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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Jim Crow woke up from his nap

To us old veterans of the civil rights movement,  current American times project a familiar attitude.  But it has been evident for some time.  Barack Obama is connected to it.  He is not the cause, but he has elicited the symptoms of the racial divisions that once reigned over most of the nation.

In 2008, I was convinced that a black man could not be elected president.  The reason was that I heard many people from both major parties disparage Obama because of his race.  After he won the election, I realized that my perception was affected by the state I live in.  There are many Democrats who, like their GOP counterparts, think people of color do not qualify for equality, freedom, and justice.  South Dakota is committed to racial exclusions, and contains nine monuments, called reservations, to that end.  Its history of subjugation is relentless and continues to be a political force in the present.  The nation moves forward in eliminating discrimination of people who come from differing cultures and choose differing lifestyles, but South Dakota is one of the  refuges for those who demean and oppress those who are different.   

The election of Barack Obama inspired a renewed wave of racism. Many people who resent those of  other races abandoned reticence and renewed their denunciations of black people now that they had a target. The GOP leader in the Senate announced shortly after his election  that the main agenda of his party in Washington would be to see that Obama did not get elected to another term.  The obstruction of anything Obama wanted to do became the major business of the GOP congress people.  The tactic was to attach his name to things he proposed, such as Obamacare,

and to proclaim that it had to be a bad idea because that N-word person proposed it.  The criticisms were directed not  at the plan, but were personal assaults on the character and personality of Obama.  In the South until the civil rights movement, drinking fountains contained the sign "Whites Only," presupposing that use by a black person would contaminate the water.  The term Obamacare was used to designate contamination, bolstered with accusations of socialism, government takeovers  of personal rights.

A favorite accusation is that Obama has designs on confiscating all firearms in the U.S. so that if the ex-slaves do revolt, the population will not have the fire power to stop them.  Of course, Obama has never proposed the registration of all firearms that could lead to  identifying gun owners so that Big Govmint would know where to go for confiscation.  

After the Sandy Hook massacre of children, Obama and Joe Biden did propose some regulations to keep guns out of the possession of criminals and the mentally unfit.  But, of course, you know the rule associated with the  N-word.  Give them an inch and they will take the whole yard.  So, it's better to  keep the U.S. a killing field than let it be subverted by a black man and his minions, who may be Muslims, Marxists, and who knows what other villainy.  

The election of Barack Obama, then, reignited some old racial hatreds and resentments, and excited some into an overt racial rage.  Most bloggers and commenters who are anti-Obama avoid the N-word, but lavishly use all the stereotypes associated with it in writing about him.

The Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case has intensified the racial divide,  and exposed the tactic used to enforce what might be called the new racism.  Racism is old.  But the current tactic is to deny the presence and influence of racial hatred as a force, while intensifying it.  That is the recent development in its application.   Jim Crow now does his act in white face. The most prominent of those faces are Rush Limbaugh and the anchors on Fox News.  

The new racism is also evident on the blogosphere, as many good Americans forthrightly tell blacks and other minorities where their place is and not to step out of it.  Many seem to think that Trayvon Martin got what he deserved because he stepped out of his place.  They portray George Zimmerman has a dedicated, zealous patriot who volunteered to keep his neighborhood safe from thieves by patrolling with a loaded weapon to search out likely-looking suspects.  They ignore the fact that Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old boy returning to the house he was staying at from a convenience store with a bag of Skittles and a can of juice.  Boy, did he look suspicious.  But in coming within the vigilance of George Zimmerman, he stepped out of place.  And here is a lecture from the SD blogosphere for all 17-year-old black kids with hoodies to heed:

... Trayvon Martin was a fool as well.  Despite the efforts of some to paint Martin as St. Trayvon, he was clearly a young man with a record of  bad judgement and offensive opinions.  Throwing the media narrative on its head, its seems far more likely that Trayvon Martin held both racist and homophobic opinions than George Zimmerman, who seems to be a basically decent, if foolish, man.  And, not to put too fine a point on it, when you are smashing a man's head into the sidewalk, you are asking for trouble.  There are no "good guys" in this story. 

 It is not clear where the "homophobic opinions" were expressed, but what is significant is the absence of any possibility that Trayvon Martin was, perhaps, standing his ground against being stalked by a menacing person looking for prey.  But in the Jim Crow tradition, black people have no ground to stand on and are totally out of place if they think they have a right to  defend themselves against menacing aggression.  

Another post seems to thinks that all people of differing status should be exempted from racial viewpoints:  "And, Zimmerman is as much Hispanic as he is "white"."  The writer seems unaware that Hispanics, too, hold anti-black racial attitudes.  There is, for example, no faster way to lose one's honey cajones that to go to Mexico and mistake one of its citizens for a black.  The writer must also be unaware of the wars between black and Hispanic gangs.  

Bloggers  make much of the fact that black kids kill other black kids in great numbers, so why shouldn't some honkeys get their share of kills?

White American cannot come to terms with the fact that it is its much-vaunted culture is what created the violence that boils in minority neighborhoods, causes massacres at Sandy Hook, made reservations places of hopelessness and despair, and motivates stalkers to gun down 17-year-olds sauntering along with Skittles and cans of fruit juice.  Moral equality and justice is not part of the white culture, as many conceive it.

The stand-your-ground laws and the voter ID laws are part of the re-energized Jim Crow.  Proclaim the hatred throughout the land and take America back to what it once was.  

Or renew the battle for equality and civil rights. 




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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States