Optimism turning to Pessimism on the Question of Race

I used to like to point out that if you lived in the lilly-white suburb of Newton Massachusetts — where I grew up — that your mayor was black (Setti Warren), your Governor was black (Deval Patrick), and your President was half-black (Barack Obama) but mostly perceived as black.

That has to be some kind of progress, I liked to point out.

But I’m not so sure anymore.

  • That was before we had how many stories of unarmed black men being shot by (mostly) white cops. (I’ve lost track of the number)
  • That was before we had black kids at a pool party being thrown to the ground by their hair they wanted to enjoy a pool party.
  • That was before we had a black merchant choked to death because he was selling a few illegal cigarettes. (I can’t breathe!)
  • That was before we had some nasty white punk shoot up a historic black church with the old canard about how they’re “raping our women.”
  • That was before there were more black churches set on fire because some people down South are opposed to they’re being . . . I don’t even know what. In existence?

Man, we’ve got a long way to go.

At least we seem to be moving a little bit on the use of the Confederate Flag.

But only 150 years after the war has been finished.
But only after nine people were senselessly murdered for no reason at all.

As Ken Burns, the author of a multi-part documentary on the Civil War has pointed out, the Confederate Flag is not a symbol of Southern pride: it’s  a symbol of resistance to civil rights.

The Swastika, made infamous by the Nazis, was — as many of you already know — is a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Used in various cultures since at least the Neolithic age, the name comes from the Sanskrit word for a “lucky or auspicious object.”

And yet, no one would find it acceptable for anyone in a German speaking country to fly it as a symbol of Germanic auspiciousness.

About a1skeptic

A disturbed citizen and skeptic. I should stop reading the newspaper. Or watching TV. I should turn off NPR and disconnect from the Internet. We’d all be better off.
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