The right-wing media has begun stoking outrage about a speech that Vanita Gupta, acting head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, gave in Denver this week, in which she pointed out that the mistrust of police seen in places like Ferguson and Baltimore is “in part the product of historical awareness about the role that police have played in enforcing and perpetuating slavery, the Black Codes, lynchings and Jim Crow segregation.”
Hans von Spakovsky, the Bush-era Justice Department attorney who now uses his post at the Heritage Foundation to raise the alarm about supposed widespread “voter fraud,” is among those who were terribly offended by Gupta’s remarks. In an interview with Indiana talk radio host Greg Garrison yesterday, von Spakovsky said Gupta’s comments were ridiculous because slavery ended 150 years ago and in any case the United States abolished slavery “long before it disappeared in Africa.”
“Yeah, the people who intentionally and knowingly went out and lit fires and broke windows and looted, they’re doing that because of a practice that ended, what, 150 years ago, slavery, something they’ve never experienced. No, that’s the reasons for that, not intentional wrong behavior,” he said sarcastically, falsely implying that Gupta was excusing violence and arson.
“But you can get a liberal to buy that stuff because it puts them where they want to be, it gives them a reason to be mad at the white guy, to be mad at the country,” Garrison interjected, adding that liberals love “besmirching the founding fathers” even though “most of them got rid of [their slaves] and it was over in 70 years.”
“Of course, you realize what they don’t ever want to talk about, the fact that slavery was an institution in Africa,” von Spakovsky continued. “Tribes there enslaved other tribes, tribes there actually made huge amounts of money in the slave trade, and we actually, I think, got rid of it long before it disappeared in Africa.”
“It was the United States [that] declared slavery and fought a war to stop it,” Garrison agreed. “Nobody else did that. I didn’t see Africa doing that!”
“Wouldn’t it be fun to be a liberal, where you didn’t have to have any connection, where you didn’t have to have any historical perspective and you could just sort of make stuff up as you went along?” Garrison added.