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Debunking Critical Race Theory – The False Claim that “Racism is Ordinary”

Debunking Critical Race Theory – The False Claim that “Racism is Ordinary”

It is an emotionally based claim, void of the facts, aimed at creating further division.

Amongst Critical Race Theory (CRT) scholars there is one belief that is practically universal: the idea that racism is both ordinary and permanent in a society.

Critical Race Theorists Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic write in Critical Race Theory: An Introduction that “racism is ordinary, not aberrational- ‘normal science,’ the usual way society does business.”  It is the idea that racism is baked into the very foundation of our society; the idea that, structurally, this country was designed specifically for the success of the white demographic; the idea that, despite hard work and dedication, minority groups will always run into white-dominated roadblocks because they are attempting to work within a system built against them.

This claim is emotional. It is jarring.  It makes both minorities and white people question their places in society.  For the minority, it can sow distrust in the government, our corporate ladder, and our systems of education.  For the white person, it can insinuate strong feelings of guilt – of benefitting from a rigged system.  The claim is severe.  But what about the facts?

First, let’s talk about historical progress.  If racism is still ordinary and normal in American society, it means that we should attribute much of its obvious “lessening” in history to a vast cover-up conspiracy.  This is evidenced by Critical Race Theorists’ snarky dismissals of linear racial progress narratives, which they argue “hide the way dominant society often casts minority groups against one another to the detriment of each.”  One minority advances at the expense of another, argue Critical Race Theorists.

Such a view is narrowminded and obscures unequivocal racial progress in our nation, while at the same time minimizing the horrors that Black Americans have actually escaped throughout history.  In August of 1619, the first English North American slave ship arrived in Jamestown. By 1860, more than 3.9 million slaves were living throughout the United States.  These individuals were infamously considered only ⅗ human. They were not allowed to vote, to live their own lives, or to pursue an education. Their existence was confined to hard, involuntary work, violence, and grief.  Slavery was what Nikole-Hannah Jones refers to as America’s “original sin.”

But what Critical Race Theorists hardly ever acknowledge is that “sin” of slavery was reckoned with – by both whites and blacks.  It’s worth noting that although Critical Race Theorists give lip service to the Civil War as being motivated by slavery, they almost never engage with the war in the moral terms with which they read the rest of American history.  The Civil War was not just a war about slavery, but a war against slavery; it was white people and black people fighting alongside each other for the higher ideal of equality under the law.  The American people could have chosen to avoid war but keep slavery in both the elections of 1860 and 1864; instead, they determined their time to abolish the peculiar institution was now.  The cost was bloody- the bloodiest ever in America’s history – but the consequences was the freedom of slaves, and a genuine quantum leap in racial equality and progress.

Even beyond slavery, racism has still played a prominent role in our history – and so has its ending. Perhaps the second-best example of genuinely monumental moral progress in our nation was the Civil Rights Movement. Schools were segregated by race; black Americans were forbidden from entering certain establishments; interracial marriage was out of the question. It was into this setting that Martin Luther King Jr. famously implored the American people for equal rights regardless of race. He asked for the freedom to live equally to his white peers.

One might use the words ordinary and permanent to describe racism in the United States during these times; however, as the successful Civil Rights Movement showed, racist laws previously thought as permanent were made impermanent, and the so-called “ordinary” racism that had genuinely pervaded the South during Jim Crow became extraordinary indeed.  There were over 500 recorded lynchings in Mississippi between 1882 and 1968; in the past twenty years, there are around eight.  Racism across the South and America has sharply declined, and in 2021, a new high of 94 percent of Americans approve of interracial marriage, up from 20 percent just 50 years earlier.

Today, the idea of slavery probably makes most of us uncomfortable. Owning another person?

That is not ethical, or just, or okay in any way, shape, or form. The same goes for segregation or marriage restricted by race or any other confinement one might face simply because of the color of his or her skin. We no longer have laws in place working against Chinese immigrants; we no longer limit people’s access to the job market based on race; it just does not matter to most people anymore.

Did you know that the U.S. is actually one of the few countries that explicitly protects its citizens from unequal treatment based on race? Today, there are no good laws currently in place that permit racial discrimination of any kind. If such a law were proposed, it would undoubtedly be struck down as unconstitutional.

Economically, racism is a far lower inhibitor of progress than cultural factors which are shared by people of every race.  For both blacks and whites, following the “success sequence” – graduating from high school, getting married before having children, and having a full-time job, lead to about similar rates of attainment of the middle class, and a greater than 90 percent chance of avoiding poverty for both race.  Racism is not a poverty causer so much as the legacy of bad policies, past racism, and yes, cultural issues is.  For the latter, look at education: black Americans study only 5.5 hours a week on average compared to 7 for whites and 13 for Asians.  Some problems cannot be solved until the underlying cultural issues are, and study habits is one of them.

