You know, thinking about Dr King today. When he got arrested for his activities and was stuck in Birmingham Jail he responded to a bunch of white preachers who recommended slowing down and letting time pass before pushing too hard for this equal rights stuff. Dr King wrote his letter explaining why he wasn’t going to wait any more.
Both sides were correct and both actions needed to be taken. How can you wait and at the same time push for reform? Because social reform takes decades. It has to. Society is written into our collective minds and that doesn’t change over night. One man may change, one thousand men and women may change over night, but all of society, the millions of us, that takes generations.
Fifty years ago the state sponsored depression segregation, that is, policies designed to depress one group below another. Some might say Affirmative action is depression segregation, but it was designed to be uplifting segregation, that is policies designed to uplift one group above another. The enforcement of this policy has some depressive components, however. The state can be made to change much more quickly than society.
Racism is still around in our world. It wont go away easily because its a nice scapegoat. It gets people elected and makes people feel better when they fail due to their own short-comings.
Racism is but one form of bigotry (and i have endless debates trying to explain how racism is a new form of bigotry and not an old one) and blaming others, turning disagreements into personal attacks, fearing change, difference, or otherness, all of this is part of the human condition. All of it won’t be overcome with education because education isn’t the answer. Education can’t change who you are, just what you know about.
If you put a racist into a library with hopes that they read King, Gandhi and others and they end up reading Byrd, Duke, Hitler, Stalin, and Wilson. History is full of justifications of racism and hate. Send him to read letter from the Burmingham jail and he might pick up another tract written from jail… Mein Kampf.
Telling some one “hey people of this type are not that way” and they turn around and say “but this person has evidence that such-and-such people are out to get us, degenerate, sub human, and need nothing but our final solution.”
Remember that education isn’t the answer, it can’t be. you can’t fix stupid. Remember the real solution is being an example and outlasting them. This is were the preachers who told Dr King to wait and where Dr King who wouldn’t wait come together. King was the example, the man how stood up and said “this is how it should be!” and the preachers were the men who knew it wouldn’t happen in 1963, or 1973, but maybe in 1983 or 1993.
Lets review the progress. in 1993 a pair of black men, Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson were enthralling all of America with their skills. A black man stood on the supreme court, the second black man at that! A black man was governor of Virginia (a southern state).
In the last few years there has been strain. Politically speaking President Obama who grew up in the aftermath of civil rights was weened on the idea that the country was inherently unfair. He combined post war European socialism and the post civil rights black racism into something that has exposed a toxic chancre in the USA. But it is only a chancre where before it had been a cancer. Chancres are annoying and you keep poking them for some sadistic reason. But they can go away with the right ointment. It will not be too many more decades before all of this is returned to the history books. In only a handful of decades when a deranged white man kills a black man no one will cry “racism!” they will only mourn the loss of a man and ponder the insanity of another. A trial will be had, and Jessie Jackson’s heirs will be no where around.
Perhaps by 2063 people will look back and interview old men and women of all races and ask “what was it like living in a time when people truly cared about the color of one’s skin?”