Talk:Ronald Reagan

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RfC Should Reagan's 1971 audio recording which included racists comments be added to the article text?Edit

Last fall a RfC talk page discussion ( updated Springee (talk) 01:24, 10 July 2020 (UTC) ) asked this question Talk:Ronald_Reagan#Newly_released_audio. A number of editors suggested a wait and see approach. It has been 9 months and an editor recently added the following to the article [1]

In July of 2019 a previously undisclosed tape recorded in the Nixon White House was released. In the audio recording, made in 1971 and documenting a phone conversation between then-President Nixon and then-Governor Reagan, Mr. Reagan can be heard saying, “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!“ [1] This statement was made in reference to a United Nations delegation from Tanzania, which opposed the United States in a vote to officially recognize the People’s Republic of China. When the tape was initially released in 2000, the racist portion had been edited out. Subsequent to Reagan’s passing, the original recording was restored and released to the public.

Do editors feel this added text is DUE for inclusion? Springee (talk) 23:38, 9 June 2020 (UTC)


  1. ^ <iframe title="vimeo-player" src="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Comment from closer of prior RfCEdit

In my view, the current formulation of this RfC is inconsistent with my close of the prior one on the same topic, which found that there was rough consensus for a concise mention but with the wording to be decided. Any editor who objects to the close is welcome to contest it through the proper channel at WP:AN, but since the situation has not meaningfully changed since the prior discussion, a new RfC is in effect an instance of forum shopping. (Note that WP:CCC states that proposing to change a recently established consensus can be disruptive.) I would suggest that this RfC be given a procedural close, or refactored to present different options for the phrasing of the text. Regards, {{u|Sdkb}}talk 03:18, 10 June 2020 (UTC)

For reference, here is the prior close:

A rough consensus has emerged to include a concise mention of Reagan's remarks integrated into the narrative of the article body.

Those opposed to inclusion of the remarks argued that they were not notable because they were a single incident and have not yet been shown to have had a lasting impact on his legacy. Those in favor of inclusion countered that the remarks were notable as a characterization of Reagan's views on a major issue and cited widespread contemporary media coverage as evidence of their impact on his legacy.

Both sides' arguments were sufficiently grounded in policy that neither were discounted for quality reasons (although a handful of early !votes advising waiting were discounted as out of date), but the majority opinion (approximately 10 !votes for inclusion, vs. 5 !votes against), along with a noticeable trend toward inclusion, led to the result.

There was not enough discussion on specific wordings or placements for a consensus to emerge on those matters. Discussion about that may take place where it has begun in the section below, although editors are cautioned that they should use the results of this discussion as the launching point for that discussion.

{{u|Sdkb}}talk 03:30, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
Your previous close was problematic on several grounds. First, after the close you showed that you were not neutral on the subject and went as far as trying to solicit editors to insert the material from the RfC [2]. Second, your claim of rough consensus is very questionable given it could only be achieved if we assumed all who said to wait actually meant "yes". Since a number of the editors said wait and we are now 9 months later and no one in the previous 9 months acted on your closing I would say it's perfectly reasonable to start a new RfC. This RfC does not suggest a specific included text, rather the text that was added earlier today. Your claim of forum shopping doesn't apply since this is the same forum as the original RfC was not acted upon and the closing was quested. Springee (talk) 03:30, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
Looking back at the history of the previous "RfC" it's important to note that it was a never a RfC. It was a talk page survey of local editors. Note the lack of a RfC header etc prior to the "closing" [3]. Thus it is certainly improper to freeze the discussion and call it decided. It is not uncommon for local discussions to evolve into formal RfCs if the issue can be decided locally. Springee (talk) 17:04, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
Should this be posted on a dispute resolution board? Because if the RFC was closed correctly......all this (i.e. new vote and discussion below) is improper and pointless.Rja13ww33 (talk) 15:41, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
The question was asked here [[4]]. My read is the editors who replied felt it was a bad close. However, since it wasn't a RfC in the first place it really was nothing more than one editor assessing the consensus as they saw it. Springee (talk) 16:31, 11 June 2020 (UTC)

Note the previously closed discussion was not a RfC, it was a talk page discussion only. It was not started or tagged as a RfC and no notifications for outside opinions were initiated as part of the previous discussion. I became aware of this a few days after opening this follow on RfC. Springee (talk) 01:21, 10 July 2020 (UTC)

Survey - Reagan 1971 commentEdit

  • Oppose: As noted in previous RfC, it is not clear this off the record comment from 1971 is DUE for inclusion. This was a private conversation and there is no evidence Reagan knew it was being recorded. More importantly what impact will this have on his legacy? Wait and see was a central point made in the previous RfC. So far it doesn't appear this has impacted his legacy. Springee (talk) 23:54, 9 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Support (with copyedit tweaks and maybe some trim) There are three main reasons:
  • 1. WP:DUE: The fact that a President makes racist remarks is obviously WP:DUE and it makes my heart ache that we have to go through multiple RfCs to make sure these atrocious remarks are included in the article. The remarks obviously affect his legacy and are obviously pertinent information for a bio of a President. No one would have sought to remove well-sourced content on the racist views and remarks of other presidents, so why exclude it on this page? Once uncovered, the racist remarks were covered in every newspaper (national or international).[5][6][7] If new information about the invasion of Grenada, the Libya bombing and Project Socrates (all content included in the article) were to be revealed, it's hard to imagine it garnering the same amount of RS coverage as this reveal did (which just goes to show notable it was). Despite the fact that the uncovered remarks are less than one year old, there have already (!) been books and scholarly publications that make note of the remarks, including one that specifically remarks on how it affects Reagan's legacy.[8][9][10] Note that in many cases, it takes months and years to publish scholarly works. It's not a reasonable requirement for DUE that newspapers continuously cover the remarks made by a dead president or that multiple Reagan biographies must mention the remarks within a year of their reveal. Harvard Kennedy School political scientist Leah Wright Rigueur: "Now, we actually have a broader context about Ronald Reagan — one wherein he is using racial slurs and that he is, you know, he is talking about black people, and in this case Africans, in a pejorative and negative and regressive sense. So, now, what we have to do is reconcile that prejudice with Ronald Reagan's actual policies and programs and the things that he did on the ground."[11]
  • 2. WP:NPOV: The omission of this content is a brazen violation of NPOV given that the article includes content that emphasizes Reagan's "opposition to racial discrimination", says that his opposition to racial discrimination was "unusual" and that he even preceded the civil rights movement in opposing racism. In saying so, the article cites an op-ed by the conservative National Review titled "Reagan, No Racist". How can it possibly be NPOV to include content that emphasizes how uniquely non-racist Reagan was while omitting remarks by him calling blacks "monkeys"? 
  • 3. Racial bias on Wikipedia: The omission of this content would serve as a glaring example of Racial bias on Wikipedia, as Wikipedia's mostly white editors decide that racism at the highest level of power in the country is just not important enough to warrant mention. The content already meets DUE and NPOV – the only thing it doesn't meet is some editors' subjective view that racism just doesn't rate. These racist remarks were hidden and censored by archivists who sought to present Reagan in a misleading and flattering light. Is Wikipedia also going to do that? Snooganssnoogans (talk) 00:57, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • RS support (including coverage in academic publications) has already been demonstrated and NPOV has already been demonstrated. The only thing motivating the exclusion of this content at this point is the subjective feeling of mostly white editors that racist slurs don't merit mention in the biography of a president. Edit: I just clicked on that link. Are you seriously likening the well-documented racial bias on Wikipedia to conservatives whining that they can't cite their favorite conspiracy websites? Snooganssnoogans (talk) 02:24, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
Snooganssnoogans, the largest countries in the world that speak English-the United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia-have overwhelmingly white populations. Therefore, of course most Wikipedia editors are white. It would be shocking if they weren't. I reject the accusation that Wikipedia editors impose the inclusion of this content simply because of their own racial biases. Rather, the comment was made privately and has not recevied significant press coverage, and is therefore not notable. I also noticed that you had no problem voting in an RfC to oppose inclusion of racially controversial comments made by Joe Biden. [12] Are the votes in this RfC, including your own, another example of white racist Wikipedia editors trying to diminish racism, or is it acceptable because Biden is a Democrat? Display name 99 (talk) 05:54, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
There's a difference between calling blacks "monkeys" and saying it's in black people's interests to vote for the Democratic Party. If Biden had called blacks "monkeys", it's completely unimaginable that his bio would not include that content and it's unimaginable that it would not have near-unanimous support for inclusion. One thing is for certain: none of the Oppose votes in this RfC would be demanding ten biographies about Biden that mention the remarks. None. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 16:03, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
Biden said that black people weren't black if they didn't vote Democratic. That's different from saying that it's in their interest to vote that way. Display name 99 (talk) 17:09, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Support It's significant enough to be worth a mention, as part of Reagan's racial views. Wikipedia is not WP:CENSORED, and there's no reason to whitewash the comments from the article. Hemiauchenia (talk) 01:14, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
There are no RS's that state this quote reflected Reagan's racial views and implying or infering it by including it is an argument against inclusion. ConstantPlancks (talk) 05:50, 25 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose Saying this is about a president making racist remarks is disingenuous because this was a decade before he became President. Toa Nidhiki05 01:38, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Why does it matter that he said racist slurs before he became President? This was not youthful indiscretion. This was a 60-year old Governor of California. If leaked transcripts show that Trump referred to black people with the N-word, would you argue that it doesn't belong in his bio because he happened to use the N-word before becoming President? Snooganssnoogans (talk) 02:14, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose As I have said before (in the RFC): Not in my opinion. Seem to me to be a off-hand comment that is not a significant enough moment in his life. But there seems to be some dispute on the RFC closing. I am not one to go against a RFC. If the RFC says we do it, we do it. Perhaps a 3rd party can resolve the closure issue?Rja13ww33 (talk) 01:51, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
    I don't think this is really going against the closing since consensus can change. Snoogans edits frequently push to include negative material about the right side of politics. However, with some additional time they certainly can make a stronger case than could be made last fall. The news clips aren't much since in general they are all at the time of the audio release. With the way news cycles work such flash in the pan news often spreads fast but has little staying power. The two articles and the one book are a stronger case. Starting with the book, the author, E._J._Dionne thought it appears the Reagan comment is a singular mention. The Nevil-Shepard paper again only uses it as a brief quote in the article's conclusion. It doesn't drive any conclusions. The same is true of the Singh paper. Other than serving as a "soundbite" I'm not sure how this is driving the legacy of Reagan when placed against his very long list of notable actions, events etc. If due it would only be a small note in a larger section on race relations etc. Springee (talk) 02:08, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • The criteria that scholarly publications need to make this quote the centerpiece of entire books and articles within a year of it's release is patently absurd and defies any understanding of how academia and scholarship works. It's a completely non-transparent attempt to keep it out by raising standards beyond any reasonable level. The fact that the quote already appears immediately in such publications is testament to its notability. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 02:19, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • It's not absurd. It goes to the question of WEIGHT. If the mention is only passing rather than to talk about the impact on Reagan and/or his legacy then yes, it has low weight. Springee (talk) 02:25, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Very little of the content in Wikipedia biographies of presidents has sources that explicitly say "this thing was key to this individual's legacy". It's an insane and non-transparently unreachable requirement. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 02:29, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • That you don't understand the issue doesn't mean the issue isn't there. Sorry, Reagan as a person is a HUGH topic. Even with the sources you have tried to find (thanks web key word search!) they are hardly dwelling on it. They aren't saying our understanding of Reagan and race relations is different now vs before. That would be how you know the legacy has changed. Perhaps we will see that over the next 5 to 10 years but not so far. Springee (talk) 02:39, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Support inclusion. A future president of the United States, then the governor of the country's most populous state, made an overtly racist comment at the White House to the then-sitting president of the United States, who was also prone to racist statements. This is an important and illustrative incident in the long, ugly and sad history of overt racism at the highest levels of the U.S. government. As for the argument that the comment was "off the record", that does not hold water, since the comment was recorded by the same U.S. government tape recording system that proved Nixon's criminal behavior. Did Reagan say, "Hey, Dick, this is off the record"? No. The observation that the comment occurred before Reagan became president is irrelevant because this is the main biography article that covers Reagan's whole life, and we have another article about his presidency, where thus does not belong. Instead, it belongs in this very article. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 03:02, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
At the risk of nitpicking....I am fairly certain Reagan had no clue he was being recorded. Virtually no one outside of the White House knew of Nixon's recording system.(Until the Watergate committee started asking questions.)Rja13ww33 (talk) 03:17, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
I can nitpick right back, Rja13ww33. Anybody sophisticated in Washington, DC at the time would have read columnists like Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson and would have known that White House conversations were frequently recorded by stenographers with pen and paper. Reagan freely chose to use the "monkey" slur, when he could easily have chosen less overtly racist language. So, the tape recordings just verified what lots of people already knew, that Reagan was perfectly willing to spout crude racism in order to try to bond with a racist president. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 07:01, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
Anderson said prior to this point that "White House conversations were frequently recorded by stenographers with pen and paper"? I'd be interested to see a source on that. IIRC, Anderson said he got records & info on of White House meetings (even confidential ones). But this doesn't ring a bell. In any case, this comes across as a pretty casual conversation.....certainly not one that Reagan thought would be recorded.Rja13ww33 (talk) 16:42, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
I was not quoting or paraphrasing either Pearson or Anderson but simply stating what was common knowledge among people who read those political columnists during the LBJ and Nixon administrations. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 22:49, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
I am aware of it being known that JFK/LBJ was taping a lot of his conversations. I also recall Anderson getting inside info. But I don't recall at all it being well known (even in DC) that Nixon was recording his conversations. (IIRC, this was a surprise to the Watergate Committee.)Rja13ww33 (talk) 23:05, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose This does not seem to be DUE. An unguarded and foolish remark in a private setting that seems to have produced little discussion since it was revealed a year ago, as it seems to play no significant role in understanding the subject. Shinealittlelight (talk) 05:16, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Include. (Uninvolved editor comment). This is obviously well-sourced and relevant to understanding the subject. The objections range from ridiculous to, frankly, shameful. The article is full of trivia, so the claim that this is somehow below the notability threshold doesn't hold water. We learn in the article that Reagan, early in his career as an actor "gave speeches in favor of racial equality", but you want to suppress the fact that later, as a politician whose views swung rightward, he mocked African diplomats as "monkeys"? You want to omit it because it was an "unguarded" remark, or because he didn't realize the remark had been recorded, or because he made it before he was elected President? We include remarks because they're relevant and well-sourced, and the discrepancy between his public and private racial views is clearly relevant to understanding him. Moreover, we include a ton of material that took place before he became President, so rejecting this material on that basis is just silly. Come on. MastCell Talk 22:42, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
If this is truly reflective of his "private racial views" and key to "understanding him" small question: why isn't there more of this? In a 93 year life, we have a grand total of one of these comments. Yes [before you get started], RR has been accused of using so-called "code" language politically. But no acquaintances (friend and foe alike) have mentioned him using this type of language. That's where my belief that this was not reflective of anything (other than the man he was trying to make nice with).Rja13ww33 (talk) 23:01, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
Bizarre. He was the kind of man who would "make nice" by mocking African diplomats as "monkeys" and shoeless savages. What is the minimum number of well-documented racist comments that you think would warrant inclusion? I mean, the article is literally chock-full of fulsome trivia with a fraction of the sourcing and relevance of this instance, so I'd like to understand your criteria. MastCell Talk 23:07, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
I don't know how many I would want to include.....but before I would make such a sweeping statement (that this somehow shows his "private racial views"), I'd like to see a whole lot more. And really "monkeys"? I've heard white people call each other that. (Especially in the construction business.) Nothing bizarre about it to anyone with common sense and a sense of history.Rja13ww33 (talk) 23:13, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
I have been in the construction business for 36 years and have never once heard anybody call another human being a "monkey" like Reagan did. If I used that language as a young employee, I would have been fired promptly. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 23:18, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
You've been working with some interesting people then. I've heard anything (& everything). You've never heard the term "grease monkey" for example? (As in car repairs?) They even have oil change places named that.Rja13ww33 (talk) 23:22, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
You're now positing that calling African people "monkeys" is somehow not racist, which, I suppose, shouldn't surprise me. I don't have anything further to say to you. MastCell Talk 23:27, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
I am saying I don't know (100%) what his intent was. (And neither do you.) Would (by the way) the "savage" comment be ok if he had been talking about white people? If not, I'm gonna go burn every William Shirer book I have.Rja13ww33 (talk) 23:33, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
By the way, this is what Reagan said about hippies (who were overwhelmingly white): "A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheeta." Sounds like he thought white people were monkeys too.Rja13ww33 (talk) 23:43, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
The closer of this RfC should take into account that this user is incapable of discerning that calling blacks "monkeys" is racist, which clearly affects how this user determines DUE and NPOV (note that RS describe these comments as "racist" – so the user is also ignoring RS). It gets to the core of the Racial bias on Wikipedia that I addressed above: the inability of editors to understand what racism is and to downplay its importance. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 23:47, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
Note whatever you want. This isn't a place for you to grind axes (as another editor has noted). If we want this project to be successful and considered credible....we have to start looking like a encyclopedia. Pick up any encyclopedia you want (other than this one) and tell me where you see this stuff. The intent here is not a complete bio (ala Lou Cannon's book).Rja13ww33 (talk) 23:55, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
This editor also opposed the inclusion of any content that referred to the Reagan administration's policy on apartheid in South Africa, even though it was important by any standard (Congress in a rare move overturned Reagan's veto on sanctions against South Africa).[13] Snooganssnoogans (talk) 00:25, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
I felt that was adequately covered elsewhere (linked here). You wanted to have that in the lead.....and that was shot down via RFC.Rja13ww33 (talk) 00:30, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
As can be seen in the link above, you are opposing any mention of the subject anywhere in the article (whether in the body or the lead). Snooganssnoogans (talk) 00:37, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
Yeah, and you wanted it in the lead. So we've both been overruled once on this subject. Your point?Rja13ww33 (talk) 00:39, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose mentioning here per Shinealittlelight, but support mentioning at Political positions of Ronald Reagan per Masem. Yes, what he said was terrible and cringeworthy. However, as Shinealittlelight says, it was a private comment that is not necessary to understand the subject and has generated very little discussion since it was discovered. I'd also say that it runs afoul of WP:NOTNEWS (little lasting coverage, it left the headlines as quickly as it appeared). JOEBRO64 16:18, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • The expectation here is that newspapers should continuously cover 50-year old remarks by a president who has been dead for 15 years? This is a transparent attempt to exclude the content by raising the bar for inclusion to ludicrously unreachable heights. Note also that this user disregards the fact that academic publications and books have ALREADY covered these remarks, even though such publications take a long time, which demonstrates just how notable the remarks are. The user also doesn't address the NPOV violation that stems from the article emphasizing how uniquely non-racist Reagan was while omitting this content. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 16:33, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • The point is Wikipedia should follow the sources. I wouldn't expect newspapers to continuously cover the story, but if it's not being covered significantly in biographies, etc., then its importance is not clear. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs talk 17:53, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • The comments were suppressed (to protect Reagan's image) until mid-2019. I'm not aware that any major biographies have been published since the remarks were made public. More to the point, I'm not aware of any requirement - in either the letter or spirit of policy - that an item must appear in a printed biography, rather than in other reliable sources, to warrant inclusion. Its importance is demonstrated by extensive coverage in reliable sources, cited here and elsewhere. There are plenty of things in the article that don't meet the arbitrary criteria being applied to this specific item. MastCell Talk 19:48, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Snoogan's you have made your opinion clear. Please do not bludgeon the process. Springee (talk) 17:07, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose a brief mention offhand in a private conversation is simply giving it WP:UNDUE weight vioting NPOV. Furthermore, there is no evidence this comment has impacted his legacy and WP is not here to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. Regards  Spy-cicle💥  Talk? 16:54, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As mentioned earlier, the article already suffers from a lack of cohesive focus. Adding in the above text would just be another factoid without context. I'm sure an article could be produced about Reagan's racial opinions and politics beyond the political position article, or at the least a cohesive section based on the scholarship that's out there, but as of now I wouldn't say there's enough of it to justify inclusion on its own. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs talk 17:53, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose per pretty much all of the above comments. In the grand scheme of things this one-off comment is utterly irrelevant to his legacy. Calidum 19:47, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose-This is a private off-hand comment that Reagan made when he did not know that he is being recorded. It has received very little coverage since it recently became public knoweldge. It is not notable for inclusion. Display name 99 (talk) 05:42, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Support because I do not believe the comment can reliably be characterized as "just a gaffe" or one-off, and because it also in itself has generated significant discussion in contemporary media.
The fact that Reagan was willing to use clear slurs in reference to black people based on their race is strongly relevant to wider discussions of his political career, including his gun control legislation vis-à-vis the Black Panthers, his stance on apartheid in South Africa, and his extremely low approval rating with African-Americans, all of which are points already brought up in the article, to varying degrees. (Not only did he call the African delegates "monkeys", he later referred to them as "cannibals", according to NYT. These are both extremely loaded terms that make clear reference to stereotyped portrayals of Africa as savage, uncivilized ("They are still uncomfortable wearing shoes"), and animalistic. To argue these are not racial slurs is absurd.)
Additionally, it is untrue that the audio has not generated significant coverage already. A quick Google test of "ronald reagan african american" brings five articles about the remarks to the top (in Washington Post, New York Times, The Atlantic, Forbes and BBC) in addition to a slew of others (National Review, New Yorker, CBC, and others). It clearly is a point of public interest. These articles all grapple with Reagan's legacy (e.g. Forbes' opinion piece, "Should We Still Admire Ronald Reagan?" and the articles about Reagan's daughter being brought to tears when hearing the comments). I will also note that the comments were covered in Chinese-language media as well, including by major Taiwanese newspapers UDN and The Storm and PRC outlet The Observer.
The comment has also made its way into peer-reviewed academic literature and published books less than one year after their revelation, a clear indication of the impact it has had on consideration of Reagan as a person and politician. Including only sources publicly accessible:
Singh (June 2020), "Race, culture, and economics: an example from North-South trade relations" in Review of International Political Economy. (Full text available)
Dionne (2020), Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates Can Unite to Save Our Country, New York: St. Martin's Press. (Google books view of page)
Adorf (2019), Die Republikanische Partei in den USA, Munich: UVK Verlag. (page 77 of the Google Books text)

