Le Francophone.

03 août 2019

The Atlantic Ronald Reagan's Long-Hidden Racist Conversation with Richard Nixon

The Atlantic
The Atlantic

Ronald Reagan's Long-Hidden Racist Conversation with Richard Nixon

Tim Naftali
 
3 days ago
a close up of text on a black background© MediaPunch / AP / National Archive / Getty / The Atlantic

The day after the United Nations voted to recognize the People’s Republic of China, then–California Governor Ronald Reagan phoned President Richard Nixon at the White House and vented his frustration at the delegates who had sided against the United States. “Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan said. “Yeah,” Nixon interjected. Reagan forged ahead with his complaint: “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Nixon gave a huge laugh.

Ronald Reagan© 2011 The Washington Post Ronald Reagan

The past month has brought presidential racism back into the headlines. This October 1971 exchange between current and future presidents is a reminder that other presidents have subscribed to the racist belief that Africans or African Americans are somehow inferior. The most novel aspect of President Donald Trump’s racist gibes isn’t that he said them, but that he said them in public.

Ronald Reagan, Governor of California. *05/06/04: (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)© PA Images Ronald Reagan, Governor of California. *05/06/04: (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)The exchange was taped by Nixon, and then later became the responsibility of the Nixon Presidential Library, which I directed from 2007 to 2011. When the National Archives originally released the tape of this conversation, in 2000, the racist portion was apparently withheld to protect Reagan’s privacy. A court order stipulated that the tapes be reviewed chronologically; the chronological review was completed in 2013.

Related gallery: Experts rank the best US Presidents of all time [Stacker] 

Donald Trump standing in front of a red and white sign: Over the course of 240 years, United States presidents have made many integral and difficult decisions to help shape this country. Civil and international wars, economic crises, and deep-rooted bigotry are just a few major installments that presidents have had to tackle. But the expectations of the president have evolved over time—and with a more diverse and populated public to represent, it's become more difficult than ever to please everyone. Despite these increasingly challenging expectations, some presidents have certainly fared better than others. Stacker compiled data from the annual “Presidential Greatness” ranking, a survey of 170 current and recent members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA)—in order to find out just which ones have succeeded and which have failed. Political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus at the University of Houston and political science associate professor Justin S. Vaughn at Boise State University conducted the survey, with the results published in the New York Times. Respondents were surveyed between Dec. 22, 2017 and Jan. 16, 2018, and each expert rated every president on a 0-100 scale, with 0 being a failure, 50 as average, and 100 as great. The scores were then averaged, and the presidents are ranked lowest to highest. Continue reading to see the reasons why some presidents remain household names, while others all but fade into the background of U.S. history.

Not until 2017 or 2018 did the National Archives begin a general rereview of the earliest Nixon tapes. Reagan’s death, in 2004, eliminated the privacy concerns. Last year, as a researcher, I requested that the conversations involving Ronald Reagan be rereviewed, and two weeks ago, the National Archives released complete versions of the October 1971 conversations involving Reagan online.

President Richard Nixon works at his desk at the White House in Washington, D.C., preparing for his European trip, Feb. 16, 1969. Military flags decorate his office. (AP Photo)© ASSOCIATED PRESS President Richard Nixon works at his desk at the White House in Washington, D.C., preparing for his European trip, Feb. 16, 1969. Military flags decorate his office. (AP Photo)When the UN took its vote to seat a delegation from Beijing instead of from Taiwan in 1971, members of the Tanzanian delegation started dancing in the General Assembly. Reagan, a devoted defender of Taiwan, was incensed, and tried to reach Nixon the night of the vote. Reagan despised the United Nations, which he described as a “kangaroo court” filled with “bums,” and he wanted the U.S. to withdraw from full participation immediately. Nixon was asleep when Reagan called, so they spoke the next morning.

President Richard Nixon at a press conference, Washington DC, September 5, 1973 (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)© David Hume Kennerly President Richard Nixon at a press conference, Washington DC, September 5, 1973 (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)Reagan’s slur touched an already raw nerve. Earlier that day, Nixon had called his deputy national security adviser, Al Haig, to cancel any future meetings with any African leader who had not voted with the United States on Taiwan, even if they had already been scheduled. “Don’t even submit to me the problem that it’s difficult to turn it off since we have already accepted it,” Nixon exclaimed. “Just turn it off, on the ground that I will be out of town.”

Nixon’s anger at the UN delegations from African nations for the loss was misplaced. His own State Department blamed factors other than African voting, including maneuvering by the British and French behind the scenes, for the loss. But Nixon would have none of it. The Africans were to blame.

President Ronald Reagan taking a coffee break (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)President Ronald Reagan taking a coffee break (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)Had the story stopped there, it would have been bad enough. Racist venting is still racist. But what happened next showed the dynamic power of racism when it finds enablers. Nixon used Reagan’s call as an excuse to adapt his language to make the same point to others. Right after hanging up with Reagan, Nixon sought out Secretary of State William Rogers.

Even though Reagan had called Nixon to press him to withdraw from the United Nations, in Nixon’s telling, Reagan’s complaints about Africans became the primary purpose of the call.

“As you can imagine,” Nixon confided in Rogers, “there’s strong feeling that we just shouldn’t, as [Reagan] said, he saw these, as he said, he saw these—” Nixon stammered, choosing his words carefully—“these, uh, these cannibals on television last night, and he says, ‘Christ, they weren’t even wearing shoes, and here the United States is going to submit its fate to that,’ and so forth and so on.”

Ronald Reagan and Barbara Walters at his Santa Barbara Ranch .(ABC PHOTO ARCHIVES/George Long)RONALD REAGAN, BARBARA WALTERS© ABC PHOTO ARCHIVES. For editorial use only. NO ARCHIVING, NO RESALE. Ronald Reagan and Barbara Walters at his Santa Barbara Ranch .(ABC PHOTO ARCHIVES/George Long)RONALD REAGAN, BARBARA WALTERSThe president wanted his patrician secretary of state to understand that Reagan spoke for racist Americans, and they needed to be listened to. “You know, but that’s typical of a reaction, which is probably”—“That’s right,” Rogers interjected—“quite strong.”

