During an appearance on Fox News Sunday over the weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) flat-out denied that systemic racism exists in the United States, although for literal centuries, Black Americans have faced horrors like slavery and lynching, and — to be clear — slavery was originally upheld by the Constitution. In the time since the ratification of the Constitution, Black Americans have also faced setbacks like racist voter suppression laws. The Voting Rights Act, which took on discriminatory election procedures, was enacted in 1965 — not that long ago!
Although he noted that “within every society, you have bad actors,” Graham commented as follows when asked whether there is “systemic racism” in the United States:
‘No, not in my opinion. We just elected a two-term African-American president, the vice president is of African-American-Indian dissent, so our systems are not racist. America is not a racist country.’
The election of an African American president does not somehow erase the racism present in the entire rest of the society, and the fact that systemic racism is present in the society is not the same as a claim that the country itself is somehow “racist.” Watch his comments below:
Wallace: "Is there systemic racism in this country…?"
Sen. Lindsey Graham: "No, not in my opinion. We just elected a two-term African-American president, the vice president is of African-American-Indian dissent, so our systems are not racist. America is not a racist country." pic.twitter.com/YUd2ahgF87
— The Recount (@therecount) April 25, 2021
How about redlining? “Redlining” entails systematic denials of benefits like home loans to residents of certain areas — often where marginalized communities live. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 took on the practice — but 1968 wasn’t that long ago! Decades and decades of denials of access to resources that could have been used to improve communities where Black Americans live didn’t suddenly become irrelevant because Lindsey Graham said so, and at present, Black Americans still face repeatedly higher rates of rejection when seeking resources like home loans.
During his time on Fox on Sunday, Graham also claimed that, while in office so far, Biden “has been very destabilizing” — although in reality, Biden has garnered unifyingly high levels of support from the general public, and his key policy initiatives have repeatedly garnered even higher support. As of this weekend, Biden has the approval of an average of over 53 percent of Americans, according to the weighted tabulations from FiveThirtyEight — which is over 15 percent higher than the average approval level that Trump left office with according to the same source. Meanwhile, Biden’s policy initiatives that have garnered high support include his COVID-19 economic relief package and his infrastructure spending proposal.
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) April 25, 2021
Biden’s relative popularity and the popularity of his key policies could help propel Democrats to victories in the upcoming midterm elections, when control of both chambers of Congress will be at stake.