In short, in the space of less than one year, the comment has generated significant coverage within the United States and elsewhere, and has been evaluated in academic and popular literature already with reference to the legacy of Reagan as politician by American and German authors. It is notable, sustained coverage and should thus be included. WhinyTheYounger (talk) 16:35, 15 June 2020 (UTC)

As I said about the Singh and Dionne sources above, E.J. Dionne uses it as a singular comment to support an already existing claim. Note the author said of the comment, "Many liberals said the uncovered tape simply confirmed what they country had known about Reagan and his party all along." So the author said it supports the biases the other side of the table already had about Reagan. So what changed? The same is true of the Singh paper didn't use the comment to draw any conclusions. It appears as a "soundbite" but little more. Since I don't speak German I can't comment on the specifics of how the quote was used there but so far none of these examples are suggesting it changes the way history sees the man or his legacies. Other than serving as a soundbite how is this driving the legacy of Reagan when placed against his very long list of notable actions, events etc. Keep in mind that no one is arguing this shouldn't appear anywhere in Wikipedia about Reagan, just not in the top level article on the man. Springee (talk) 16:46, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
The standard for WP:DUE expressed here is that these remarks need to be the centerpiece of academic scholarship, which is not only completely unreachable (95% content in presidential bios would not meet it) but shows a glaring failure to understand how academic scholarship works. No one in academia writes books and articles about one sentence made by a President. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 16:53, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
Pretty much everything that came up (in the Google search) was around the time of the release of the tape. (Or from partisan sources.) This thing fell off fairly quickly. Also, you are kind of contradicting yourself here. On the one hand you want to say this is racial.....but on the other you say it Reagan has "stereotyped portrayals of Africa as savage, uncivilized ("They are still uncomfortable wearing shoes"), and animalistic." Now that's interesting. So if Reagan had such a image of exactly is it racial? After all, you are aware that Africa has a numerous ethnicities, races, etc living there correct?Rja13ww33 (talk) 16:49, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Support inclusion - this is historically significant, as the sources cited above indicate. Recent research by historians of course should be included, especially when it has attracted significant attention from both scholars and the public. Timothy Naftali, the historian (and the former head of the Nixon Presidential Library) who uncovered the recording, has commented extensively on the matter and its implications (see, e.g., NPR, New Yorker). Reagan's record on race issues has obviously been a source of enduring interest (see, e.g., Shull 1993, reissued 2018).
Most of these "oppose" comments should be discounted because they lack a rationale in Wikipedia policy. Some are just baffling. The idea that we should exclude this because it was a "private," "unguarded, or "off-hand" remark makes no sense - what's policy basis for this? None. As an encyclopedia, we recount significant "private" comments of many leaders. The idea that this should not be included because it was "a decade before he became president" is also totally irrelevant and frankly bizarre in light of the fact that (1) Reagan was the governor of California at the time and (2) this biography recounts a number of details (and some trivia) from Reagan's youth, his military service, etc. Neutralitytalk 16:50, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
Sorry, that "ignore the other side" thinking is BS. All of this is based on editor's evaluation of DUE. There isn't a bright line that says "DUE" (unlike say 3RR where we can all say "clear violation"). Editors are trying to decide if this specific content should be in the top level Reagan article. We aren't debating if it should be excluded from one of the many subtopics. The question is if it should be in the top level article. That raises the bar for DUE. Springee (talk) 16:57, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
The closer will determine due weight. But in doing so, the closer should obviously discount arguments based on patently illogical premises, like "a private comment means that inclusion would be improper or undue wright." Neutralitytalk 17:08, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
Of course the closer should obviously discount arguments that don't support the result you want. Springee (talk) 17:24, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Support Inclusion and I am really just baffled as to why anyone would see this issue otherwise. When Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib calls Trump a motherfucker at a small gathering that is not being televised but someone records her and posts it to YouTube you can bet your bottom dollar that we're including that incident in our bio of this Muslim woman of color. To refuse to publish this is just like spitting in the face of people of color who are finally seeing some progress being made in their long fight for equal and fair treatment.Gandydancer (talk) 20:13, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
Assuming Ms. Tlaib isn't dead, it's probably having some impact on her life (politically or otherwise). That's the big difference between something that comes out decades after someone dies and something that comes out about a active politician.Rja13ww33 (talk) 20:19, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
It's hard for me to reply without being sarcastic so I will say only that your logic is clearly flawed, or in other words you are not making any sense. Gandydancer (talk) 20:28, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
Is it or is it not having a impact on Ms. Tlaib's life and/or image? You can't see that difference? The debate as to the impact on Reagan's image is on going on this page.....and obviously there is no impact on his life.Rja13ww33 (talk) 20:35, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
  • 'Support - there is a clear public interest in the comments being included and arguably add further context to political decisions that he took while in office. Sources cited above show that there is sufficient coverage - and I think recent scrutiny on former public figures attitudes further crystallizes that this merits inclusion. Best, Darren-M talk 09:01, 16 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Support inclusion - this is deeply revelatory, as showing what a man who is still seen in some circles as benignly clueless really thought about African people, and said out loud to a major political ally. --Orange Mike | Talk 12:51, 16 June 2020 (UTC)
  • All too true. Despite the fact that he is responsible for one of my favourite quotes this confirms what I have thought for a long time, that Reagan was neither benign nor clueless. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:18, 16 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Support per above. ~ HAL333 15:55, 16 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose per UNDUE and NPOV. Maybe this could be included on his governorship article where it would be more relevant, as that looks at a more narrow section of Reagan's life. But I fail to see how this comment, not known to the public until 2019, was one of the most notable/significant things about Reagan's life and legacy, which included his time as an actor, as governor, and as president. Inclusion in his biographical article feels undue. I also have to assume there is POV at work here; I'm not saying anyone has acted in bad faith, but I fail to believe people's negative views of Reagan are not leaning their vote toward inclusion ( I guess you could argue pro-Reagan views go the opposite way but I have no strong feeling either way and was not alive during his presidency). Ultimately, it is just a government official who said something racist in a private conversation, that was eventually revealed decades later. He didn't lose his job because of it, and this comment has not had any real effect on Reagan's legacy as far as I can tell. ‡ Єl Cid of Valencia talk 17:22, 16 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Support inclusion As WhinyTheYounger notes in their support statement, the comments were covered in a significant number of reliable sources in the news media about the release of the recording, as well as the meaning of the statement as part of Reagan's legacy. Additionally, on other internet sites where people gather to discuss current topics of interest, people discussed the comments and how it would affect Reagan's legacy, and these observations and views were covered in the reliable sources. Additionally, from the time of the release until now, historians and others doing analysis of Reagan, Reagan's policy, and the United States policy during the Reagan era are now including the comments in their conclusions. Together this is strong support for the proposed text more than satisfying DUE because of the importance of the topic in context to Reagan's influence of public policy as the Gov. of CA and President of the US. Documentation of hidden racist ideology is significant because of the history of racism in politics in the United States. This is why reliable sources are covering and why it should not be left out of his Wikipedia article when discussing his legacy. Sydney Poore/FloNightUser talk:FloNight 20:00, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
    • Also, several hours after his call with Reagan, Nixon made reference to Reagan's racist comment in a telephone call to William P. Rogers, his administration's Sec. of State. So, although this comment was hidden from the public for many years, it was reflected in Nixon's management of Reagan (a popular and rising influence in the Republican Party) and the UN situation. REAGAN, NIXON, AND RACE, UVA Miller Center, 2019 This supports the significance of comment and supports why it should be include according to policy about due weight. Sydney Poore/FloNightUser talk:FloNight 21:07, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose as WP:UNDUE. If Reagan had a history of making similar comments, I'd change my mind.--Rusf10 (talk) 01:11, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Support inclusion. It is demonstrably relevant and notable. There is significant coverage of his comment in high-quality reliable sources, and this would merit inclusion even if this were a WP:BLP. Snooganssnoogans makes a strong argument that "The omission of this content is a brazen violation of NPOV". I am unaware of any strong, relevant policy-based arguments in favour of "oppose" and I disagree with the reasoning behind several of the "oppose" votes: (1) The WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS policy is only relevant to situations where there is no verifiable coverage in reliable sources. (2) Too many arguments are disregarding reliable sources and Wikipedia's policies. Arguments should not be based on the opinions of editors as to whether they personally think the comment was off-hand, significant, a one-off, defensible or not racist. Per WP:WEIGHT: Keep in mind that, in determining proper weight, we consider a viewpoint's prevalence in reliable sources, not its prevalence among Wikipedia editors or the general public. (3) Some editors have mentioned that he made the comment in private without providing any reason why this would merit exclusion from the page. Using the same reasoning, Donald Trump's page would not mention the Access Hollywood tape. There is no policy regarding omission of private discussions. (4) The WP:NOTNEWS policy is relevant to trivial details which is clearly not applicable here. (5) Another "oppose" argument was that we should wait to see what impact it will have on his legacy. There is a good reason why this is not a policy – if this standard was applied consistently across Wikipedia's articles on people it would result in essentially no up-to-date information and only extremely limited content would be included at all. If the same arguments in favour of "oppose" were applied consistently to the rest of the Reagan page, very little of the page as it stands currently would remain. CowHouse (talk) 10:01, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
    • This is not so much a policy based argument but an opinion. Like the opinions to exclude it has merit but it incorrectly discounts the other side of the issue. First, Snoogan's NPOV argument is flawed as discussed above and my comment below. I'm not sure anyone has suggested RGW and a reason for exclude. If nothing else it would seem that is why people want to include it. The wrong being that Reagan was clearly acting in a racist fashion all along and now we have proof. (2) None of the arguments disregard RS or other policies. No one has claimed the sources aren't reliable. Rather they focus on WEIGHT. One needs to remember that Reagan's life is an enormous topic. The current article is already 5x too long per Wiki standards. This weight argument doesn't mean the content doesn't fit into one of the many Reagan sub-articles but that it doesn't have sufficient weight for inclusion in this one. You quote weight yet that very section provides the reason for excluding it here. This is quote is not prevalent or even relevant in the vast volumes of Reagan sources. (3) The comparison to the Trump Access Hollywood tape is flawed. The AH tape had an immediate impact on Trump's election campaign and was one of the things that almost cost him the election. This tape had no impact on Reagan during his life. All people can do with it is speculate what it suggests about his actual feelings with respect to a complex subject. Had it come out around the time the tape was made it might have cost Reagan an election but that isn't the case. Since it was in private modern writers are left to either talk about what it does to Reagan's legacy or infer what they think it means with regards to his actual views on race relations etc. (4) Not news does apply here since this had a splash of coverage at the time and little since. Yes, it has been quoted in some scholarship but not in a way that is being used to say "this quote changes what we know". Thus it isn't changing what the writers conclude. (5) Actually this "wait and see" is based on policy. It's based on WEIGHT. If the view of Reagan and people's discussions of Reagan don't change then it diminishes the significance of this quote. That makes it a question of weight. That also means people who oppose based on WEIGHT are making a policy based argument.
Finally, I will repeat my weight argument from below.[[14]] Remember, this article is 5x longer than Wikipedia recommends. We should be cutting not adding. So how would this content be added? Far too often we see low quality additions to Wiki articles where an editor inserts a damning quote but they says nothing about how the reader should interpret the quote. That is very problematic since it allows the reader to imply or assume something out of the quote that is not supported by RSs. So here is the question, if included, what should the reader take away from the quote? If we place it without telling the reader what to make of it then we are allowing the reader to come away with assumptions that aren't in the RSs. That makes it a kind of OR. Alternatively, we can try to find articles that tell us what this quote means (those sources have been few) but by the time we add the quote and the explanation we have given way to much prominence to a minor aspect of Reagan. It would make more sense in a section about Reagan's views on race to summarize several sources which might include one that includes this quote but not put the quote in the article. Basically there is no way to integrate such a quote into the article without spending a considerable amount of space talking about it so the reader knows what to make of it. That large amount of space then becomes too much WEIGHT devoted to the single quote (why not devote as much or more space to his actions on the subject vs a private quote who's context is murky)? The oppose based on weight arguments are policy based. Springee (talk) 11:01, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
Spy-cicle said "WP is not here to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS". The policy is about original research ("even if you're sure something is true, it must be verifiable before you can add it"). Citing that policy in this discussion is a red herring and irrelevant since, as you said, "No one has claimed the sources aren't reliable."
Reagan's comment only became public knowledge less than a year ago, and "vast volumes of Reagan sources" were written before this so of course the quote was not prevalent before the public knew about it.
Several editors in favour of "oppose" have emphasised that Reagan's comment was made in private. The relevant similarity was that Trump's comment was also made in private but it was nevertheless included in his page because, once again, there is no policy against including private comments. Pointing out the differences between Reagan's comment and the Access Hollywood tape ignores this point and is an attempt at moving the goalposts. The tape had no impact on Reagan while he was alive because it was not made public during his lifetime.
Even if you are correct that there has been little recent coverage, which you seem to have conceded is not entirely true, WP:NOTNEWS does not say that ongoing coverage is necessary for inclusion. There is no requirement that any the content on the Reagan page has to change people's view of him so I am not sure why you made that point.
The article could and arguably should be condensed but an improved shorter article can also have content not currently included in the page. I cannot agree with your point since you could hypothetically make an appeal to length in order to omit any new information on this page regardless of content or policy.
I agree that there is a policy-based argument for WP:WEIGHT, but it would be to ensure the comment is given the appropriate amount of weight when included. I cannot see how anything written in the WP:WEIGHT policy supports exclusion in this context.
The assumptions a person makes after reading a quote on Wikipedia is not "a kind of OR". I should also point out that it has not been established that this quote's "context is murky" and it is "a minor aspect of Reagan". Your view is certainly contentious. CowHouse (talk) 15:56, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
You are correct that most of the volumes of work about Reagan were written before this recording was known. But that doesn't change the fact that most don't talk about it and it's WP:CHRYSTAL to assume they will going forward. Yes, several editors have emphasized the private nature of the comment but again in comparison to Trump where the comments came out during a campaign the impact on Reagan vs Trump is very different. Contrary to what you are suggesting, WEIGHT as part of NPOV can be a reason for removal from an article. Finally, yes context and presentation of quotes does matter. If it didn't then perhaps everyone would be fine not using the specific quote at all and just summarizing things. "In a 1971 recording released in 2019 Reagan used racial slurs". Regardless, that he said it isn't grounds for inclusion. What happens as a result is what we would base inclusion on. That means explaining to the reader why this quote was significant enough to include. If we can do that without UNDUE weight on the topic then we shouldn't include the quote. Springee (talk) 18:53, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
The WP:CRYSTAL policy would be relevant if we added speculation about how people in the future would view Reagan's comment. The proposed text that I supported does not contain any speculation or presumptions. There is no policy which says "[w]hat happens as a result is what we would base inclusion on." Significance for inclusion has been established through the coverage in multiple high-quality reliable sources, not merely because "he said it".
No two private conversations have an identical context. It is a waste of time to point out the differences between them while ignoring the relevant point that several editors suggested private conversations should not be included at all. For example, your own oppose vote said This was a private conversation and there is no evidence Reagan knew it was being recorded. The argument that his comment did not have an impact during his life is an entirely separate, but equally flawed, point. Given you are making this point about a quote that was not made public during his lifetime then, according to your argument, Reagan could have said literally anything on the tape and it would still not merit inclusion.
WP:WEIGHT can be a justification for removal of content, I agree. However, I said "in this context". Please show me anything in the policy which supports exclusion in this context. CowHouse (talk) 05:44, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
Support - this revelation received widespread media coverage and is highly relevant given the role of race as a frequent third rail issue in American politics. It should of course be properly contextualized but that does not mean excluding it from the article. −−− Cactus Jack 🌵 04:44, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
Oppose Simply not enough meat to add this. It appears to be a classically UNDUE situation. The proponent of this all but is calling anyone who opposes this a racist. Least we forget “Abraham Lincoln freed the black man, In many ways, Dr. King freed the white man. . . . Where others — white and black — preached hatred, he taught the principles of love and nonviolence.”[15].--MONGO (talk) 21:34, 24 June 2020 (UTC)
Supportinclusion. Let people make their own assessment.Markewilliams (talk) 00:33, 25 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose Textbook undue weight. The amount of rebuttal quotes over his entire life for proper context would overwhelm the article focusing on an insignificant private moment of his life describing three individuals that he was quarreling. It offers no insight on his overall views on race and no RS have posited that it does. Creating inferences is beyond encyclopedic. It is certainly an offensive comment but not enough to judge his views on an entire race or nationality and creating that perception is beyond the pale. ConstantPlancks (talk) 05:34, 25 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose - the insignificance of it in the grand scheme of his life and presidency takes it beyond UNDUE. Does inclusion have encyclopedic value? No. What value does it have if all anyone can do is imply racism which cannot be factually proven? Cherrypicking insignificant incidents in history to denigrate notable people over something as insignificant as an insult during a phone discussion serves no good purpose. NOT SOAPBOX, ADVOCACY, RGW. The man is dead and can't defend himself. Atsme Talk 📧 14:17, 25 June 2020 (UTC)
  • (Summoned by bot) Oppose UNDUE for the main article, possibly DUE for one of the sub-articles. (I see it is already included in the "Political positions of" sub-article.) Hrodvarsson (talk) 21:51, 28 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Clear WP:UNDUE violation. This is a single off-hand comment from Reagan that doesn't come anywhere close to defining his biography. WP biographies aren't intended to include every minor comment/incident, particularly one like this which hasn't had any real impact on Reagan's image. --1990'sguy (talk) 19:41, 29 June 2020 (UTC)


