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.