Even so, America has also been a home of progress for black Americans over the past 50 years, although not at the rate some have wanted, which has led to the foment of Critical Race Theory.  However, Critical Race Theorists need to contend with the fact that Black incarceration rates fell from 2001-2017 by 34 percent.  Between 1999-2000 and 2016-2017, black graduation rates in universities increased by 82 percent.  And, over 60 percent of blacks at every degree of educational attainment say they’re doing better financially than their parents.  These are great statistics that show a brighter future for Black Americans than ever before, and certain one that challenges the idea that racism is “permanent” in society.

The claim that racism is permanent and ordinary in our society is a powerful one. It tugs at our emotions. It makes us question our societal systems and our collective sense of justice. But that’s the point. It is an emotionally based claim, void of the facts, aimed at creating further division.

CRT is not the answer. Attributing all our problems to “ordinary” systemic racism is not the answer.  Believing that such issues are permanent and ordinary is not the answer. So what is the answer? Examining the facts, pursuing the truth, and not assuming the worst. Before we turn to CRT as the racial guiding framework for our lives and scholarship, let’s switch out our emotional glasses for our logical ones.

—————–

Kenny Xu is the President of Color Us United, which advocates for a raceblind America in the midst of racial division. He is the author of An Inconvenient Minority which exposes racial discrimination against Asian Americans at elite colleges like Harvard and Yale.

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Comments


 
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Colonel Travis | August 6, 2022 at 6:58 pm

Appreciate the posting. This irks me:
” These individuals were infamously considered only ⅗ human”

No. It’s like the myth that Abner Doubleday invented baseball, it just won’t die. The 3/5th compromise was created by those who opposed slavery, it wasn’t created by the slave states. Slaves were considered full persons. Slave states could only count 3/5ths of their population for House apportionment. It was for the aggregate, not the individual.

The slave states wanted all slaves counted AND give them zero representation in Congress. The South would have become more powerful if slaves had been counted fully and slavery would have been more difficult to destroy. No 3/5th compromise, no United States.


     
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    henrybowman in reply to Colonel Travis. | August 6, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    “The South would have become more powerful if slaves had been counted fully and slavery would have been more difficult to destroy.”

    History says otherwise. The destruction of slavery was never accomplished by legislative legerdermain after all, but only by literal war.

      I almost never disagree with you, but history is mute on this because we can never know what would have happened had slaves been granted full personhood and suffrage at that moment in time.

      That they were bartered down to 3/5 personhood is a shameful blight, but it was a political move, intended to weaken the slave-holding states. Obviously, the people who knew these slaves didn’t fear their vote; it was the North who feared their ability to vote as they saw fit.


         
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        Milhouse in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | August 7, 2022 at 10:03 am

        No, they were not “bartered down”. And their personhood was never considered, by either side, to be less than 100%.

        Obviously, the people who knew these slaves didn’t fear their vote; it was the North who feared their ability to vote as they saw fit.

        Once again, WT actual F? Are you nuts? The northern states had no fear whatsoever of the slaves’ ability to vote as they saw fit, had that ability existed! But it didn’t. “The people who knew these slaves” absolutely feared their vote, which is why they didn’t let them vote! They wanted them to be “represented” without voting, by people utterly opposed to their interests, and the north said “no”.

        The correct number of “other persons” who should have been represented was zero. But then there would have been no USA in the first place, the slaves would be no better off, and the separate states (or the two separate coalitions of states) would have been easy pickings for the UK or any other power that felt like sweeping them up. So they allowed the slave-owners to pretend to “represent” 3/5 of their slaves. Not 3/5 of each slave, mind you, but 3/5 of the total number of slaves.

        A far better position would have been to allow representation only for those who were actually eligible to vote. I see no reason why a state’s voters should be entitled to “represent” the children, aliens, felons, and other non-voters who happen to live near them. The census should count only those eligible to vote, so the more restrictive a state’s voting laws the less representation it would get. That would also have created an incentive for states to enfranchise women a lot earlier than they did.


         
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        JohnSmith100 in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | August 7, 2022 at 2:52 pm

        While I do not approve of slavery, it had existed for a very long time, people of all races were enslaved, and I am tired of hearing blacks using it to try and extract money from the rest of us. And that attempt to profit from slavery is exactly what CRT is about, it is racism by blacks and to a lessor degree whites riding black’s coattails, for both political and $ profit..