  1. ^ Naftali, Tim (30 July 2019). "Ronald Reagan's Long-Hidden Racist Conversation With Richard Nixon". The Atlantic.
  2. ^ "No defence for Reagan's racism, says daughter". BBC News. 2 August 2019.
  3. ^ Chotiner, Isaac. "How a Historian Uncovered Ronald Reagan's Racist Remarks to Richard Nixon". The New Yorker.
  4. ^ "Audio reveals Ronald Reagan calling African delegates 'monkeys'". Reuters. 2 August 2019.
  • Oppose as UNDUE in the biography. It may be DUE in another article, e.g. one about his views or positions. But one racist comment... seriously? Why are we highlighting this racist comment? You can kind of break it down logically:
    1. Is this the only racist comment Reagan ever made in his life? Of course not. So why are we quoting this comment?
    2. Is this a famous Reagan comment? No, nobody even knew he said this until last year. This comment did not have any impact on anything during Reagan's lifetime, because very few people even knew about it.
    3. Is this comment indicative of Reagan's views? How do we know? Well, if there are a lot of other comments like this one, then we can say "Reagan made a lot of racist comments". There is no need to quote or highlight this one particular comment, if it's part of a larger trend of making racist comments. If it's not part of a larger trend (or if we don't have RS to support saying "Reagan made a lot of racist comments" in wikivoice), then that's how we know including it is UNDUE :-)
    4. Is this comment indicative of Reagan's views (part 2)? Maybe in 1971. What about the rest of his life? Is there something about his racist views as governor of California in 1971 that would merit highlighting that particular year in his life? Did he do something racist as governor in 1971? If so, the comment might be DUE in the context of discussing Reagan's racism in 1971 (which means, include it in an article about his governorship, or his views and positions). If not, then it's UNDUE.
  • To me, all roads lead to UNDUE in this article. It's a single statement made in a private call in 1971, years before he was president, that no one knew about until after his death. By the way, "Reagan was racist" is not some kind of revelation. You can pretty much bet that every single white man in power has said something like that at some point. It's not really a revelation that white people are racist or call black people monkey's. Do we think there's a problem with race in America because no Americans are racist? The only thing that makes this quote special is that it was recorded. Believe, it's not like this was the only time ever that Reagan and Nixon said racist things to each other on the phone. Reagan's views on race are DUE; this particular quote has shock value, but not DUE value. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 16:03, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
      Like JOEBRO64 01:23, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Support inclusion within a paragraph about Reagan's racism and suspension of civil rights gains such as affirmative action, with new material drawn from Daniel S. Lucks Reconsidering Reagan: Racism, Republicans, and the Road to Trump and from Steven A. Shull's A Kinder, Gentler Racism?: The Reagan-Bush Civil Rights Legacy. There's also Jeremy D. Mayer's chapter "Reagan and Race: Prophet of Color Blindness, Baiter of the Backlash" within the scholarly book Deconstructing Reagan: Conservative Mythology and America's Fortieth President. A lot has been written about Reagan's view of race, and this bit in front of Nixon is a widely discussed part of it. Of course we should put it in; our readers will be dismissive of us if we don't. We will have been derelict in our duty. Binksternet (talk) 01:42, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
    • The first book hasn't been published yet and the other two don't include this quote. How can these three books support including this quote? Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 03:18, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
      • I'm not here because of a shortage of sources discussing the 1971 incident with Nixon. We already have plenty. The reason I'm here is to say that the many sources covering that incident can be combined with other sources which go deeper into Reagan's views on race, and into how those views came to bear fruit in the political realm. The books I brought to the attention of the discussion definitely talk about Reagan's views on race, and can be used to flesh out a new paragraph covering the topic. The one that's not yet published will be available in less than a month, and the others are ready to go now. Thanks for asking. Binksternet (talk) 03:49, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
        • Reagan's views on race, taken from a number of quality sources and preferably ones with differing points of view would be good. However, we would need those sources to say why this particular quote should be in the article vs simply summarizing what this quote indicated about Reagan's overall racial views. This is my issue with including the raw quote. What is the reader supposed to take away from it? Do they take away that Reagan was a hard core yet closeted racist? Do they take away that Reagan was willing to use racist language to express frustration with a group that was doing something he felt was bad (siding with the Chinese if I recall correctly). Was he simply following the lead of Nixon in the discussion? Let's assume that a number of historians concluded that Reagan was personally racist via insensitivity to the sort of comments he made but felt that all people should be treated equally by the law. Well if we were space limited we might include a sentence or two covering that conclusion. We wouldn't put in examples (good or bad) that were used by others to reach their conclusions. Essentially this quote is supporting evidence but it isn't a conclusion and shouldn't be treated as one. We shouldn't include it but if it changes what historians have said about Reagan's overall views, actions etc on race then we include/update those conclusions. That is why I'm opposed to including the quote in this article. That it might change the previous views on Reagan and race is true and that material can be updated. However, as a stand alone, provocative quote it simply allows the reader to assume too much and that makes it problematic. Springee (talk) 04:04, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
          • Which is why I'm very much in favor of a new paragraph talking about Reagan's views on race and his political legacy of reduced benefits to minorities. I agree with you that the 1971 quote is unsuitable alone, by itself, but it's widely discussed in today's media, and I'm looking forward to putting it into this biography in proper context with respected voices lending their analysis for the reader's benefit. Right now the biography says nothing about Reagan's strong opposition to affirmative action, which is a telling absence. Binksternet (talk) 04:38, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
            • A proper paragraph would be good but we have to be careful about sourcing claims from more than just sources that might be critical of him. Reagan was in favor of reducing benefits but was that because he wanted to harm people or because he felt an over sized welfare state was bad for the country overall? Reagan's strong opposition to affirmative action was consistent with his views (and actions) that all people should be treated equally. For example, he opposed at least one civil rights bill because it applied specific restrictions to southern states but not northern states that engaged in the same bad practices. Do not conflate being against affirmative action programs with being against minorities. One might be against affirmative action due to inherent racism but they also might be against it due to a feeling that the rules should never favor one group over another. Lou Cannon talked about this in President Reagan: The role of a Lifetime. He emphasized that Reagan had a strong sense of "fair" and felt that programs that resulted in special treatment by the government, either positive or negative, based on one's ethnicity were unfair. Back to the quote, we've discussed the "widely in the media" part. We are in a click bait media landscape. The quote was superficially discussed in a number of sources but those were effectively flash in the pan articles. Several other articles have been discussed but in those cases, as discussed above, the quote was either used to reinforce an already assumed aspect of the GOP or of Reagan. None of the sources have suggested this changes what we know of Reagan's views on race thus a paragraph on the subject from last year would be no different than this year. The quote doesn't change our understanding. Even if it did why would we include it vs just saying what the impact was? Springee (talk) 14:32, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
              • When the 1971 quote is the featured topic of a piece in The New York Times[16] and a piece in the Atlantic[17] and a piece by the BBC[18] and a piece in US News & World Report[19] and a piece in the Times of Israel[20] and a piece in NBC News,[21] we have moved beyond "click bait" and into legitimate topic of discussion. I will repeat myself and say that if we don't insert this 1971 incident into the biography then our readers will think us deficient, and rightly so. Naturally we should do it in such a way as to present Reagan's views on race in a neutral manner. I would expect no less of this community. Binksternet (talk) 15:41, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
                • Sorry, no. That is the result of the low cost of producing such articles in the age of the internet. We aren't writing an article about things Reagan said but Reagan the person. If RSs have used this quote as evidence of something, sure we can include it. We can say they felt that this quote was proof that Reagan was [claim here]. That doesn't mean we should include it. Perhaps you should consider that if we include it readers will think it was included for it's shock value rather than because its specific inclusion helps paint a more accurate picture of the man. It would appear that to put this quote in a full context would take far too much space in an article that is already far too long thus creating a WEIGHT issue. Springee (talk) 16:04, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
                  • It's revealing to see your dismissive attitude but the topic of Reagan and racism is considered quite a legitimate one by scholarly authors such as Daniel S. Lucks, Stephen A. Shull and Jeremy D. Mayer who asks, "Ultimately, was Reagan the man a racist? The question is difficult to answer in part because of the multiplicity of definitions of white racism... Reagan was the first prophet of Republican color blindness on race... His faith that he lacked racial prejudice allowed him to take positions widely perceived as antiblack without any hesitation. A more introspective or ambivalent white politician might have retreated in the face of nearly unified black anger at his policy positions and campaign tactics." Reagan didn't retreat. Binksternet (talk) 16:32, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
                    • It's revealing to see your gross mischaracterization of my comments and your enthusiasm to see bad in Reagan. Your comments here have clearly focused on including the negative views. I'm OK with that but we also need to include the views, from reliable sources, that don't support that narrative. It's been a while since I read Cannon's book. I recall it also said something to the effect that Reagan believed he was treating all fairly to the point that he was often deaf to arguments to the contrary. That isn't racism so much as insensitivity. He thinks all should be treated fairly (an ideal of a non-racist world) but was unable to see that some policies don't impact proportionately. Of course, this sort of understanding of Reagan's view on race is far more illuminating to a reader vs a comment said without context of Reagan's mind's intent in private in 1971. The story about Reagan sticking up for his team mates is more illustrative of Reagan's attitude vs a private comment related to diplomats that did something Reagan found questionable. That circles us around to the central question here, do we include this quote. Again, no because it's a minor part of the bigger, legitimate discussion of Reagan's views on race. We should be summarizing what others say, the conclusions others reach which may include their consideration of this quote. We shouldn't be deciding to include a shocking quote simply because others thought it was shocking. That doesn't summarizes Reagan's views on race nor the notable views related to that topic. Springee (talk) 19:01, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
                      • If you think I've grossly mischaracterized your comments I'd like to understand what comments they were, and how I mischaracterized them. Regarding enthusiasm, I have enthusiasm for truth and balance. Binksternet (talk) 19:19, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
                        • Your suggestion that I'm against including a discussion of what others have said about Reagan's views on race is the mischaracterization. Like you, I have an enthusiasm for truth and balance. How many editors say otherwise? That I don't think this quote is DUE for inclusion doesn't mean I don't favor the same things you do and I hope you aren't suggesting otherwise. If you have a suggested paragraph summarizing the opinions on Reagan's views on race we can consider it instead of this quote as a stand alone insertion. I'm willing to be proven wrong. So far all we are debating is if the sentence should be added without anyone saying how it should be added. That alone should given editors pause. Perhaps what we need is the paragraph you are proposing so we can debate it rather than something abstract. Springee (talk) 19:27, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
In addition to the sources identified by Binksternet, there is Jeremiah Bowen's Reaganism in Literary Theory: Negative Moralism and Hermeneutic Suspicion[22], which covers the remarks on page 21. The author puts it in the context of "decades of denials and disawovals" of Reagan's racist views by his supporters, and says the uncovered remarks are "undeniable evidence" of his racist attitudes. As far as I can tell, within less than a year since the remarks were uncovered there have been five academic studies that mention the remarks (Sing 2020, Bowen 2020, Adorf 2019, Neville-Shepard and Saint Felix 2020, Lucks 2020), as well as a book by E.J. Dionne and of course The Miller Center's uncovering of the remarks (which the center wrote about). That's a remarkable high number of scholarly publications on the subject. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 20:33, 19 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Put it in a subarticle per WP:DUE and WP:Article size. This article is too big. This snippet of Reagan history is too early relative to his Presidency, and it was too off-the-record; too-private (in his mind); too informal to be presented alongside the WP:DUE level of other things given space in this article. Bury in a subarticle, because Wikipedia wants to include all information, and this qualifies, but not at the expense of overpacking articles to the point of being beyond the reading comprehensibility of most readers. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:28, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
The second paragraph of Ronald_Reagan#Religion, which is in the "Early life" section, is overly glowing, almost sickly sweet, and I am feeling confident that on backtracking the sources to primary sources, it is autobiographical or from people very very close to him. This snippet in question might serve well to provide balance, which is missing on this reading of the top sections. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:34, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose: the incident is WP:UNDUE, relatively trivial coverage and a trivia item long after he is dead not part of his life. WP:NOTEVERYTHING Trivia that had no significant part in the outcome of that conversation or any other event in his life, let alone an impact big enough for biographical notice. And problematic - including just the negative trivia anecdote would be biased, so WP:NPOV would then lead us to include the tale of putting up his two black teammates, and trying to accurately portray where all these stand in context of 1950s and 1960s attitudes despite the 2020s attitudes attached to editors. Skip it all. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 05:48, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Support including Ronald Reagan's racist comment comparing black people to wild animals. Reagan's racist comment is not a "one off" for Reagan's racism. Reagan had a long, long history of racism long before that call with Nixon. In the 1960s Reagan was against the 1964 Civil Rights Act [23] and Reagan characterized those supporting Civil Rights as supporters of totalitarianism and communism. Reagan opposed the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Reagan said the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is "humiliating to the South," [24] In 1966 when Reagan ran for Governor of California he promised to get rid of the Fair House Act, Reagan said, "If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house, he has a right to do so." In 1980 Reagan launched his run for President in Neshoba, Mississippi where 3 civil rights workers had been murdered by the KKK and Reagan promised the crowd that if elected he would return the laws governing discrimination back to the states, "state's rights." [25] According to wikipedia's article on Reagan's speech in Mississippi, "'States' rights' had for decades been a rallying slogan for racial segregationists, including Strom Thurmond in 1948 and George Wallace in 1968." In 1988 Reagan vetoed the Civil Rights Restoration Act [26]. Therefore, I support including Reagan's racist comments comparing black people to "monkeys" as DUE and is just one more, of many, examples of Reagan's blatant racism. BetsyRMadison (talk) 20:05, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
I'll make two points here: First, even some of the architects of the civil rights legislation of the 1960's (starting with Everett Dirksen) began to question it based on property rights. And secondly, Reagan threw around "state's rights" all the time with no racial context at all. He once (for example) mentioned state's rights before a Senate subcommittee on water issues in 1967. That was part of his the-Feds-are-getting-too-big standard stump speech.Rja13ww33 (talk) 20:25, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