Nixon couldn’t stop retelling his version of what Reagan had said. Oddly unfocused, he spoke with Rogers again two hours later and repeated the story as if it would be new to the secretary.

“Reagan called me last night,” Nixon said, “and I didn’t talk to him until this morning, but he is, of course, outraged. And I found out what outraged him, and I find this is typical of a lot of people: They saw it on television and, he said, ‘These cannibals jumping up and down and all that.’ And apparently it was a pretty grotesque picture.” Like Nixon, Rogers had not seen the televised images. But Rogers agreed: “Apparently, it was a terrible scene.” Nixon added, “And they cheered.”

UNSPECIFIED - MAY 14: Michael Jackson meets with President Ronald Reagan at the South Lawn of the White Hose after he was presented with a Presidential Award (Photo by Frank Johnston/Washington Post/Getty Images)UNSPECIFIED - MAY 14: Michael Jackson meets with President Ronald Reagan at the South Lawn of the White Hose after he was presented with a Presidential Award (Photo by Frank Johnston/Washington Post/Getty Images)Then Nixon said, “He practically got sick at his stomach, and that’s why he called. And he said, ‘It was a terrible scene.’ And that sort of thing will have an emotional effect on people … as [Reagan] said, ‘This bunch of people who don’t even wear shoes yet, to be kicking the United States in the teeth’ … It was a terrible thing, they thought.”

Nixon didn’t think of himself as a racist; perhaps that’s why it was so important to him to keep quoting Reagan’s racism, rather than own the sentiment himself. But Reagan’s comment about African leaders resonated with Nixon, because it reflected his warped thinking about African Americans.

Ronald Reagan and Nancy ReeganRonald Reagan and Nancy ReeganIn the fall of 1971, the Nixon administration was engaged in a massive welfare-reform effort, and was also facing school busing. These two issues apparently inspired Nixon to examine more deeply his own thinking on whether African Americans could make it in American society. Only three weeks before the call with Reagan, Nixon had revealed his opinions on Africans and African Americans in a conversation with the Harvard professor Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who had briefly served in the Nixon administration. Nixon was attracted to the theories of Richard Herrnstein and Arthur Jensen, which linked IQ to race, and wondered what Moynihan thought.

In this Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016 photo, Tayron Santos cleans the newly-installed wall mural of former President Richard Nixon in the lobby area of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif. The museum will reopen Friday, Oct. 14, following a $15 million makeover aimed at bringing the country’s 37th president closer to younger generations less familiar with his groundbreaking trip to China or the Watergate scandal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)© ASSOCIATED PRESS In this Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016 photo, Tayron Santos cleans the newly-installed wall mural of former President Richard Nixon in the lobby area of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif. The museum will reopen Friday, Oct. 14, following a $15 million makeover aimed at bringing the country’s 37th president closer to younger generations less familiar with his groundbreaking trip to China or the Watergate scandal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)“I have reluctantly concluded, based at least on the evidence presently before me … that what Herrnstein says, and what was said earlier by Jensen, is probably … very close to the truth,” Nixon explained to a quiet Moynihan. Nixon believed in a hierarchy of races, with whites and Asians much higher up than people of African descent and Latinos. And he had convinced himself that it wasn’t racist to think black people, as a group, were inferior to whites, so long as he held them in paternalistic regard. “Within groups, there are geniuses,” Nixon said. “There are geniuses within black groups. There are more within Asian groups … This is knowledge that is better not to know.”

Nixon’s analysis of African leadership reflected his prejudice toward America’s black citizens. This is, at least, what he told Moynihan. “Have in mind one fact: Did you realize there is not, of the 40 or 45—you’re at the United Nations—black countries that are represented there, not one has a president or a prime minister who is there as a result of a contested election such as we were insisting upon in Vietnam?” And, he continued, a little later in the conversation: “I’m not saying that blacks cannot govern; I am saying they have a hell of a time. Now, that must demonstrate something.”

Ronald Reagan au sommet des pays industrialises le 19 juin 1988 a Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alexis DUCLOS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)© Alexis DUCLOS/GAMMA-RAPHO Ronald Reagan au sommet des pays industrialises le 19 juin 1988 a Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alexis DUCLOS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)Fifty years later, the one fact that we should have in mind is that our nation’s chief executive assumed that the nonwhite citizens of the United States were somehow inferior. Nixon confided in Moynihan, who had been one of his house intellectuals, about the nature of his interest in research on African American intelligence: “The reason I have to know it is that as I go for programs, I must know that they have basic weaknesses.”

Ronald Reagan with Closed Eyes by Pierre Trudeau. (Photo by Bettmann/Corbis/Getty Images)Ronald Reagan with Closed Eyes by Pierre Trudeau. (Photo by Bettmann/Corbis/Getty Images)As these and other tapes make clear, the 37th president of the United States was a racist: He believed in treating people according to their race, and that race implied fundamental differences in individual human beings. Nixon’s racism matters to us because he allowed his views on race to shape U.S. policies—both foreign and domestic. His policies need to be viewed through that lens.

The 40th president has not left as dramatic a record of his private thoughts. Reagan’s racism appears to be documented only once on the Nixon tapes, and never in his own diaries. His comment on African leaders, however, sheds new light on what lay behind the governor’s passionate defense of the apartheid states of Rhodesia and South Africa later in the 1970s. During his 1976 primary-challenge run against Gerald Ford, Reagan publicly opposed the Ford administration’s rejection of white-minority rule in Rhodesia. “We seem to be embarking on a policy of dictating to the people of southern Africa and running the risk of increased violence and bloodshed,” Reagan said at a rally in Texas.

