THE FACES OF RACISM

This has been a busy few weeks for racist comments dominating the news. First came Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who refused to pay grazing fees, racking up a debt of a million dollars, and who then called in heavily armed militia men to stand up to government officials. Sean Hannity loved him, the conservative press kept giving him microphones and air time, until this:

“One more thing I know about the Negro…They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail because they never learned to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Well, there went the welcome mat at Fox News. No more air time for Mr. Bundy at that network. It does seem a bit disingenuous of Sean Hannity, not to mention fickle. I mean, was he really that surprised that Cliven Bundy is a racist? This is a man who said he doesn’t recognize the Federal Government as even existing. So then why call out your militia friends to defend you? If the government doesn’t exist, then those uniformed men on your property must have been merely a hallucination. Did Hannity really think this flag-waving rancher was a reasonable individual? But I digress.

Then came the nauseating remarks of Donald Sterling to his mixed-race girlfriend. “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” He went so far as to tell her not to bring any African-Americans to his games.

One man is a rancher with a poor command of the English language; one is a well-known billionaire. But in the the realm of what matters, they are identical. Where their hearts should be, there is only darkness and emptiness. Where a conscience should be there is only arrogance and ignorance. On the leaked tapes of Sterling’s conversation he at one point said that this is just the way the world is. Sadly it is the way too much of the world still is. But look at the outcry, look at the swift actions that were taken against Donald Sterling — a very big portion of the world is not like that.

I once met a polite and gracious Southern woman with white hair and twinkly blue eyes. She was from Birmingham, Alabama. Within five minutes she was was telling me that the media had lied about what went on in Birmingham during the Civil Rights protests in the 60′s. “Those Negroes,” she said, “were paid five dollars each to go out there and demonstrate.” Suddenly she no longer seem polite and gracious. “Were they paid extra to get their heads bashed in with nightsticks?” I asked her. She didn’t want to talk to me anymore after that, which was fine with me.

It would be easier if racists wore signs around their necks or dressed the same. Perhaps in white headgear. But obviously they are not all going to do that. Sooner or later, everyone reveals what is beneath his or her carefully composed exterior. Racism is a sinister, venomous club that still has too many members in it. But each time the rest of us rise up against the cruelty that is the currency of that club, it gets smaller and less powerful. Donald Sterling’s words will eventually matter less than the uprising that silenced him.

4 Responses to THE FACES OF RACISM

  1. Bob says:

    As the parent of three adopted African American children I can tell you that racism isn’t dead. We have been denied service at restaurants, spit on and called N-gg– lovers. Young people believe that because we have a black president there is no racism, apperantly they believe the same in the courts of other states. We have a long way to go.

  2. I grew up very poor in Mississippi. We didn’t even have running water till around 1972. I was taught the polite word to use was Negro. I chopped cotton, picked cotton and shovel corn from wagons into corn cribs, all side by side with the negro. I did not understand Jim Crow. Never heard of it till years later. Then I read about Jim Crow and thought, yeah thats how it was. But I knew no difference as a child.
    Also I remember my grandfather looking after an old Black couple. Their names were Neckbone and Trula. Grandaddy was always taking them boxes of fruit and nuts, turkey , and meat from his slaughter. He also took them to the doctor. He really looked after them in their old age. Why? Because they helped raise my grandaddy.
    I was also taught not to set my drinking glass in the field next to the Niggra. I remember a great Aunt setting me straight on that.
    There is no doubt my Granfather was a very good man. He was a man from his time and raising.
    Now, I raised my children different. I had the responsibility to think. To cherish the good things from my poor childhood. And discard the bad. To move forward in showing my own children a different thinking then my raising. I did this by not really discussing race. They picked their friends and from all races. I never approved or disapproved. Racism is taught, I figured that out early. And I refused to do such a thing.
    I am not a racist. But I refuse also to be a white apologist. Because all that does is make people feel bad when a black person enters a room, poor black people. We must move pass this. I picked cotton for free. Jim Crow was wrong and now I am 52 years old and it was a long time ago. Somewhere it all just needs let go. Sure Sterling said things in a private phone call. But who actually spreads the racism? The Media.
    Why aren’t asians complaining about the way they were treated? Slaves of the railroad, locked up in camps during WW2. Yet I don’t see them being spot lighted for racism.
    I have come so far in my thinking, I think as we grow older, so should our wisdom. I own a ranch. I no longer hunt. I feed the deer and birds and such. I have barn cats, cattle, horses, and the best dogs. My dogs have all been taught not to kill. I am master, I will feed you. The other day my dog Boss brought me a baby rabbit in his mouth, unharmed. I just think he thought it needed help. I placed it back in the grass before dark, since momma rabbits leave them in the day and return at night to feed the young.
    There will always be racist. People can be if they choose to. But they should not be given parrot voices just for ratings. Just move on. Let them be in their own rot.
    I did well in life, Own all I have. Only completed the eight grade. Can do most anything. But have discovered I am a caretaker of creation. It is a happy place to be. I’m not a right winger nor a left winger, just winging life, making the best choices I can. So there is my thoughts. Let the wrong teaching go, hold on to the good. And grow each day as a person. lol, Im rambling now

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