Systemic Racism in America – Foundations Of Freedom: Is our American system built to promote unfair treatment among minorities? Does systemic racism have roots in America’s founding? How do we really resolve the human issue of racism? Tune in to hear the truth from a Biblical, historical and Constitutional perspective!
Air Date: 06/11/2020
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith and the Culture
President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And if we think they’re not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
You find your way to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live and we’re talking about those hot topics of the day, from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. Today is Thursday, so around here, that’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
That means it’s the day where we take your questions and we dive into those foundational freedoms. And there are so many those at stake right now: in our country, we need to carefully define them and we need to talk about where they came from and how to make sure our nation continues to live with those foundational freedoms.
You can get more of this at our website, wallbuilderslive.com. In fact, we have archives of our Thursday programs diving into these freedoms and your questions. We also have archives of our Friday programs, which is Good News Friday and then our interviews on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, all of it available right there at wallbuilderslive.com. Check that out today. We are here with David Barton.
He’s America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. Tim Barton is also with us, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. Check us out there at that website, wallbuilderslive.com. And while you’re there, make that contribution. This is a critical time in our history and a time when we all need to be involved in restoring America’s Constitution. And you can be part of that by donating at wallbuilderslive.com.
Alright, David, Tim, first question today is definitely timely. It’s about systemic racism in American history or the question of whether or not that exists. This one is from John and he says, “Would you shed a little light from your wealth of historical research in America about the issue of racism in our country?
Many of my friends address the current issues in our country as another example of the systemic racism we deal within America. Even though slaves came to the country very early on in our history, were there individuals who took a stance against it? Though, I realized that our most recent events were tragic and absolutely unnecessary, do you see racism as a systemic issue that has roots in our founding? Is our American system silently built to promote unfair treatment among minorities?”
So, a lot of questions there, guys, but really, it kind of sets up this whole topic that is the topic of the day. You know, is America racist? Is our history racist? Are we the root cause of racism in the world?
Well, let me take the first shot of this guy’s and I want to point out that systemic racism is a reality, but it’s a reality of the flesh of human nature, that inhumanity, right. Part of the Christian perspective is we believe that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That there is brokenness in humanity.
That when Adam and Eve sinned, right, we say they ate the apple, but we know it wasn’t really an apple, but they ate the forbidden fruit, sin entered the world and brokenness enter the world and for the history of humanity, people formed into groups of similar people. And for the history of humanity, there was oppression of other groups who are not part of initial groups. And this is part of again, a sinful human nature. This is part of a brokenness in the world and culture we live in.
And this is where ultimately, right, we believe that when Jesus came in, and I say we believe like, historically, there’s so much evidence that Jesus came, that he lived on this earth, that he died, that he was resurrected, that there’s so much evidence for all this.
Racism in America
But the point of all this is to say that when you look at the history of the world, you see this racism as just one of the many areas of brokenness that is revealed. So, to say there’s systemic racism in America is not an acceptable reality unless we’re acknowledging that because of the flesh, you will always find racism in America.
But to say there’s racism in America does not mean that all of them America is racist. It means that you will find people because of a fleshly, sinful nature that operate in racism, but that is not the way the system was built. But let me first back up to a biblical perspective of addressing racism and I’m going into the history, because history certainly doesn’t support that systems were built and established to favor white people at a disadvantage minorities or black people or whatever the case is.
But first, my biblical perspective, I think where so many people get this wrong and by so many people, I’m seeing Christian leaders who are offering suggestions and solutions that are not based on biblical truth. And guys, we talked about so often on this program, we want to make sure we look at things from a biblical, a historically, a constitutional perspective. Well, there’s too many people today who are professing to be Christians who are not looking for answers from a biblical perspective.
You have people throwing out ideas: we should disband the police, that’ll solve racism. We should all kneel because that solves racism. ideas that are dumb on face value and they’re dumb when you get below face value. It doesn’t make any sense at all, these things that we are suggesting would solve racism in America.
And this is where I would propose something that should be incredibly unifying is saying, we should find a moral code that we could follow and this moral code that maybe would suggest we should not operate in racism. Maybe for example, if we said we should treat other people the way we want to be treated, that we should…
But where can you find that? Where would that be?
