American Racism Endures

The fragment below from Bob Herbert’s op-ed today tells us what was not so long ago. But let’s face it. Racism endures in the U.S. — those police shootings of innocents, spying on protesters, conning blacks into thinking of crimes for which they face life sentences, etc.

The current job pressures are simply reinstating the racism from which the Obama election seemed to imply the end. But the current attacks on Obama as well as Tea Party posters tell a different tale.

I recall one of my students complaining that he had been discriminated against to favor an African American. I asked for details and he said his scores on a test for the job were too low, but a black who passed them got the job. This was totally irrational, but that is the way people can be. And I see it spreading with the anxieties about employment that so many are now facing. The facts are that our corporations have been exporting jobs to countries which abuse their workers with low wages and no benefits. But that reality does not get through to those scared about their living. The fact that they were conned into buying a home with the threat of increasing mortgage rates does not get through to them as they are evicted for non-payment of the increased rates.

We Americans have been exploiters of others, e.g. in Latin America. Now that we are on a downward spiral that leaves too many ready to blame the traditional victims for somehow setting them up for their losses.

Where we go from here I cannot guess. But I fear the worst with the Tea Party types and Sarah Palin’s pitches and Fox news distortions of basic facts.

Looks to me as though our nation is in big trouble with worse to come with the elections. Were I not so ancient I might consider a fresh start in Canada?

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You have to believe that somebody really had it in for the Scott sisters, Jamie and Gladys. They have always insisted that they had nothing to do with a robbery that occurred near the small town of Forest, Miss., on Christmas Eve in 1993. It was not the kind of crime to cause a stir. No one was hurt and perhaps $11 was taken.

Jamie was 21 at the time and Gladys just 19. But what has happened to them takes your breath away.

They were convicted by a jury and handed the most draconian sentences imaginable — short of the death penalty. Each was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in state prison, and they have been imprisoned ever since. Jamie is now 38 and seriously ill. Both of her kidneys have failed. Gladys is 36.

“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 [blind copies]

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