I sometimes wonder if I’m a racist. Perhaps I am when it comes to group dynamics. I’m definitely not when it comes to the individual.
Why do I wonder about this you ask? Well in part because of my Romanian connections. How do I argue with my nieces when they clearly see it’s the African Americans on the bus or in their classes that are causing problems? How do I argue with them when they move to a school district with few black students and the classes are suddenly better? I offer that it is really economics, but that sounds like a rationalism to me. And I’m not even sure it works. But if that isn’t the issue, and there is no other issue, then I find myself on a very slippery slope.
Until recently, I’ve felt that contemporarily, it is the blacks that are racist, not the whites. Until recently I’ve wondered how they can blame slavery as being the cause of all these social ills, when slavery ended nearly 150 years ago. Is it innate differences, perhaps even genetic? Ah, there is that slope I mentioned.
What am I missing?
I have been reading Lies my Teacher Told Me. That is helping. So ask yourself “Why was there any need for the Civil Rights movement of the 60s if slavery ended nearly a hundred years before then?” There was a need because blacks were treated unequally; separate schools, restaurants, facilities, communities, and…. Well it goes on. You say, “All they had to do was work harder to get themselves out of those environments.” But what if that was not allowed? What if the good types of jobs were just never available to blacks? That may sound preposterous, but strong cases are made in this book. I probably need to read Howard Zinn on this as well. He’s usually pretty reliable. I’m also reading The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. That should be interesting in light of the things I’ve learned.
If all these things are true, then it hasn’t been very long that blacks have truly had any freedom. And if they aren’t true, you are right back to the original question; why was there a need for the civil rights movement of the 60s?
So let’s face it, blacks haven’t truly had freedom that long. They have remained in poverty because, until recently, we haven’t allowed them not to be in poverty. And the reason economics alone didn’t cut it as an answer was because it wasn’t economics alone.
I still believe that blacks are the most racist element in our society. I still believe that disruptive behavior for the sake of being disruptive, by any group, is bullying and spits in the face of the good that this country offers. Not taking advantage of an education is very short sighted. Spoiling education for others may be criminal. I come from trailer trash. I know it well. And I know that there is not a way out other than luck (not something to bank on) or education.
Lastly, I believe time is running out on the valid arguments that I’ve presented. They have a shelf-life of 50 to 75 years. After that, there are very few that are left alive that experienced the lack of freedom before the civil rights movement. Then what are the validations?
And of course I can write all of this as no one is truly reading or listening. So these are just questions I’m wrestling with.