President Richard Nixon enjoys a laugh with Barbara Bush at the opening of The Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace (Photo By Paul Harris/Getty Images)© Paul Harris Photography President Richard Nixon enjoys a laugh with Barbara Bush at the opening of The Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace (Photo By Paul Harris/Getty Images)These new tapes are a stark reminder of the racism that often lay behind the public rhetoric of American presidents. As I write a biography of JFK, I’ve found that this sort of racism did not animate President Kennedy—indeed, early on he took political risks to help African leaders, most notably Gamal Abdel Nasser and Kwame Nkrumah. But his reluctance to do more, sooner for African Americans cannot be separated from the paternalism he brought to the Oval Office or the prejudice held by parts of his Boston inner circle.

Kennedy, at least, learned on the job that securing civil rights for all was a moral imperative. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a symptom of a sickness that dwells in American society, sometimes deeply and weakly, sometimes on the surface and feverishly. He bears responsibility for his own actions, but the tropes, the turns of phrase, the clumsy indirection, and worse, the gunk about American society that he and his most devoted followers pass off as ideas, have an ugly tradition. It is not at the core of the American tradition, for what makes us mighty and successful is that we are much more than the narrowest of our minds. But it remains an ineluctable part of American culture, nonetheless.

Visit of American President Richard Nixon to Berlin. (Photo by James Andanson/Sygma via Getty Images)Visit of American President Richard Nixon to Berlin. (Photo by James Andanson/Sygma via Getty Images)Nixon never changed his mind about the supposed inherent inferiority of Africans. At the end of October 1971, he discussed the UN vote with his best friend, Bebe Rebozo. Bebe delighted Nixon by echoing Reagan: “That reaction on television was, it proves how they ought to be still hanging from the trees by their tails.” Nixon laughed.

These days, though Trump’s imagery is less zoological, it is pretty much the same in spirit. And this president, unlike Nixon, doesn’t believe he needs to hide behind anyone else’s racism.

 
 
3 days ago
a close up of text on a black background© MediaPunch / AP / National Archive / Getty / The Atlantic

The day after the United Nations voted to recognize the People’s Republic of China, then–California Governor Ronald Reagan phoned President Richard Nixon at the White House and vented his frustration at the delegates who had sided against the United States. “Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan said. “Yeah,” Nixon interjected. Reagan forged ahead with his complaint: “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Nixon gave a huge laugh.

Ronald Reagan© 2011 The Washington Post Ronald Reagan

The past month has brought presidential racism back into the headlines. This October 1971 exchange between current and future presidents is a reminder that other presidents have subscribed to the racist belief that Africans or African Americans are somehow inferior. The most novel aspect of President Donald Trump’s racist gibes isn’t that he said them, but that he said them in public.

Ronald Reagan, Governor of California. *05/06/04: (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)© PA Images Ronald Reagan, Governor of California. *05/06/04: (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)The exchange was taped by Nixon, and then later became the responsibility of the Nixon Presidential Library, which I directed from 2007 to 2011. When the National Archives originally released the tape of this conversation, in 2000, the racist portion was apparently withheld to protect Reagan’s privacy. A court order stipulated that the tapes be reviewed chronologically; the chronological review was completed in 2013.

Related gallery: Experts rank the best US Presidents of all time [Stacker] 

Donald Trump standing in front of a red and white sign: Over the course of 240 years, United States presidents have made many integral and difficult decisions to help shape this country. Civil and international wars, economic crises, and deep-rooted bigotry are just a few major installments that presidents have had to tackle. But the expectations of the president have evolved over time—and with a more diverse and populated public to represent, it's become more difficult than ever to please everyone. Despite these increasingly challenging expectations, some presidents have certainly fared better than others. Stacker compiled data from the annual “Presidential Greatness” ranking, a survey of 170 current and recent members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA)—in order to find out just which ones have succeeded and which have failed. Political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus at the University of Houston and political science associate professor Justin S. Vaughn at Boise State University conducted the survey, with the results published in the New York Times. Respondents were surveyed between Dec. 22, 2017 and Jan. 16, 2018, and each expert rated every president on a 0-100 scale, with 0 being a failure, 50 as average, and 100 as great. The scores were then averaged, and the presidents are ranked lowest to highest. Continue reading to see the reasons why some presidents remain household names, while others all but fade into the background of U.S. history.

Not until 2017 or 2018 did the National Archives begin a general rereview of the earliest Nixon tapes. Reagan’s death, in 2004, eliminated the privacy concerns. Last year, as a researcher, I requested that the conversations involving Ronald Reagan be rereviewed, and two weeks ago, the National Archives released complete versions of the October 1971 conversations involving Reagan online.

President Richard Nixon works at his desk at the White House in Washington, D.C., preparing for his European trip, Feb. 16, 1969. Military flags decorate his office. (AP Photo)© ASSOCIATED PRESS President Richard Nixon works at his desk at the White House in Washington, D.C., preparing for his European trip, Feb. 16, 1969. Military flags decorate his office. (AP Photo)When the UN took its vote to seat a delegation from Beijing instead of from Taiwan in 1971, members of the Tanzanian delegation started dancing in the General Assembly. Reagan, a devoted defender of Taiwan, was incensed, and tried to reach Nixon the night of the vote. Reagan despised the United Nations, which he described as a “kangaroo court” filled with “bums,” and he wanted the U.S. to withdraw from full participation immediately. Nixon was asleep when Reagan called, so they spoke the next morning.

President Richard Nixon at a press conference, Washington DC, September 5, 1973 (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)© David Hume Kennerly President Richard Nixon at a press conference, Washington DC, September 5, 1973 (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)Reagan’s slur touched an already raw nerve. Earlier that day, Nixon had called his deputy national security adviser, Al Haig, to cancel any future meetings with any African leader who had not voted with the United States on Taiwan, even if they had already been scheduled. “Don’t even submit to me the problem that it’s difficult to turn it off since we have already accepted it,” Nixon exclaimed. “Just turn it off, on the ground that I will be out of town.”

Nixon’s anger at the UN delegations from African nations for the loss was misplaced. His own State Department blamed factors other than African voting, including maneuvering by the British and French behind the scenes, for the loss. But Nixon would have none of it. The Africans were to blame.

