In light of the tragic killing of black teenager Trayvon Martin — and the manufactured hysteria surrounding it — one thing needs to be stated as clearly and as often as possible: The United States is the least racist and least xenophobic country in the world. Foreigners of every race, ethnicity, and religion know this. Most Americans suspect this. Most black Americans and the entire left deny this.
Black Africans know this. That is why so many seek to live in the United States. Decades ago, the number of black Africans who had immigrated to the United States had already surpassed the number of black Africans who were forcibly shipped to America as slaves.
And members of other races and nationalities know this. Even Muslim and Arab writers have noted that nowhere in the Arab or larger Muslim world does an Arab or any other Muslim have the individual rights, liberty, and dignity that a Muslim living in America has. As for Latinos and Asians, vast numbers of them from El Salvador to Korea regard America as the land of opportunity.
And when any of these people come here - from anywhere, speaking any language, looking like a member of any race — they are accepted as Americans the moment they identify as such. He or she will be regarded as fully American. This is not true elsewhere. A third-generation Turkish-German, whose German is indistinguishable from the German spoken by an indigenous German, will still be regarded by most Germans as a Turk. The same holds true elsewhere in Europe.
On the other hand, a first-generation Turkish American, who speaks English with a heavy Turkish accent, but who identifies as American, will be regarded every bit as American as anyone else.
As is often the case, a foreigner pointed this out most clearly. On a visit to America in February, The president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, said:
"The other day, I was in a small company — and there were Asians, Koreans, Middle Easterners, some other people. And they had been in America for, like, two, three, four years. And they talk American. They look American. Body language is American. I'm sure they already think American. Go to Korea and become Korean in one or two years' time. Good luck with that. That's what's so special about this country."
Xenophobic? It is probably fair to say that most Americans are xenophiles. Last week, in Tampa, I met a 40 year-old man who works at a cigar lounge and bar. I commented on all the good-looking women who entered his establishment, and he told me that despite his low salary, that is precisely the reason he works there. They flock to him, he said.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because of my accent." He was from Russia.
The left-wing drumbeat about America as racist is a combination of politics and black memory.
The political aspect is this: The Democrats and the left recognize that if blacks cease viewing themselves as victims of racism, the Democratic Party can no longer offer itself as black America's savior. And if only one out of three black Americans ceases to regard to himself as a victim of racism, and votes accordingly, it will be very difficult for Democrats to win any national election.
The other issue is black memory. Apparently, most blacks either cannot or refuse to believe that the vast majority of whites are no longer racist. Most Americans were hopeful that the election of a black president — thereby making America the first white society in history to choose a black leader — would finally put to rest the myth of a racist America. More than three years later it seems not to have accomplished a thing. I now suspect that if the president, the vice-president, the entire cabinet, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and all nine justices on the Supreme Court were black, it would have no impact on blacks who believe America is a racist society — or on the left-wing depiction of America as racist.
One can only conclude that the smearing of America's good name is one of the things at which the left has been most proficient.
Dennis Prager new book, Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph, will be published April 24 by HarperCollins. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.Com.