Because Reagan ran on a racist platform, Reagan gave a segregationist's "states' rights" speech at the cite where 3 civil rights workers had been brutally murdered by segregationist's in the KKK. "States' rights" has been a mantra for racist since 1861 through today. In 1964 when GOP Barry Goldwater ran his racist "Southern Strategy" platform for president, with Reagan right by his side, Reagan and Goldwater appealed to segregationists by spreading racist "states' rights" rhetoric. [27] You're mistaken about Reagan's 1967 comments to the Senate. In his 1967 comments, Reagan was begging the Senate to write legislation to help California with their depleted water supply. It was not a speech on "states' rights." Reagan condemned the Civil Rights Acts, while Everett Dirksen supported and helped pass the Civil Rights Acts. BetsyRMadison (talk) 22:11, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
I'm still waiting to find out how anyone could have run on a "segregationist" platform in 1980 and not get called on it. I don't recall a single, objective national media figure who did so. (And we are talking quite a few left-wingers here.) In fact, I can think of a few who said the exact opposite. The fact that you would mischaracterize Goldwater's views on this issue (as racism) along with the fact you don't even know that Dirksen himself eventually began to question some of this legislation on the property rights issue I think says it all about your knowledge and objectivity. To quote Reagan's comments (to the Senate subcommittee in 1967) directly: "...that the rights of the states and regions be fully respected...". Maybe (in your mind) was talking about segregating different colored water.Rja13ww33 (talk) 22:36, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
To @Rja13ww33: - This section is about Reagan's racist comments in 1971. In 1971, at the time Reagan said his racist comments to Nixon, comparing blacks to wild animals (which is what this section is about) Reagan had a long history that spanned over a decade of extreme racism (as I discussed above. In 1971, and before, leaders of Republican party like: Barry Goldwater, Reagan (with Goldwater), and Nixon openly courted segregationists and denounced the Civil Rights Act (also discussed above).
Goldwater admits that the presidential campaign Reagan helped him with was extremely racist; [28] Goldwater said, "By the time the convention opened, I had been branded as a fascist, a racist.... So yes, Goldwater & Reagan ran was very racist campaign; even Goldwater admits it, why can't you?
Anyone who reads Reagan's comments will see Reagan was begging the Senate to write legislation with California depleted water supply, [29] Reagan said, "The necessity for finding a legislative solution to the Colorado River water supply problem has been one of the paramount concerns of my administration since it took office.We concluded early that Californias new administration would join with sister states and the Congress in an all-out effort to obtain constructive legislation at the earliest practicable date. As you can see, Reagan is not giving a "states rights" speech about water. Reagan went on to say, "What the entire Pacific Southwest needs now is legislation which satisfies the regions immediate needs through added development of the limited resources of the Colorado River". If you actually read his speech, you'll see that during Reagan's entire speech he was begging Congress for legislation to help their water supply; he was not giving a "states rights" speech.
History is written so that others, who are less-informed, cannot get away with re-writing it. Reagan's racist comments belong in this article. BetsyRMadison (talk) 02:47, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
Well, if you think this section "is about Reagan's racist comments in 1971"....why did you drag all these other (supposed) racial incidents into it? Goldwater says he was "branded as a fascist, a racist" and obviously rejects the notion(s) (as per your own article).....and I'm supposed to admit to something he is rejecting? Is this a joke? As far as reagan's testimony to the Senate.....did he or did he not reference state's rights? (The answer is (of course) "yes" as per the quote already provided.)Rja13ww33 (talk) 03:14, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
@Rja13ww33: Well, if you take time to read my original comment (here [30], you'll find the answer to your question; I wrote, that I "Support including Ronald Reagan's racist comment comparing black people to wild animals. Reagan's racist comment is not a "one off" for Reagan's racism. Reagan had a long, long history of racism long before that call with Nixon.". Then I used RS to list some of Reagan's racist comments and deeds that were documented at the times Reagan made his racist comments & deeds. You incorrectly said no one ever wrote/talked about Goldwater/Reagan's racism at the time; the RS proves you are wrong. The RS shows Goldwater admits that even Republicans were calling his campaign racist; Goldwater said "By the time the convention opened, I had been branded as a fascist, a racist.... And you are also wrong when you incorrectly claim Goldwater "obviously rejects the notion(s)." In the RS article Goldwater did not did not "reject" it at all. He made excuses for it, but did not "reject" it -- so it is not clear why you made that claim when the article does not say that. Reading is a wonderful thing, especially when we read with our eyes wide open, not shut. So many questions are answered when we take the time to open up our eyes and read.
And if you read, one thing you'll learn is that since early 1960s Reagan's racist comments & deeds have been documented & were geared to oppress blacks. So naturally, Reagan's 1971 racist comments to Nixon do belong in this article. BetsyRMadison (talk) 04:03, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
So Goldwater "made excuses for it".....but didn't reject it? Do realize how ridiculous that is? You are talking out of both sides of your mouth here. And again I challenge you to name a respected national media figure who thought (at the time) RR's campaign was about this sort of thing. Can't do it can you? Your "documented" cases of Reagan's "racism" are things that can easily be interpreted in other ways.Rja13ww33 (talk) 17:06, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
This is an argument for a paragraph on Reagan's views on race. That Reagan did X which some attributed to racism isn't a logical reason to include Y. Springee (talk) 20:39, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
@Springee: - oh please! Because Reagan had racist ideology (Y), Reagan said (X): ""If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house, he has a right to do so." [31] Because Reagan sympathized with racists, Reagan said Voting Rights Act is "humiliating to the South,". Because Reagan ran on a racist platform, Reagan gave a segregationist's "states' rights" speech at the cite where 3 civil rights workers had been brutally murdered by segregationist's in the KKK. Because Reagan had racist ideology, Reagan vetoed the 1988 Civil Rights Restoration Act. Because Reagan spoke like a racist, Reagan compared black people to wild animals in his phone call with Nixon, who was also a racist. BetsyRMadison (talk) 21:51, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
Who exactly was looking to resurrect segregation in 1980? And where Reagan gave his "states rights" speech is NOT the "cite" where 3 civil rights workers were killed in '64.Rja13ww33 (talk) 21:56, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
@Rja13ww33: - You're mistaken. Reagan did, in fact, began his campaign for president giving his segregationist's "states' rights" speech at the cite where 3 civil rights workers had been brutally murdered by segregationist's in the KKK. From the Washington Post, [32] "Mississippi's Neshoba County, is famous for a couple of things. That is where three civil rights workers -- Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman -- were murdered in 1964. And that is where, in 1980, Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan chose to launch his election campaign, with a ringing endorsement of "states' rights."". And, to answer your question, Ronald Reagan is who was looking to resurrect segregation in 1980, evidenced by Reagan starting his campaign where the KKK murdered 3 civil rights workers & giving his racist "states' rights" speech to the segregationists in the crowd. In fact, because Reagan vehemently opposed Civil Rights Act, in 1980, if Reagan had had his way regarding Civil Rights Act, whites would have still been able to legally discriminate against blacks, blacks would not even have the "civil rights" to drink from the same water fountain as whites, would not be able to sit at the same lunch counter as whites, and whites would be able to discriminate against blacks in housing, Reagan said, ""If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house, he has a right to do so.". BetsyRMadison (talk) 22:27, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
And that's nonsense. They were not killed on the fairgrounds. (Or the "cite" as you put it.) It was miles away. A lot of politicians speak there. (Both before and after Reagan.....and that includes Mike Dukakis who didn't bring up the murders either.) And I'll make the same point I made above: I don't recall a single, objective national media figure who thought Reagan was opining for the resurrection of segregation. All that stuff appeared years later in the attempt to explain defeat after defeat.Rja13ww33 (talk) 22:45, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
To @Rja13ww33: you are still mistaken. In 1980 Reagan was the very first presidential candidate to speak before the segregationists in Neshoba, Mississippi since 1889 (almost 100 years prior).[33]
In 1971, at the time Reagan said his racist comments to Nixon, comparing blacks to wild animals (which is what this section is about) leaders of Republican party like: Barry Goldwater, Reagan (with Goldwater), and Nixon, openly courted segregationists and denounced the Civil Rights Act (as discussed above). A few years prior to 1971, while Reagan ran for Governor of California he promised to get rid of the Fair House Act, Reagan said, "If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house, he has a right to do so.". During the time Reagan said his racist comments to Nixon, both Reagan and Nixon had support from major Republican talking heads like: William Buckley, Pat Buchanan, and Milton Friedman who also supported segregation and denounced the Civil Rights Act. As for the "stuff" that appeared "later" - that's how history works. History is written by writing about things that happened at the time.  
This survey asks if Reagan's racist comment in with Nixon should be added. My response is that yes, Reagan's racist comments comparing black people to "monkeys" is DUE and is just one more, of many, examples of Reagan's blatant racism. BetsyRMadison (talk) 02:33, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
I said "A lot of politicians speak there. (Both before and after Reagan.....and that includes Mike Dukakis...)". And that's a fact. I said nothing about whether they were presidential candidates at the point they spoke. I suppose you aren't going to tell me Mike Dukakis was playing a "southern strategy" by not mentioning the murders either right? (One of the things Reagan took heat for.) As far as your comment about "that's how history works". Well, I'd suggest reading a bit more on history (and this time). As I said: you'd be hard pressed to find a national media figure who made a issue of this. I could give a million examples.....but I'll stick with 2 now: Dan Rather (someone I am going to assume nobody will accuse of being some sort of lap dog for the right) said on election night [1980] that Reagan ran a "smart, classy, high-road campaign....". In the debates, no journalist posed this question, and although the topic of race relations came up....nobody went in this direction. I (also) can't think of any book written on the campaign in the years that immediately followed that made the point this was central to the campaign. One of the best measures of this though (I think) is: what did the President's opponents do? In response to two landslide losses, the Democrats formed the DLC (to bring the party to the center). One-time DLC Chairman Bill Clinton, ran as a "new" Democrat in '92. Unless someone wants to say there is a racial angle in that.....they are stuck with the fact that the Democratic party (at least in the eyes of the public) changed on a whole host of issues outside of race.....and were losing elections because of it.Rja13ww33 (talk) 02:55, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
To @Rja13ww33: Why do you keep repeating the same mistaken, incorrect comment even after I gave you a 1980 New York Times article proving you are wrong, mistaken? In 1980 Reagan was the very first presidential candidate to speak before the segregationists in Neshoba, Mississippi since 1889 (almost 100 years prior).From 1980 New York Times (pdf [34] the NYT writes, "Mr. Reagan, the first presidential candidate of a major party to speak here since the event was first organized in 1889 (1889 is 91 years prior to 1980).
I have provided you with RS that support Reagan's racist comments and deeds. You have not. What you have done though, is toss out a lot of unsubstantiated rhetoric, with no RS to support you claims.
Like I said above, history is written so that others, who are less-informed, cannot get away with re-writing it. Reagan's racist comments belong in this article. BetsyRMadison (talk) 03:23, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
You seem to have reading comprehension issues. I never said he wasn't the "very first presidential candidate" to speak there. I said: A lot of politicians speak there. (Both before and after Reagan...). Get it? It's been a popular venue for politics for quite sometime. (And still is.)Rja13ww33 (talk) 03:30, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
  • 'Support inclusion;. The comments are part of the historical record on Reagan's views on race. If such comments were made by any other major American political figure, there would be no question that at least a brief mention is appropriate. However, many seek to sanctify Reagan, and this comment is inconvenient to that effort. In fact, Reagan was a man of his times, with good and bad qualities, and the role of Wikipedia is to present a balanced picture. Cbl62 (talk) 12:19, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose — This version is UNDUE and is not brief as supported by an RFC nine months or so ago. For a version that is DUE, see Alternate proposal of a briefer version as a Note below. Bob K31416 (talk) 23:35, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Support; coverage is reasonably extensive and enduring (spread across several months at the time); the coverage since then has expanded to include some academic sources, eg. [35]. The quote plainly sparked a broad reevaluation of Reagan's reputation and legacy. I also agree with the procedural objection to this RFC, which misstates the conclusion of original RFC that it seems to be trying to overturn, while making no mention at all of the high-quality sourcing involved. I am particularly concerned by the comment of this RFC's creator that Your previous close was problematic on several grounds - there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to raise an objection to an RFC's closure, but it's clear from this statement that Springee did not think the original closure was one he supported. Yet, despite this, he worded the intro to this one in a way that not only obscured that fact but which would give a casual reader a mistaken impression that it had agreed to omit the text rather than establishing a consensus for inclusion in some form. If you have objections to an RFC's closure, raise them directly - simply pretending it was closed the way you prefer, or substituting the close for your own interpretation without making it clear you are doing so, is extremely inappropriate. --Aquillion (talk) 00:26, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
@Aquillion: there was no previous RfC. There was a previous discussion that was never turned into a formal RfC and thus no notifications for outside opinions were requested. The "close" was improper because it was just a discussion on the article talk page. The "closing" editor used their closing as a super vote to push a result they supported. Springee (talk) 00:43, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
You literally began this discussion with Last fall a RfC asked this question... and then implicitly characterized the response as supporting your position. If you don't think its closure was approprite or binding, there are appropriate ways to challenge it; but there's nothing in appropriate about closing a discussion (per WP:CLOSE). If you have an objection to a close you've been here long enough to know how to properly raise an objection, but misrepresenting it at the start of an RFC is simply not appropriate. --Aquillion (talk) 01:03, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
Yes, because I, like many others, was mislead into thinking the previous discussion was actually a RfC. It wasn't. Look at the history of the discussion and you will find it had no RfC tag and thus the closing, who's conclusion was already questionable, was totally improper. It doesn't matter as we have now had a proper RfC with significant input. Springee (talk) 01:13, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Support: That the only mentions of Reagan's views and actions on race in this article are an anecdote from his university days and the fact that he gave speeches as a young man is a glaring omission; it is not neutral. The quotation in question has been covered in many RSs and is due for inclusion, as has been demonstrated by Snooganssnoogans, WhinyThe Younger, and others. At present, it can go in the subsection Cultural and political image, but more preferable would be to situate it within a paragraph on Reagan's views on race per Binksternet. This article should be biography, not hagiography. Lester Mobley (talk) 16:42, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Support: This is part of the historical record, and if it was that unimportant, perhaps the news media wouldn't have reported it. 2601:482:8000:C470:E805:A0E0:6ECC:E282 (talk) 17:00, 29 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose Seems like we have to remind ourselves why things like WP:DUE exist, for this very reason, as a president to have an off comment conversation labeled as notable, is ...........reaching. We definitely have to start writing a lot more articles if every single conversation by a notable person is grounds for WP:NOTABILITY.MaximusEditor (talk) 21:15, 16 September 2020 (UTC)

