Saturday, September 19, 2009

'No Rights Which The White Man Was Bound To Respect'

"...beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."

Chief Justice Roger B. Taney
Dred Scott v. Sandford
March 6, 1857

152 years after this case, the descendants of white Americans not only seem to be channeling the ghost of Roger B. Taney, but think we're 3/5 of a human being.

Some of us are exhibiting 21st Century thinking and evolution in terms of our attitudes that we are all one multicultural America. Others are trying to work toward that positive, progressive vision of America.

Unfortunately, there are others who believe based on their skin color America belongs to them. They still harbor the vanilla flavored 18th Century worldview that if it ain't all white, it ain't all right.

We have a reality challenged group of white people claiming the African-American president of the United States is not a US citizen.

We've had ugly incidents in which a white male slapped an African-American child in a Stone Mountain, GA Wal-Mart because the child disturbed him.

There was another disturbing incident at a Georgia Cracker Barrel restaurant in which an African American woman was beaten n front of her daughter while people watched and declined to come to her aid.

We had a white male tear up a Rosa Parks sign a Black woman was holding at a Missouri health care town hall meeting held by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). Instead of security tossing him out, they brusquely hustled her out of the room as if she was the aggressor instead of the aggrieved party.

You have a gay white male angry over the success of anti marriage equality forces in California over Prop 8 angrily hurl later discredited accusations that Blacks caused the defeat. It led to ugly racial incidents in the GL community.

This is not just a recent phenomenon. Remember Jim Crow segregation? Literacy tests and poll taxes to deny our rights to vote? Police used as stormtroopers to break up civil rights protests? The too numerous to list race riots? Lynchings, church bombings, Klan terrorism? Discrimination?

You get the drift.

But as my Houston homegirl, the late Rep. Barbara Jordan so eloquently stated,
"I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation, and court decision I have finally been included in 'We the People'.

Translation, I and every other African descended person thanks to the 14th Amendment and those various laws, court decisions and interpretations are not only United States citizens, but have rights that you must respect.

Try to remember that at your next tea bagger party, okay?

News flash, we ain't even close to a post-racial America. Thanks to the Republicans pimping their 'Southern Strategy', right wing hate radio, and being a 'nation of cowards' when it comes to honestly tackling this topic, I believe we have regressed in terms of progress on race relations.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 50's and 60's did not magically erase 246 years of negativity. When two an a half centuries was spent demonizing African descended people to justify their enslavement, it is irrational and unrealistic to think that those attitudes are not still part of American culture.

And until those attitudes are eradicated and expunged from our national body politic, we are going to continue to have instances in which some white people operate under the misguided belief that African descended people have no rights they are bound to respect.

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