauvin was only charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, without the intent to kill but “without regard for human life”. Both his higher-ups and the American authorities in general were satisfied with these charges, which just goes to show how deeply entrenched racism is in certain segments of American society.
Things are moving even faster than had been predicted in the United States with the events that are currently unfolding. The protests and riots have already engulfed almost half of all states, and they are spreading to other states like wildfire. It should not be forgotten that revolutions do not just happen when people get fed up with living in squalid conditions. They also break out when people’s lives take a sudden turn for the worse or when they have a strong conviction that they deserve to live a better life. When all of this is combined with the collapse of the national economy, a catastrophic spike in unemployment, racial hostility, and a growing partisan divide between Republicans and Democrats, the course of events in the United States will lead to an obvious outcome…
Vladimir Odintsov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.