And so 50 Years have passed since the original March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A March which was a demand for action, a call to attention for America to make a change. For America to step forward and finally begin to end the denial of liberty to so many of it's citizens in the form on lynchings, in the form of Jim Crow, in the form of Literacy Tests and Poll Taxes, in the form of unequal public accommodation and segregation, miscegenation laws, repressive police violence, job discrimination, housing discrimination, and loan discrimination...
All In the criminal denial of the basic humanity of certain portions of the population, for daring to simply exist.
Clearly in the past 50 years many things have changed, but also far too many have not changed. People on the basis of Race, Religion, Gender, Veteran Status and Disability now have forms of legal redress for the injustices visited upon them. We have a Civil Rights Act. We have a Voting Rights Act. (Although we do not yet have Equality and Civil Rights for those of different Gender Orientations or Health Conditions - these seem to be on the Horizon)
When before a Black Man could only dream so large, now one can not only dream - but live awake in an America where one of his own can be President of the United States. If America can do this, it should be able to do anything, right?
What we've now learned in 50 years is that we do not have a Crippling Racial Divide in this Country as we did before. We now have a Crippling Partisan Divide. 90% of Black People along with 70% of Latinos, 60% of Asians and just about 50% of Whites all generally agree that we still have changes to make, that the struggle against injustice continues.
And then we have the other party, who simply want to wallow in denial and change the subject every chance they get.
For our party, we have many miles to go before equality and justice for all is more than merely a dream, but is in fact a Reality. This is not to say that we expect "equality of outcomes", but we continue to fight for equality of opportunity.
That given a fair and reasonable level of effort and education ALL PERSONS in this nation should be able to reach a reasonable measure of the American Dream. Where their efforts can provide a safe and prosperous living for themselves, and a better chance for even greater prosperity for their progeny.
For the other party - when they look into the Racial Rorschach Test of America - they believe that the Dream has already been realized.
We have a Black President now, what more do you want?
They believe that there is no real Racism or Bigotry in America. Not like it used to be with Bull Connor setting Firehoses and Dogs onto children, or Gov. George Wallace standing at the schoolhouse door denying access to Black Students who simply wanted a chance for an education. We no longer have Freedom Riders for Voting Rights who risk being murdered and having their bodies dumped.
Now we have a Supreme Court that chooses to strike the down most effective parts of the Voting Rights Act simply because it has been effective at protecting the vote of those some would seek to disenfranchise. It's very success became the excuse to do away with it.
We don't have Bigots like Bull Connor so much anymore. But we do have Bigoted Birthers Like Donald Trump and Sheriff Arpaio who will relentless hound the President for a Birth Certificate he's already provided showing that he was indeed born in the U.S. of A., yet when Senator Ted Cruz produces a Birth Certificate from Canada or Sen John McCain produces one from Panama they have Nothing To Say About It.
What a coincidence.
Yesterday, on the same day as the President's speech, we had a report about an Official in Maine who was visited by the Secret Service and CIA after posting "Shoot the Nigger" in his comments to a link supporting the Impeachment of the President.
And yet he claims, that it's all a "misunderstanding"?
David Marsters, a retired Massachusetts police officer and a candidate for selectman in Sabattus, Maine, posted a photo of Obama along with a link to a story about a Republican push to impeach the president at 8:17 p.m. Friday, writing "Shoot the Nigger" above it, according to the newspaper.Yes, because "I hope the bastard dies" certainly wasn't taken as a threat 45 years ago by Dr. King. It wasn't a threat to Medger Evers who was killed just a few weeks before the original march. It wasn't a threat to John Kennedy who was killed only a couple months later. It wasn't a threat to Bobby Kennedy or to Malcolm X.
Marsters told the Press Herald that after his Facebook post was flagged to local law enforcement by other residents, he was visited by both the Secret Service and the CIA. He said he told the Secret Service agents who questioned him that he didn't intend to threaten the president.
Marsters told the Press Herald in a telephone interview that his post was taken out of context.
"I think it's a lot of hogwash," he said. "I did not threaten the president. ... I might have used the wrong words. ... I didn't say I was going to do it."
"What I really meant to say is, 'When are we going to get rid of this (expletive),'" Marsters added. "I should have said, 'I hope the bastard dies.'"
And it's not like "Shoot The Nigger" was in any way Racial, right? Because we must remember the outrage on the right when Dr. Laura shouted "Nigger Nigger Nigger" at a black woman on the radio a dozen times? Remember that?
