Brain Dropping #33
Do you want to know why you feel a twinge of fear, walking down a street especially at night, and a group of black men come walking toward you? (C’mon, yes you do!) And why the idea that, since Obama’s election, we are living in a post racial America. is pure bullshit? And why (although I’m not a fan of Obama’s) that the political stalemate against him in Washington is thinly veiled,racist outrage against an uppity nigger in the Oval Office? And why the Roberts Supreme Court has eviscerated the 1965 Voter Rights Act by striking down Section 5 which monitors 7 states in the deep south to prevent voter suppression ? And why, in our schools nationwide, segregation by color and class has made a comeback? And why in New York City, for a decade, the unconstitutional ‘Stop and Frisk’ aimed primarily at Blacks and Hispanics was tolerated? And why, although the NYC crime rate has dropped 30%, 394,539 arrests were made in the last year, the large majority men of color, tens of thousands more than in 1995? And why a so-called liberal Mayor, Bill deBlasio feels comfortable re-hiring William Bratton, the architect of ‘Stop and Frisk’ and ‘Broken Window’ policing, as Police Commissioner ? (‘Broken Window’ policing means harassing, arresting or ticketing anyone guilty of the most minor misdemeanors, like just hanging out with friends, particularly young people.) And why there is a growing suppression of the black vote in the South, by ‘gerrymandering’ and phony documentation requirements? And why, by extension, there is little public outcry about the criminal use of drones in killing people of color in the Middle East?
The answer can be found in an extraordinary book by Douglas Blackmon – “Slavery By Another Name – The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II.” Blackmon is white. He is the Atlanta Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal and was raised in the Mississippi Delta. I would argue that Blackmon’s timeline should come up to the present where the shackles of poverty and joblessness still grip most black Americans, and where most white Americans still carry a toxic vestige of racial bigotry fostered by the sanitized and biased history taught to our children. The book also documents the exploitation of leased prison labor by the coal, cotton and steel industries.(U.S. Steel) Most of these convicts were falsely arrested by county sheriffs for the express purpose of selling them into bondage to a farmer or factory owner. It is a compelling argument for the payment of reparations to the black community, perhaps in the form of college scholarships or housing subsidies. It seems clear that the so-called “American Dream” was, in good part, built on the centuries long nightmare of African-Americans.