A newly released recording of a conversation from 1971 was the latest reminder of the long history of racism by American presidents.
Ronald Reagan was the governor of California in 1971 when he phoned the White House to vent his political frustration to President Richard M. Nixon and, according to a newly released audio recording, called African people “monkeys” in a slur that sparked laughter from the president of the United States. The previously undisclosed exchange took place after the United Nations voted to expel Taiwan in order to seat representatives from Beijing, a move that the United States opposed. Delegates from Tanzania celebrated with a victory dance in the General Assembly hall. “To see those monkeys from those African countries, damn them,” Reagan said, to laughter from Nixon. “They are still uncomfortable wearing shoes.” In other recordings, Nixon went on to recount his conversation with Reagan to others, describing the African delegates as “cannibals” as he sought to blame them for the United Nations vote.
“Reagan opens the door and Nixon runs with the racist tropes,” said Timothy Naftali, the former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum who requested the recording and wrote the article in The Atlantic. “This is not just a story about Reagan’s racism,” he said in an interview. “It’s also a reminder about how in the Oval Office, racism can beget racism” and “reveal latent racism in others.” The National Archives originally withheld part of the recording to protect Reagan’s privacy, said Mr. Naftali, who requested a full version last year. He said the timing of the release this month was a coincidence that offered important historical context. continue reading the story here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/us/politics/ronald-reagan-richard-nixon-racist.html