What role has social media and the Internet played in sowing racial discontent?
As racial and ethnic tensions become ever more tense, even some of the progressive left are now expressing deep concern about media’s role in “fanning the flames” of racial and ethnic hostility among their fellow Americans.
The current edition of Newsweek contains a very important article written by Eric Kaufmann. The article describes the growing, but erroneous belief of rising national racism and hostility to people of color. Kaufmann, a University of London professor, asks a very provocative question, “what if the media and the national conversation isn’t exposing racism so much as creating it or at least creating the impression that it is far more prevalent than we thought?"
In fact, Kaufmann found a persistent effort to fan the flames of racial and ethnic hatred and discredit police forces as legitimate instruments of authority.
In the process, they have convinced many Americans erroneously that racism is at pandemic levels in the United States.
Kaufmann detailed his findings in the Manhattan Institute’s The Social Construction of Racism in the United States. The net effect is that many Americans have been convinced that racism is pandemic when as recently as five years ago, they did not think it was as bad as they have now been led to believe it is.
Kaufmann’s study cites social media as the chief culprit in giving America a false sense of just how prevalently racist acts against blacks occur.
He provides a powerful and vivid illustration of how social media can distort the public’s perception of reality.
In the study, he asked respondents, “Do you believe young black men are more in danger of dying in a car crash or of being shot by police?” The correct answer is that cars are approximately 10 times deadlier to young black men than police bullets. He then asked a second question: “Were white Republicans racist?” Those who answered the second question affirmatively were much less likely to have answered the first question accurately. Kaufmann reports that 53% of Biden voters got the answer wrong (thinking guns were more lethal to black men than cars) as opposed to only 15% of Trump’s voters. Shockingly, the education level of Kaufmann’s respondents “made no difference to the result.”
The continued efforts by the news media and its internet and high-tech allies to convince their fellow Americans that our society is systemically racist continues to confuse too many Americans about the state of racism in American society.
In light of the false and destructive narrative on race in America today being woven by the progressives and our national media, it is vitally important that those who believe that the truth and reality are far different, and positive, need to tell the brave and glorious story of how America ultimately lived up to the promises of its founding documents and has become that “city on a hill” to light the way for the old world.
This narrative of America as an irretrievably racist nation is a dangerous and inaccurate myth. A recent book by Dr. Kathleen Brush, Racism and Anti-racism in the World Before and After 1945, provides a very healthy antidote to the toxic and poisonous elixir which is poisoning our countrymen, turning them against each other.
Dr. Brush’s research illustrates just how far America has come since the days of Jim Crow. By the way, when President Biden calls laws like Georgia’s new election law, “Jim Crow II,” he is either deliberately lying, or he is betraying a level of mental impairment that should deeply concern every American. He lived through the Jim Crow era, surely, he knows better than what he is saying.
Just a few highlights from Dr. Brush’s research are very enlightening. Having studied racism in the world for over a decade in 111 countries, America’s demonstrable commitment to anti-racism is something of which to be proud.
She concludes, “I have been studying racism around the world for more than a decade and I know what systemic racism looks like. It's the opposite of the United States.”
Dr. Brush points to compelling statistics to back her case. For instance, African Americans are the most prosperous, educated black population in the world. America’s Latino population’s GDP is the highest of any Latin American nation, and Asian Americans are the most educated and prosperous ethnic group in America, their incomes being 25% higher than whites on average. For Indian Americans,’ household income is 60% higher — very compelling evidence.
Dr. Brush says that Americans indicated in polling that they are less resistant to living next door to someone of another ethnicity than people in other nations, with only zero to 5% of Americans saying that race would be a factor, while in Iran and Nigeria, it was 30% to 40%. And in France, it was 20% to 30%.
What Dr. Brush’s research and her book show us is that what we felt in our hearts was right. While we still have some unsolved problems to deal with, America is not an irredeemably racist nation. In fact, we are one of the leading anti-racist nations in the world — and of that we should be grateful — and proud.
Dr. Richard Land, BA (magna cum laude), Princeton; D.Phil. Oxford; and Th.M., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) and has served since 2013 as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Land has been teaching, writing, and speaking on moral and ethical issues for the last half century in addition to pastoring several churches. He is the author of The Divided States of America, Imagine! A God Blessed America, Real Homeland Security, For Faith & Family and Send a Message to Mickey.