Right. That maybe we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This is where I would again point to the teachings of Jesus. Because one of the things that I argue when I am on college campuses, when I talk to students or professors, this is the case I will make, is there was no greater moral teacher than that of Jesus. And even the Founding Fathers agreed with this, right?
The Founding Fathers
We can point to a few Founding Fathers who were not sure about the divinity of Jesus, maybe a couple that fall in the deist category. But overall, the Founding Fathers, even the ones who may be questioning the divinity of Jesus, acknowledge there was no greater moral teacher than Jesus and they support using his moral system as a code for which America should govern itself.
Now, the reason I point this out is if we’re going to have to have a standard of right and wrong, you might as well look for the best moral system out there, which is the moral system of Jesus. And when you look at the moral teachings of Jesus, when Jesus says, treat other people the way you want to be treated, right, the golden rule, Matthew 7:12, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, there’s no distinguishing of race or class or creed or ethnicity. It’s not treat white people the way you want white people to treat you or treat… No, no, it’s treat everybody, right? It’s not if you’re white, do this to whites; if you’re black, do it to black.
No, Jesus’ commands were across the board. In fact, one of the really interesting kind of examples Jesus gave with this was an in the Gospel of Luke. When a religious leader came to him and said, okay, Teacher, what are the greatest commands? And Jesus say, well, you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and the second is like it, you love your neighbor as yourself. And the young man wanted to justify himself, the Bible. In the Bible, in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says, well, let me tell you a story and it tells them the parable of the Good Samaritan.
And the parable of the Good Samaritan, this is where you have a Jewish person and Jesus says he’s going from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way, he gets jumped by a robber. He gets stripped naked, he gets beaten, he gets robbed and left for dead. And then you have the Pharisees come by and the Pharisees who’s religious leader, Jews would really look up the Pharisees generally. And that’s part of why he’s in the story.
But the Pharisees walks on to the other side and you have this religious teacher, the scribe or Sadducees kind of person, he walks on the other side. And then you have a Samaritan, the person who is picked on by the Jews, the person who the Jews persecute, the person who really doesn’t like Jews, they don’t like them.
But the Samaritan looks and has compassion. And the Samaritan picks up this abuse person, puts him on his donkey takes him to this inn and tells the innkeeper, hey, take care of him, give him everything he needs, here’s some money. And whatever is more than this money I’m giving you, I will repay when I come back.
Jesus Broke Down the Barrier
And what’s significant about this is now Jesus is breaking down the ratial barrier saying, look, even the people you look at that you maybe have issue with, that they don’t like you, they persecute you, they’re against you, even them, you need to help them because that’s what it means to be a good neighbor, the teachings of Jesus supersede any race or class division. And as a Christian, right, this is bottom line. When we point to the morals of Jesus, this is what our nation needs, the unifying message saying we have to look beyond just somebody’s race and learn to love them like God loves us.
Alright. Hey, hang on, guys. We got to take a quick break and I think you’ve got more time on the biblical perspective. We’re also going to get to the historical perspective and look at America’s actual history on this particular subject. We’ll be right back, folks, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live on Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
Abraham Lincoln said. “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts; not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
Alexis de Tocqueville
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment in American history. Alexis de Tocqueville, a political official from France, traveled to the United States in 1831 and penned his observations in the now famous book, ‘Democracy in America’. Being from France, what he found in America was completely unexpected to him. He reported, “Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention.
And the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this. In France, I almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom, marching in opposite directions. But in America, I found that they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.” De Tocqueville recognized that it was biblical Christianity and the morals it produced that made America great? For more information about Alexis de Tocqueville and the positive influence of Christianity in early America, go to wallbuilders.com
Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our States and of the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves. That is their right and duty to be at all times armed, that they are entitled to freedom of person; freedom of religion; freedom of property and freedom of press.”
A Biblical Perspective
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. We’re answering the question about systemic racism and whether or not that is, you know, I guess, basically birthed in America and only something that’s happened in America. And Tim, you’ve been hit it from a biblical perspective and that standard that we should have is the biblical standard of treating our neighbor as we would want to be treated.