Discussion - Reagan 1971 commentEdit

Comment about prior RfC The previous RfC has a questionable close. The closing editor was uninvolved with the Reagan article at the time of closing but immediately became involved and with a clear POV on what should be included. This is not to say the POV was or was not valid, only that it was not neutral with respect to the topic. Further evidence that the closing was not neutral can be found here where the editor is asking for other editors to put the content into the article. It is notable that despite the RfC closing the content was not added until 9 months later. Additionally, by a !vote count the consensus was at best 10:5 if we assume all the conditional yes/wait for now opinions were "yes". If we consider those as abstain for the time then it was a clear no consensus. Since we have had at least a bit of time since this release we can reassess if history has decided this is a significant part of Reagan's legacy. Springee (talk) 00:01, 10 June 2020 (UTC)

Possible canvasing an involved editor has notified Project:Discrimination [36]. I'm not sure how this can be considered neutral. Springee (talk) 03:21, 10 June 2020 (UTC)

Comment (Seeing mention of this on Jimbo's page) Is there any more context on any possible claims towards Reagan's views on race here? Just because he made these racist statements that were scrubbed from the "official" record and only recently revealed doesn't given much context to why they are immediately relevant, though I can clearly see the concern of why they would want to be highlighted. I think more should be added to Political_positions_of_Ronald_Reagan#Civil_rights before this statement can be added - there's got to be academic studies and the like that give more depth to this aspect to give more context. If more context can be provided, then per all other policies and guidelines this is fair game for inclusion, but it just should be part of a better "narrative" to explain his views and attitude on race/racism. Masem (t) 23:53, 10 June 2020 (UTC)