The former vice-presidential nominee and ex-Alaska governor tweeted her support for Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who said she'd quit her radio show after coming under fire for repeatedly using the N-word while on-air with a caller.If 'Shoot the Nigger' or 13 N-Words in a row isn't blatant enough Racism, then what is? Pulling the Trigger?
"Dr.Laura:don't retreat...reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence"isn't American,not fair")," Palin tweeted on Wednesday.
Palin then said, "Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles, so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice, America!"
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/...
No, Racism today is different than what it used to be. It used to be obvious.
Today it's sneakier and more illusive. Perverted and Distorted. Before people were quite upfront about what they felt and what they were doing what they did. Now, people deny and excuse it all. Bull Connor has become Ray Kelly who continues to defend a policy as clearly as bigoted as Stop-And-Frisk even though it has an 88% Failure Rate at actually finding anything worthy of being stopped or frisked.
Kelly, seriously and with a straight face, can claim that he's only trying to protect the Black Community as he implements a campaign of Police Terrorism against them. See, we have to do 500,000+ stops a year for the Black Communities own good - or else Thousands of People Will Die - but it's not Racial.
In yesterdays speech, President Obama was correct to note the link made then by Dr. King between the struggle for legal equality and the struggle for economic equality. What good is having the Right to sit at a lunch counter if you can't afford the food?
That struggle, against the continued spread of corporate power and the redistribution of tax dollars Upward toward those who already have more than they will ever need while the rest of us continue to scratch and struggle is the new battleground of Civil and Human Rights. That is where we must continue to push forward. But as we do so we must recognize that which stands in our path.
The other party.
Just as Barry Goldwater opposed the original Civil Rights Act because it "threatened the rights of property owners" who might wish to be blatant jerks and openly discriminate against portions of the public - so too have modern Conservatives argued that Black People would be so much better off if not for those pesky Civil Rights.
They argue, seriously and with a straight face that we didn't need a Civil Rights act At All. That through the magic of free enterprise and the free market any private company that decided and wished to openly discriminate against part of the public would simply be put out of business by the backlash and outrage of the public.
Yeah, ok, so exactly when Has That Ever Happened?
How's Chick-Fil-A doing these days?
The 14th Amendment which was supposed to reverse the Dred Scot decision and grant all persons within the jurisdiction of the states with the equal protection of the laws was ratified 96 Years Before the Civil Rights Act was Passed.
During that entire near Century, how many business who openly discriminated did the "Free Market", put out of business? How many red-lines did it remove? How much employment discrimination was removed?
Then there are those who wish to argue that any lingering discrimination is only the fault of Black people and other minorities for failing to be "American Enough" tm People like Governor Bobby Jindal. Or those who claim that the REAL B.P.P. (Black People Problem) isn't Discrimination it's Babies Born Without Weddings. This would include Bill O'Reilly. George Will and of course Don Lemon.
Watch here wherein Lemon gets schooled - yet again - this time by Russell Simmons to his Face.
Simmons makes the vital point that the number one B.P.P. is the Criminal and Prison Industrial Complex which has used young black men as their fodder for profit. You can't expect a young man to stick around and be a Dad, when he's been sent up the river and when he gets back from Jail his opportunities for legal employment are next to nil.
Also the idea that Hip Hop is a greater influence on Black People than that reality is as ridiculous as blaming the Ambulance and Firemen for showing up at the Car Accident. They didn't make the accident, but they do respond to it just as honest and truthful art has to respond to the reality of it's surroundings. The opposition denies this matters.
They claim that systematic racism is a thing of the past, while major U.S. Banks Admit to Targeting Minorities for Toxic Sub-Prime "Ghetto Loans" when they could have afforded Regular Prime Loans. But it's not "Racial" Right?
One of the most pernicious practices in which the nation’ biggest banks engaged during the lead up to the financial crisis was pushing minority borrowers into subprime loans, even when many of them qualified for prime loans. Wells Fargo had perhaps the most horrifying practices in this department, calling the subprime loans that they pushed in poor, black neighborhoods “ghetto loans.”And hence, after the financial meltdown, we see the Wealth Gap between Black and Whites explode since the primary wealth of many people is - or was - held in their home.
This rampant predatory lending helped inflate the housing bubble; a Center for American Progress investigation actually found huge racial disparities in lending at the big banks that wound up getting bailed out, with minority borrowers far more likely to receive high-priced loans.
So how do we move forward?
