We don’t need Lincoln-inspired racial "unity." We need whites to stop being racist.

Beyond that, Clinton’s call for everyone to “do the work” to unite against hatred overlooks the fundamental fact that it’s whites — and only whites — who must work to fix the racist structures in our society.

Clinton wrapped herself in Lincoln imagery for her speech for obvious reasons. But the history books sanitize the sixteenth president’s views on race. He believed that blacks were inferior, habitually used the n-word and loved “darky jokes” and minstrel shows. He advocated for emancipation as a political strategy, not for moral reasons or because he was an anti-racist activist who judged people by the content of their character. The only liberation strategy for black folks that Lincoln was deeply committed to was deportation: He asked Congress to allocate money to move blacks to Africa or the jungles of Central America. He was also against black people voting, holding public office or sitting on juries; he was “disgusted” by the thought of interracial marriages and mixed-race children. He only endorsed citizenship rights for black Americans after 180,000 black soldiers “proved” themselves worthy by fighting for the Union.

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