Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Is Ferguson really about race?

Arentcha getting sick of reading about the riots and looting in Ferguson? Walt is getting tired of writing about this subject, but thinks Americans need to understand what's going on there, in the broader context of the half-century struggle for "civil rights" and "equality".

Today's post is prompted by "Is Michael Brown's shooting death really about race?", by veteran CBC News reporter Keith Boag, on the scene. There's a short video too, in which Mr. Boag steps away from the scene of the crimes to ask some "normal" citizens of Ferguson what's really going on.

In the article, he describes watching two white people having their cellphones snatched, in broad daylight, by young black thugs -- the kind of trash who might well deserve the N-word epithet. Says the reporter, "I have had race relations and "crime and punishment" issues buzzing around in my head constantly since I arrived in Ferguson. Suddenly, some things I thought were settled in my mind came loose and started to float around again. All because of foolish young men behaving like caricatures."

"Foolish" young black men, dressed in their saggy pants uniforms, grabbing stuff they want without regard to law, decency or morality. Call it a caricature. Call it a stereotype. That's how the rest of America -- including older blacks -- sees African-Americans today. And not without reason.

The USA today [Hey, that could be the name of a newspaper for 5th-graders! Ed.] is beset by a large and growing back underclass -- ignorant, uncouth, loutish, drug-ridden, welfare-dependent bastards. (Nearly three-quarters of births to black mothers in the USA are illegitimate.) This in spite of half a century of civil rights and other US government laws designed to ensure that all Americans would be "equal"...and integrated too.

Americans were promised that the civil rights acts of the mid-60s would usher in an era of racial harmony and equality, not just equality of opportunity but equality of result for the hitherto disadvantaged members of society. African-Americans -- or "Negroes", as they were called in those days -- thought they were going to get white jobs, white cars, white houses and [that's enough. Ed.]

Affirmative action programmes were devised to put blacks at the head of the line for government jobs, admission to college, and just about everything else. That was supposed to pull them up out of the ignorance and poverty which white Americans supposedly forced on them. But that's not what happened. What happened was that the rest of society was mongrelized, debased and degraded. And still African-Americans are not "equal" -- not the same as white Americans. Should we be surprised?

At the very end of Coming of Age in Mississippi (Dell, 1970), Anne Moody, a civil rights activist in the `60s, quotes the last two lines of "We Shall Overcome" and adds, "I wonder. I really wonder." Walt wonders what Anne Moody thinks about racial equality and the "events" in Ferguson. Sadly, we won't be able to ask her. According to Wikipedia, Ms Moody does not appear in public or grant interviews.

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