News, thoughts and comments on civil rights and related issues.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Commentary: Nothing is subtle about arson
While Silver Rights was on hiatus, I kept up with several situations involving civil rights issues. Right Wingers we know as the puppet masters of a front group that claims to represent African-American views are among the organizations that have participated in House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's influence peddling shell game. Some disability rights groups are in bed with the Right to Life movement because they share conservative views on civil rights issues, including so-called 'life' concerns. Former NAACP leader Kwesi Mfume has been accused of favoring female employees he had romantic relationships with while chairing the civil rights organization. Eric Rudolph has been convicted and Matt Hale has been sentenced. More on those topics later. In my first two new entries, I want to consider racism and subtlety.
We're often told that racism has become more subtle -- less obviously identifiable as what it is. That is definitely true if one is comparing the 2000s to the 1960s. "Whites only," signs are no longer features of the city scape. Nearly all laws that discriminated against people by race are off the books, including in Southern states. But, what one sees, if one keeps one's eyes and ears open, is that attitudes haven't changed so much. A young white man in Maryland has brought that message home this week.
The Washington Post reports.
The oldest of the defendants is 22. Obviously, none of them were even motes in anyone's eye during legal segregation. Yet, somehow, the same beliefs that led segregationists to burn black people's homes in that era have been communicated to this generation. And, apparently, whoever did the communicating forgot to say "Be subtle." An out of control fire set to destroy homes sends a message of racial hatred loud and clear. The young adults responsible have somehow concluded they are supposed to control what African-Americans can and can't do -- and punish them when they get 'out of their place.'
It can be accurately said that the fires at Hunters Brooke have a dual message. Middle-class African-Americans can now afford to purchase comparatively expensive houses, despite the long history of housing discrimination against them. Suburban Charles County, Maryland, saw its black population increase 25 percent in just three years -- 2000 to 2003. But, at the same time, there is resistance to the increased prosperity of African-Americans. The arsonists are the visible tip of the iceberg of that resistance.posted by J. | 11:15 PM