Home Society Activism 50 Years After The March on Washington, Racism Marches On

50 Years After The March on Washington, Racism Marches On

50 Years After The March on Washington, Racism Marches On


The March on Washington that took place 50 years ago on August 18, 1963, had the primary purposes of pressing government to pass substantial civil rights legislation, eliminate racial segregation in public schools and provide jobs and economic justice for African Americans. After the assassination of President Kennedy, President Johnson had the public sympathy and support to muscle through the passage of civil rights legislation Kennedy had championed, The Civil Rights Act in 1964 and in 1965, The Voting Rights Act.

There have been many changes for the better since those times but as recent events have illustrated, it is far too early to declare that we’ve reached the finish line in the march against racism.

The election of Barack Obama as President was at first hailed as a milestone of America’s completed journey towards a post-racial society. As the days, months and years followed, it became clear that many citizens were ready for that America but many others were fearful and resentful of it. And one political party, the GOP, saw a post-racial America as the beginning of the end for their party’s status as a national majority party.

So what we’ve witnessed since President Obama’s election has been an unending parade of thinly veiled and outright racism spewed by mainstream media channels and pundits, Republican politicians and of course the GOP army of Orks and trolls at most blog sites.

Ably aided by the MSM’s policy of false equivalencies, that any statement no matter how hateful or horrible is a legitimate argument on one side of the fence (“Now we’ll hear from someone who doesn’t think senior citizens should be ground up into tasty Soylent Green.”), their desperate ongoing quest for ratings and the related embrace of all things shocking and offensive, expressing openly racist statements has become more frequent after a black man rose to the highest office in the land than just one term before that (although George Bush’s indifference at the suffering of black people in New Orleans after Katrina didn’t escape unnoticed).

The birtherism and other expressions of disrespect heaped upon this president, unlike ever seen before with a white president (I don’t remember any Representative yelling out “You lie!” at George Bush when he was president…even though he really was lying!). The accusations of President Obama being a terrorist/Marxist/communist/Kenyan…and even a racist that hates white people (which was just again hurled at him by ME Gov. and tinfoil hat collector Paul LePage) have flowed like a polluted river from the mouths of the unashamedly racists on the Republican side of the fence.

And there have been actions as well, the passing of voter suppression laws to keep black citizens from exercising their right to vote, gerrymandering them so they are robbed of political power, passing bills in The House to slash programs like SNAP (Food Stamps), Head Start, student loans and many other programs that are targeted to aid minorities who are poor. Not to mention the Republican controlled Supreme Court which this year struck down the heart of The Voting Rights Act.

The denigrations of Latinos by Republicans has also been epic (though great for the cantaloupe industry) and part and parcel to the overall racism against non-whites by the Right. Consider all the laws passed by Republican controlled states to attack and oppress Latinos camouflaged as addressing illegal immigration, the intended cruelty of racist laws passed to force them at any time to “show their papers”, keep them or their children from receiving medical care, education, even getting a ride in a car!

Earlier in the year, Rand Paul spoke condescendingly to students at the historic black school, Howard University, trying to convince them that though he and Republicans oppose all programs that help or support African Americans today, though he has stated opposition to The Civil Rights Act, though Republicans often espouse racism, black people should vote for Republicans because 130 years ago, they were like the Democrats are today.

I suppose black people are being a bit ungrateful by not voting based on what a party stood for 130 years ago but doesn’t stand for now. They should be willing to overlook everything since then, right Rand? Like the jubilation of Republicans over the Trayvon Martin killing and verdict and the demonizing of him just for being a young black male? Or Republicans tagging those who speak out against racism as racists themselves for doing so or calling them frauds who exploit their own race as “The Grievance Industry”? And what about the recent attempt to brand those who oppose racism, including the President, as hypocrites for not expressing public outrage at the white Australian college student gunned down in a thrill kill by two young black men…and one young white man…because that’s the same as the white murderer of a black teen not being arrested then later being acquitted of murder. For Republicans, there’s always a false equivalency out there if you wait long enough and insist hard enough. They believe in personal responsibility for black people but white people are above that, they can just refuse to take responsibility for their terrible actions by denying reality and accusing those they attack of the immorality that their attack reveals about themselves.

Since the Trayvon Martin travesty, racism has only grown in the mainstream. Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh (who infamously started hurling around the “n” word after testimony by Rachel Jeantel) have been aggressive in promoting racist views of the black community (including their concern troll blather about black on black crime and black violence in Chicago).

