Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Sunday, July 21, 2019
ISSUE #979
Are you a racist?

Even if you are not a racist, you have probably been called one by folks in Washington or on television.

In politics these days if you want to degrade someone you call him a racist. If you are really mad, you say he’s a racist, then you add a few more big words with 4 or 5 syllables. Usually the poor guy has to look ‘em up in the dictionary to know what he’s been accused of.

If you’re called a racist you should know what it means. Here’s the main definition in the dictionary: Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another.

Racism has been part of this country since 1492 when Columbus landed somewhere in the Western Hemisphere. The Civil War and the Civil Rights Act were major “improvements.” Of course we still have a few racists (plus a few who believe the Earth is flat and we never landed on the moon). But nowhere near the 200 million racists that folks on TV and in Washington imply.

I’m not here to spout history, but rather to share how Will Rogers commented on race. You will note that he never said, ‘Go back where you came from’ but had his own humorous way of making that point, in the last line of the last quote below.

Will Rogers was 5/16 Cherokee and proud of it. He said, “My ancestors never came over on the Mayflower, but they were there to meet the boat.”

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“The sporting pages were where the news was this Sunday morning… A Mr. [Jesse] Owens, a colored lad of 21 years from Ohio State University broke practically all the world records there is, with the possible exception of horseshoe pitching and flagpole sitting.” DT #2747, May 26, 1935   [Note: this was the Big Ten track championships where he broke 4 world records. The next year he set new records at the Olympics in Berlin, infuriating Hitler.]

“I certainly was glad to read Mr. Henry Ford’s statement [apology] this morning in the papers in regard to the Jewish people. It was a fine thing for a big man to do. It takes big men to admit a fault publicly, and it has been a lesson to me.

From now on I am going to lay off the Republicans. I have never had anything against them as a race. I realize that, out of office, they are just as honest as any other class and they have a place in the community that would have to be taken by somebody. So I want to apologize for all that I have said about them and henceforth will have only a good word to say of them.” DT #300, July 8, 1927

“The Supreme Court says negroes in Texas have the right to vote at Democratic primaries. Certainly will seem funny to see the negroes and the whites voting the same ticket. First thing you know they will be allowing a white Republican to associate with a white Democrat in the South.  Yours for quality in politics regardless of quantity and color.” DT #191, March 8, 1927

“Before  I  forget  it,  this  week  the  Women’s  Federation  of  Clubs  is meeting in Detroit, and I wrote a thing the other day about a Cherokee Indian lady [Roberta Campbell Lawson] from my home who is running, and she’s the first vice president of the club.   But there’s some objection to her because she’s an Indian.  She should rightfully be made president of all the Federated Clubs….  And this lady, as I said, is wonderful. I hate to see her kicked out because she’s an Indian, because she’s a wonderful woman.  And so, any of you women who are going to Detroit next week don’t you vote my Indian out, or I’ll be on you from now on, I’m telling you.  Say, listen, don’t get our intolerance reaching as far down as the Indian, ’cause you monkey around with her, – I’m Cherokee, too – so she and I, we’ll just get together and run you all out of this country and take it back over again.” Radio, June 2, 1935  [Note: yes, she was elected president]

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