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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Are We Finally At The Top Of The Minority Mountain?

Civil Rights opened the windows. When you open the windows, it does not mean that everybody will get through. We must create our own opportunities.” Mary Francis Berry

Racial issues have defined many aspects of politics and culture for several generations. From slavery to Jim Crowe to George Wallace standing in the doorway, the struggle for civil rights on the part of black Americans has been profound. I will say that Martin Luther King, Jr is a man for which I have the greatest respect - almost as much as I respect Ronald Reagan. He was a leader who motivated people to change an entire society through peace and the demonstration of integrity and dignity. Unfortunately, those who have followed him have not participated in the same way as Dr. King.

We have heard how biased America as a whole has been toward women and blacks, and how the Republican Party is a bunch of rich white guys sitting around reading the Wall Street Journal. I disagree to the point of saying that it has been the Republican party that has been open to a candidacy on the part of women. The difference is that we want conservative women, not just a woman.

This year has seen a woman and a black man as the candidates for a political party nomination. A first in American history and I hope a turning point in race relations and racial politics. Perhaps we can move past these asinine comments:

A new breed of Uncle Tom [and] some of the biggest liars the world ever saw - Former NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks on black Conservatives

I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early, like many black men do, of heart disease -- Julianne Malveaux speaking about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

The Hillary camp said yesterday that Obama would lose in the general election because he is untested and inexperienced. I would like to point something out to the campaign folks: A black man won political primaries in the states of Alabama, Georgia,Louisiana,South Carolina,and Tennessee. The same black man is poised to win the state of Mississippi today! Is it necessary to point out that these states were slave states in the 1800s? That these states are the ones considered backward by those who consider themselves superior to southerners? That some of these states are the ones who opposed civil rights and turned dogs and water hoses on civil rights marchers?

I consider that Obama has carried every Dixie state except Arkansas to be monumental. If those who still cry racism at every turn really wanted equality and not power, they would take note and see a positive movement from this election cycle.

I live in Alabama, was born and raised in Montgomery. Incidentally, if you have never considered this, the Civil War began with a telegram sent from Montgomery, and the Civil Rights movement was spurred by Rosa Parks and Dr. King, both Montgomery residents. Of all places who has lived and understood racism, Montgomery is the place. I live int he Birmingham metro area. Birmingham is where the 16th Avenue Baptist church was bombed and children killed.

My mother was raised on South Court Street in Montgomery. Court Street feeds into the downtown area, and she was a personal witness to the bus boycotts and protests. When I was in law enforcement I worked for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. I think it was 1999 when we were cleaning out an old storage facility to use as a storage and training facility for our dogs, and found a stash of equipment that included the protective gear (helmets, batons, etc) used during the Selma to Montgomery march. Pieces of history that were long forgotten....

Race is a fact of life around here. Always has been, and I presume it always will be. I hope that Obama has made inroads so that race becomes less of an issue, and more of a discussion. I am truly surprised that Obama has won the south, and even more shocked at the margins. I am not blind to the fact that people are still morons and that prejudice exists. On Interstate 65 about halfway between Montgomery and Birmingham is a garrison sized confederate flag on the west side of the interstate, and only about 50 feet off the right of way. It was placed there by the Sons of the South, or some other idiotic organization.

We can discuss the aims of the confederacy if you wish, but for this post I just want to point out that the south wanted independence. They wanted to be free of an oppressive federal government. Slavery was an issue, but not the only issue. There was a driving force of independence in the civil war. However, this flag is placed there as a thumb in the eye toward civilization. This particular flag is there to make a racist statement. These people live only because it is illegal to kill them.

I can promise you this: If John McCain wins the 2008 election, a great hue and cry will rise from the media about the discrimination of the American people, and the right in particular.

Don't give in to the politics of race. Continue to find the best candidate for the greater good of the people.

8 Posts From Readers:

rockync said...

I have been an ardent opponent to racism in all its forms all my life but I too find it amazing how well Obama has done in the South. Even though there are still some drooling knuckle draggers still roaming our land, I think we have turned the corner from the dark days of Jim Crow and burning crosses. Perhaps the next generation will reach enlightenment and will embrace the simple yet profound idea that "all men are created equal."
And my most feverent hope for this election is for it to be based on candidate platforms and performance and NOT on gender,ethnic origins or religion.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

I agree with your assement to a point. We have made huge strides against racial discrimination but until someone like Condi Rice can express her Conservative views without being called an Uncle Tom we are seeing a fashion of reverse dicrimination because a certain race is expected to ONLY have a left view point.

Also race will still be an issue to a point until a candidate can run for office and be refered to only by name and not by color.

Good post

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Also one other thing, race will continue to be an issue while the Dems use race as ameans of holding a voter block and a continual dependancy upon liberal politcs.

Additionally it will continue until merit and qualifications ONLY are necessary for jobs and not racial quotas.

rockync said...