And the MSM doesn’t criticize or sanction them for their racist rantings (aside from a few at MSNBC, who typically do criticize them), they are not treated as pariahs by our media in general but once again, as equals on the false equivalency scale.

And if anyone looks at North Carolina preventing black men from running for office, black colleges from having reasonable access to voting and all manner of racist Art-Pope-driven pro-white-Republican laws flying out left and right there, the pure ugliness and villainy or racism is on stark display.

It is undeniable that the white-supremacists in our nation are still on the march…so those who oppose them and all that they represent need to keep marching against racism as well.


  1. Hey Ad, once again, well done.

    I think with the advent of political correctness, racism didn’t go away, it just went underground. Not many people wanted to be seen as racists. When President Obama was elected, many if not all the true, underground racists came out of the woodwork, like the cockroaches they are.

    They are so profoundly inflicted with Obama Derangement Syndrome, that they have abandoned all sense of appearance, both private and public. They have thrown away any concern they may have had to be seen as rational, tolerant and kind.

    I fear that racism, to some extent will always be with us. I think it’s an unfortunate part of human make up that makes us fear what we don’t understand, and the sheer amount of a lack of understanding comes from the different racial and cultural aspects within mankind.
    That being said, I also believe it doesn’t HAVE to be this way. It all boils down to knowledge, education and familiarity between people of different races and their cultures. In other words, a certain enlightenment must exist to at least reduce and limit such hateful attitudes within mankind as a whole.

    I am sure that you have noticed, in the past, by my many comments about genuine spirituality, that it is of great concern to me. My definition is very simple, and there are many people that could elaborate to a much greater extend than me, on such matters. The most important aspect of spirituality, in my understanding, is that we are ALL very small pieces of a much greater and larger whole. That’s it, basically. Holding such a believe, dearly and within our hearts, we can never be truly hateful or bigoted. I will say though, for such a simple belief, the exercise of that belief can be and often is a real challenge. Like those who truly try to adhere to the teachings of Christ, simple to understand, but very difficult to live. This is why there are so many who are Christian in name only. Living up to the standards set by Christ, is far more easily talked about, than done.

    • KT – Absolutely, that was the revelation that shattered my naive view of American society, there are always going to be a percentage of Americans who are racist…who NEED to be racist for emotional and psychological reasons. And there will always be those like the GOP who live to exploit the flaws in human beings to help themselves in gaining wealth and power.

      I’ve had to drill these concepts into the optimistic section of my brain:

      1. Plenty of Americans don’t want a country that’s better for all of us (in fact some are happier to suffer if the ones they’re bigoted against will suffer more).

      2. At least 20% of Americans are probably racist and many of the kids they raise will be taught to be racist too (IMO, that percent could be as high as 30% and not lower than 15%).

      3. There is no such thing as finality in social battles, you can win in one era but if not constantly protecting “wins” and remaining vigilant, the same battle can be lost in a future era (just look at abortion rights, the right of black people to vote, letting white men get away with killing innocent black men, etc.)

      As Christianity is the most populous religion in the US, it’s not unusual that there are so many hypocrites that are Christian. You look in the ME and find many more Muslims who are hypocrites when it comes to their religion. Many who claim most aggressively to be believers are overcompensating for their own inner knowledge about how far off the path they really are.

      When it comes to so many things in addition to religion, those who are most genuine don’t need to be shouting about how genuine they are, they know they are and unlike the shouters, they don’t have the fear that someone will assume or discover that they are frauds.

      I noted this today while walking down the street and seeing different people, different features and colors and body shapes, we’re all just so matter-of-fact about being alive on this planet while the rest of the universe is such a violent and lifeless place. Yet we have wars and hatred between ourselves simply because there’s a difference in our skin colors, the shape of our noses, the personal beliefs we have.

      It’s kind of funny how people imagine aliens as being homogenous, all unified and of one mind yet we recognize how people on Earth can be so petty and divisive. Since racism is often driven by feelings of intimidation and inferiority, maybe some part of a racist’s mind knows that they are inferior to others, how members of the same race should see each other as equal, that the vague recognition itself generates their racism and the cycle of inferiority and hatred keeps propelling itself?

      Of course, ignorance is a huge factor too. Statistics show that lesser educated people and those who aren’t around other races have a greater propensity for racism. What you don’t know or understand, you fear and want to dominate to protect yourself.

      These are endemic human traits, I don’t know that racism can be any more eliminated from the human race than greed or jealousy. What our duty is and what we need to pass on to the next generation is to fight against it wherever it crops up and remain ready to go into action the next time…because there always seems to be a next time.