President Ronald Reagan taking a coffee break (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)President Ronald Reagan taking a coffee break (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)Had the story stopped there, it would have been bad enough. Racist venting is still racist. But what happened next showed the dynamic power of racism when it finds enablers. Nixon used Reagan’s call as an excuse to adapt his language to make the same point to others. Right after hanging up with Reagan, Nixon sought out Secretary of State William Rogers.

Even though Reagan had called Nixon to press him to withdraw from the United Nations, in Nixon’s telling, Reagan’s complaints about Africans became the primary purpose of the call.

“As you can imagine,” Nixon confided in Rogers, “there’s strong feeling that we just shouldn’t, as [Reagan] said, he saw these, as he said, he saw these—” Nixon stammered, choosing his words carefully—“these, uh, these cannibals on television last night, and he says, ‘Christ, they weren’t even wearing shoes, and here the United States is going to submit its fate to that,’ and so forth and so on.”

Ronald Reagan and Barbara Walters at his Santa Barbara Ranch .(ABC PHOTO ARCHIVES/George Long)RONALD REAGAN, BARBARA WALTERS© ABC PHOTO ARCHIVES. For editorial use only. NO ARCHIVING, NO RESALE. Ronald Reagan and Barbara Walters at his Santa Barbara Ranch .(ABC PHOTO ARCHIVES/George Long)RONALD REAGAN, BARBARA WALTERSThe president wanted his patrician secretary of state to understand that Reagan spoke for racist Americans, and they needed to be listened to. “You know, but that’s typical of a reaction, which is probably”—“That’s right,” Rogers interjected—“quite strong.”

Nixon couldn’t stop retelling his version of what Reagan had said. Oddly unfocused, he spoke with Rogers again two hours later and repeated the story as if it would be new to the secretary.

“Reagan called me last night,” Nixon said, “and I didn’t talk to him until this morning, but he is, of course, outraged. And I found out what outraged him, and I find this is typical of a lot of people: They saw it on television and, he said, ‘These cannibals jumping up and down and all that.’ And apparently it was a pretty grotesque picture.” Like Nixon, Rogers had not seen the televised images. But Rogers agreed: “Apparently, it was a terrible scene.” Nixon added, “And they cheered.”

UNSPECIFIED - MAY 14: Michael Jackson meets with President Ronald Reagan at the South Lawn of the White Hose after he was presented with a Presidential Award (Photo by Frank Johnston/Washington Post/Getty Images)UNSPECIFIED - MAY 14: Michael Jackson meets with President Ronald Reagan at the South Lawn of the White Hose after he was presented with a Presidential Award (Photo by Frank Johnston/Washington Post/Getty Images)Then Nixon said, “He practically got sick at his stomach, and that’s why he called. And he said, ‘It was a terrible scene.’ And that sort of thing will have an emotional effect on people … as [Reagan] said, ‘This bunch of people who don’t even wear shoes yet, to be kicking the United States in the teeth’ … It was a terrible thing, they thought.”

Nixon didn’t think of himself as a racist; perhaps that’s why it was so important to him to keep quoting Reagan’s racism, rather than own the sentiment himself. But Reagan’s comment about African leaders resonated with Nixon, because it reflected his warped thinking about African Americans.

Ronald Reagan and Nancy ReeganRonald Reagan and Nancy ReeganIn the fall of 1971, the Nixon administration was engaged in a massive welfare-reform effort, and was also facing school busing. These two issues apparently inspired Nixon to examine more deeply his own thinking on whether African Americans could make it in American society. Only three weeks before the call with Reagan, Nixon had revealed his opinions on Africans and African Americans in a conversation with the Harvard professor Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who had briefly served in the Nixon administration. Nixon was attracted to the theories of Richard Herrnstein and Arthur Jensen, which linked IQ to race, and wondered what Moynihan thought.

In this Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016 photo, Tayron Santos cleans the newly-installed wall mural of former President Richard Nixon in the lobby area of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif. The museum will reopen Friday, Oct. 14, following a $15 million makeover aimed at bringing the country’s 37th president closer to younger generations less familiar with his groundbreaking trip to China or the Watergate scandal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)© ASSOCIATED PRESS In this Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016 photo, Tayron Santos cleans the newly-installed wall mural of former President Richard Nixon in the lobby area of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif. The museum will reopen Friday, Oct. 14, following a $15 million makeover aimed at bringing the country’s 37th president closer to younger generations less familiar with his groundbreaking trip to China or the Watergate scandal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)“I have reluctantly concluded, based at least on the evidence presently before me … that what Herrnstein says, and what was said earlier by Jensen, is probably … very close to the truth,” Nixon explained to a quiet Moynihan. Nixon believed in a hierarchy of races, with whites and Asians much higher up than people of African descent and Latinos. And he had convinced himself that it wasn’t racist to think black people, as a group, were inferior to whites, so long as he held them in paternalistic regard. “Within groups, there are geniuses,” Nixon said. “There are geniuses within black groups. There are more within Asian groups … This is knowledge that is better not to know.”

Nixon’s analysis of African leadership reflected his prejudice toward America’s black citizens. This is, at least, what he told Moynihan. “Have in mind one fact: Did you realize there is not, of the 40 or 45—you’re at the United Nations—black countries that are represented there, not one has a president or a prime minister who is there as a result of a contested election such as we were insisting upon in Vietnam?” And, he continued, a little later in the conversation: “I’m not saying that blacks cannot govern; I am saying they have a hell of a time. Now, that must demonstrate something.”

Ronald Reagan au sommet des pays industrialises le 19 juin 1988 a Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alexis DUCLOS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)© Alexis DUCLOS/GAMMA-RAPHO Ronald Reagan au sommet des pays industrialises le 19 juin 1988 a Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alexis DUCLOS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)Fifty years later, the one fact that we should have in mind is that our nation’s chief executive assumed that the nonwhite citizens of the United States were somehow inferior. Nixon confided in Moynihan, who had been one of his house intellectuals, about the nature of his interest in research on African American intelligence: “The reason I have to know it is that as I go for programs, I must know that they have basic weaknesses.”