As we struggle to change and curb bigotry we have to recognize honestly where it comes from and when it occurs, and that can be very difficult when those who perpetrate and support it deny the reality that it is even happening. To them Paula Deen just said a bad word a few times, yet they ignore that she admitted under oath to setting employment policy in her restaurants based on race and skin tone. Oprah and the Swedish Shop-Keeper, may have just misunderstood each other and simply because the keeper claims there wasn't a racist intent, then we have to accept that claim no matter what Oprah says. To them, Oprah's the Racist for even considering the possibility that she was profiled. To them it was perfectly reasonable for police to arrest Harvard Professor Henry Gates for breaking into His Own House after his door got stuck and then lying about it on the police report, because what - he shouldn't have been wearing a Hoodie? I mean, we're his pants sagging or something? (No, to both as it turns out!) He simply had to temerity to be annoyed that Police were at his door questioning him - for no damn good reason. (See 4th & 5th Amendments)
Actual racist and bigots today aren't motivated by Hate, they're motivated by Fear and Cowardice. They use weak statistical modelling to claim things about people they don't know, generalizing and profiling them while ignoring who they really are and in their own mind - they aren't "racist" for doing this, they're just being "pragmatic".
They aren't being driven by hate, it's Confirmation Bias.
They'll say something like Steve King does about there being 100 "Cantaloupe Calved" illegal Aliens to every College Bound Dreamer Kid and never consider the inherent Racism of that statement.
They don't even Know how Racist they sound. Or maybe they do, and they're just pretending not to know - which again is a major part of the problem. Racists Lie, even to themselves.
Because of this , there is the danger of accusing someone of bigotry who may have had some other motive or rationale for their dickishness, and then if you make that accusation They Get Offended by it. They become Defensive when it's was their own Ass-Clown Statement or Actions that began the issue.
So we hear that nobody in the Tea Party is Racist, even with the Witch-Doctor Signs. Cuz "There were only a few of them". The idea that One is Too God-Damn Many elludes them. And when Shirley Sherrod tells the NAACP why she initially decided she didn't want to help a clearly Racist Farmer with his claim forms, even though she eventually changed her mind - She gets accused of being a Racist by Breitbart and loses her job with the Department of Agriculture. And that's why we get claims that the Zimmerman Case had "Nothing to Do with Race" even though his Family has a History of Racial Bias and he himself has a record of violent assaults and racial harassment, while the police and prosecutors were completely disinterested and bungled the case. Cuz - y'know - Hoodie!
The oppositions thinks that the lack of a response by the President after the murder of a Young White Man because a gang of kids "were bored" is a sign of his Racial Bias, because some of them were black, while ignoring that it wasn't the shooting that outraged people about the Death of Trayvon - it was the Complete and Total Lack of Any Effort for Justice after the killing. There is no question those who killed Chris Lane will see Justice, both black, white or other - But then again you have cases like Marissa Alexander's where "Stand Your Ground" suddenly turned into wet sand under her feet and she was sentenced to 20 Years for Shooting a Ceiling in Self-Defense.
To the Other Party, the Only "Racists" are those who would try and Identify Racism and combat it. Sometimes presuming someone is a Racist - without definitive proof - is just as unfair and unfounded as presuming someone is a criminal without definitive proof or evidence. But these are not equal, in the former case you might simply choose to avoid that person while in the latter case - they can end up imprisoned or dead just as well over 120 Unarmed Black Men are apparently killed every year by police and "justified" vigilantes.
That makes the way forward far more difficult and confused. How do you fight something, how do you fix something that you can't get some people to admit even exists?
Confirmation Bias can only be corrected by people's own choice to retest the data to eliminate their own preconceptions. No one can force anyone else to do that.
We can remain vigilant, we can insist that bigoted policies and laws be removed in employment, housing, lending, policing, sentencing and voting. We can end Stop-And-Frisk, Mandatory Minimums, 3-Strikes, Stand-Your-Ground, Bogus Voter Integrity and ID requirements, and we can continue to fight cuts to poverty and education programs that will dismantle those vital ladders out of poverty and into the middle class.
We can still keep pushing forward, raising the bar and removing the barriers both seen and unseen to the Equality of All. I think it's going to be much harder the next 50 Years than it was for the Last 50 Years as we see the Lies, Distortions and Denialism that the opposition continues to bring to the table - because we can't change who those people are and what they believe, only they can do that.
But trying is more than worth it. The Struggle Goes On, and we still have a Long Way to go.
9:32 AM PT: Thanks for the Recommended Status - I was Born in 1963, just two months after the March and a month before John Kennedy was Killed. I'd been thinking about this for days, maybe weeks, It means something special to me that people will get to read this Diary.