Why Nikki Haley's comments on racism are so frustrating: author
2024 GOP presidential hopeful Nikki Haley is no stranger to racist insults from members of her own party. In 2010, South Carolina State Sen. Jake Knotts used a racial slur to simultaneously attack Haley, who is Indian-American, and then-President Barack Obama. And in February, far-right author Ann Coulter, during an appearance on "The Mark Simone Show," told Haley to "go back to your own country."
But the 51-year-old Haley is not from India; she was born in Bamberg, South Carolina on January 20, 1972. Her parents were immigrants from India, but Haley herself was born and raised in the United States and speaks English, her native language, with a southern accent.
Coulter remarked, "What's with the worshipping of the cows? They're all starving over there?"
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But despite such attacks, Haley has downplayed the severity of racism in the United States. The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations an ex-South Carolina governor, in the past, argued, "America is not a racist country. This is personal for me. I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants."
Author Isaac J. Bailey, who is African-American, lays out some reasons why he finds Haley's comments so frustrating in an op-ed published by Politico on March 26.
"I empathize with Nikki Haley's struggle with race because in many ways, her struggle mirrors my own. She and I were born 310 days apart in 1972," Bailey writes. "We both grew up in predominantly Black rural regions of South Carolina — she in Bamberg, the county seat of one of the state's smallest counties, and me in the tiny town of St. Stephen in Berkeley County. She and I went to schools still segregated and heavily underfunded decades after the Supreme Court supposedly put an end to such things with Brown v. Board of Education."
Bailey adds, "Haley faced discrimination as part of the only Indian family in Bamberg. I faced discrimination in St. Stephen because I was Black and poor — common characteristics in town — and spoke with a severe stutter."
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Bailey, author of the forthcoming book Why Didn't We Riot? A Black Man in Trumpland, criticizes the Republican former governor for claiming "that the Confederate flag's continued presence" is "no big deal."
"Given our backgrounds," Bailey stresses, "Haley and I should be allies. But I haven't been able to support her because she's decided to deploy her inspiring story — it's no easy feat to become the first woman and person of color to serve as South Carolina's governor — in service of men and women who have been fighting rather than advancing racial progress."
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Read Isaac J. Bailey's op-ed for Politicoat this link.
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