  • I tried to provide additional context on the topic of Reagan and race in this edit[37] but it was of course promptly reverted and there's a complete unwillingness by the gate-keepers on this page to even discuss the inclusion of any content unless it emphasizes how uniquely non-racist Reagan was (which the article currently does). Note that Reagan is notable in the academic literature in terms of "dog-whistle politics" on the subject of race (i.e. it's part of his legacy), yet we are not allowed to even broach the subject. That the 'Oppose' votes in the RfC above insist that there must be extensive scholarship on a topic for it to be deemed worthy of inclusion, yet they fight to exclude content with extensive scholarship, is indicative of how flexible the goalposts are. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 00:04, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
The "dog whistle" stuff is covered in other pages (linked to) in this article. You still haven't figured out concepts of WP:WEIGHT & WP:POV.Rja13ww33 (talk) 00:12, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Don't put it on this page, put it on his political positions page, where there is already mention to a degree. I think it needs more there though to better justify it. I would have to agree with how little that the racism aspects are covered on the political positions page that to bring that up into this page is improper at this point as undue; it's just not well-established as a consistent ... theme? of his Presidency to be called out at a top level page. --Masem (t) 00:54, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Sure, there have been two books and two academic journal articles about this 11-month old issue. But why haven't there been 20 books and 20 articles about these remarks in the last 11 months??! We all know that an 11-month old issue isn't important unless it's been the subject to dozens of academic treatments within those 11 months. /s Snooganssnoogans (talk) 15:17, 13 June 2020 (UTC)
That's kind of the point. It remains to be seen how much (if any) this will impact his image. A handful of obscure references (and on-line articles by organizations with a clear left wing agenda) aren't particularly persuasive. When objective, notable historians (people like James Patterson, David M. Kennedy, etc) start including this in their bios.....or if this becomes more regular in other treatments (as another poster noted: media coverage fell off fairly quickly on this).....then it is probably worth including. It would be worth including anyway if this article was long enough.....but it has already been criticized (previously) for being too long as it is.Rja13ww33 (talk) 17:27, 13 June 2020 (UTC)
I'd take this comment seriously if you weren't shamelessly hypocritical (in the talk page section below, you're fighting for the inclusion of primary source content) and racially biased (unable to discern that it's racist to call blacks "monkeys"). I'd also like to note that of all the 'Oppose' vote above (by editors who claim to be against the inclusion of content that's not very very thoroughly supported as DUE by a large literature), none of them have bothered to chip in on the inclusion of primary source content. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 17:55, 13 June 2020 (UTC)
If you refer to the drug section.....that was a case of you wanting to delete a argument (which I found was backed by RS). You wanted to keep the arguments you agree with and omit the ones you don't (even though they were backed by RS). That's not NPOV. (And this is coming from someone who wants to legalize show you a example of someone who can put their personal beliefs aside and edit objectively.) The rest of your comments are the same old personal attacks that I have replied to.....and don't feel the need to reply to anymore.Rja13ww33 (talk) 18:06, 13 June 2020 (UTC)
The book that I cited shows that this has already impacted Reagan's image, being an academic study of the history, present and future of the Republican Party that includes this as something relevant to its topic. It is neither an "obscure reference" nor an "on-line article by an organization with a clear left wing agenda". Phil Bridger (talk) 19:31, 13 June 2020 (UTC)
Seems pretty obscure to me. (Even more obscure author.) One reference to make this case (after just one year) isn't enough.Rja13ww33 (talk) 00:32, 14 June 2020 (UTC)
It's one more reference on top of those identified above. Phil Bridger (talk) 07:33, 14 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Question for inclusion What should inclusion of this quote mean or indicate? This isn't a flippant question as this is an encyclopedia and as such we shouldn't include things without some sort of obvious reason why/how this helps the reader better understand the subject. In a biography we include birth date and location because those are self explanatory. For similar reasons we would include death and cause of death. However, if we include a quote the question has to be why. I admit this question is often not asked when quotes are added to biographies of people when politics is involved. Still, if the quote is added how would it be added? What sources support the context? Often on Wikipedia such a quote would be added with some factual statement about where it came from.
In a 1971 private meeting with Nixon Reagan said, [quote].
OK, what is the reader suppose to get out of this? Clearly some will take it as proof that Reagan was a closet racist and it confirms all the dog whistle accusations thrown at him over the years. But is that stated by multiple RSs? Do others dispute it? If we are going to include a very inflammatory quote we must also include expert interpretation of that quote else we are inviting the readers to jump to their own conclusions which may not be supported by RSs. This is one of the big problems with the inclusion of "sound bite" type quotes. Without context, explanation to explain why they are important and how experts have interpreted these quotes we open the article up to the equivalent of "click bait" comments. So if the comment is included what sources will provide a full context (and all POV on how to interpret the comment)? Are those sources really to tell us what to think about Reagan or just to support their existing ideas regarding left vs right? That is, are they saying "this tells us something about Reagan" or are they saying "this tells us something about Republicans"? Will that full inclusion result in an unduely long paragraph to talk about this comment? Many are saying it's obvious to include but absent a proposal for the context of how including what experts say about the quote in context of Reagan (not politics in general) we have the WEIGHT issue that many have been concerned about. Springee (talk) 20:43, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
Comment: Excellent points. It definitely is unencyclopedic. I've got about five old sets of encyclopedias around here and you don't see this sort of stuff in any of them.Rja13ww33 (talk) 21:01, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
@Springee: From your comment above here, I appears you have not taken the time to listen to the audio of Reagan saying those blatant racist comments. Reagan said, "To see those monkeys from those African countries, damn them. They are still uncomfortable wearing shoes.”. The inclusion of the quote confirms that, prior to that 1971 phone call (not meeting), with Nixon, Ronald Reagan had a long, long history of being an open racist, (not a closet racist). Yes, along with Reagan's other racist comments & deeds, this quote of Reagan comparing blacks to wild animal does belong in this article. To answer your question: No, no RS "dispute" it because it's on tape, audio recording that was released by the National Archives. To your other question: Yes, the audio tape of Reagan saying those vile racist things to Nixon are reported by multiple RS: New York Times, [38] The Atlantic, [39] Washington Post [40] and more. To answer your other question: the experts, and most likely even you if you bother to listen to the audio, interpret those comments as "racist" -- I mean how could anyone hear Reagan say that and not conclude the obvious: racist comment. What it does is "tells us what Reagan said." I suggest you take the time to read or listen to the comments Reagan saying those racist comments before passing judgement on others who support including them in this article. Reagan's racist comments to Nixon are DUE and are just one more explample of Reagan's racism - so yes, the quote does belong in this article. BetsyRMadison (talk) 04:45, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Clearly some will take it as proof that Reagan was a closet racist ... But is that stated by multiple RSs? Yes. Do others dispute it? No reliable sources that I can see, although clearly hammering that out will be part of deciding exactly how to cover it. But ones that describe it as racist to some extent include:
  • The Atlantic: Had the story stopped there, it would have been bad enough. Racist venting is still racist. ... [Nixon] wanted his patrician secretary of state to understand that Reagan spoke for racist Americans, and they needed to be listened to. ... Reagan’s racism appears to be documented only once on the Nixon tapes, and never in his own diaries. His comment on African leaders, however, sheds new light on what lay behind the governor’s passionate defense of the apartheid states of Rhodesia and South Africa later in the 1970s. This article has massive amounts of secondary covarege, especially the quote about Nixon wanting his secretary of state to understand that Reagan spoke for racist Americans (which is quoted repeatedly in the sources below), indicating that while it might require in-line citations it is probably significant enough to include, given that it is by a subject-matter expert with huge amounts of secondary coverage.
  • ABC News: The daughter of former President Ronald Reagan has written an op-ed in the Washington Post denouncing her father's recently uncovered racist remarks as "ugliness" but asking for forgiveness. Note they call them racist remarks in the article text, and that it places it in the context of his policies, as well as the context of lifelong accusations of racism (clearly indicating that these play an important role in deciding that historical question.)
  • BBC News is similar and similarly notes the history.
  • CBS News The recordings were released by the National Archives, and they capture the men using racist language.
  • The Telegraph: The National Archives withheld the racist comments in the recording’s first release in 2000... Reagan biographers and historians are still wrestling reconciling the newly revealed audio with the president’s personal record. As Naftali noted in The Atlantic, Nixon’s racist views have been well documented, but Reagan’s personal diaries are free of any similar rhetoric. Some of Reagan’s most divisive policies — like embracing the apartheid government of South Africa and inventing the trope of the “welfare queen” — may take on a different light now.
  • NBC News Other recordings reveal that Nixon proceeded to use Reagan’s comments as a sort of crutch to express the same thoughts without having the racist terminology come directly from him.
  • New York Times: (An example of the sort of context that sources give it; several above are similar.) Reagan was accused of making coded racial appeals. After the Republican convention in Detroit in 1980, he gave a speech on states’ rights at the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi. That choice of location, near where three young civil rights workers were murdered in 1964, was seen by some as a subtle nod to white segregationists.
  • Washington Post (note: written by a professional historian who has multiple published books on Reagan.) For Reagan, such rhetoric wasn’t an aberration, either, especially when you look at his long record. Along with advisers such as Pat Buchanan, he understood how to use racially coded language, derived from staunch segregationists such as Strom Thurmond and George Wallace and deployed successfully by figures including Nixon to bring Southern voters and working-class urban whites in the Midwest into the Republican Party.
There's a lot more, but these give us a general rubric for how we would cover it. There is some leeway in terms of how much we lean on the opinions of professional historians to establish its significance, but the overall thrust and direction of coverage is clear and supports a paragraph that neutrally summarizes things like the above. --Aquillion (talk) 00:55, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
Not exactly. Those are sources saying what they think about that comment. However, we need to zoom out and remember this is the top level topic. This is why the discussion regarding a high level paragraph/subsection on Reagan and race makes more sense. Inside of that subtopic we would then summarize what RSs have said about Reagan and this subject. This quote may be used as supporting evidence by sources talking about Reagan's views on race but it isn't a summary of his views. That is the big difference when we are talking about the top level topic. If this were a full article on Reagan and race then it would likely makes sense as a supporting example (depending on how if fits into the summaries of RSs). Springee (talk) 01:17, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
No RS dispute that Reagan was a "closet racist"? I'd say that's a pretty questionable statement (by itself). For starters Lou Cannon's bio(s) certainly don't take that pov. And aside from that, I think the noteworthy reaction from family & friends is pretty telling (in terms of the shock). Suffice it to say, they never heard this sort of thing from him in his lifetime. Patti (for example) said this in Time magazine: "Davis went on to say that she never heard her father make remarks like those recorded in the tape. “When I was growing up, bigotry and racism were addressed in my family by making it clear that these were toxic and sinister beliefs that should always be called out and shunned,” she wrote." [41]. The fact that this is the strongest quote a lot of his detractors can find (and about the only one with this kind of language) says a great deal. Not many bones in the closet (IMHO).Rja13ww33 (talk) 01:23, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
  • I think Binksternet may have hit on an issue with this discussion. Currently we are debating if a quote can be included in the article but the context of how that quote would be inserted is not being discussed. I think many of the "supports" would be against something as random as "In 1971 Reagan said, "[quote]"" with no additional added text. Conversely, in context of a well written paragraph/section on Reagan's views on race I think editors who are opposed, myself included, may flip our votes. Perhaps the this discussion should focus on the larger proposed change to the section in question rather than if this quote itself can or cannot be included. We are handicapping the discussion by allowing every editor to imagine how the statement might be included. Springee (talk) 19:41, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Agree with Springee and I will begin by stating that I most certainly do not condone Reagan's racist comment; however, context is important and is directly related to the 1971 UN session Reagan watched the day before he called Nixon as stated in RS. I considered possible provacation that might help explain Reagan's insensitive racial slur in that private phone conversation, which is when humans tend to say inappropriate things, be it jokingly and/or with a mix of frustration or anger - clearly things they would never say in public. Based on what I've gleaned from RS, Reagan was frustrated over the Tanzanian delegates' celebration and victory dance over the UN's acceptance of communist China by giving Bejing a seat.[1][2] Also keep historic perspective in mind - this all took place in the middle of the Cold War between the US & former USSR. Editors who are old enough to remember the practice drills at school will probably never forget the fear and anxiety we felt while sitting under our desks in preparation of a nuclear attack by the communists.[3] There is also the Sino-Soviet split to consider as it transformed "the bi-polar cold war into a tri-polar cold war, a geopolitical event as important as the erection of the Berlin Wall (1961), the defusing of the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), and the end of the Vietnam War (1955–1975), because the rivalry facilitated Mao's realisation of Sino-American rapprochement with the 1972 Nixon visit to China." Common profanities would have been a better choice to express his frustration - who knows? It was a completely different century than the one we're living in now. America has made great strides to defeat racism and other injustices but a great deal more needs to be done to change attitudes. Reagan is dead, so he cannot apologize for his slur in that private discussion, unlike the opportunity that was afforded former KKK chapter leader Robert Byrd who apologized for his racist activities which I consider far, far worse than anything Reagan did, at least as far as we know today; not saying that his slur was in any way acceptable but that an apology was not afforded him. Atsme Talk 📧 16:53, 10 July 2020 (UTC)

Understanding racial bias on Wikipedia – I just want to document this for our future readers, as they try to understand racial bias on Wikipedia: this RfC spurred two administrators' noticeboard threads. Those threads were not about the fact that Wikipedia editors claim that it's not necessarily racist to call blacks "monkeys" or that racist slurs are "utterly irrelevant". Rather, the 'Oppose' votes (including an administrator) were offended by the fact that MastCell said on Jimbo Wales's talk page that it was "shameful" to reject that "monkeys" is a racist slur, and that I had called out the racial bias inherent in trivializing racism.[42] Snooganssnoogans (talk) 18:06, 13 June 2020 (UTC)

Gaffe: I was unaware of this discussion and put my foot straight in it by adding this bit of history, (which was then removed). Is an RfC banner on the edit page possible, to prevent the likes of me? (Will check general Talk first next time.)

