As I read the increasingly heated back and forth about the "21 Day Challenge" and similar issues which are about the study of American history — especially our history of slavery — I thought of my column published in the Advocate 2 years ago. 

(3) comments


I have no problem with Michael May’s statement that in America “we face our flaws, correct our flaws and come to know the deep, patriotic gratitude of having succeeded in mending our flaws.”

It is important, however, to have an accurate view of what those flaws are and are not, lest we create new flaws through a New Racism which stereotypes whites as oppressors and Blacks as victims.

As Chief Justice John Roberts has noted, “the way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

Both Vice-President Kamala Harris and Tim Scott agree that, while there is still racism in America, “America is not a racist country.” In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama said “[Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s] remarks . . . expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic.”

Senator Scott correctly noted, “From colleges to corporations to our culture, people are making money and gaining power by pretending we haven't made any progress.”

I would highly recommend Kathleen Brush’s book, “Racism and Anti-racism In the World: Before and After 1945.” Her examination concludes that the United States is the world’s leading anti-racist nation. Among the points she made are the following:

1. From 1945, the policy of the U.S. government and corporate leaders has been to establish many significant executive orders, policies, laws and court rulings solidifying America’s opposition to discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, lending and voting rights.

2. In the U.S., there is an army of globally prominent African-Americans in all facets of life: Hollywood, business, medicine, academia, government and sports.

3. In the U.S., Asian American household incomes are 25% higher than whites. Indian household incomes are 60% higher than whites.

4. The U.S. has the most educated and prosperous Black population in the world.

5. Despite the above, Black household income in the U.S. is 40% lower than white. One cannot, however, jump to the conclusion, which critical race theory does, that this is due to discrimination. There are other key factors. Blacks have far more single parent households, which yield a 32% lower household income. Over half the Black population lives in the south, which are the states with lowest pay scales and per capita incomes 40% less than rest of country. Upward mobility is also the lowest in the south. Self-segregation, which limits opportunities anywhere, is most common for Blacks in the south.

By the way of comparison, Black immigrants have household incomes 31% higher than native Blacks. Black immigrants integrate and often settle in the north and west portions of the United States where there are higher wages and greater upward mobility. They are 37% more likely to have college degrees and 39% more likely to be married.

6. Other reasons for lower Black household income include educational attainment, declining quality public schools, and increased competition from other minorities and women. Well intended anti-poverty programs inadvertently result in cementing Blacks into subordinate roles and increasing dependence on welfare.

7. The increased competition from other minorities and women is shown by the following population and labor force statistics:

1964: Population 87% white; 10.5% Black; Latinos 3%; Asians 0.5%. 0% mixed race.

2020: Population: 60% non-Hispanic white; 13.4% Black; 17% Latino; 5.9% Asian; 1.2% Native American. 2.5% mixed race.

Women in workforce: 1964: 38.3% 2019: 76.8%.

Jay Gjerstad

I agree with Michael May's comments that America's greatness is recognizing her

mistakes and then correcting those mistakes. Some countries refuse to acknowledge or even deny their crimes against humanity.

As a soldier in Vietnam I was disillusioned with what I had been taught in school about America's great values and the atrocities occurring in Vietnam. But after Vietnam, America and her military took drastic action to correct those mistakes. That ability, to honestly evaluate past actions and take corrective action, makes America a great country!


I wish to take exception with the statement by Jay Gjerstad about being disillusioned with the difference between the values taught in school and the "Atrocities occurring in Vietnam." As a former infantry platoon sergeant in Vietnam I was in the forefront (front lines) of the contact with civilians because of my on the ground patrolling and large amount of combat experienced. Jay was on a high hill surrounded by infantry so I feel my experience is more in tune with the reality of Vietnam. Once we move past the actual atrocity of Vietnam by the US which was My Lai village, I can tell you that I or anyone I served with DID NOT commit any atrocities. I have been in contact over the past 52 years with many, many veterans across the country, many former combat soldiers like myself and they would shake their head and say they didn't know of any atrocities either. If there were any atrocities commonly committed it would have been by the Communists as they used terror as part of their campaign. The night before I left Vietnam to come home I had three former Communist soldiers (VC) who had defected to our side and had served with me as scouts in aiding us in spotting ambushes and boobytraps. They wanted to buy me beer "Because they liked the way I treated their people," We sat around the barracks and drank their beer and they told me why they had become VC. The atrocities afflicted on them , their families and fellow villagers was terrible in order to force them to come with them. The Communists did what America's evil enemies still do, hide behind civilians hoping we inadvertently kill some so the American news media and their political allies can disparage America and her soldiers. Were civilians killed during the war. Yes. Civilians do inadvertently die (DDAY, 5000 French civilians were killed that day--when you watch the shelling of German positions it is not hard to see why)---it is called war. To disparage me and the other soldiers who were willing to give up their lives for TWO countries (yes, TWO countries) to preserve freedom --South Vietnam's AND America's is totally irresponsible. To sum up, any daily atrocities were by the Communists and if civilians were killed by US it would virtually always unintentional (remember, it's war and terrible things happen) and infrequent. It was not American military policy. Any disillusionment on my part about America's

values would be the American electorate electing politicians that gets us into these wars and their policies that don't allow us to win. In Vietnam, our government and the people were asking us to be willing to die for a "tie," not victory, I am proud of my service and those of my fellow veterans of the Vietnam War. I consider Jay a friend but I cannot allow this disparagement of America and its soldiers to go unanswered. The thirty six soldiers that died in my unit, several were close to me, demand that I do this.

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