February 29th, 2024
L&T Opinions Page

earl wattL&T Publisher Earl Watt


‘The view’ co-host Sunny Holstin has used her platform to rail against Republicans using the typical left-wing lines of racist colonists stealing land and exploiting slavery to build wealth.

But Holstin was recently left “in shock” when she discovered that her ancestors were slaveholders.

Holstin recently learned that her family tree reaches back to Spain, and that her family owned slaves.

Holstin had a black father and a Puerto Rican mother. Holstin said her mother prided herself on identifying as non-white, and that discovering that their roots are connected to slave owners would be difficult for her.

The glaring racism of Holstin’s comments notwithstanding, there is a bigger issue here when it comes to the tribal identity some push in America.

Holstin has been raised and identifies so strongly that being white equates to being evil that she considered her Spanish-linked DNA to represent the white culture.

A few decades ago, there were white people who would have reacted with remorse if they discovered any African roots on their family tree, and they were flat out racists. Holstin holds the same contempt in reverse, and like all racists, she feel justified in her disappointment in the very blood that flows through her veins.

The reality is if any of us explore our family trees long enough, we will find relatives from a wide variety of backgrounds, especially Americans. Our ancestry comes from many backgrounds around the globe, and while some prejudices tend to lump everyone in either white, black, hispanic or asian, each of these have multiple variations.

Holstin, like me, is an American. While she wants to identify as a specific color of skin, the genetic study she recently took tells a much larger truth, and the focus should not be on where we came from but where we are. It shouldn’t be on the superficial color of skin but on what Martin Luther King, Jr., suggested, the content of our character.

But she was devastated. Stunned, she said.

Is it really the end of the world that she had an ancient relative who owned slaves? She had no control of that.

Societies hundreds of years ago do not have the advantage of understanding we have today. How can we expect people who thought the Earth was flat to understand the wrongs of slavery? We can always look back with a critical eye, or we can learn from where they were and how far we’ve come.

Another issue this brings is the current far left effort to push concepts like reparations.

What if more blacks discover they have relatives who also owned slaves? Would they still qualify for reparations?

What other historic injustices should we be trying to correct? Asians were treated very poorly in America. Ever hear of the Anti Chinese League? They were like civic clubs even in the Wild West after slavery was abolished.

Italians were not welcomed with open arms in many pockets throughout America, and the Irish were characterized as hot tempered alcoholics.

The scourge of slavery is not to be diminished. Blacks who suffered the injustice were greatly abused.

But the reaction has been to lash out against every white person as indicated in some of the theories of Critical Race Theory. Whites, they say, were born oppressors while people of color were born to be oppressed.

Both are patently false

But Holstin’s situation shows just how far apart we are because of those who want us to see our differences rather than our similarities. 

She is ashamed of her ancestry because of a Spanish connection, and the reality that the world used to be a less egalitarian place.

They were wrong back then, for sure, but because of their wrongs we have learned to do it the right way. Society sometimes reflects what Thomas Edison told us about the light bulb. He didn’t just discover how to make an incandescent light bulb, but he also “discovered 999 ways how not to invent the light bulb.”

History is not to be judged but to be studied. It’s not a snapshot. History is a stream, and what you may find in one direction is much different as you continue to follow the path of the stream.

Holstin may have discovered something unpleasant, but at some point that changed, and she is here today, living in a land that has allowed her to live a charmed life.

We are all better off today because we have improved on the errors of the past and are committed not to repeat them by understanding them.

Rewriting history, or erasing it, can only lead to ignorance and the potential to forget how we got here, and how everyone else got here. It omits the struggles, the wars, the winners and the losers, and the reality that the United States is not a perfect story but still the best in human history.

Your history is only a tool to be used to create a better future.

GUEST COLUMN, Kim Baldwin, Kansas Farm Bureau


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