Yeah. And the bottom line with systemic racism is, this is a problem on some level that every country is going to deal with, because there’s a sinful human nature and part of the sinful human nature is, one of the manifestations can be racism, that we look down on people, that we don’t love them. And one of the things that Jesus said in the Gospel of John in chapter 13, he said, a new command I give you, love as I have loved you, so, you must also love one another. And by this, all men will know that you’re my disciples by your love for one another. Jesus said that love is what should define us as Christians.
And when we ask the question, right, will how do we solve racism in America? Well, Jesus said, you got to love people and He specified love as I have loved you. And Jesus loved before we ever loved him, he loved us. While we were still sinners, he was loving us. He died for us before we ever received Him, we rejected Him. The people that crucified Him, He laid down his life for. This is a sacrificial love for people that might not care for you, that might not treat you well, that, right, don’t behave properly towards you. But this is a love the Bible defines.
And again, this is important as a Christian perspective, because as we’re trying to find the solution to the problems in America, we always want to look to what the Bible says, because the Bible is always going to give us guidance that will be practical. And because God made the world to operate and function in a certain way, when you do it God’s way, it just works. Well, the apostle Paul takes the same approach.
In the book of Galatians, which he wrote to the churches of Galatia. In this book, in chapter three, the end of chapter three, he says, for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you were baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.
In Christ or Out
One of the things that the Apostle Paul pointed out is, when you come to Christ, you are no longer classified and specified by the way the world looks at you. You are just simply Christ. You are a Christian. And this is the defining thing about your life now, is you are Christian. Not that you are this color or this class or this creed, or this ethnicity or this race. You are a Christian.
And this is important because as Christians, we’re not supposed to see people based on worldly standards, we’re supposed to see them from biblical standards. And according to the Bible, there’s really only two groups of people: those who are Christians and those who are not yet Christian. And this simplifies so many things that we don’t look and we don’t show favoritism against or favoritism for, that we don’t place judgment against or judgment for based on this outward appearance of male or female or Jew or Greek or Scythian or slave or free and all these things the world would put on there, the race, to create the class. That’s not the way God wants us to operate.
And so, this notion of systemic racism, certainly is part of the flesh and human nature. So, you’re going to see outgrowths of it in America, when the Bible is not being used as a guidebook for what we should do and how we should live. But to say that it’s systemic in the sense that our culture in America has been built on racism and it’s establishing a system that is oppressive and that would keep down minorities or specifically, in this case, black Americans or African Americans and it favors white people, statistically, that’s just not accurate and certainly historically, there’s not really evidence for it.
When you look in in the history of the world in general, first of all, is that racism has affected every person in every group, in the sense that every people group has enslaved, every race has enslaved the other races and their race has themselves been enslaved at some point in the history of humanity.
And so, this is no different when you look at America, there were slaves in America, just like there were everywhere else in the world. And this is not to justify the chattel slavery of America. But to gain a little perspective, even dad, we’ve talked about this so many times. If you just looked at something like the North Atlantic slave trade, which was the slaves being brought out of Africa and being shipped to other places, that’s really telling just to get a world perspective and kind of world meter of what’s happening.
The African Slave Trade
Yeah. And to look at that, because you were looking biblically at it, but to look historically and you’ve talked about the African slave trade coming out of Africa, go to something like the 1619 project, because this has become prominent in recent days. And it was given as part of the justification for why there was the rioting and other things. The motivation is we have to end the systemic racism.
So, when you look at the 1619 Project, for those that don’t know, this is started by the New York Times, it has now become a curriculum. In most states across the United States, this is the way we’re presenting history. And a great description of what the 1619 Project says and by the way, 1619 is when the New York time says that slavery get started in America.
It says the 1619 Project takes as a starting point that America was founded to protect and preserve slavery. Okay, that’s why we were started. That’s why the pilgrims came. That’s why the Puritans came. That’s why they came to Jamestown.
That’s why they came to all the different colonies was to protect and preserve slavery and that the American constitutional system, that is our Constitution is the source of our society’s current ills and the foremost among them is racism. So, America was founded to protect and preserve slavery. And our Constitution has created all of our societal ills and the biggest societal ill created by the Constitution is racism.