I find it important to include that which reveals, by his own admission/utterance, that the top public policy maker in the most powerful country on earth demonstrated a scathing racial bias. Prominently displaying the influential thinking that feeds systemic racism is a duty of historians. Having jumped the gun, I digress. J.D.718 (talk) 20:54, 22 June 2020 (UTC)

Comment This is a good piece by Paul Kengor that appeared in The American Spectator: [43]. With some input from Lou Cannon, it (I think) puts his comments very much in perspective.Rja13ww33 (talk) 18:45, 20 July 2020 (UTC)

It's strange that people bring up WP:OTHERSTUFF everywhere else on the wiki, but somehow it doesn't apply here. Just because Truman's and Johnson's articles don't currently mention their use of ethnic slurs does not mean Ronald Reagan's article shouldn't. Typeprint (talk) 13:57, 26 August 2020 (UTC)

It's a little matter of being encyclopedic. (One of the things we are supposed to do here.) Apparently the editors of those articles are observing that. (And good for them.)Rja13ww33 (talk) 16:49, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
There's nothing "encyclopedic" about suppressing a widely-reported, relevant fact because it offends one's sensibilities, though. Quite the opposite. The main rationales for excluding Reagan's use of racial slurs seem to be a) it doesn't fit with editors' preconceived notions of Reagan's character, b) he isn't on tape using multiple racial slurs (since this one incident was suppressed for nearly 50 years to protect Reagan's image, this is sort of a disingenuous argument); and c) the remark was "private" (in fact it was made during an audience with the President of the United States, and private remarks are no less inherently notable or encyclopedic than public ones; notability is determined by coverage in reliable sources, not by the audience to which a remark was directed). Separately, Truman's and Johnson's biographies should cover their attitudes, statements, and policies related to racial issues, including their use of racial slurs where well-documented by reliable sources). MastCell Talk 18:16, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
If it is encyclopedic to include these sorts of comments in a president's bio....perhaps you can direct me to a respected one that includes such one off comments? I went through a old set of Britannicas of mine and couldn't find a peep mentioning things like this in the bio of a figure like a US President. And if racial attitudes were mentioned.....they were handled much better that just blurting out some random quote from a private conversation. You got more of a complete picture of a guy/gal than that. And if you want to get into "widely-reported" facts about Reagan.....fasten your seat belt because this article (which has been criticized as already being too long) is about to get way longer.Rja13ww33 (talk) 18:49, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
Reagan's record (both personal and political) on racial issues is the subject of extensive scholarly work, so the fact that our biography completely ignores it—and the fact that you don't consider it a fit subject—is a shortcoming on our part. In a well-written, encyclopedic biography, the recorded quote in question would be mentioned as one aspect of a comprehensive treatment. However, some of the responses here make clear that this is not a receptive environment for a source-based discussion of Reagan and race—you've already tried to claim that even blatant racial slurs are in fact harmless, for instance, and that we can't address these issues here because WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS. I'm not in a position to invest the time and effort to break through this resistance, so I'm simply registering my objection for the record and for posterity, at least until I have time to draft something more substantive. MastCell Talk 19:35, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
Couldn't find what I asked for eh? Guess that should tell you something. (Or maybe not.) And I never said "blatant racial slurs are in fact harmless" I questioned (in that context) if racism was the intent. (And I am not the only one, another editor made that point and so did Kengor in a piece I posted above.) But in any case, if we were to include such info needed to be added.....I would think more context and BALANCE should be provided. Needless to say, there is more than one POV on this (from RS).Rja13ww33 (talk) 19:50, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
I'm capable of discerning when I'm being asked to fetch a shrubbery. There are plenty of reliable sources already listed in this thread, so whatever this is about, it's not a lack of sourcing, and there's no reason to think that additional sources will change your mind. To be clear, it's not the case that the comments have been ignored by previous biographers. In fact, the recordings were actively suppressed for 50 years to protect Reagan's image, and only just became available—and despite that, they've already prompted a re-assessment of Reagan's record on race.

As for the rest, I think you'll find it difficult to rewrite history on a website where your comments are preserved for posterity. You tried to gaslight me, and others, by claiming that there was nothing inherently racist about referring to Black people as "monkeys" ([44], [45]). (You suggested the slur was benign to anyone with "common sense and a sense of history"). You can own it, or apologize for it, but don't pretend it didn't happen. Someday, perhaps, when an academic paper discusses systemic biases and racism on Wikipedia, your commentary will be a small, if shameful, footnote. MastCell Talk 18:40, 28 August 2020 (UTC)

Comment on content, not on the contributor. The whole second paragraph there is out of line. PackMecEng (talk) 18:44, 28 August 2020 (UTC)
A substantiated concern that an editor is downplaying obvious racial slurs, and reframing them as harmless, is not an "ad hominem attack". It's an effort to uphold our basic site standards of civility and decency, one which I invite you to join rather than obstruct. MastCell Talk 19:08, 28 August 2020 (UTC)
Article talk pages are not for that, take it to a drama board if it is a concern. Otherwise personalizing content disputes on talk pages are not appropriate. PackMecEng (talk) 19:11, 28 August 2020 (UTC)
The discussion was (in part) about what was encyclopedic and what isn't. And adding such comments clearly isn't. If you ever do come across such items in Britannica (given as per my challenge).....let me know. I went through about 3 dozen biographies (granted in my old '68 version; but a few in the new on-line version as well) of people who held similar positions....and came up with zilch. As for the rest of your comments, let me say, I always enjoy the personal attacks.....but I also say I stand by my postings 100%. And you can put them in any footnote you want. It's not clear to me that this was intended as a racist comment (again I refer you to Kengor's article on this subject where he got input from Lou Cannon on this point).Rja13ww33 (talk) 19:12, 28 August 2020 (UTC)

Alternate proposal of a briefer version as a NoteEdit

Withdrawn. Bob K31416 (talk) 14:22, 10 July 2020 (UTC)

The Note is:

In 2019, a recording was released of a private conversation between Governor Reagan and President Nixon in 1971, with Reagan referring to U.N. delegates from Tanzania as "monkeys".[4]}}


  1. ^ Sullivan, Kate (2019-07-31). "National Archives releases Reagan's racist call with then-President Nixon, ex-Nixon library director says". CNN. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
  2. ^ Naftali, Tim (2019-07-30). "Ronald Reagan's Long-Hidden Racist Conversation With Richard Nixon". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
  3. ^ Bjork, R.S. (1992). The Strategic Defense Initiative: Symbolic Containment of the Nuclear Threat. SUNY Series in The Making of Foreign Policy: Theories and Issues. State University of New York Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-7914-1162-9. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
  4. ^ Ronald Reagan called Africans at UN 'monkeys', tapes reveal

The placement of this Note would be at the end of the sentence about Reagan's racial equality speeches, as in this edit [46], which was reverted.

Although I think there is strong polarization on the subject's inclusion in any form, I thought I would suggest this compromise to at least see what the situation was. Please note that this version is closer to the previous RFC nine months or so ago that supported a brief version of the information, not the more extended version that is the subject of the above RFC. Also, as a Note I think there is more flexibility in its placement, which I suggested at the end of the sentence about Reagan's racial equality speeches. Bob K31416 (talk) 14:47, 8 July 2020 (UTC)

Bob K31416, I appreciate the effort at proposing a compromise. Still, this doesn't answer the question that is at the core of my objection (I don't know if it's at the core of others' objections): Why this quote? Why not another quote from Reagan, why this particular one? Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 16:06, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
I'm open to suggestions. What other one did you have in mind? Bob K31416 (talk) 17:03, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
I can't think of a Reagan quote that is WP:DUE for inclusion in Ronald Reagan that is not already included. When I think, "What Reagan quotes should be in a Reagan biography?", the quotes that come to mind are "tear down this wall", "youth and inexperience", "evil empire", "gov't is not the solution to our problems; gov't is the problem", and Nancy's "just say no", all of which are already in our biography, and in every biography of Reagan; that's what makes their inclusion DUE in our biography: every secondary source includes those quotes, so when we summarize secondary sources in our tertiary-source encyclopedia, we should include those quotes as well. I don't see that this quote comes anywhere near those other quotes in terms of coverage in secondary sources or DUE for his primary biography, mostly because it's WP:RECENTISM, having been reported one year ago. If every bio of Reagan henceforth written includes that quote, then I'd think it was DUE, as well. But until then, I don't see how this quote can be put alongside those other very famous quotes. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 17:13, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
I think it would be DUE because it would be given less weight than the quotes you referred to. Also, I think it's informative about the man. People can be complex. Bob K31416 (talk) 17:35, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
I think a critical point about the quotes Levivich mentioned is Reagan was known as the great communicator. Those are examples of quotes that stick in that regard. That said, it's different to suggest including the specific phone quote vs mentioning the statement. Mentioning the statement as you have proposed does make more sense since the exact statement is less important than that the statements contained racist terms. I think the "it's informative about the man" is problematic because it basically is a type of WP:OR. What does it say about him? As editors we aren't supposed to answer that question, we need RSs to say what it means about him. Reagan's statements and actions are evidence to support conclusions others have drawn about him. The summary of those conclusions is what should make it into this top level Reagan article. Springee (talk) 17:58, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
The Note is not OR because it's supported by an RS about Reagan and it doesn't go beyond what is stated in the RS. What you are referring to as OR is a Talk Page comment where WP:OR does not apply. BTW, I remember putting that at the end of the first paragraph of WP:NOR years ago [47] and I think it has been tweaked since then. Bob K31416 (talk) 18:40, 8 July 2020 (UTC)Bob K31416 (talk) 12:07, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
I'll second what Levivich said both in terms of appreciating the effort and why this quote. I think it would make more sense to put together a paragraph or two on Reagan's stated views and the opinion of others with respect to Reagan and race. Primarily this would be a summary of RSs but might include examples if they are particularly prominent. Often when people fight to insert content like this they forget that an encyclopedia should be a summary rather than a catalog of the details. Springee (talk) 17:51, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
Regarding your suggestion of a paragraph or two, sounds good and you might want to start another section to pursue that proposal. But anything negative about Reagan that has much more weight than this Note may not have much chance of success. Bob K31416 (talk) 19:00, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
There's a famous quote from Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter:
Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred.
I think when it comes to a U.S. President's private language it's better to go not with the worst, but rather with something by which the worst can be inferred. For example:
In his personal letters and private conversation, Truman peppered his language with disparaging ethnic slurs against Blacks and Asians.
With Southern Congressional colleagues (Lyndon) Johnson casually used familiar racial slurs when referring to Blacks.
While in office Nixon frequently castigated Jews and belittled Blacks in his private musings.
On at least one occasion Reagan used a puerile racial slur, as heard in a 1971 phone call to then President Nixon after African UN delegates celebrated Taiwan's ouster from the General Assembly. (talk) 03:25, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
After reading your message I did some googling of Truman and Johnson in the context of the present subject and stopped there. It was looking like Reagan's private comment to Nixon is not significant, so I now think that mention of it as even a Note is questionable and I'm withdrawing the proposal. Bob K31416 (talk) 14:22, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
You'd be hard-pressed to find pretty much any white male of that generation who didn't say something along those lines (at least once) about people of different ethnicities. While not certainly not came with the territory.Rja13ww33 (talk) 17:33, 10 July 2020 (UTC)

← Believe it or not, people in the 1970s and 1980s actually knew that it was racist to compare Black people to monkeys. That isn't some brand-new millenial sensitivity thing. I'm going to go on record with my objections here, for future reference: many reliable sources reported on the release of the Reagan/Nixon tape, prompting additional discussion and evaluation of the role of race in Reagan's political career. That's not arguable; others have listed a subset of the sources in question above. You (and by you, I mean, among others, Bob K31416, Rja13ww33, and Springee) are nonetheless arguing to omit mention because:

  • It was a "private comment" (irrelevant—it was covered extensively by reliable sources, and was made in the context of political discussion with the President of the United States, not at a cocktail party or something.)
  • Because Truman and LBJ also used racist language (true, and relevant to their biographies, but irrelevant here)
  • Because "any white male of that generation" would have used similar language (factually false, but also irrelevant—Reagan was not "any white male", but rather a governor and President).
  • Because the quote doesn't fit with editors' preconceived image of Reagan (e.g. "tear down this wall!" yes, "monkeys" no) - this is self-reinforcing, because by excluding quotes that don't fit editors' preconceived idea of Reagan, they are reinforcing that image to the detriment of a more complete biography.

As for WP:WEIGHT, the article is full of stuff with much less sourcing and heft than this item. It's simply not plausible that a single sentence—even a single footnote—is too much weight for this item, given the overall balance of the article. Put another way: if you've argued that this degree of sourcing doesn't merit inclusion of even a single sentence or footnote, please be prepared to support the application of that standard to the article as a whole, and not only to this single item. MastCell Talk 18:50, 10 July 2020 (UTC)

That other UNDUE material is included in the article is no reason to add this. Also, I think this conflates something that is due (a summary of RSs views on Reagan and race) and something UNDUE, specific mention of a particular bit of supporting evidence. Springee (talk) 19:12, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
As I have said (about a thousand times now)....guidance is required for this article's length. Editors have complained currently and in the past as to it's (excessive) length. IF this thing should [indeed deemed to] be longer.....I can certainly see a place for it (i.e. a whole section on race). But if it is to be trimmed back (one editor noted it is already 5 times too long).....than these comments are issues as far as WEIGHT goes. This is sort of like doing a project without a scope. (As they say in my business.) The issues here as far as WEIGHT and Presentism are very important (whether you accept it or not) in a article of similar size or especially trimmed back. And by the way, I wouldn't object to cutting some of the "stuff" either.Rja13ww33 (talk) 19:16, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
I'm simply saying that if you (and others) establish the bar for UNDUE here, then I expect your support in applying that same threshold consistently and equitably throughout the article. Otherwise it would give the impression that you're manipulating policy to exclude this one specific item on spurious grounds. MastCell Talk 19:21, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
MastCell, I understand your point, and I don't feel strongly either way. You see, I googled Truman ethnic slurs and Lyndon Johnson ethnic slurs and what I found overwhelmed the single Reagan private comment, yet there doesn't seem to be any mention of those slurs in the Wikipedia articles about those two presidents. Bob K31416 (talk) 19:46, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
I'm trying my best. (I recently questioned a addition by Rjensen. [48] And he's a heavyweight when it comes to these bios.) But this nebulous criteria on length may take something like a RFC to resolve.Rja13ww33 (talk) 19:48, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
I think a year's time is long enough for present-ism to no longer apply. I think this content stands as valuable on its own, and it's a WP:OTHERSTUFF to be citing those other articles or even content within the same article. Nevertheless, I propose we make room by deleting the paragraphs below, or we can spin them off into a "Early life and family of Ronald Reagan" article while summarizing it to 33%-50% of its current size. The paragraphs about Reagan's baptism following what I'm proposing removing mention Reagan's inspiration from his mother's religion, so I see no loss of context. Failing that, I agree with the RfC proposal. There are other quotes missing regarding Reagan's views on race, such as " “If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house, it is his right to do so.”[49] during his run for governor of California. Typeprint (talk) 01:08, 4 September 2020 (UTC)
I don't think you understand Presentism: [50].Rja13ww33 (talk) 14:52, 4 September 2020 (UTC)
I don't see anything on that page that's about excluding content altogether, though. Many of the examples even involve putting in context where it is appropriate. Typeprint (talk) 15:19, 4 September 2020 (UTC)
Well that's kind of the point. If you add a lot of context (complying with Presentism) you are giving this more weight than it should have. Ergo, I feel exclusion is probably the best course.Rja13ww33 (talk) 16:52, 4 September 2020 (UTC)

