“...They are precious in His sight.” At least, so goes the hymn.
But White America’s historical relationship with people of color is disgusting. Our revered founders left slavery in place — sanctioning an abhorrent practice that treated people with “black” skin as sub-human. The Three-Fifths Compromise detailed how sub-human they were — only worth 3/5 that of a white person. The Emancipation Proclamation and 14th Amendment made some strides, but Jim Crow laws were a slap in the face that stung until the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
United States military units in the 1800s forcibly removed “red” Americans from their homelands and marched them to isolation on reservations, if they didn’t die along the way. Or they mass murdered them in land grabs.
Those with “yellow” skin who helped link our country with railroads were considered such a threat (“yellow peril”) in the late 19th century that Congress officially restricted their numbers. During World War II, Asian Americans were targeted for imprisonment in internment camps.
Today? In New York City, studies found black job applicants, with other factors being equal, half as likely to get a job. In that same city, this year, Forest Whitaker, a black Academy Award-winning actor, was falsely accused of stealing at a local deli, detained and frisked. Would that have happened to Daniel Day-Louis? Even 48% of white New Yorkers agree that police bias favors whites.
Nationally, black people with college degrees are half as likely as white people to be employed. Latino and Asian American college grads are 40% more likely to be jobless than whites. One in three American Indian women will be raped during her lifetime. In 86 percent of these cases, the rapist will not be an Indian.
Before the recent economic meltdown, typical white families enjoyed a net worth 12 times that of black families and 8 times higher than Latino families. Since the recession those numbers have grown to 20 and 18 respectively. The recent cut to Pell Grants which had particularly helped black, brown and red families will only exacerbate the situation.
Consider more subtle discrimination. Recent studies found that people who support voter ID laws, including those who lean Democratic, yes, Democratic, were more likely to hold racial resentments. Surveys and psychological experiments reveal prevalent stereotypes of black people as more lazy, violent and stupid than white people. Racially motivated hate groups number over 1000 now, compared to 700 ten years ago.
Blaming people who are not white for their situation denies centuries of courage by folks who have faced whippings, hangings, drowning and murder just to learn to read or move to a better economic climate.
Hats off to the teenagers at Wilcox County (Georgia) High School, who were fed up with parent sponsored “white only” proms and held their first integrated prom this spring. Segregated proms are becoming a thing of the past in the South. Good riddance.
Discrimination and segregation only diminish us all. In our state the Memphis Rock ’n Soul Museum reverberates with the sweet sound produced when “field hollers, work songs, blues, country and gospel of the sharecroppers” combined against racial and cultural restrictions. It’s a music we could all play and enjoy.
• • •
This column represents alternative thoughts to other published columns in the Crossville Chronicle. “We the People” is published each Wednesday. Opinions expressed in “We the People” columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. For more information, contact John Wund, editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“...They are precious in His sight.” At least, so goes the hymn.
We the People: The last dance
Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007. The songs they played were mostly melancholy. The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.
Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker
The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day. Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has been at the center of much Middle East history.
Tidbits: The excitement of election day
On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.
Raising the minimum wage
My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.
Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move
The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.
We the People: Memo to gun rights groups
The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.
Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip
I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!
Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions
For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.
Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change
The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.
We the People: American women, be informed and vote
Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize. This is especially true for women.
- More Opinion Headlines
- We the People: The last dance