We have come part way in ending off the worst aspects of American racism — whites can no longer murder African Americans with impunity. We still, however, use the racist terms, black and white. And one would guess that far fewer that half of our African American population has made it into our middle class. Obama received the votes of a minority of whites — 43%. At least 25% of the unemployed in NYC are African American — more if one considers that our official figures only count those still trying to find work. The treatment of African Americans by our typical police (particularly men) is totally different (biased). A near majority of those two million plus now in our prisons are African Americans where they are likely to serve longer terms than others:
“The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate, and total documented prison population in the world. As of year-end 2007, a record 7.2 million people were behind bars, on probation or on parole. Of the total, 2.3 million were incarcerated. More than 1 in 100 American adults were incarcerated at the start of 2008. The People’s Republic of China ranks second with 1.5 million, while having four times the population, thus having only about 18% of the US incarceration rate.”
African American men are considered dangerous and, thus, all are subject to an endless list of prejudices including, but not limited to those above. My wife and I lived for a time in Harlem. One night we were driving home after a late night event and were pursued and stopped by a police car. When the officer saw that we were not African Americans, he said, “Sorry, Sir.” and sent us on our way. I assume some sort of ticket would have been our punishment otherwise.
When Carter says that racism is being brought to bear on Obama, there is probably some truth in the assertion. Earlier I had suggested that our racists had probably not voted for him in the first place. But panic over our economy is setting in with many who fear for their jobs and who are otherwise facing personal economic hardship such as the banks and credit card operations now freely playing with us to pry loose more income. So perhaps there is some truth to the assertion with those fearful that Obama as an African American cannot save us from such things.
What do you think?
“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)
Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]