Ronald Reagan with Closed Eyes by Pierre Trudeau. (Photo by Bettmann/Corbis/Getty Images)Ronald Reagan with Closed Eyes by Pierre Trudeau. (Photo by Bettmann/Corbis/Getty Images)As these and other tapes make clear, the 37th president of the United States was a racist: He believed in treating people according to their race, and that race implied fundamental differences in individual human beings. Nixon’s racism matters to us because he allowed his views on race to shape U.S. policies—both foreign and domestic. His policies need to be viewed through that lens.

The 40th president has not left as dramatic a record of his private thoughts. Reagan’s racism appears to be documented only once on the Nixon tapes, and never in his own diaries. His comment on African leaders, however, sheds new light on what lay behind the governor’s passionate defense of the apartheid states of Rhodesia and South Africa later in the 1970s. During his 1976 primary-challenge run against Gerald Ford, Reagan publicly opposed the Ford administration’s rejection of white-minority rule in Rhodesia. “We seem to be embarking on a policy of dictating to the people of southern Africa and running the risk of increased violence and bloodshed,” Reagan said at a rally in Texas.

President Richard Nixon enjoys a laugh with Barbara Bush at the opening of The Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace (Photo By Paul Harris/Getty Images)© Paul Harris Photography President Richard Nixon enjoys a laugh with Barbara Bush at the opening of The Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace (Photo By Paul Harris/Getty Images)These new tapes are a stark reminder of the racism that often lay behind the public rhetoric of American presidents. As I write a biography of JFK, I’ve found that this sort of racism did not animate President Kennedy—indeed, early on he took political risks to help African leaders, most notably Gamal Abdel Nasser and Kwame Nkrumah. But his reluctance to do more, sooner for African Americans cannot be separated from the paternalism he brought to the Oval Office or the prejudice held by parts of his Boston inner circle.

Kennedy, at least, learned on the job that securing civil rights for all was a moral imperative. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a symptom of a sickness that dwells in American society, sometimes deeply and weakly, sometimes on the surface and feverishly. He bears responsibility for his own actions, but the tropes, the turns of phrase, the clumsy indirection, and worse, the gunk about American society that he and his most devoted followers pass off as ideas, have an ugly tradition. It is not at the core of the American tradition, for what makes us mighty and successful is that we are much more than the narrowest of our minds. But it remains an ineluctable part of American culture, nonetheless.

Visit of American President Richard Nixon to Berlin. (Photo by James Andanson/Sygma via Getty Images)Visit of American President Richard Nixon to Berlin. (Photo by James Andanson/Sygma via Getty Images)Nixon never changed his mind about the supposed inherent inferiority of Africans. At the end of October 1971, he discussed the UN vote with his best friend, Bebe Rebozo. Bebe delighted Nixon by echoing Reagan: “That reaction on television was, it proves how they ought to be still hanging from the trees by their tails.” Nixon laughed.

These days, though Trump’s imagery is less zoological, it is pretty much the same in spirit. And this president, unlike Nixon, doesn’t believe he needs to hide behind anyone else’s racism.

Posté par lefrancophone à 19:10 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]


23 novembre 2018

RD Congo-élections présidentielles : socio-démocrates, libéraux et nationalistes en ordre de bataille, électorale

Le Francophoneplus, le 23 novembre 2018
Par Jean Bonsenge
 

Felix et Vital Accord de Nairobi 23 nov 2018

Le mariage entre les socio-démocrates et les libéraux est quasi-impossible. C’est ce qui a été à la base de la défection de l’UDPS de Félix Tshisekedi et de l’UNC de Vital Kamerhe de l’accord de Genève. Avec l’accord conclu ce jour, vendredi 23 novembre, à Nairobi au Kenya où Mr Kamerhe, président de l’UNC et candidat Président de République pour la présidentielle du 23 décembre s’est désisté en faveur de Félix Tshisekedi, l’union est parfaite car les deux formations politiques ont comme idéologie de base, la social-démocratie. La bataille s’annonce rude. D’un côté Mr. Tshisekedi devra affronter les libéraux composés de cinq leaders de l’opposition, Moïse Katumbi et Jean Pierre Bemba, pour ne citer que ceux-là, qui sont restés fidèles à l’accord de Genève qui a désigné Martin Fayulu candidat commun de l’Opposition, le 11 novembre. Et de l’autre côté Félix devra en découdre avec les nationalistes regroupés au sein du FCC avec leur candidat Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, le dauphin de Joseph Kabila, le Chef de l’État congolais. Etat providence et forte intervention du gouvernement (socio-démocrates), méritocratie et limitation de l’action de l’État (libéraux), souveraineté de l’État, congolais, et protectionnisme (nationalistes), quelle forme de régime les Congolais, le peuple souverain va opter pour, le 23 décembre ?
 
www.lefrancophoneplus.com

 

Posté par lefrancophone à 23:43 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

18 novembre 2018

Accord de Genève : le fondement rationnel a eu le dessus sur les valeurs morales

Le Francophoneplus, le 18 novembre 2018

Par Jean Bonsenge

Felix Tshisekedi et Vital Kamehre Accord de Geneve 2018

 