  2. AdLib, the story of America’s struggle to come to grips with racism over the last 50 years really is incredibly complex, isn’t it? I can only think of a medical analogy. It almost feels as though there was a festering wound in the nation — one that MLK recognized very clearly — and that the President’s election was the lance that opened it up. The racist “stuff” that drained out has been more disgusting than most of us expected. We can only hope that getting rid of it leads to a process of healing.

    The lies and stereotypes the right pushes out there on an almost daily basis need the disinfectant and sunshine of truth. I discovered a remarkable article the other day by Tim Wise. He reminds me of Nate Silver in that he uses statistics and math as his primary weapon to combat racism. Here’s an example:

    To say that white people’s lives are endangered by black folks, as though it were some widespread social truth, is to ignore the facts in the service of one’s prejudices and paranoiac fears. According to the most comprehensive data set ever compiled regarding homicides in America, which breaks perpetrators and victims down by race and ethnicity, the numbers of black-on-white homicides, and the percentage of homicides by African Americans that involve white victims are both much smaller than one would expect. And although interracial homicide in either direction is quite rare, the fact is, any given black person in the U.S. is almost three times as likely to be murdered by a white person as any given white person is to be murdered by someone who is black.

    And I can’t resist adding this later paragraph from an article that is well worth reading in it’s entirety:

    Furthermore, whites are far more likely to be murdered by another white person than by a black person, and yet, white racists apparently don’t fear whites, generally, on the basis of this truth. So, in 2010, for instance, whites killed whites 3,252 times: 4.6 times more than the number of whites killed by blacks. Why no generalized fear of white people then? Why assume that black-on-white murder (which occurs about one-fifth as often) somehow portends some larger social trend, while white-on-white murder is merely random, individual, and signifies nothing more important, socially, at all? Why? Because racists are racists, that’s why.
    And functionally illiterate. So, there’s that.

    We can only hope that the old adage — “The truth shall set you free” — really applies.


    • Hey Kes, it is so complex. That’s a very good analogy as to racism in America and what we’ve witnessed.

      May I add a labored analogy to yours? Racism also seems like a wild beast that used to roam freely as it brought mayhem and destruction. Society encroached on it so it retreated into a southern cave and many people mistakenly thought it was gone. Obama’s election was like throwing a rock in that cave and it came out angry and ferocious.

      It may be a mistake to think that racism will ever be completely gone from our society, the best we may be able to do is drive that beast into a smaller and smaller cave.

      And…always be prepared for it to roar back into society.

      • That’s a terrific analogy, AdLib. And as sobering as it is to admit it, I suppose we could say that a lot of battles that seemed to have been fought and won decades ago may need to be fought over and over and over.

        Civil rights battles, the battle to organize strong unions, the battle for decent public education, the battle for social programs like Social Security and food stamps, the battle for reproductive choice… the list could go on and on.

        Whoever said that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance got it right. I guess we can’t ever get out the rubber stamp that says “DONE” and file all those battles away in the bin labeled “History.”

        • Kes, it’s been an education for me, I too used to think that once a battle was won, it was won. But when it comes to societal issues, it’s just not true.

          Liberals thought we had prevailed in making ours a liberal and tolerant society after the 60’s/70’s but the RW came back big time and has been clawing back on women’s rights, racial and economic equality, on and on.

          No victory in a society is permanent, that’s what I needed to be taught to me when I was in school. We may win the tug of war but our adversaries don’t just accept defeat and disappear, they keep a tight grip on the rope, ready to pull it back in their direction and win later on.

          So yes, there is great wisdom in that quote, we must have eternal vigilance on all of our rights and principles (look at how the 4th Amendment is being carved away by our own party!) or they will be eventually taken from us.

    • Kes, very well said. I like the comparison between racists and pus. An infectious, stultifying fluid mass that every healthy organism has to expel for continued health and proper growth.

      I was very happy to see that president Obama actually won the election in 2008. I wasn’t happy because he is a black man, I was happy because he was the far better choice and I was confident that he would not simply attempt to protect the status quo. Every politician talks about change, as did president Obama, but I had a strong belief that he wasn’t just giving hope and change the usual political lip service.

      President Obama is an extraordinary man in many regards. His ability to take almost everything thrown at him is remarkable. His ability to remain calm and rational in the face of such hatred is true valor. He has to be like the great Jackie Robinson. He has to rise above the insults and hatred to excel beyond all the norms.