Racism Then, Now, And Forever
Back in the day, before black people had anything acknowledging their civil rights, it didn’t take anything for white person to accuse a black person of a crime, hold a black person in jail for a crime on nothing more than the word of a white person, and/or convict a black person for a crime with the only evidence being the testimony of a white person. The racial prejudice against black people in America was institutionalized in all levels of government, in every branch of government, from the high of the federal down to smallest of local jurisdictions.
America’s penchant for racial disparity was fictionalized in stories like To Kill a Mockingbird. Assigned as the prosecutor in the rape trial of the black Tom Robinson, Horace Gilmer faces off against Atticus Finch in court. The facts of the trial proved far beyond a reasonable doubt that it was virtually impossible for the one armed black man being tried could not have raped anyone, Mr. Gilmer does little to prove Tom’s guilt. Instead, Mr. Gilmer relies on the racial prejudice of the all white jury to ignore the testimony of the black man. America’s racism was so thick that it was no surprise to see the white people in the story ready to lynch the black man with nothing more than an accusation.
There is no better example of America’s racial disparity than the case of Emmett Louis Till. Emmett was a fourteen year old black boy who was brutally murdered in Mississippi after he was accused of whistling at a white woman. Emmett was from Chicago, Illinois and was visiting his relatives when he had the audacity to actually speak to twenty one year old Carolyn Bryant in her grocery store. Several nights later, Mrs. Bryant’s husband Roy and Roy’s brother snatched Emmett out of the house where he was staying, took him to a barn, beat him and tortured him before Emmett was shot through the head. His body was dumped into the Tallahatchie River with a seventy pound cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire. His body was discovered and retrieved from the river three days later. Roy Bryant was tried but acquitted of Emmett’s murder. A few months after his acquittal he admitted killing Emmett in a magazine interview. Protection from double jeopardy prevented his confession from being used against him.
Now a lot of people would think that such travesty of justice is behind us, that in the twenty first century America has learned from her racist past and looks only towards the future of racial harmony and brighter days. At least that is what we would like to think. But again, if we actually look at the evidence presented before our very eyes we will see the reality is very different.
Many people continue to refuse to believe that President Barack Obama is an American citizen despite the fact that government agencies with the responsibility to protect the Office of the President as well as the President himself remain silent on the issue. We’re supposed to believe some hick sheriff in Arizona has discovered the truth that the Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Central Intelligence Agency, and everybody else couldn’t figure out. The only evidence we have is his testimony and the fact that Mr. Obama is black. What other President or even presidential contender has ever dealt with such an indignation? The answer is not a single one. This indignation is Mr. Obama’s burden alone.
Many people accuse Mr. Obama of being an appeaser to people around the world who want to do this country harm. People believe this despite the fact that Mr. Obama kept his promise to do whatever it took to bring the leaders of al-Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden, to America’s unique brand of justice. Many of us believe this even though there is no audio or visual recording of Mr. Obama apologizing to anyone. The only proof we have is somebody’s accusation.
Mr. Obama is accused of being the food stamp President. He’s accused of being the President that saw the country lose more jobs than any other President in history. But again, if we look at the evidence, the country was losing more than seven hundred thousand jobs a month when Mr. Obama took office. Within a couple of months of assuming office, the job loss numbers began to drop. It took fifteen months, but the job loss numbers turned into job creation numbers. This happened despite the fact that Mr. Obama was working against all the Republican legislators who were committed to making sure Mr. Obama was a failure by doing their best to keep the country in economic freefall.
Mitch McConnell made the statement that his number one goal was to make sure Mr. Obama was a single term President. We have that proof. We have a conservative legislator interrupting the President’s State of the Union Address to the Congress with a boldfaced accusation that he was a liar. Other legislators say this man is so foreign you’d have to study Kenyan economic philosophy to understand his policies. Political pundits accuse him of being racist and hateful against white people. All of this and much more is believed to be true without a single shred of fact to support these allegations. But instead of getting an honest, bona fide analysis of his performance and of his person, he has to contend with conjecture, speculation, disrespect for him and for his office, and outright lies.
If people disagree with the President’s policies then by all means speak up and put their concerns, observations, whatever it might be on the table for us to review and discuss. But to make baseless accusations simply because America still suffers from institutionalized racial bigotry is a sure fire indication that we are still stuck in the racist muck that continues to dog just about every aspect of American life these days. In the twenty first century America still faces the same racial animosity that Emmett Till and Tom Robinson faced way back in the pre civil rights twentieth century. Racism was all around us then and it is all around us now and it looks like it will be with us forever.
No comments yet.