Signé le 11 novembre à Genève par les 7 leaders de l’Opposition politique congolaise, Félix Tshisekedi (UDPS), Vital Kamehre (UNC), Martin Fayulu (EciDÉ), Prof Matungulu (Congo Na Biso), Adolphe Muzito (Nouvel Élan), Moïse Katumbi ( Ensemble pour le Changement) et Jean-Pierre Bemba (MLC), l’accord qui a désigné Martin Fayulu candidat commun de l’opposition pour la présidentielle du 23 décembre prochain, s’est vu amputer de deux de ses signataires, Félix et Vital, 24heures après. Selon certains analystes, il est moralement repréhensible d’apposer sa signature sur un document d’une portée politique considérable et de la retirer quelques heures après, ça jette un discrédit. Une résiliation unilatérale d’un engagement politique qui pourtant visait à l’unité de l’Opposition pour s’assurer de la victoire face à la majorité au pouvoir et au FCC (Front commun pour le Congo).  Quant aux concernés, Félix Tshisekedi et Vital Kamehre le fondement rationnel a pris le dessus sur une quelque moralité : respect d’engagement. La rationalité de leurs décisions repose sur le rejet de Genève, de son candidat commun ainsi que du mouvement y adjoint LAMUKA (réveillez-vous) par leurs bases respectives, le jour même de la publication dudit accord. Tshisekedi et Kamerhe ont été investis candidats présidents de la République lors des congrès tenus par leurs formations politiques. Il s’est établi en ce moment-là un contrat social d’où ils tirent leur légitimité individuelle. En signant l’accord de Genève ils avaient en quelque sorte rompu ce pacte social avec leurs partis politiques, et le fait de quitter Genève est donc rationnel, n’en déplaise aux cinq autres leaders de l’opposition qui sont restés fidèles à l’accord. En revanche, ce deal politique a encore toutes ces chances de survie et de réussite.    

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17 novembre 2018

Irlande : un Congolais parmi les diplômés

Le Francophoneplus 16 novembre 2018

Par Jean Bonsenge

 

Patrick Fores Graduation GMTI

Galway Congolese Association présente ses sincères félicitations à Nlandu Patrick Foré, un Congolais de la RD Congo, résidant à Galway en Irlande pour l’obtention de son diplôme. Mr Nlandu est chargé des relations publiques au sein du comité directeur de l’Organisation, et l’un des membres les plus influents de la communauté. L’acquisition de son titre académique dans son pays d’accueil est un indicateur qualitatif pour son intégration et inclusion sociale, dans la société irlandaise. La communauté congolaise de Galway aura sans doute besoin de son apport pour son organisation et son développement.  Quant à la RDC, sa mère patrie, elle attend sa quotepart ainsi que celle de toute sa diaspora pour changer la donne politique et actionner son décollage économique. Félicitations et bienvenu dans le monde professionnel Patrick !

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04 novembre 2018

La Refondation du Congo est tributaire d’un changement drastique

Le Francophoneplus, 04 novembre 2018

Par Jean Bonsenge

 

Fred Deputation 2018 DRC

Dans 49 jours (23 décembre) les Congolais seront appelés à élire leurs gouvernants pour un nouveau quinquennat. Les nouveaux gestionnaires des institutions de l’État auront le mandat du peuple souverain pour amener le pays à bon port, en formulant des politiques adéquates et en réalisant des projets, et des programmes capables d’accélérer le développement du pays, qui peine, jusqu’ à ce jour, à décoller tant sur le plan du développement économique que celui du développement humain, dont l’indice se retrouve au bas de l’échelle au niveau universel.  Pour y parvenir il va falloir faire des réformes institutionnelles : justice, finances, sécurité, services publics incluant la santé, l’éducation, le transport en passant par la mise en route des infrastructures de base gage de tout développement. Une réforme en profondeur, qui ne peut se réaliser et être efficace que par un changement, qui se veut cette fois ci, drastique. Cette transformation consistera à couper le cordon ombilical avec les méthodes anciennes de gouvernance gangrenées par la corruption politique, cultiver les valeurs positives, procéder à un assainissement de fond en comble de tout l’appareil étatique, et à l’éradication du statuquo, et ainsi viendra un vent nouveau qui propulsera la RDC dans le concert des nations. Aux électeurs (trices) de la circonscription de Mont Amba, les recherches menées par les politologues sur l’attitude des votants en RDC ont démontré que ceux derniers accordent leurs suffrages à la personne qu’ils connaissent.  Fred a une expérience probante dans l’administration, pour avoir passé plus de deux décennies dans l’administration de la première puissance mondiale comme un haut-cadre, un entrepreneur éprouvé, un homme qui sait communier avec sa base. Élu député, il mettra ses atouts au profit de sa circonscription, de sa ville et de son pays. Ngomo Nsukuta Freddy, candidat à la députation nationale no 187, sous le label du Front Citoyen pour la République, parti politique membre de la plateforme politique Ensemble, avec Moïse Katumbi Chapwe comme autorité morale, mérite votre vote ! 

 

