MSNBC Guest: ‘Voter Suppression’ a ‘More Sophisticated Form of Lynching’

During a panel discussion on racism in America on MSNBC’s Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell Monday night, Mark Thompson, host on SIRIUS XM, argued that “voter suppression” is a new and “more sophisticated form of lynching” taking place in America today. 

After host Lawrence O’Donnell and Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson evaluated President Obama’s use of the n-word to explain the history of racism in America, Thompson insisted that “we're seeing history repeat itself” following Reconstruction. 

The liberal radio host expanded on his far left views that how African Americans were treated after the Civil War is occurring today just in a "more sophisticated” manner: 

I think we're seeing history repeat itself. The same atmosphere that existed after reconstruction when the period of reclamation started, the first Congressional Black Caucus, which was as significant as the first black president at the time, these are former slaves in Congress, were met with voter disenfranchisement and violence. Lynchings of innocent people.

The first black president, and what we might consider the second reconstruction after Selma, his administration has been met with voter suppression again. We're reliving that and a more sophisticated form of lynching. Many of us see no disparity between Emanuel [sic] and Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis and Renisha McBride and Michael Brown and Eric Garner. All of that is part of the same thing. So this is history repeating itself and it’s appropriate for the president to speak.

Rather than push back against Thompson’s assertion that lynching is still taking place in America today, the rest of the panel agreed and Duke University professor Guy-Uriel Charles insisted that America needs to have a discussion about “who counts as a first class citizen in this country” because it’s “always been the question from the founding, especially as it relates to African-Americans."  

See relevant transcript below. 

MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell

June 22, 2015

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: I want to listen to something that President Obama said to Marc Maron in that pod cast about racism in America and how we are not cured of it. Let's listen to this. 

BARACK OBAMA: Racism, we are not cured of. 

MARC MARON: Clearly. 

OBAMA: And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say [ bleep ] In public. That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don't overnight completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior. 

O’DONNELL: Eugene, your reaction? I apologize that our network believes that the president used bad judgment. Because that’s what a bleep is right?  The bleep is you used bad judgment in using that word, not recognizing that it is a historical word. It is an English language word this this country. Anyway, I don't care about the word, make a big deal about the word but the president's sentiment that he was expressing. 

EUGENE ROBINSON: The sentiment is right. What I'm waiting to hear, I'm waiting to hear what the president says on Friday to tell you the truth. 

O’DONNELL: Yet another moment where the president will take to a pulpit. 

ROBINSON: Yes. 

O’DONNELL: To address this deep American curse. 

ROBINSON: Right, right. And in a moment when any, everyone is sort of keyed in and wants to hear, because it's a moment when the nation, the nation needs to hear, and I think it's an opportunity to move the conversation forward. And to move us forward, perhaps. For example, why don't we treat white supremacist terrorism the way we treat Islamic terrorism? Why aren’t we tracking those racist websites the way we track jihadist websites? Why don’t we think of the Confederate flag the way we think of ISIS? I mean those kinds of questions and I think we can move the dialog ahead. So I kind of hope he does that. 

MARK THOMPSON: And I think it's very important for this president to say it and to speak on Friday, because I think we're seeing history repeat itself. The same atmosphere that existed after reconstruction when the period of reclamation started, the first Congressional Black Caucus, which was as significant as the first black president at the time, these are former slaves in Congress, were met with voter disenfranchisement and violence. Lynchings of innocent people. The first black president, and what we might consider the second reconstruction after Selma, his administration has been met with voter suppression again. We're reliving that and a more sophisticated form of lynching.

Many of us see no disparity between Emanuel [sic] and Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis and Renisha McBride and Michael Brown and Eric Garner. All of that is part of the same thing. So this is history repeating itself and it’s appropriate for the president to speak. I want to remind everybody though, the College of Charleston, the president was the leader of the Confederate States of America. That was his website. So they’re going to be on that campus with someone who probably was most outspoken in this regard when it comes to the confederacy. And lastly, you mentioned guns Lawrence in that last segment. I hope this is not a tradeoff. We'll let you have the flag, but we're not going to compromise on guns. It's not an either/or. It's a both/and. 

 

NB Daily Race Issues Racism MSNBC Other MSNBC The Last Word Mark Thompson Lawrence O'Donnell Barack Obama

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