This reviewer admits to not being a fan of Coulter’s “take no prisoners” style. That having been said, this book should be read to understand how the struggle for equal rights was won and why racial divisions are back some 40 years later.
Coulter writes that contrary to myths propagated by Democrats, “The entire history of civil rights legislation consists of Republicans battling Democrats to guarantee the constitutional rights of black people.
Not all Democrats were segregationists, but all segregationists were Democrats and there were enough of them to demand compliance from the rest of the party …”
She points out that from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the 20th century black Americans were denied civil rights in places controlled by Democrats. She lists leading segregationist Democrats and the Republicans who battled them. In addition, she chronicles civil rights legislation beginning with the Thirteenth Amendment ending slavery, which had “80 percent of Democrats voting against it.” Republicans also unanimously “enacted the Fourteenth Amendment, granting freed slaves the rights of citizenship” – again with unanimous opposition from Democrats.
It was Republicans who passed the Fifteenth Amendment, giving blacks the right to vote, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (providing citizenship and “full and equal benefit of all laws”), the Reconstruction Act of 1867, and civil rights measures in 1875, 1890, 1922, 1935, 1938 (the latter three anti-lynching laws opposed by Democrats) and anti-poll tax bills in 1942, 1944, and 1946.
Coulter also points out that the Civil Rights laws of 1957, 1964 and 1965 were all passed because of Republican support. Eisenhower, she writes, “put a slew of blacks into prominent positions in his administration–unlike Barack Obama he chose competent ones–and quickly moved to desegregate the military, something President Harry Truman had announced but failed to fully implement.”
In the election of 1956, the Republican Party platform endorsed the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education desegregating public schools. The Democrat platform did not. Eisenhower pushed through two major civil rights laws and created the Civil Rights Commission over the objections of Democrats such as then Senator Lyndon Johnson who warned fellow segregationist Democrats: “Be ready to take up the goddamned nigra bill again.” Democrats cast all eighteen votes against both bills.
President Richard Nixon desegregated the building trades and dramatically decreased the number of black children attending segregated school in the South from 70 percent to 18.4 percent.
It was only after the struggle for civil rights was essentially finished that Democrats came forth against racial discrimination. Coulter explains: “What really made the Democrats sit up and take notice was that blacks began voting, and would soon outnumber the Democrats’ segregationist wing.” President LBJ “did a complete turnaround” and pushed through a dramatic civil rights bill. Even so, a far larger number of Republicans than Democrats voted for it. The nay voters included Senators Sam Ervin and Albert Gore Sr., among others.
Coulter also chides such Democrat worthies as Bob Beckel, History professor Joseph Ellis, and journalist Carl Bernstein for fabricating claims of having participated in the civil rights struggle. “Every liberal over a certain age claims to have marched in Selma and accompanied the Freedom Rides.”
But what Democrats did do in the name of civil rights was to forge new chains for blacks with misguided government policies. Under LBJ’s Great Society programs, welfare requirements such as having a husband, were jettisoned. By 1960 more than 60 percent of Aid to Families with Dependent Children payments went to “absent father” homes.
Just how destructive that was for blacks families is evident. “Erol Ricketts, a demographer and sociologist with the Rockefeller Foundation, found that between 1890 and 1950, blacks had higher marriage rates than whites, according to the US Census bureau. “
1960 was the very year that black marriage rates began a gradual but precipitous decline “with the marriage rate for black women falling below 70 percent for the first time only in 1970. As late as that, a majority of black children were still living with both parents.”
According to Ricketts: “The argument that current levels of female-headed families among blacks are due to the cultural legacy of slavery and that black family formation patterns are fundamentally different from whites are not supported by the data.”
In fact, black Americans were moving forward on the same well-trod path taken by the Irish, the Jews and countless others who started at the bottom of the economic heap.
But by 2010, thanks to the “specific policy of paying women to have children out of wedlock,” only 30.1 percent of blacks above the age of 15 were married compared to 52.7 percent of whites.
“If blacks managed to get married again at the their pre–Great Society rates, the entire black ‘culture of poverty’ would be wiped out. Black people know this: The vital institution of marriage, felt by its absence, is reflected in the overwhelming, ferocious opposition to gay marriage in the black community.”
Next, liberal judges and air-headed academics decided it was a bad idea to punish criminals, especially black criminals; instead we should try to understand them. “Democrats simply would not treat blacks as the equal of whites, deserving rebuke for bad behavior just like a white person.”
Anyone who objected was called a racist.
The result was that the crime rate in general and especially the black crime rate soared. Black on black crimes (by far the greatest number) went virtually unnoticed by the left, but the much less frequent white on black crimes were an opportunity to win black allegiance by vocally defending black “victims.” Coulter details case after case (over 52 pages and some 24 different cases) of bogus racist crimes abetted by a liberal media and demagogued by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
Never mind that fake claims of race-based attacks often resulted in real “retaliatory” crimes against innocents. Coulter reveals how the 1992 Los Angeles riots were the product of a television network’s editing of the Rodney King tape to make it appear a case of police brutality. Her analysis of the Rodney King debacle is worth the price of the book.
Coulter credits the race-based acquittal of OJ Simpson, which she examines in fascinating detail, for draining the white guilt bank. She reveals how fomenting racial division and reactivating white guilt were key to Barack Obama’s political success. It is also helpful that criticizing Obama for any reason is deemed racist.
Democrats have most recently expanded from peddling bogus discrimination victims to inventing racist “code” words with which to bludgeon political opponents. Words like law and order, Chicago and welfare are designated as racial slurs. It’s all Republicans’ fault for failing to say anything that objectively can be called racist.
Democrats also have been adding to the causes they want to cram under the civil rights umbrella ”and thus enlarge their pool of debtors.” The list is long and growing: homosexual marriage, abortion on demand, women’s rights. Amnesty for illegal’s, publicly funded sex change operations, blocking voter ID laws and so on.
“These are not policies that help blacks, nor are they supported by most black people. But Democrats believe blacks should be like children; seen and not heard. Shut up and vote for us.”
Blacks have been hurt the most by Democrat policies that insulate them from responsibility, encourage out of wedlock births and reward dependency.
As Coulter writes at the end of the book:
“The national obsession with racism is a self-inflicted punishment that resulted in disaster for everyone, but most of all for black people. The initial lie from which all other lies flow is the idea that black people’s condition in America depends upon white people’s beneficence.”
A couple of quibbles:
This reviewer recommends Mugged without hesitation. It documents the true history of civil rights and exposes the many hoaxes perpetrated upon the nation by the Democrat Party. But at the same time, a word or two about Reconstruction would have been appreciated. History also includes the depredations visited upon white southerners by carpet-bagging northerners (mostly Republicans), the majority of whom were not there to help blacks but to exploit and profit from the region’s misfortunes.
Similarly, acknowledgment that although the struggle for equal rights is long over, it doesn’t necessarily mean that sweetness and light always prevails. Not because we are “a racist society” but because Americans, like other humans, lack perfection: whether white, black, brown, or shades in between, all have virtues and opinions. Winning some hearts and minds is on-going and is not accomplished by bullying or government edicts.
Admittedly, both additions would have been diversions from Coulter’s well-documented and important book. But this reader yearned for a bit more completeness in her recounting of the historical record.