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30 octobre 2018

RD Congo : la militarisation de la République en marche

Le Francophoneplus, 30 octobre 2018
Par Jean Bonsenge

Militarisation du pays 10 2018

Lundi 29 octobre 2018, le gouvernement de Kinshasa a remis un lot d’engins, de l’armée nationale congolaise, à la CENI pour sa logistique en vue des élections du 23 décembre prochain. Selon l’Agence Congolaise Presse, le lot comprend, entre autre, 150 camions de type Kamaz réceptionnés à Kinshasa, 135 camions à recevoir dans les villes de la partie Est du pays, 171 Pick-Up, 1.800 motos, 1 avion Ilyusin-76, 1 DC-8, 3 Boeings-727, 1 Boeing-737, 2 Antonov 72 adaptés à des pistes d’accès difficile, 1 Boeing-737 passagers, 5 hélicoptères d’une capacité d’une tonne et demie et 2 hélicoptères de supervision. Pour le francophoneplus, la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) avance lentement et sûrement vers l’instauration d’un nouveau type de régime politique : la militarisation de la nation et de son peuple. La défense nationale et la sécurité intérieure, la police et la population constituent les 3 colonnes de ce processus. Classées dans le top 10 des armées, en termes de puissance sur un total de 34 pays sur l’Afrique, par Global FirePower (GFP) à son édition 2018, les FARDC (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo) occupe une place de choix dans le processus de la militarisation de la nation et de son peuple. Une armée qui faisait la fierté du pays dans le régime précédent avait connu une déstructuration au déclin de ce dernier. Les guerres qui se sont suivies l’ont aggravée. Le régime actuel a eu comme mission de doter la république d’une armée Républicaine, forte et dissuasive. Actuellement, les FARDC sont à même de faire preuve de leur capacité de défense contre les ennemis de la République. Des moyens conséquents y ont été affectés pour y parvenir. Dans les budgets annuels du pays (RDC) la rubrique de la défense nationale et celle de la sécurité de l’État reçoivent la part de lion. Par exemple, dans son budget annuel de 10 milliards de la monnaie locale (Francs congolais), la loi de finances 2017 pour l’exercice 2018, prévoit un total de 218.615 sur les plafonds d’autorisation d’emplois rémunérés (Annexe XIV). Intérieur et sécurité 172.758. Le site américain GFP indique que le budget de la défense nationale s’évalue à $ 162,000,000. L’accès au database de la SIPRI (Stockholm Peace Research Institute) pourra démontrer un accru d’investissement en armement de la RDC au cours de ces dernières années. Quant à l’armée, la marche d’endurance et activités sportives des militaires et policiers à travers le pays, le 30 juin de l’année en cours, la nomination et promotions à la hiérarchie militaire, le 15 juillet dernier où Célestin Mbala Munsense, Lieutenant-Général, a été nommé par ordonnance présidentielle nouveau Chef État-Major des FARDC succédant ainsi au Général Etumba envoyé en retraite, l’adoption par le Parlement de la RDC d’un accord de coopération militaire et technique avec la Russie en juin dernier sont des indicateurs d’un engagement vers la militarisation. Du côté de la police, elle s’est vue pilotée par un officier militaire de haut rang, nommé le 17 juillet 2017, par le président congolais Joseph Kabila, le Lieutenant-Général Dieudonné Amuli Bahigwa, nouveau Commissaire Général de la Police nationale Congolaise (PNC), en remplacement du Général Charles Bisengimana Rukira. Quant au peuple, l’évasion de plusieurs détenus de la prison centrale de Makala, le 17 mai de l’année dernière et dans d’autres centres pénitentiaires à travers le pays, l’attaque des parquets de Matete et de Kalamu ainsi que du bureau de la police de Mont-Amba en juin de la même année rentrent dans le processus. Les faits relevés ci-haut constituent les signaux qui ne trompent pas sur la voie de la militarisation de la nation et de son peuple, et aussi un message envoyé aux ennemis de la République.
 
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28 octobre 2018

Irlande : Michael D. Higgins réélu président de la République

Le Francophoneplus 28 octobre 2018

Par Jean Bonsenge

 

Higgins President Elected 2018

Sans surprise aucune le président sortant Michael D. Higgins a été réélu pour un second septennat. Avec un total de 822 566 voix soit 55,8% de suffrages, Mr. Higgins sociologue, féministe et poète, va conduire le pays vers les jours meilleurs, pour les 7ans avenir :"La présidence n'appartient pas à une seule personne mais au peuple irlandais. "Je serai président de toutes les personnes, de ceux qui ont voté pour moi et de ceux qui n'ont pas voté. "Je suis tellement fier de ce pays, je suis fier d'être un président pour vous tous et avec vous tous, et j'attends avec impatience la joie et l'espoir de tout ce que nous réussirons ensemble." a-t-il déclaré solennellement dans son allocution d’acceptation, à Dublin Castle ce samedi 27 octobre. Il sied de noter que Mr. Higgins est le premier président à être réélu pour un second mandat depuis Éamon de Valera en 1966. Patrick Hillery et Mary McAleese ont été respectivement réélus sans concours en 1983 et 2004. La grande surprise de cette élection présidentielle c’est le candidat indépendant Peter Casey, il a terminé en seconde position avec 342727. Il a raflé plus de 23% des suffrages au niveau national, avec un écart considérable des autres quatre candidats, sans tenir compte de la controverse envers les gens du voyage pendant la campagne. L’homme d’affaires Seán Gallagher a obtenu 94514 voix soit 6,4%, Liadh Ni Riada, du Sinn Féin est arrivée en troisième place avec 93 987 voix soit 6,3%. Il faut noter que les nombreux partisans de son parti (Sinn Féin) ont donné leurs voix de première préférence au président élu Michael D. Higgins, plutôt qu’à leur candidate, a reconnu Mme McDonald, la présidente du parti. Joan Freeman a obtenu 87908 soit 6% et Gavin Duffy 32198 (2,2%).

 

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21 octobre 2018

Irlande- présidentielle : Michael D. Higgins en tête

Le Francophoneplus 21 octobre 2018
Par Jean Bonsenge
 

Poll Presidential Race 2018 Higgins ahead

Le dernier sondage d’intention de vote sur l’élection présidentielle du 26 octobre suggère que Michael D Higgins, le président sortant, et candidat à sa propre succession, enregistre une percée significative par rapport aux autres candidats, dans la course à la magistrature suprême. Le Sunday Business Post RED poll a effectué un sondage d’opinions sur 1000 potentiels votants de jeudi 11 octobre au mercredi 17 octobre, et les résultats d’intention de vote confirment la tendance plébiscitée aux jours antérieurs. Selon le sondage, Mr Higgins arrive en tête du peloton avec 68%. Seán Gallagher (Indépendant et homme d’affaires) vient en seconde position avec 12%. La candidate présidente de la République de Sinn Féin Liadh Ní Riada est créditée à 9%. Joan Freeman (Sénateur et Indépendant) a reçu 6%. Quant à Gavin Duffy (Indépendant, et homme d’affaires) et Peter Casey (Sénateur, Indépendant et homme d’affaires), ils ont respectivement obtenu 3% et 2%. Il sied de noter que Mr Casey a été au centre d’une controverse née à la suite de ses propos envers les travellers (les gens du voyage), une communauté minoritaire en Irlande. Selon lui les gens du voyage ne devraient pas refuser les logements sociaux au profit des campings. Cette controverse n’a pas affecté son score.
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18 octobre 2018

