Here at The Root, we are very particular about how we label people. We know that labels can be damaging and unshakeable so we are careful not to brand a person a thing unless we are sure that they are in fact said thing.
So, it’s with that in mind that I say Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton is not a racist: he just appears to suffer from a lot of racist symptoms, says a lot of racist shit and fights to keep racism alive.
In an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, published on Sunday, Cotton claims that slavery was the nation’s “necessary evil upon which the union was built.”
If you are thinking that Cotton just made this comment randomly because he’s got an insufferable case of the racist hiccups, you’d be wrong. He actually made the comment discussing how slavery should be taught in schools. Wait, I think I read this wrong; nope, it’s correct.
“We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country,” Cotton said. “As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built.”
Cotton also noted that the “union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction.”
Instead of portraying America as “an irredeemably corrupt, rotten and racist country,” the nation should be viewed “as an imperfect and flawed land, but the greatest and noblest country in the history of mankind,” he added, HuffPost reports.
In Tom Cotton’s world, Black Lives Matter protesters could be shot and killed even when surrendering. In a since-deleted tweet from Cotton, he called for the U.S. to deploy “the 10th Mountain, 82nd Airborne, 1st Cav, 3rd Infantry—whatever it takes to restore order. No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters, and looters.”
Many took issue with the use of the phrase “No quarter”—which is “a war crime” that “would, if carried out, be murder under American law”—being used by an American senator against Americans. But Cotton didn’t give a shit. After Twitter contacted him to remove the tweet, Cotton and his staff argued to leave the tweet as is and include an additional tweet explaining their position on “no quarter” but Twitter insisted he take the shit down.
“My aide tried to reason with the employee. We offered to post a new tweet clarifying my meaning—which I did anyway—but the employee refused, insisting I had to delete the original tweet because some snowflakes had retweeted it,” Cotton wrote in a Fox News op-ed.
Cotton (whose last name was probably Fitzgerald but he changed it to Cotton because slavery) has some really screwed views on America’s original sin, which is really just a nice way of saying the rape, murder and subjugation of an entire race of people. Cotton has already tried to introduce a bill—the Saving American History Act of 2020—“that would cut off federal professional development funds from any school district that teaches a curriculum linked to the 1619 Project.”
The 1619 Project—which refers to the year slaves were brought from Africa to colonial America—was a series of pieces by writers for the New York Times Magazine that examines the American history of slavery and its critical role in the nation’s founding.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Times reporter and director of the 1619 Project, blasted Cotton’s comments justifying slavery, “where it was legal to rape, torture and sell human beings for profit.” It’s “hard to imagine what cannot be justified if it is a means to an end,” she added.
Cotton shot back in a tweet—retweeted by President Donald Trump—that his comments were not “justifying or endorsing slavery” because he claimed to be merely “describing the views of the Founders.”
In his interview with the Gazette, Cotton criticized the 1619 Project as “left-wing propaganda,” and “factually, historically flawed.”
“Even a penny is too much to go to the 1619 Project in our public schools,” Cotton said. “The New York Times should not be teaching American history to our kids.”
If “local, left-wing school boards want to fill their children’s heads with anti-American rot, that’s their regrettable choice,” said Cotton. “But they ought not to benefit from federal tax dollars to teach America’s children to hate America.”
Said Tom Cotton, who is totally not racist and just pretends to be—but only during the hours that he’s awake.