       
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      Patrick Henry, the 2nd in reply to henrybowman. | August 7, 2022 at 3:07 pm

      “History says otherwise. The destruction of slavery was never accomplished by legislative legerdermain after all, but only by literal war.”

      Actually history says that the only country that fought a literal war to end slavery was the US. So the war was never necessary, and in fact I’d argue that ending slavery was a side effect of the war, which was fought over government power primarily.

      Had the South been allowed to leave (which they had every right to do so), slavery would have likely ended without the deaths of 600,000, as it would not have been able to sustain their country. And we would have had a better federal system that would not enslave us all too, and likely without any type of CRT because blacks would have been accepted much sooner as they did in the rest of the world.


     
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    CommoChief in reply to Colonel Travis. | August 7, 2022 at 8:23 am

    Slight quibble. It was slave States that would have become more powerful, not just ‘southern States’ had the 3/5 comprise not been necessary for the formation of the Union.

    Further let’s not forget the people who profited off the commerce of the slave trade/triangular trade and the illicit smuggling after the importation of slaves was made illegal in Jan, 1808. Nor the northern slave owners who profited by shipping slaves to the deep south as a result of the import ban and resulting increase in value. The stain of slavery rests on every State in existence in that era. Some more than others but all played a part.


 
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Gosport | August 6, 2022 at 7:03 pm

Did you know that the U.S. is actually one of the few countries that explicitly protects its citizens from unequal treatment based on race?

That would be nice if it were true but no, it doesn’t.

Today, there are no good laws currently in place that permit racial discrimination of any kind. If such a law were proposed, it would undoubtedly be struck down as unconstitutional.

You mean other than the plethora of state and federal Affirmative Action laws and racial quotas? Racial set-asides in government contracts, redistricting, hiring, promotion, etc.? University racial admission quotas? School grading systems that award higher grades on the basis of favored race status? How about the “temporary” restrictions of Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act? 57 years later that one is still being used as an excuse by the DoJ to put their thumb on elections in the effected states.

Racism might not be “ordinary” but reverse racism certainly is. CRT is an attempt to justify, formalize, and institutionalize that racism.

Well done, Mr. Xu!


 
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henrybowman | August 6, 2022 at 7:44 pm

“These individuals were infamously considered only ⅗ human.”

Please stop perpetuating this nonsensical leftist talking point.

The “racist” southern slaveowners wanted their slaves to be counted as full persons. This would give their states greater representation in congress. (The same way they want illegal aliens counted today.)

The “abolitionist” northerners wanted those slaves not to be counted at all. Consider the optics of that.

The 3/5 figure was a compromise that satisfied neither side equally.

Had the “non-racists” gotten their way, every slave would have been a non-person.


 
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gibbie | August 6, 2022 at 8:36 pm

I suppose it depends on the definition of racism.

The human brain is an exceedingly powerful and efficient pattern recognizer. If it were not, we would have gone extinct. Our brains automatically sort people and other things into categories. Therefore, we are inherently race-conscious. So far, there is nothing wrong with this.

The problem lies in what we do with our race (and other characteristics) consciousness. Since we are all corrupted by our rebellion against God, it requires His grace and our obedience to avoid using our awareness for evil. The error of CRT is to exempt some groups from this condition, and to fail to understand and appropriate God’s gifts of mercy and grace.

Martin Luther King understood this. The atheist left does not.

    This is beautiful, gibbie. Well said.


     
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    CommoChief in reply to gibbie. | August 7, 2022 at 8:30 am

    We might express this bias as pattern recognition from lived experience. It’s up to each of us to determine when it is reasonable to employ that bias and to resist the urge to take the easy path of using group identify as a default setting for every circumstance, even when group identity has no bearing within the context of a particular interaction.


     
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    JohnSmith100 in reply to gibbie. | August 7, 2022 at 3:12 pm

    Atheism is for the most part a reaction to having religion rammed down people’s throats. One cannot prove or disprove religion, it is by its nature purely a matter of faith.

    I was ordained in the early 70’s and I spent a great deal of time with ministers of many different faiths, that included black ministers. My experience was that there were a lot of wolves within those ranks, yes, there were truly good people there, but also grossly evil people using a facade of religion for their own profit. As a result of that, and also having a very analytical mind, I became agnostic.

    One can be agnostic and still be honest, law abiding, empathetic and treat others accordingly.

The author writes that for whites, racism “…can insinuate strong feelings of guilt – of benefitting from a rigged system.”

