Archive for 1981

1981 AUDIO- Lee Atwater on Southern Strategy: "You can’t say 'nigger,' that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights."

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A must-read report by The Nation includes 1981 audio of Lee Atwater while he was working in Ronald Reagan's White House. He was interviewed by Alexander Lamis, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University. Campaign consultant Atwater explains how Republicans could win the vote of racists without sounding racist themselves:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

Jaw-droppingly, appallingly, painfully stomach-turning.

States' rights. Sound familiar?

Much more here.

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