Despite Republican dismissals, racism has been ingrained in the United States since its inception.
Whether it's through building stratospheric levels of wealth through centuries of forced labor, denying prosperity to marginalized groups through redlining, disproportionately incarcerating Black citizens, or a host of other actions, a hard truth to face is that the country has disproportionately burdened and brutalized Americans of color, particularly Black Americans.
In addition to the racism enshrined in the government's day-to-day operations, racism on a sociological basis has been embraced by the Republican party with its fearmongering of immigrants and Muslims and its frequent justification of law enforcement murders of Black people.
But Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina insists that America isn't systemically racist, because the country has elected a Black President in the past and recently elected a Black Vice President.
Lindsey Graham says systemic racism isn't an issue in America because Barack Obama and Kamala Harris were elected https://t.co/PqRdoeWmHW— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1619356569.0
When asked by Chris Wallace if there was systemic racism in policing and other institutions, Graham said:
"No, not in my opinion. We just elected a two-term African American President. The Vice President is of African-American, Indian descent, so our systems are not racist. America is not a racist country. Within every society, you have bad actors."
Graham didn't acknowledge the onslaught of racist rhetoric against former President Barack Obama before, during, and after his presidency. Former President Donald Trump, whom Graham supported throughout his presidency, built his political brand on questioning whether or not Obama was actually an American.
Vice President Kamala Harris' saw her name repeatedly, deliberately botched by Republicans, some of whom were even her colleagues in the Senate at the time. For instance, former Senator David Perdue (R-GA) mocked Harris' name while speaking at a Trump rally.
What's more, the elections of individuals of color don't disprove the existence of systemic racism. In the wake of Obama's election and, more recently, Biden's election, Republicans have attempted to further weaponize systemic racism through voter suppression laws that disproportionately target Black communities.
Social media users didn't hesitate to fact-check Graham.
"America can't be racist because it elected two Black people who half the country hates for reasons they can't quit… https://t.co/O4xRmCNske— The Daily Show (@The Daily Show)1619445152.0
This is what happens when folks are allowed to think systemic racism is about the absence of high status Black peop… https://t.co/0S9Mxr4rpT— noliwe rooks (@noliwe rooks)1619375355.0
Election of officials doesn’t automatically wipe away the problem, Mr. Senator... https://t.co/bJqDDGdQMk— Dwayne (@Dwayne)1619370706.0
Lindsey Graham and his ignorance in regards to racism in America is not an anomaly. It’s rife in our government, es… https://t.co/jOCKkWOc0m— Gerald Hampton (@Gerald Hampton)1619379774.0
This is a consistent talking point from the GOP. If the majority of Americans vote for a person of color, then Amer… https://t.co/gPXMndoSod— David Baria (@David Baria)1619385929.0
They proceeded to roast Graham for the absurd argument—and Fox for posing the existence of systemic racism as questionable in the first place.
How is a seasoned journalist asking a yes or no question about racism? Journalists shouldn't ask if systemic racism… https://t.co/k1f1d8G5Hv— Imaeyen Ibanga (@Imaeyen Ibanga)1619371853.0
“How can there be systemic racism if that Negro fellow Frederick Douglass wrote a book?” https://t.co/ive9cFxEfh— DEFUND & ABOLISH POLICE, REFUND OUR COMMUNITIES (@DEFUND & ABOLISH POLICE, REFUND OUR COMMUNITIES)1619389885.0
literally the political equivalent of saying “I can’t be racist because I have black friends” 🚮 https://t.co/LlnSxWKwK0— Tito (@Tito)1619402575.0
225 years of American history and he touts 2 people of color in the past 10 years. Boy, we’re doin great #America https://t.co/4sEIGj6Y2J— Yo Doc (@Yo Doc)1619373933.0
Graham isn't expected to change his position anytime soon, even in the face of centuries' of evidence.