Here we go, again. Black man shot . . . by police . . . unarmed . . . in the back. One has to wonder if our police officers across the nation are just down right stupid, badly trained, simply afraid . . . or actually racists.
“This certainly is not the first time that such injustice has occurred. Although the mistreatment can occur with white people, so many cases have happened over the years where black people were targeted and received unfair treatment simply because of the color of their skin. Innocent black men have been suspected of crimes just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Black mothers and fathers regularly warn their sons about the possibility of it happening to them even if they are totally law abiding citizens going about their daily lives in a normal fashion.” – Total Outrage Over Racism Is Justified – Article by Irene Mori
It is past time for racism to be recognized for what it is and be put aside so we can move on. It seems like as if it has taken forever.
In 1776 Thomas Jefferson declared for the budding United States that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” And yet, less than a hundred years later we still have huge portions of our population enslaved. America has been slow to change. Our civil war freed the slaves, but did little to assure everyone had “unalienable Rights.”
“In 1868, with Amendment XIV, the Constitution had finally given black men full citizenship and promised them equal protection under the law. Blacks voted, won elected office, and served on juries. However, 10 years later, federal troops withdrew from the South, returning it to local white rule.” – crf-usa.org/black-history-month/a-brief-history-of-jim-crow
Jim Crow Laws were designed to deny the rights of individuals based on the color of the skin. Although technically American citizens they were second class citizens held up to ridicule, and held down to lower paying jobs, kept from voting, and were scapegoats for virtually any crime they were accused of. Lynchings were a constant threat to enforce white rule. Although worse in the South, the North gave some opportunity to people of color.
We like to feel that the rest of the world looks up to America to make this a better world, but that’s not always the case. Hitler and his cronies created the Nuremberg Laws which embodied the full-scale creation of a racist state and let him target Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies, and many others.
I was taken with the revelation that to these German lawyers, American blacks “were not a desperately oppressed and impoverished people, but a menacing alien race of invaders that threatened to get the upper hand and therefore had to be thwarted.” There were Americans who believed the same thing in that regard as those German lawyers believed — that blacks were a threat to white rule. Still are. – Bill Moyers – How the Nazis Used Jim Crow Laws as the Model for Their Race Laws
Riots have shaken our country before, but mostly in small enclaves and then forgotten. But riots and movements are coming closer together.
One of the greatest leaps forward for America came in 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color line as he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers. It didn’t change our world immediately, but it was a giant step for us. I love the film “42” and the scene featuring Pee Wee Reese who walks away from his position at shortstop to Robinson at first base and put his arm around the rookie, silencing the crowd, which was awed by the act of racial empathy by Reese, a popular All-Star from nearby Kentucky. The heart breaker is a young worshiper of Reese’s attending with his father.
Here is the clip from 42 “Hate Breeds Hate”
” . . . on July 26, 1948 Harry Truman made one of the biggest contributions to date for racial integration and equality. In issuing Executive Order 9981 Truman ordered the desegregation of the armed forces. These documents trace what some call the beginning of the Civil Rights movement.” – trumanlibrary.gov/education/presidential-inquiries/harry-s-truman-and-civil-rights
In 1949, South Pacific, a musical composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II premiered on Broadway. The issue of racial prejudice was earnestly addressed with the song “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”. South Pacific was an immediate hit and ran for nearly 2,000 performances. I love the simple rendition of the song as recorded by James Taylor.
For me the big shift took place in the sixties with civil rights, anti-war demonstrations and riots.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 – The civil rights movement deeply affected American society. Among its most important achievements were two major civil rights laws passed by Congress. These laws ensured constitutional rights for African Americans and other minorities. Although these rights were first guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution immediately after the Civil War, they had never been fully enforced. It was only after years of highly publicized civil rights demonstrations, marches, and violence that American political leaders acted to enforce these rights. – crf-usa.org/black-history-month/the-civil-rights-act-of-1964
We need to stop racism. Today as in the last few years, our athletes are leading the charge to protest and recognize the fact that we have a major problem still going on with the treatment of blacks and people of color. It looks as if instead of addressing the problem outright, many people are simply calling for law and order. We should be treating racism as the problem. Riots and protests are just the messengers delivering the memo that something needs to be done. In Kenosha, Wisconsin we’ve seen armed self-appointed vigilantes roaming the streets. Two people have died because of them. Guns in the hands of racists seems to be ignored. We should be fighting hate, not each other. Our police need to look at their training and their image and truly live up to their message “Protect & Serve” . . . everyone.