a thousand words

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


So often I have said that America cannot prosper without its living soul, the descendants of the slaves who help to build this nation then suffered another century of atrocities on the path to equality. This week, we can see very clearly that this journey is far from over, that the value of America's black citizens is still very much in question.

Paula Deen, George Zimmerman and the Supreme Court's decision on the VRA illustrates how far we have to go and why we are still a very racially divided nation.

Paula Deen engaged in offensive and degrading behavior toward black people for years and no one said anything. She is not a bad person to be sure but that she saw nothing wrong with Plantation Weddings and comparing a black assistant to a blackboard ("Move away from that board, Hollis we can't see you.") speaks volumes about how arrogant she was about race relations. 

The Supreme Court defended equal rights for gays to marry but the day before sent a gut punch to blacks for whom the voting rights act was written. If we had not seen widespread voter suppression in the last election, no one would care but the same concerns that lead to the law being passed are still very real concerns today. And a day before that, SCOTUS dealt another blow to using race as a factor in college admissions. 

And George Zimmerman is on trial for murdering a boy because he was black. The Zimmerman case is the worst news of all because it devalues black life to the maximum degree. He and his attorney have actually pinned their hopes on their belief that the fact of being black presents a threat for which an appropriate response is death.

All of these events are connected by the issue that does not exist in a colorblind society: race.  and yet, here we are with voter suppression, a celebrity career in ruins and a man on trial for his life all because we have not and will not solve an issue that divided this nation into bloody conflict.

Even as our media tells us that race doesn't matter as much as it did in the last generation, race is causing seismic shifts in every area of life. The jails teem with black men, the black unemployment rate is twice the national average, the black family has been decimated and the black marriage rate is at an all time low.  Even our black President smacks us on the head and tells a crowd of black male college graduates to "be responsible."

We are over nothing, people.

Race still divides if not defines us here. And we can sweep it all under a rug until the bulge is as big as a mountain but that will change nothing. Paula Deen is now a villain for saying a word that's said a thousand times a day on radio. Southern states have already moved to uses age old tricks and deceptions to deter certain groups from voting.

And Trayvon Martin is still dead.