Jack was a salesman and storyteller whose grandparents were Irish Catholic emigrants from County Tipperary,[8] while Nelle was of English, Irish and Scottish descent.[9] Reagan's older brother, Neil Reagan (1908–1996), became an advertising executive.[10]

Reagan's father nicknamed his son "Dutch", due to his "fat little Dutchman" appearance and Dutch-boy haircut; the nickname stuck with him throughout his youth.[11] Reagan's family briefly lived in several towns and cities in Illinois, including Monmouth, Galesburg, and Chicago.[12] In 1919, they returned to Tampico and lived above the H. C. Pitney Variety Store until finally settling in Dixon, Illinois.[7] After his election as president, Reagan lived in the upstairs White House private quarters, and he would quip that he was "living above the store again".[13]


Ronald Reagan wrote that his mother "always expected to find the best in people and often did."[14] She attended the Disciples of Christ church regularly and was active, and very influential, within it; she frequently led Sunday school services and gave the Bible readings to the congregation during the services. A firm believer in the power of prayer, she led prayer meetings at church and was in charge of mid-week prayers when the pastor was out of town.[15] She was also an adherent of the Social Gospel movement.[16] Her strong commitment to the church is what induced her son Ronald to become a Protestant Christian rather than a Roman Catholic like his Irish father.[9] He also stated that she strongly influenced his own beliefs: "I know that she planted that faith very deeply in me."[17] Reagan identified himself as a born-again Christian.[18] In Dixon, Reagan was strongly influenced by his pastor Beh Hill Cleaver, an erudite scholar. Cleaver was the father of Reagan's fiancé. Reagan saw him a second father. Stephen Vaughn says:

At many points the positions taken by the First Christian Church of Reagan's youth coincided with the words, if not the beliefs of the latter-day Reagan. These positions included faith in Providence, association of America's mission with God's will, belief in progress, trust in the work ethic and admiration for those who achieved wealth, an uncomfortableness with literature and art that questioned the family or challenged notions of proper sexual behavior, presumption that poverty is an individual problem best left to charity rather than the state, sensitivity to problems involving alcohol and drugs, and reticence to use government to protect civil rights for minorities. [19]

Typeprint (talk) 01:07, 4 September 2020 (UTC)

In the part about his 1980 run for president, I propose adding language from the article on the 1980 United States presidential election. The formatting is removed because I copied and pasted, and the brackets represent content added for context. "In August, after the Republican National Convention, Ronald Reagan gave a campaign speech [in defense of states' rights] at the annual Neshoba County Fair on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964. Two days later, Reagan appeared at the Urban League convention in New York, where he said, "I am committed to the protection and enforcement of the civil rights of black Americans. This commitment is interwoven into every phase of the plans I will propose." Typeprint (talk) 01:07, 4 September 2020 (UTC)

The "War on Drugs" was a success because [Insert correlation]Edit

The following line is in the article:

  • Defenders of the [War on Drugs] effort point to success in reducing rates of adolescent drug use which they attribute to the Reagan administrations policies: marijuana use among high-school seniors declined from 33 percent in 1980 to 12 percent in 1991.

The line is sourced to primary sources (an interview with a former Drug Czar who clearly has a stake in the matter). The content is not defensible. There's an enormous academic literature on the subject, so there's no excuse to include idiotic content about correlations from a person who clearly has a conflict of interest. There are countless factors that may affect rates of drug use, and there are academic studies that use various strategies to draw causal inferences. It's absurd to include this content. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 00:39, 11 June 2020 (UTC)

So why not write up a summary of this "academic literature" that disputes this (with RS cited) and lets take a look?Rja13ww33 (talk) 00:42, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
I didn't say that the academic literature disputes the text above. I'm saying that the text should rely on the academic literature or at the very least on secondary RS coverage (such as newspaper coverage). The text in the article shouldn't be sourced to primary sources, in particular on controversial subjects and on subjects with extensive secondary literatures. It's pretty tendentious of you to insist that I need to source any content that I want to add to academic publications and run it by you first whereas you can add piss-poor content sourced to primary sources and will revert anyone who contests the content. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 00:50, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
If the claim is backed by "academic literature", I see nothing wrong with keeping what supporters argue (with this RS added in). In your previous edit, you wanted to eliminate the reduction in drug use in it's entirety. You are now admitting it is backed up by RS. Seems to me that your approach was wrong.Rja13ww33 (talk) 00:57, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
You seem to have a serious problem with reading comprehension. I'm neither saying that the content is backed up nor refuted by the academic literature (I have no idea if it is). I'm saying that text on Wikipedia should be sourced to RS and the quote in OP isn't. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 01:03, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
So you claim there is "enormous academic literature on the subject" just don't know what any of it says? Ok. Well, I'll see if I can find a RS to back this up and add it in. Otherwise, we can reduce it to something he claims.....ok?Rja13ww33 (talk) 01:11, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
Found this [51]. To quote: "...a 12th grader in 1978 was fully 3 times as likely to be a current marijuana user (defined as any use in the past 30 days) as a 12th grader in 1992 (prevalence rates of 37% vs. 12%)." There is also a chart illustrating this on p.889 of the article. Since this is the American Journal of Public Health, I assume there are no RS issues. So I would assume everyone would be ok with me adding this as a RS for Dr. Kleber's (quite correct) claims?Rja13ww33 (talk) 02:09, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
The source does not as far as I can tell attribute the change to the War on Drugs or Reagan's policies. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 02:32, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
That's why the text "which they [supporters] attribute to the [the reagan admin's efforts]" was added. We are clearly presenting the opinions of supporters of this policy.....and are not necessarily saying they are right. We cannot present the detractors case only (for outcomes; as you wanted to do) and leave out the other side of the argument. That is not NPOV.Rja13ww33 (talk) 02:42, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
We are not here to build a case for one side. That's original research. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 03:50, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
We are here to present a balanced perspective. The fact you want to include the criticism and exclude the arguments of supporters (whose data is backed by RS) says it all. I (believe it or not) am a serous critic of the drug war and question the connection made there as well. But NPOV means putting aside one's personal feelings and editing fairly.Rja13ww33 (talk) 15:37, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
Criticism of the Reagan administration's War on Drugs is sourced to an overview article by PBS: "Mandatory minimums become increasingly criticized over the years for promoting significant racial disparities in the prison population, because of the differences in sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine."[52] The criticism is also so notable as to be the subject of an article (Race and the war on drugs) and substantiated by a large academic literature which shows that the War on Drugs indeed did boost racial disparities. That the Reagan administration's policies successfully reduced drug consumption should likewise be sourced to excellent RS. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 15:46, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
Amazing what you do know the "academic literature" literature says and what you don't. In any case, there is nothing wrong with including the argument of a supporter(s) claims. (Especially if it is backed by RS.) We clearly delineate his opinion from causation. It is impossible to prove causation.....but that doesn't mean we can omit the arguments of supporters.Rja13ww33 (talk) 15:52, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
We cannot present the detractors case only (for outcomes; as you wanted to do) and leave out the other side of the argument. We absolutely can. In fact, we are required to do so if we can't find adequate sourcing for the "other side"; crowbarring in weak or poorly-sourced arguments to 'balance out' something according to an editor's personal perspective is WP:FALSEBALANCE. And in this particular case the sourcing is subpar. The cite to the National Institute on Drug Abuse is unusable because it is a self-published unduly self-serving claim per WP:ABOUTSELF, while the interview is WP:RSOPINION at best; it is not citable for statements of fact the way it is being used here. If the statistics are genuine, relevant, and mean what you want the article to say they mean, it should be easy to find reliable WP:SECONDARY sources rather than an interview with a political appointee. --Aquillion (talk) 04:04, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
In fact, if you will look further down in this thread, another editor verified these numbers with other sources.Rja13ww33 (talk) 18:22, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
User:Springee, since you in the RFC above claim to be a stickler for a high DUE bar, can you please instruct Rja13ww33 that content sourced to a primary source does not meet DUE, and that we need to source content to high-quality RS. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 17:01, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
Snooganssnoogans [[53]] Springee (talk) 17:22, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
The brazen hypocrisy is not surprising in the least at this point, but thank you for once again confirming it. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 17:30, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
The brazen incivility is not surprising. If you have a problem with another editor you ask them, not me. Springee (talk) 17:34, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
FWIW, I can verify the 12% in 1992 number but the 1980 number seems off (this same report suggests it ought to be much higher). Public Health Report v170 issue 3 "PROGRAMS, PRACTICES, PEOPLE", 1992. Also this Monitoring the Future also gives facts for long term studies that match the statements but point out that that 1991/1992 was right when the curves bottomed out (fig 5-4a pg 272). --Masem (t) 20:57, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
  • If you're truly interested in academic/scholarly sources to improve the "War on Drugs" section, there is an entire chapter devoted to the subject in Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning. That is one potential starting point. MastCell Talk 18:33, 10 July 2020 (UTC)

The 'Notes' tab should be removedEdit

In my opinion, the 'Notes' tab should be removed as in my opinion it is pointless to have an empty tab within the article. Xboxsponge15 (talk) 14:21, 21 July 2020 (UTC)

Sure, now that there aren't any notes in the article. You could have done that yourself, as I just did. --jpgordon𝄢𝄆 𝄐𝄇 14:43, 21 July 2020 (UTC)

Ketchup, treesEdit

As for format, I think the usual Wiki policy is to correct a format problem, rather than delete the item.

The New York Post was saying that Reagan was right here too. Their choice of headline showed that they weren't just bowing to him. Ketchup as a vegetable was many things: a workaround to so pour it out when a school had upper-graders pour milk from quart containers for lower-graders rather than buy pints, and the school milk program at first refused to pay. The solution, negotiated by an experienced school head, was to obtain approval to buy chocolate milk, mix the two, and give the children a choice of white milk or the mix. No more "pour it out." When so much food was being thrown out, ketchup was the great equalizer. There is even a wiki article named Ketchup is a vegetable, to which the cited editorial refers. Please fix whatever about the format you dislike: there is a teaching, from all my teachers I've learned. (Ethics of the Fathers). Pi314m (talk) 17:46, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

What you introduced was this: The New York Post headlined "Eat Your Ketchup, Too for a he-was-right editorial regarding smog.[433] In 1979, as a candidate, "Reagan said that trees produce smog" and the EPA confirmed this in 1999. No offense, but that's not particularly coherent, nor is it really relevant (in the section it was put it). Furthermore, doesn't even seem like it is worth mentioning either.Rja13ww33 (talk) 17:52, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
Sigh... based on the "was he racist" matter above, what comes to mind is Reagan's sidewalk is cracking comment. He was a good-hearted man, and there is no man who has not sinned (source: the wisest man who ever lived). I placed it right before the paragraph that begins "Reagan was known to joke" since it seems to go with The Post's headline. There is so much already in the article; compared to "Air Traffic controllers' strike" trees is certainly not going to add enough to Reagan's legacy. My edit was a 2-for-1, but twas not enough for your greater involvement with this article to accept. I gave it a try and more. As is. Pi314m (talk) 18:25, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

Sourcing needed for "rollback of Communism that astonished the world"Edit

In the 4th paragraph of the opening section, the statement is made regarding the invasion of Grenada that, "It represented a rollback of Communism that astonished the world." The sentence before this links to the wiki Grenada invasion page, but the linked pages does not document an "astonished world." Does this statement need sourcing or revising to perhaps a "surprised" world?" Should "rollback" and "astonishment" be linked as concepts as demonstrated by the linked documentation? Is this encyclopedic style? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mountainlogic (talkcontribs)

That is a recent addition to the article. I agree that "astonished the world" is a very bold statement without a source. The closest statement I could find that even remotely suggests "astonished the world" is in the separate article on the invasion: "This was the first military restoration of a Communist nation to its former governance." I suggest replacing with that sentence unless someone can come up with a reliable source for "astonished the world". I also think "surprised" is inappropriate without a source; other countries might have been critical of the invasion but that's not the same as being surprised. I'll wait for other comments before making any changes. Sundayclose (talk) 16:20, 28 September 2020 (UTC)
NY Times the next day: "Most Congressmen were shocked and astonished at word that American troops had invaded Grenada, and they split sharply over the wisdom of the policy." also " Pierre Trudeau, expressed his astonishment over the US action." [54] Rjensen (talk) 17:48, 28 September 2020 (UTC)
I disagree that Congressmen and Trudeau are "the world". And "astonished" can have nuanced meaning and thus is imprecise. In the cases you point out, the meaning "shocked" is the best descriptor (as opposed to something like "impressed"). I have a good vocabulary, and the meaning I took was "impressed". If anything of this statement is retained, the specific meaning needs to be used rather than "astonished", and the person or group that reacted (i.e., most Congressmen, Trudeau) needs to be specifically identified. Otherwise it's misleading. One more point: I have access to the NYT article. It doesn't mention Trudeau. Sundayclose (talk) 18:08, 28 September 2020 (UTC)
Agreed that sentence probably needs tweaking. Certainly the operation wasn't that impressive (as I remember many considering it bungled).Rja13ww33 (talk) 20:36, 28 September 2020 (UTC)
While we're on this, I suggest that "far-left elements took control" should be replaced with "Communist elements took control" to be more specific. Typeprint (talk) 22:27, 28 September 2020 (UTC)

  Done Sundayclose (talk) 16:18, 2 October 2020 (UTC)

Thank you for your work! Typeprint (talk) 01:49, 17 October 2020 (UTC)

Views on nuclear weaponsEdit

I think it is important to include a section on Reagan's views on nuclear weapons. These wiews developed over his terms as president, and this development highlights the world's relations to this subject. In particular, the influence on Reagan's thinking from watching "The Day After" and the impact of "Able Archer". Asgrrr (talk) 20:03, 16 October 2020 (UTC)

Return to "Ronald Reagan" page.