I guess for some it does that. But I know for others it insinuates strong feelings of rage and creates a will to fight the liars, to crush their noses and break their teeth.

If left unchecked, CRT will eventually plunge us into civil war.


 
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scooterjay | August 6, 2022 at 9:49 pm

Speak their language. Remind them that it is good the North won…otherwise I would be out chopping sugarcane beside you.


 
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Milhouse | August 6, 2022 at 11:32 pm

These individuals were infamously considered only ⅗ human.

WT actual F? Come on, you know that’s not true.


 
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Milhouse | August 6, 2022 at 11:43 pm

Amongst Critical Race Theory (CRT) scholars there is one belief that is practically universal: the idea that racism is both ordinary and permanent in a society.

Critical Race Theorists Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic write in Critical Race Theory: An Introduction that “racism is ordinary, not aberrational- ‘normal science,’ the usual way society does business.”

If that were actually the case, wouldn’t that be the strongest argument against anti-racism and CRT? If racism is a normal part of every natural society, then what’s wrong with it? On what grounds can anyone condemn it? Especially if they refuse to accept that there is a God who literally wrote a book telling us what is right and wrong, where do they get off telling us that something that they allege to be completely normal behavior is wrong and should be exterminated, no matter how many people are hurt in the process? Wouldn’t it make more sense to say that if racism is normal then we should embrace it and institutionalize it, and get rid of the aberrational measures of the last 60 years that have suppressed it? I don’t think that’s what these CRT people want, but I don’t see how they can justify anything else, given their own premises.


     
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    healthguyfsu in reply to Milhouse. | August 7, 2022 at 12:07 am

    Because society and civility and capitalism are white traits and aspirations that seek to destroy all other races…not hard to see where this is going with the closet Marxists


       
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      Milhouse in reply to healthguyfsu. | August 7, 2022 at 1:09 am

      But if it’s natural, and there’s no objective code of morality to say that it’s wrong, then what’s wrong with it?


         
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        Dathurtz in reply to Milhouse. | August 7, 2022 at 8:37 am

        Don’t fall into the trap of expecting consistency from a leftist. They don’t care about consistency and they can’t be shamed by their lack of it.

        To them, ends justify means.


           
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          CommoChief in reply to Dathurtz. | August 7, 2022 at 9:41 am

          Disagree, the real trap is allowing oneself to become so beaten down by their dishonest, bad faith practices that we come to allow the d/prog to be inconsistent.

          It’s not a matter of shame so much as taking every opportunity to expose their hypocrisy, bad faith and refusal to apply logical consistency in order to sway even one more person to our views.

          IOW, allowing them to proceed uncontested in spouting nonsense without any objection allows their views to become the new normal throughout society. They have already captured academia and are well on their way to capturing the Federal govt bureaucracy and lately the corporations because they were unopposed. Don’t forfeit the match.


         
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        JohnSmith100 in reply to Milhouse. | August 7, 2022 at 3:22 pm

        Understanding what is wrong only exists in those who have empathy for others, thgere is a rather large percentage of humanity who lack that ability.


 
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Dimsdale | August 7, 2022 at 7:03 am

The only systemic racism in the country comes in the form of “remedial” programs and laws forced on us by the left. It only drives a wedge between races even further. Even though MLK Jr. was kicked to the curb by the left, he was absolutely correct: people should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin or some ill defined culture.

To wit: so called Affirmative action does two things in reality. It provides access to, say, medical school by those that may not be qualified. What has to happen? Qualified prospective students are locked out by quotas, and the standards of the medical school have to be lowered, lest they be called “racist” because some individuals can’t handle the load. This might be construed as being racist, but the unqualified whites and Asians are already rejected by MCATs etc., while AA bypasses that filter.

So are minorities helped by this? No, because when you see a minority doctor, you are forced to assume that they may have been pushed through med school by AA, and allowed to pass to maintain “equity.” Does that make the prospective patient racist? Not directly, but it does make them question their choices.

The leftist white guilt is destroying this country from within, and minorities are being used as pawns in their power grab. The anti white garbage from the likes of Kendi and D’Angelo are just fascist, socialist garbage designed to manipulate society and empower them somehow. They are fools and tools, useful idiots trying to convince the population to be useful idiots as well (for the record, I know Robin D’Angelo, and she is bat guano crazy).

Let’s ditch this racist garbage and make America great again, shall we? (that sounds familiar somehow). The sooner we get back to the teaching of MLK Jr., the sooner we will be back on the road to maintaining our position as the greatest country on Earth.