Now, there’s a problem with that premise right from the start, because 1619 is not when slavery got started in America. Now, in 1619, there were a group of slaves captured off a ship that were brought into Virginia, but they were not made slaves. As a matter of fact, they were captured slaves off the ship. When they got to Virginia, they were made indentured servants. They served a number of years, they were made free and they received the land from the State. They were given land.
So, they were brought as slaves, but there was no slavery in America at the time. In fact, the only thing that was legal was indentured servitude. So, these people who were slaves were then sold as indentured servants. And as indentured servants, you worked for seven years and then you are freed and you get land and you get property.
And then you essentially are your own boss and can do. And so, these 19 individuals that were brought, although they had been slaves previously, when they arrived in America, they’re sold and some people try to argue it’s a form of slavery. It’s not really a form of slavery, because after seven years, then you’re free and you get land, etc.
Slavery’s Been Around…
Now, I understand, it’s still not probably the condition they to be in. But it’s not the same notion of chattel slavery as is promoted today. So, it’s a very different notion. And dad, this is not even bringing up yet the fact that slavery had existed in America long before that. Because even at the time of Columbus, it’s estimated between 20% and 40% of native tribes were enslaved in other native tribes. So, Native American slavery, very common and it wasn’t just them enslaving other native tribes, they enslaved whites and they enslaved blacks and anybody really they could conquer or capture.
Well, let’s take a big picture. Look for just a minute, we’ll come back to whether America was founded this way or not. And Tim, as you pointed out, and when Columbus arrived, he’s credited with discovering the Americas. When he arrived here, you said 20% to 40% of Native Americans were slaves.
It’s interesting that by the time the Civil War occurs, where we do have chattel slavery by then, by percentage of numbers, the highest percentage slave owner in the United States is Native Americans owning black slaves. That’s higher than the percentage of Anglos who owned black slaves. However, ever even if you look at the time of the Civil War, black ownership of black slaves are very high in so many States. Free blacks in South Carolina, 43% of free blacks owned black slaves in South Carolina. So, it’s not just a white on black kind of a deal, it also includes black on black or by the way, red on black or red on red or white on white or everything under the sun.
Again, this is a reflection of human nature. And when you start studying, you realize there’s a lot more to the story. And this is not to justify the chattel slavery in America, right?
The False Narrative of Systemic Racism
We’re not justifying, because this was wrong. But part of the narrative of the systemic racism is that it was whites only oppressing other nationalities. And that’s just not true historically. And again, even we look at the institutions that were set up, the institutions were not set up to favor a white man only and actually, not even generally. The institutions were set up to favor people who were productive, to the people who accomplished, to people who did. And this was not limited to merely white people. We can cover a lot of it after the break.
Alright, quick break, guys. We’ll be right back. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realized that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”
This Precarious Moment
Hi, this is David Barton. I want to let you know about a brand new book we have out called, ‘This Precarious Moment: Six Urgent Steps that Will Save You, Your Family, and Our Country’. Jim, Garlow and I have co-authored this book.
And we take six issues that are hot in the culture right now, issues that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration and race relations and our relationship with Israel and the rising generation millennials and the absence of the church and the culture wars and where American heritage is, our godly heritage. We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack and we give you both biblical and historical perspective on those issues that provides solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference.
These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So, you can grab the book, ‘This Precarious Moment’ and find out what you can do to make a difference. ‘This Precarious Moment’ is available at wallbuilders.com.
Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, then let no more be heard of confidence in man that bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live, it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday today. Final segment of our Foundations of Freedom Thursday. We’ve really covered the biblical perspective on this and some of the historical perspective. Tim, you guys have shared some things that I had no clue with regard to when America ended slave trade, when it ended slavery. The perception is that we were last, like everybody else got rid of it before us, because we so much loved our slavery and we refused, you know, obviously we had to fight a war over it. But were we really that far behind the rest of the world?
Well, take a perspective overall for the world. And you mentioned the world, the African slave trade is what they point to today as being the big source of evil and slavery in the world. Alright? That’s 12.5 million Africans taken out of Africa, between 1501 and 1875. So, 12.5 taken out of Africa. Where did those 12.5 go?
