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Nikki Haley: A Tale of Two Lies


At the Republican National Convention opening on Monday, August 24th, 2020, Nikki Haley was one of those chosen to give a speech in support of Donald Trump’s America. One of the most striking remarks of her speech was her declaration, that Racism does not exist in America. She declared that it is simply “fashionable” for the Democratic Party “to say that America is racist. That is a lie. America is not a racist country.” She didn’t say, “anymore,” or “finally.” She was, nonetheless, emphatic in her statement and implication that it did not exist at all, at any time, ever, in this country.


This made her statement very powerful to her audience of Republicans whose behavior toward Black people has made quite the opposite crystal clear. It is powerful, not only because it denies there exists a generational system of denial and limited apportionment of opportunity, equity, equality, and justice in America for Black Americans. In denying the very real system of Racism, or that “America is not Racist,” it denies that the system is in place to sustain a larger and more insidious ideology of White Supremacy which has existed since the nation’s inception, and provides white supremacists justification for their continued atrocious behavior toward Black people, as well as diminishing this stark reality for millions, and fostering the belief of inferiority through Race as character; negative stereotypes developed over generations by white people.


Nimrata Haley (née Randhawa), is a first-generation American citizen, born of parents who were immigrants to this country from India. She was born in 1972 in Bamberg, South Carolina, where, as of 2020, the total population stands at 3,161.


According to Ms. Haley, she and her family were subjects of discrimination:

"I was a Brown girl, in a Black and white world. We faced discrimination and hardship. But my parents never gave in to grievance and hate.”


This immediately suggests that Ms. Haley was certainly no stranger to the system of Racism in America as a young girl. Later, in her bid for governor, she was vilified by then Senator Jake Knotts, also a Republican, who called her a “raghead,” a term used to mock the religious and/or cultural headwear of Indian people. His remark was that South Carolina didn’t need a raghead in the governor’s mansion, since they already had one in the White House, referring erroneously to Barack Obama, simply based on his name. This also immediately suggests that she faced white supremacist behavior as an adult, within the seats of political power, as she tried to gain her own political footing in the historically biased South Carolina arena.


Nikki Haley’s family undoubtedly faced discrimination, as she explained herself, however, Nikki Haley was not “Black.” As Nikki Haley and her parents assimilated into the culture of the “American Way,” they also assimilated into the same white supremacist culture that has generationally divided Black Americans from white Americans. Indeed, today, Ms. Haley identifies as white in America and as such, she has dismissed her own experiences and that of her family, because they are not Black. By her declaration she obviously supports and upholds the ideology and structure of white supremacy and power, and as part of that structure today, she, like others in the seats of power, must maintain the belief that there is no knee on the scale. Even in the face of mounting expressions and experiences to the contrary, she and the others know the entire ideology of white supremacy rests on notions of “meritocracy,” “natural selection,” and “rugged individualism,” of the white race and of course, in the abstract, “all lives.” Given the unbleached truth, the entire ideology would crumble if all thinking white people began to chisel away at the generational lie of superiority based on an insane notion of skin color.


In the face of her own experiences, Ms. Haley was compelled to declare America was not a Racist country, and why? Because she had to, in order to ensure it actually remains one.

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Copyright 2020 Cynthia Alease Smith, Ed.D.