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth:
You make a good point that black conservatives are few and far between, but I think you have to consider that the rabid racists mostly come out of the conservative right. I'm not saying that it is fair to label Condi an "Uncle Tom" just for having conservative views or that all conservatives are racist, but I can see how the black population would be mistrustful. One thing that must stop is the name calling and ridiculing of each others' views. I cruise the blogs and am disappointed to see so much disrespect between Americans. If we are to move forward as a nation, we must accept that there are differing opinions and we just have to find a way to deal with that.
You said,"Also race will still be an issue to a point until a candidate can run for office and be refered to only by name and not by color." I couldn't agree more.

Layla said...

I agree with you and I am sure that at the end of the day the race card will be played as always should McCain win POTUS. It is really tired, old, and sad.

It would be nice to see people as people, race and nationality aside, but lets face it we live in the USA not Nirvana.

Anonymous said...

Something that seems often overlooked is that racists are so often tied to the Conservative side of politics because most of the vocal white racists profess to be Christians, which many Conservatives are and therefore, we are all the same. Those who claim to represent conservatism in this way, only perpetuate the stereotype of racist white southerner. The South has come a long way, maybe because it had the furthest to come, nonetheless it has changed significantly. These days, the real racism lies in the left's insistence on classifying people in order to assign them a victim status, and subsequently develop a social program or entitlement for them. Thus ensuring their dependence on their benefactors. Who else to vote for but those who have secured us welfare, slavery reparations, affirmative action, etc? Who are the real racists? Those who trivialize themselves by outrageous acts of hatred, or those who enable differences in race, (and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and whatever other differences can be exploited) for the purpose of building voter blocks? I'm a bit more comfortable with the enemy I can see, because he openly and vocally hates me for some inherent difference between us than I am with the enemy that professes to love me to the point that they will relieve me of personal responsibility for my life and feed me from their governmemt cheese wheels, while telling me how much everyone else hates me and why that means I can't succeed in their world. Who are the real racists, REALLY?

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

Welcome Fu Manchu Dad, and thanks for a great comment. Please make yourself at home here.

You articulate the point very well, and because of such you would be labeled a racist and told that you are a big part of the problem.

You are right that the pandering to a particular crowd is what perpetuates the stereotype. The same logic can be applied to minimum wage in that the argument that "people cannot support a family on $4.75 an hour and therefore we need a higher minimum wage" is insulting to a population as it tells them that they are incapable of success and rising above that wage. It removes the expectations that people will begin at the bottom and move up...

I never considered having to raise a family on minimum wage. As a teenager I started a job at minimum wage, but it was for gas money and beer money. I didn't stay there long because no one told me I had to...

Toward the end of the Carter years my parents were in a financial mess. Long story that I won't bore you with, but my grandfather had died and my grandmother had fallen ill. My dad quit his job and the family immediately moved to her home to provide support and take care of her. As a result, they were out of work until they found new jobs, and the economy at the time was not in a state to allow changes like this to come easy.

So, when we returned home a year later, my parents basically had to start over. My dad took a job far below what he was making before, and while it was a little more than minimum wage, it was not enough to support a family for long.

He worked two jobs, as did my mother. They asked for no assistance, and did the best the could and worked as hard as they could. Within a couple of years things were back to normal due to my father's work ethic which led to two quick promotions. He never desired to make someone pay him a higher wage to support the decisions he made in his life, and has never expected "minimum" or "average" performance from either himself or his three sons.

Why is that beyond the general expectation of all citizens?

rockync said...

Fu Manchu you bring up an issue that must be addressed if we are ever to move on to true equality -- we need to get off the victim train.
Robert, most of us in white skin that have grown up watching parents or even we ourselves having to overcome adversity, wonder why any American can't do the same.
And, we SHOULD be in a place in this country where that is reality.
But, here is the reality I see every day: When Eve Carson was murdered, I heard many conversations beginning with I bet he (her killer) was some black (and worse names). Somehow, that makes the senseless death of a vital,beautiful member of our society worse in the minds of many.
I had a son stationed near Austin, TX who was attacked by six punks and had his jaw broken in two places. Because of the way I raised my children, I didn't ask and he didn't feel the need to tell me the color of the skin of his attackers. For him it would have been as ridiculous as telling me whether his attackers were Italian or Irish.
I work in a jail part time as a nurse. I treat inmates as if I expect the very best from them. I listen when they speak; I try to address valid issues and I call them out when they try to con me. They respect me for it and many times, they rise to my expectations, not always, but I would rather expect the best and be disappointed than to look down on a fellow human being and kill the spark before it ever has a chance. We just never know what the seed we plant today will grow into tomorrow. I prefer to plant the seeds of love, hope, respect, forgiveness and caring. But in this I understand that I'm a minority.
We can blame the "right" and historically, they have some blame to shoulder. We can blame the "left" for their knee jerk reaction which has just made the divide in this country larger.But if we want to change the course of history, right and left are of no consideration; we must change ourselves and how we treat each other. We have become a callous nation.

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