“In a speech this week at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., Hillary Clinton called for racial unity by invoking the words of Abraham Lincoln. She said he ‘defended our Union, our Constitution, and the ideal of a nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”‘ She added that Lincoln ‘deeply believed everyone deserved — in his words — “a fair chance in the race of life.”‘ Clinton may not have realized it, but both her choice of symbols from the past and her message for the present were mistakes. Though he’s now often seen simply as a hero of emancipation, Lincoln had a far more complicated history on race. For years, like most Americans of his time, he espoused white supremacy, and he didn’t believe until the last year of his life that blacks and whites could live on equal terms in an interracial democracy. But he would later also take positions against racism that would be radical even today, calling for reparations for former slaves and urging newly freed black Southerners to defend their rights against white racists through force of arms. Beyond that, Clinton’s call for everyone to ‘do the work’ to unite against hatred overlooks the fundamental fact that it’s whites — and only whites — who must work to fix the racist structures in our society.” 

Source: Stacey Patton. “We Don’t Need Lincoln-Inspired Racial ‘Unity.’ We Need Whites To Stop Being Racist.” Washington Post. July 15, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/07/15/we-dont-need-lincoln-inspired-racial-unity-we-need-whites-to-stop-being-racist/

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