Till date, it is widely believed that 40th US President Ronald Reagan (in office from 1981 to 1989) had championed the anti-Apartheid movement. However, The Atlantic recently stunned the world by publishing recordings of the then Governor of California, in which Reagan is heard making racial abuse against UN representatives from some African nations!
Governor Reagan had railed against the African delegates’ refusal to support Washington’s position that the UN should recognise Taiwan’s Independence, telling his good friend Dick Nixon (over phone): “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries, damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” The Atlantic reported that the former US president had made the comment way back in 1971, after the World Body recognised the People’s Republic of China, instead of Taiwan…
History Professor at New York University Tim Naftali, who had served as Director of the Nixon Presidential Library from 2007 to 2011, worked really hard to get the tape released. He has expressed hope that the conversation around the racist rhetoric between two former presidents would facilitate conversation about how that rhetoric is still shaping decisions.
Naftali stressed: “Understanding how our Presidents think about race is not a matter of character assassination, it’s about understanding what drives their decision making.” He further said: “It’s not partisan gamesmanship, it’s about how these people with the power we gave them as result of an election have used it. If their minds are poisoned by prejudice, we need to know.”
Meanwhile, Regan’s daughter Patti Davis has claimed that her father’s racist remarks brought tears in her eyes. “There is no defence, no rationalisation, no suitable explanation for what my father said on that taped phone conversation,” she said. At the same time, Davis has made an attempt to portray a different image of the former US President, stating: “When I was growing up, bigotry and racism were addressed in my family by making it clear that these were toxic and sinister beliefs that should always be called out and shunned.” She told the press that her father would have asked for forgiveness for calling the Africans monkeys!
It is to be noted that the Racial Abuse is not a new phenomenon in the First World. Even American and European Statesmen often abuse the African and Asians by making racial comments. From President (Ronald) Regan to President (Donald) Trump, the tradition remains the same. Very recently, President Trump said that he is “the least racist person there is anywhere in the world”. As expected, the Afro-Americans have ridiculed the President for issuing such a statement. However, politicians, like the current US president, do not pay heed to that, as they seemingly derive pleasure by abusing others. Perhaps, the world needs more Martin Luther King (Jr)s to fight this Evil!
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