Thursday, March 29, 2012
An Irony of Epic Proportions
I almost hesitate to start this post because no matter how carefully I craft it, I know some will only look at the pictures.
I was raised in the deep South and I am very well acquainted with what went on there from the middle fifties, into the sixties, and beyond. I was old enough to start questioning why some things were the way they were. I got the standard answers that parents gave their children to explain why whites and blacks were separated in some areas and together in others. I'm sure that black children asked the same questions. I would imagine there were also answers given to them by their parents. I was surprised to learn in later life that my mother also asked the same innocent childlike questions when she was a young girl during the thirties. Life in the deep South during my youth was not totally segregated and people of all races formed bonds of friendship despite the tacit social barriers. Just as my mother sought to do something as a teen, and was told to let it go, so were many of us who later had the same thoughts and ideas. The problems were complex and so would be the solutions. Change is never easy and it always meets with resistance.
The truth is, there was a great chasm, and no solution was going to please everyone. In the middle sixties, the old barriers were struck down by the courts and people were forced to face and deal with the problems. Those on both sides, who were educated and at least marginally successful, managed a more peaceful dialog and genuinely worked to make things work. Those who couldn't articulate the injustices they felt, or perceived, formed groups of like minded individuals and lashed out at those they saw as causing the problem. It was a time of great tumult in the South. However, when I was older and traveled extensively in the North and North East, I found out that their racial problems were as bad if not worse than those we encountered in the South. It made sense to me then that some of the resistance I witnessed was not racial, but rather resistance to people from outside the South who came down to tell us how to solve the problems we had while ignoring their own. Segments of people on both sides reinforced negative stereotypes by their behaviors and further complicated the arguments being proffered.
The laws and safeguards that were mandated and followed by those who were law abiding, had an impact and helped to bridge the educational and economic chasm. However, it is human nature to take a good thing and exploit it to the point that it becomes a bad thing. The government, (that's us) did just that. For when things got back on an even keel and even started to lean in the opposite direction we failed to adjust the steerage. In doing so, we increased the injustice in the opposite direction and instead of helping those in need we created a segment of the population that is totally dependent on government for everything they have. We were forced by government (our elected representatives) to choose from a mixed bag of choices what category we fit into. By its very nature, this type of pigeon holing is divisive. We should never have to mark these boxes again. We are all citizens of the United States of America. I wish someone in the legislature would move to have all reference to race, skin color, national origin, language, or any other arbitrary and unnecessary classification removed from all government documents.
The great irony here, as I see it, is that people who were once singled out by their skin color, and in some cases persecuted and prosecuted unjustly, have taken to using the same tactics to further a racially biased agenda. They above all people should be the keenly sensitive as to how wrong this is. The New Black Panther Party, Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, and others are deriving their livelihoods from stirring up trouble and acting outside the law. They are no different than any trouble maker the KKK ever had, and they should be dealt with as severely. It is not about hoodies folks. It is about letting our legal system work. The case in Florida involves two individuals and only two individuals. When the investigation is done and all the available evidence gathered, the case will be presented to a jury and a decision will be rendered. Until that time, the president of the United States, talking heads from all our media services, neighbors, friends, schoolmates, legislators, sports figures, and law enforcement should refrain from speculating and commenting on what happened.