Were they sent? 46% of them, which is 5.8 million were sent to Portuguese slave holdings, that’s Portugal and that’s Brazil. Then on top of that, 26% were sent to English slaveholding, that’s 3.3 million. 11% went to the French, 1.4 million. 8% went to Spanish holdings, it’s 1.1 million. 4% went to the Dutch, 600,000. Only 2.4% went to America, that’s 300,000. That is by far way down on the list. Now, that’s not good for the 300,000. That’s not the right thing to do. But the way it’s presented today, America got all 12.5 million. That’s simply not the case.
Well, and even looking at that, not only, I mean, obviously, there were slaves in America. But again, looking at World perspective, when you go back to 1807, Thomas Jefferson is advocating for Congress to pass an anti-slavery law in the sense of that we’re going to abolish the slave trade in America, because Constitution says, by 1808, you can do that. Jefferson promotes this, Congress gets the law done. He signs it in 1807.
Now, what’s interesting is nobody signed this kind of anti-slavery law, this anti-slave trade law before America. Now, Great Britain sign there’s the same year and theirs actually went into effect before ours did, because Americans didn’t go into effect until January 1st 1808. So, Jefferson signed it first, but ours actually went to effect second. But we were the second nation in the world to abolish the slave trade.
That’s out of 124 nations. So, 124 nations in the world at that time, we’re the first ones to sign the law, we’re the second was to enact the law, so that’s the slave trade. So, how about abolishing slavery all the way, not just a slave trade, but all slavery everywhere? Well, if you’re going to do that, you have to turn to Great Britain as being the first in the world.
America the Worst in the World?
And that was 1833. America was fourth in the world out of 124 nations, we did it in 1865. We’re number four in the world in abolishing slavery. You add that to our efforts to abolish the slave trade, we’re in the 1% of the world, we’re at the top 1% in taking actions to end slavery. And you listen to the narrative today, you think we are the worst in the world and that we’re the cause of all the evil. And that is simply not the case.
Well and people praise William Wilberforce for the work he did over in England, helping in the slave trade, not recognizing that America was right behind him. And even again, world perspective, when you look at the world today, there’s more than 190 nations that are member nations in the UN. And 94 of those nations, they do not have anti-slavery laws in the books, meaning it’s still legal to own slaves in those nations.
Which is why you have nations like China and Indonesia and, right, you can name dozens of nations that actually have slaves today. So, and this is again, not to say that America didn’t have bad things and do bad things and that maybe there wasn’t levels of oppression in America. But the way the story is told today is that well, America was built to systemically oppress African Americans or black Americans.
And there’s just not evidence to support that. And this is when we don’t know history, we bind to false narratives. And most people today just don’t know much history. We have a book coming out, God willing, in the next couple of weeks, where we actually detail a lot of this, we footnote, we document a lot of this. So, you don’t need to take our word for it. This is historically validated information that even isn’t necessarily historically disputed. It’s just not really promoted anymore.
The Truth Must Be Taught
And you know, it even as we get into the data and the specifics, sometimes people say, well, you, you don’t really care about what happened. We talk about that all the time at WallBuilders and radio programs, the evils of how bad slavery was. And we’ve got, you know, programs specifically dedicated to those kinds of things. So, it’s not that, it’s just that we have to have the truth as we talk about these subjects. We can’t just have shallow discussions based on slogans.
So, if you want more of those in-depth programs and more of that in-depth conversation, you got to tune in, make sure you checking out wallbuilderslive.com on a daily basis and getting those programs or listening on your podcast app. And then make sure you go to the website, wallbuilderslive.com and check out some of the archives. If you miss programs in the last few weeks or months, we’ve got them available to you. And that’s also the place to make a contribution.
Systemic Racism in America – Foundations Of Freedom
Come alongside us, lock shields with us. By investing and making that donation, you’re literally making an investment in freedom and helping us to spread the word and save our constitutional republic. That is the answer. We’ve got to get people educated on a biblical worldview. We’ve got to get them educated on the Constitution. We got to teach them the history. Civic ignorance is what got us into the COVID crackdown mess, got us into this right mess and civic literacy can stop that nonsense and also prevent it from happening in the future. But we’ve got to be students of history, students of the Bible and students of the Constitution.
Thanks so much for listening. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.
Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our country and the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending against all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”