If you think the civil rights movement of the 60’s and 70’s resulted in a lessening of racism in the United States, you are entirely incorrect. Thanks to an extreme right wing movement in our country, it may be more prevalent today than it was 40 to 50 years ago.
Some so called “neoconservatives celebrities”, though they attempt to hide it, are obvious about their open fear and hatred of African-Americans and Hispanics. When someone such as Rush Limbaugh denigrates virtually everyone but white males, no one is surprised. He’s just being himself.
But when Mitt Romney was being himself, not aware his comments were being recorded, referred to the 47% who didn’t pay taxes, and expected the government to take care of them, who do you think he was talking about? The very poorest groups among us reside in the inner cities. A majority of them are African American. These types of statements represent the growing trend of the Republican National Committee (RNC) to favor candidates and pundits who are neoconservatives.
When “W” displayed his views of individuals who were not Christian by saying “they’re not like us”, he made it clear that he was prejudiced.
When Sean Hannity, right wing Republican supporter, and self-proclaimed journalist, attacked Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) because he rightfully called Hannity “the worst excuse for a journalist I’ve ever seen”, Hannity revealed his true self a few days later.
On his program, Hannity linked Ellison to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and the late-Black Militant leader Khalid Muhammed.
“The reality is, the Congressman not only associated with these radicals – but he spent years spewing their hateful rhetoric,” Hannity said, referring to when Ellison was a law student at the University of Minnesota in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Hannity continued: “What is the difference, I mean, do we have somebody then in Congress that is the equivalent of one side of what the Klan is? Because I view the rabid ranting of Khalid Mohammed as frightening in terms of racism, anti-Semitism.”
Bill O’Reilly, also a FOX pundit slipped and gave his views on minorities with obvious racist overtones. In addition to making a ridiculous and sweeping statement about Asian people, O’Reilly also seems to imply that there are cultures that are lazy and careless. Since this clip surfaced, several statements have been made by Hawaiian officials speaking out against O’Reilly and his remarks.
Joe Arpaio, an Arizona sheriff who has never attempted to hide his contempt for Hispanics talked about the release of thousands due to the Sequester.
“There’s something called amnesty, this is just another pathway to that when you kick these people lose. And when you say, ‘We’re going to have these people report back to a court’ — do you think they’re going to come back? No. They’re heading south or to another state,” he said. “How are they going to keep track of all the people they kicked out on the street? They can’t.”
Bottom line, Arpaio said, “If they’re here illegally, they should be deported.”
His “these people” is a classic line used by bigots throughout our country’s history.
Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, was proud of his family’s hunting camp called “Niggerhead”. Perry claimed his family painted over the sign in 1983, but an article by the Washington Post disagreed.
“I remember the first time I went through that pasture and saw that,” said Ronnie Brooks, a retired game warden who began working in the region in 1981 and who said he guided three or four turkey shoots for Rick Perry when Perry was a state legislator between 1985 and 1990. “. . . It kind of offended me, truthfully.”
Recently, half term governor and failed VP candidate Sarah Palin demonstrated her regard for our President when she was interviewed. Using an antiquated term with a racially charged history, Palin accused Obama of doing a “shuck and jive” on the American people regarding what she called “these Benghazi lies”.
Before the November election, the Speaker of the House displayed his fear of minorities: “Boehner Says Out Loud He Hopes Blacks and Latinos ‘Won’t Vote at All This Election.”
I could sit here all night and cite more examples of how racism has increased since 2008 when Mr. Obama was elected. From Mitch McConnell’s statement that Republican’s goal only was to “make Obama a one-term President”, to Arizona governor Jan Brewer, a confirmed racist and bigot, who promised, “those deferred action recipients can’t receive a driver’s license or any other unspecified “public benefit” in her state despite the federal order”, a new national effort to keep minorities from having the same rights as white Americans is emerging.
Now the Supreme Court is in the mix. Scalia and the other four right-wing Justices want to declare the 1965 Voter Rights Act ‘unconstitutional’. With efforts by Republicans to suppress minority voters in the November election, it is needed more than ever.
Moving America backwards would mean a diminishing of the efforts of several of our greatest citizens including Martin Luther King. According to our Constitution, “all men are created equal, and have certain inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
I lived in Texas and Mississippi for a short time. The Civil War may have been won by the north, but the deep south still lives. Prejudice and racism are as alive today as they were 200 years ago. My best friend lives in Memphis, Tennessee, where a KKK rally was allowed this weekend. I have a brother-in-law who lives in Georgia, and proudly uses the non-word, “nigger” frequently.
Violence and hatred are growing concerns in America. If the Republican dominated Supreme Court strikes down an historic law that began hope our country was healing from hatred, racism and bigotry, shame on them. Andrew Young, who was part of our government when the VRA was passed says that it “needs to be strengthened, not removed”.
In 1964, I enlisted in the United States Air Force. I was sent to basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, and then to “Tech” school at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. When the novel and movie were released titled “The Help”, friends of mine asked me if it was really like that. I hesitated, and then said, “it was worse”.
Columnist-The Guardian Express