The Buzz

U.S. Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina dismisses idea of ‘post-racial’ era


The No. 3  leader in the House Democratic caucus visited Kansas City Tuesday and proclaimed that the idea that the country is in a post-racial era is flat wrong.

In fact, South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn said the country will never be in a post-racial era. Racial tensions are simply too ingrained in the American conscience, he said.

“There are many people in this country who find a biblical basis for their racial feelings and attitudes,” Clyburn told The Buzz. “For as long as we lionize the Bible, which I think will be forever, then you are incorporating in the psyche of a lot of people those differences.

“People use the Bible as a foundation for their racial feelings. I'm not saying the Bible teaches it, people use it...When you have that kind of mindset, that's going to be a problem.

“This entire world has been built on skin color. And anybody thinking you will ever get beyond that, you're crazy. It's not going to ever happen."

Told that that’s a pessimistic view of the world, the son of a fundamentalist minister disagreed.

“It’s not a pessimistic way of looking at it. It's a realistic way of looking at it,” Clyburn said. “Things will never be post-racial."

The country, he insisted, does not move in a linear way when it comes to race. Instead, it moves like a pendulum — first toward progress, then away from it. Recent Supreme Court rulings suggest the country is in a period when it’s moving away from progress, he said.

Clyburn said history would be good to President Obama. He compared Obama to Harry Truman in the sense that Truman was widely unpopular when he left the White House. But today, historians routinely regard him as a top-10 president, if not higher.

Obama’s legacy will experience the same trajectory, he said.