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Wed Dec 19, 2018, 11:21 PM

Cold War Civil Rights.

I was surprised by the passage of the criminal reform bill in the Senate. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142226626

We know that the bill has been in the works since Pres. Obama's administration with Loretta Lynch's DOJ investigations of some egregious police departments' practices and corruption. All of that and more the attorney general implemented while obstructionist Republicans blocked the reform bill, not wanting to give Obama a win.

I've read of the bill that's not as sweeping as I'd hoped and all sorts of reasons for its passage from 45 saving himself, his family and friends to helping white opioid addicts to, of course, it's easier to pass now since the country is on board because of the opioid crisis, and the Repugs are worried about 2020 elections, if not saving themselves from prison as well.

This happening now reminded me of another article on the history of Russia using America's "Negro Problem" to discredit the country. The article included a bit that I'd overlooked.

The beginning of the Cold War coincided with the beginning of the civil rights movement, and the two became intertwined—both in how the Soviets used the racial strife, and how the Cold War propelled the cause of civil rights forward. “Early on in the Cold War, there was a recognition that the U.S. couldn’t lead the world if it was seen as repressing people of color,” says Mary Dudziak, a legal historian at Emory, whose book Cold War Civil Rights is the seminal work on the topic.

As the United States tried to convince countries to join its sphere by taking up democracy and liberal values, the U.S. government was competing with the Soviets in parts of the world where images of white cops turning fire hoses and attack dogs on black protesters did not sit well—especially considering that this was coinciding with the wave African countries declaring independence from white colonial rulers. “Here at the United Nations I can see clearly the harm that the riots in Little Rock are doing to our foreign relations,” Henry Cabot Lodge, then the U.S. ambassador to the UN, wrote to President Eisenhower in 1957. “More than two-thirds of the world is non-white and the reactions of the representatives of these people is easy to see. I suspect that we lost several votes on the Chinese communist item because of Little Rock.”

“The Soviet propaganda was working. American diplomats were reporting back both their chagrin and the difficulty of preaching democracy when images of the violence around the civil rights movement were reported all over the world, and amplified by Soviet or communist propaganda. On a trip to Latin America, then-Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife were met with protestors chanting, “Little Rock! Little Rock!” Secretary of State John Foster Dulles complained that “this situation was ruining our foreign policy. The effect of this in Asia and Africa will be worse for us than Hungary was for the Russians.” Ultimately, he prevailed on Eisenhower to insert a passage into his national address on Little Rock that directly addressed the discrepancy that Soviet propaganda was highlighting—and spinning as American hypocrisy. Whenever the Soviet Union was criticized for its human rights abuses, the rebuttal became, “And you lynch Negroes.”

It was not only Little Rock that sparked passionate international outcry against the violence on black people in this country but also, in Alabama in '57, a black man named Jimmy Wilson was sentenced to electric chair execution for "stealing" $1.95 from his white female employer who threw the money at him after he asked for a loan. From Mary Dudziak introduction,"Ultimately the most effective response to foreign critics was to achieve some level of social change," from Truman to Eisenhower to Kennedy to Johnson.

Moscow never abandoned these tactics, which became known as “whataboutism,” even after the Soviet Union collapsed. The difference this time is that the Russians got better at penetrating the American discussions on these fraught subjects. They became a more effective bellows, amplifying the fire Americans built.

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Reply Cold War Civil Rights. (Original post)
Kind of Blue Dec 2018 OP
spicysista Dec 2018 #1
Kind of Blue Dec 2018 #2

Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2018, 12:08 AM

1. Another one to add to my list....

I'm adding Dudziak's,Cold War Civil Rights, to my reading list. I completely missed the Atlantic article.....my loss. It really is Kind of the perfect article for this time. (See what I did, there? LOL!)

From the last paragraph:

The good news, though, is that America can do things to disarm the propaganda. In the 1950s and 60s, for example, this was one of the reasons that American presidents pushed through various civil rights victories, culminating in the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. This time, Americans can stop blaming the Russians and look at ourselves for what we do to fan the flames—to a far greater extent than the Russians ever could or do.

I'm keeping this as a favorite for future debates! Thanks for another great post, Kind of Blue!

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Response to spicysista (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 20, 2018, 12:23 AM

2. Oh, yes! That's the best part

constantly holding a mirror that forced the changes. We'll see how quickly this one goes into effect.

LOL! I saw what you did!

Thank You and You're welcome, spicyista

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