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Archive for September 22nd, 2007

….the things some people say and believe.

You know, I’m not really going to try and chime in on the particulars of the Jena 6 case. Truth is, I didn’t know about the previous incidents before last week, so I don’t know all the facts of the cases. I don’t.

But I thought someone made a very telling statement to the news crews on the day of the protest march in Jena. On the news that night they interviewed people who had traveled in buses to attend the march. Then, they interviewed several people in town who were awaiting the arrival of marchers. One woman stated this:

“We live in the 21st century. They’re not going to let people get rail-roaded!”

ummmm……

What planet of brotherly love do YOU live on? Pull the wool away from your eyes, dear. She didn’t object to the marchers, but she seems to think there is no reason why any group of people would need to stand up and make a case for racial justice.

And that, my friends, is exactly why we still need these types of marches. Not to make a case for or against particular people. Not to be angry. But to say to folks in this country – there are a lot of places here where people of different races are not on a level playing field. And doesn’t everyone deserve that?

I honestly don’t think all the marches in the world will change the heart of racist people. These people are going to believe whatever they want to believe. Maybe because they are afraid. Maybe because they seek power. Maybe because they’ve been brainwashed. Who knows.

But I think people need to look around and realize that inequities still exist. Everywhere. I’m not singling out the southern portions of our Nation. Or the big cities. Or the impoverished. Many places will have problems. I spent about 10 years in a college town in California. Lots of ethnicities in town. And lots and lots of highly educated people. Lots. But they couldn’t escape the brutality of race-related problems. Insulting graffiti on homes. Fights in the schools. Alleged racial profiling by the City’s police department. I spent a lot of time talking to a friend of mine who knows the amount of times her two sons (she’s white, her kids are black) were pulled over by police in town – for invisible infractions. For the sheer sport of it, it seemed. Years of this behavior, so that it got to the point that her law-abiding sons were afraid of the police. And finally moved out of town. She’s been trying to complain to the police department for years. The community itself held a march in 2006 protesting alleged racial profiling by the police department. It may not be as bad as other parts of the country, but these problems still exist, from one end of the nation to the other.

Now, I’m not as sensitive to racism as my father used to be. Bless his heart, if someone seated us in a restaurant too close to either the front door – or to the kitchen – Dad would get this grumbly look in his eye like “We’ve been singled out!” And you couldn’t win. If we went to a Chinese restaurant – we were singled out because my mom is Caucasian. If we went to any other restaurant – we were singled out because Dad is Asian. He never actually said it, but there are several restaurants dad would not let us return to after a perfectly good meal. But keep in mind – Dad grew up in the 1940s through 60s. He had seen his fair share of hardcore hatred and discrimination. That tends to wear on a human being.

So, I’m not that sensitive. And I think things have much improved since my father was a young man. But I don’t believe we live in a lovely place where no one gets railroaded anymore. It’s not an equal playing field by far. And people shouldn’t live in oblivion.

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