     
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    Milhouse in reply to Dimsdale. | August 7, 2022 at 10:09 am

    Even though MLK Jr. was kicked to the curb by the left, he was absolutely correct:

    Quibble: What he said was correct. But he didn’t believe his own words. He was for “affirmative action”, and if he could have known how right-wingers quote his words today he’d never have said them. The left may have gone past him, but he was chasing after them and trying to catch up.


 
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Cleetus | August 7, 2022 at 8:14 am

When a people yearns to be free and not live the life of a slave, then they must be willing to take on the responsibility of that free freedom. If you are given your freedom, but remain enslaved to bad ideas and poor behavior, then it is you who remains enslaved to your past and it is not the fault of your liberators. Until people grow up and take responsibility, learn that crime and violence is not the path to success, take it upon themselves to get educated and become the best they can be, then no amount of blaming the past and fantasy arguments is going to improve their situation. Blacks were given their freedom and it was up to them to make the most of it. They were even helped quite a bit along the way and yet they remain in the mindset of nothing is their fault or responsibility.

Compare this with the Jew who were enslaved by a great many more for far, far longer. They were forbidden from many jobs, forced to live in ghettos, and even had to survive attempts to exterminate them, and how did they respond? Not with pity or demands. They took it upon themselves to make the most of what they had and now they are considered to be extraordinarily successful even when the times are most difficult.

The moral of the story is that it is far less history that determines who you are and what you become than it is your own initiative, ethics, drive, and desire.


 
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wsot23887 | August 7, 2022 at 9:27 am

A couple irrelevant items: it was Democrats who owned all the slaves — D’Souza challenged everyone to name even ONE Republican who owned a slave and no one could, it was Democrats who did the lynchings and the Jim Crow et cetera.

2 Slavery is still practiced all over the world despite our efforts to eradicate it, and often practiced by the very people who liberals view as idyllic and noble.


     
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    maxmillion in reply to wsot23887. | August 7, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    A couple of more items are that Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president, and he ran on the platform of ending slavery, which he then did, and was he was then assassinated by a Democrat because of it.


 
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agimarc | August 7, 2022 at 10:46 am

Scott Adams works in the world of persuasion, so this might be at right angles from your worldview. It certainly is to mine, though I’m getting slightly less bad in my old age. Persuasion is alien to all of us, though we bathe in it continually.

His suggestion is that racism is built into all of us. Not because we are evil, but because how the wetware is wired. We humans are pattern recognition machines. We see patterns or construct them all the time, often out of really small datapoints. The problem is that our brains aren’t all that good at it, so we see patterns where they don’t exist all the time. Race is simply another pattern.

The problem comes when figuring out what to do with the problem. If we are really poor at pattern recognition, and racism falls out of it, how do you stop racism? We can’t rewire the wetware. What alternatives are there?

An analogy is appropriate here. If it going to rain all day (you are steeped in racism), how do you keep from getting wet (how to keep racism from hurting you)? You use things like umbrellas, raincoats, roofs, raingear, or any of a thousand things produced over the centuries to keep one dry in the rain.

Similarly, if racism is everywhere, how do we minimize its impact? By preparing everyone with the tools and techniques to deal with society and life in this Great Nation. But it turns out that the schools aren’t doing that anymore, especially with minority kiddos, which makes the public schools and teachers’ unions that run them the greatest purveyors of institutional racism since Nathan Bedford Forrest.

It’s raining. Figure out how to not get wet, and you solve the problem. Cheers –


 
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dannystaggers | August 7, 2022 at 12:06 pm

Of course racism isn’t ordinary, just watch little children play. They are taught to be racists by the party of slavery, Democrats. DUH.


 
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Aggie9595 | August 7, 2022 at 1:58 pm

They are very very selective on this history … I’ll wager they forget to mention that long before ( centuries before ) the trans Alantic slave trade … The sons of Islam was raiding the coasts of Europe … Kidnapping Whites and selling them into slavery … Its estimated as many a 1 . 5 million Whites were sold into slavery … By African islamists


 
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Aggie9595 | August 7, 2022 at 2:10 pm

I’ll also make a large wager that this history fails to mention it was largely us evil White guys who mounted a decades long campaign to eradicate slavery world wide


 
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Aggie9595 | August 7, 2022 at 2:13 pm

I’ll also wager this history fails to mention that slavery still exists and its supported in the same places … By the same peoples that did so centuries ago … Remember BRING BACK OUR GIRLS… That ladies and gentlemen was any Islamic slave raid … On Christian girls … For sex slaves

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