President Biden will be meeting with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan on Friday. The two leaders are expected to discuss security issues in the Pacific, most directly involved with China’s expanding power in the region and North Korea’s continued position in opposition to the U.S. Psaki answered questions about COVID-19 safety protocols during this kind of summit meeting, when global lockdowns remain in place, explaining some of the differences from previous summits included no communal meal, and limited press at the photo and question session.
The daily right-wing sideshow question of the day came from [insert name and org here], who asked whether or not President Biden would be removing Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, for saying that the program of America includes not forgetting that “White supremacy is weaved into our founding documents and principles.” The speech Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield gave was to the National Action Network where she shared her personal life experience with racism and spoke to the ills of discrimination and racism and the need for society as a whole to tackle these problems because it is society that creates racists.
The reporter, Emerald Robinson of Newsmax, gave out the conservative-sphere context-free opinion that this statement was a Chinese Communist Party talking point, and after blathering on in a way that can only be described as a touch overwrought, asked if Thomas-Greenfield’s statement of facts was a removable offense. I guess this is in opposition to the last administration appointments whose only job qualifications seemed to be being pathological liars with fraud charges, convictions, and or allegations against them?
Psaki did the thing one does when someone says something outrageous to you in the form of a question: asking that person to re-say what they said again and think about it. “Is POTUS going to remove an African American woman with decades of experience in the foreign service who’s widely respected around the world from her position as ambassador to the UN? He’s not. He is proud to have her in that position. She is qualified. She is exactly the right person in that role at this moment in time.” Adding, “I have not seen her comments, I will say that there is no question that there has been a history of institutional racism in this country, and that doesn’t require the UN Ambassador to confirm.”
The angle the reporter was trying to parrot is the one the right-wing propaganda sphere has latched onto because they lack any and all policy ideas, and the last time they ran a government they blew out the deficit, gave away unpopular tax cuts to the rich, and we ended up living through a pandemic. To contextualize reporter Emerald Robinson’s political IQ, this is what she tweeted out about eight minutes before the White House briefing began: “We are witnessing the Democrat Party’s merging of the federal administrative state (which it largely controls) with its crony capitalist corporations and its media allies together into a kind of proto-state apparatus.” Proto-state apparatus?
Now if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle a Republican Party.
The full statement Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield gave can be read here, but I’ve included all of the words around the specific quote race-baiters on the right have pulled out.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I tried to do this recently in the UN General Assembly, when I spoke on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. That day – and commemoration – was personal for me. So, I told the UN some personal stories. I told them about how my great-grandmother Mary Thomas, born in 1865, was the child of a slave. Just three generations back from me. I grew up in the segregated South. I was bussed to a segregated school. On weekends, the Klan burned crosses on lawns in our neighborhood.
I shared these stories and others to acknowledge, on the international stage, that I have personally experienced one of America’s greatest imperfections. I have seen for myself how the original sin of slavery weaved white supremacy into our founding documents and principles. But I also shared these stories to offer up an insight, a simple truth I’ve learned over the years: Racism is not the problem of the person who experiences it.
Those of us who experience racism cannot, and should not, internalize it, despite the impact it can have on our everyday lives. Racism is the problem of the racist. And it is the problem of the society that produces the racist. And in today’s world, that is every society.
Weird how context works, right?