Prix Nobel de la Paix 2018 : Dr Mukwege parmi les lauréats, sentiment mitigé

Le Francophoneplus 18 octobre 2018
Par Jean Bonsenge

Dr MKG

Le 05 octobre, le prix Nobel de la paix 2018 a été décerné au Congolais Dr Mukwege et à l’Iraquienne Nadia Murad (ex-esclave sexuelle), par l’Académie Suédoise. En ce qui concerne le gynécologue Dr Dénis Mukwege, il se dégage un sentiment de fierté couplé de celui de morosité. Un sentiment de fierté par le fait qu’il est le tout premier Congolais à être décerné ce prix prestigieux. Il est aussi le tout premier Africain de notre ère d’être le lauréat dans son domaine d’attribution, unique en son genre, de réparer les femmes victimes de violences sexuelles, utilisées comme arme de guerre par les seigneurs de guerre à la partie Est de son pays, la RDC. En dépit de multiples menaces pour sa vie, il n’a cessé d’administrer les soins holistiques à ses patientes à l’hôpital Panzi, dont il est le fondateur, au Sud-Kivu, en RDC. Cette consécration à double portée, nationale et planétaire, constitue un plus dans la lutte contre les violences sexuelles faites à la femme en général et celles perpétrées en temps de conflits en particulier. Un atout supplémentaire à tous les mouvements féministes qui luttent contre les violences sexuelles à l’instar de # Me Too, Time’s Up, #BalanceTonPorc, tous nés de la 4ème vague féministe. La libération de la parole déclenchée par l’affaire Harvey Weinstein, l’ex-producteur Américain sur diverses allégations de harcèlement sexuels l’année dernière, un an, jour pour jour, trouve ici un support de taille. Car cette libération de la parole met le bourreau à nu et entame ainsi la délivrance de la femme violée, harcelée, abusée et celle dont est atteinte son intégrité physique. En plus le prix Noble à Mr Mukwege est un plus sur la mise en œuvre de la résolution 1325 du Conseil de Sécurité de l’ONU qui recommande aux États membre l’égalité, la paix et la sécurité pour les femmes en temps des conflits adoptée le 31.10.2000 et lancée en RDC le 19 septembre 2007. De l’ autre côté ce prix Nobel décerné au Dr Mukwege distille aussi un sentiment de morosité, car son engagement à offrir les soins gynéco-obstétriques remonte dans les années quatre-vingt-dix, et déjà à cette époque, il avait sonné la sonnette d’alarme, et plus particulièrement au moment où la destruction des femmes dans leur intimité commençait à prendre de l’ampleur, rien de concret n’a été fait surtout de la part de la communauté internationale, « au début je pensais que c’est une barbarie passagère, mais, malheureusement ça s’est confirmée que c’était devenue une façon de faire. A-t-il déclaré en 2013 sur France 24. « Il y a des gens qui veulent s’enrichir du coltan, de la cassitérite, et de l’or du Congo et donc pour avoir ces minerais il faut qu’ils tuent, qu’ils violent, qu’ils détruisent les femmes. Quand je dis la souffrance a atteint des limites inhumaines, je ne vois pas quelqu’un qui est humain que ce discours peut déranger » a -t-il renchéri. Il sied de rappeler qu’à l’époque de la colonisation du Congo c’est l’amputation des mains des indigènes Congolais qui était la règle pour accroître la production du caoutchouc. 58 ans après l’indépendance du Congo c’est la destruction de la femme dans son intimité par les seigneurs de guerres qui est devenue la voie par excellence pour avoir accès aux minerais que regorgent le pays. C’est de cette manière que s’estompe la fierté du prix Nobel de la paix 2018 décerné au Docteur Mukwege. Le prix Nobel de la paix a été créé au nom d’Alfred Noble, un scientifique qui accordait un intérêt particulier à la Chimie et à la Physique, aussi à la littérature et aux langues. Né à Stockholm en Suède en 1833, il est mort le 10 décembre 1896 en San Remo, en Italie. Nobel est connu pour avoir inventé la dynamite en 1867. Le premier prix Nobel de la paix a été décerné en 1901 soit 5ans après sa mort.
 
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Processus électoral : « pressions » sur Marie-Josée Ifoku pour un désistement en faveur d’Emmanuel Shadary

17.10.2018,

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Candidate à la présidentielle du 23 décembre 2018, Marie-Josée Ifoku dit être sujette à des pressions de tout genre pour qu’elle désiste en faveur d’Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, candidat du Front commun pour le Congo (FCC).

Dans une déclaration faite le mardi 16 octobre dans un média privé émettant à Kinshasa, Marie-Josée Ifoku a indiqué qu’elle ne cédera pas à ce genre de pressions sur sa personne et qu'elle est prête à aller jusqu’au bout.

« Depuis que j’ai déposé ma candidature, je suis menacée. Chaque semaine qui passe, je reçois un émissaire me demandant d’appuyer la candidature d’Emmanuel Shadary à la présidentielle de 2018. Je ne le ferai pas. J’irai jusqu’au bout. Il y a quelques jours, des agents de l’Agence nationale de renseignements ont été commis à cette tâche. Ils ont fait pression sur moi. Ils m’accusent faussement d’utiliser le nom du chef de l’État pour trafic d’influence », a-t-elle lâché.

Et d’ajouter : « Au début, je n’avais pas voulu en parler car je me disais que je serai accusée de vouloir me mettre en lumière. Mais ce qui s’est passé au beach, le refus de me laisser voyager alors que je détenais, en bonne et due forme, une autorisation de sortie, a dépassé les bornes. Si ça se passe comme ça à Kinshasa la capitale, comment vais-je battre campagne en provinces le moment venu ? », s'est-elle interrogée.

Rappelons que le mardi 16 octobre, Marie-Josée Ifoku a été interdite de sortir du pays par les services d’immigration alors qu’elle voulait se rendre au Congo-Brazzaville.


MEDIA CONGO PRESS / mediacongo.net

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