That's actually nothing new. It was always part of the segregation legacy that it wasn't whites that were prejudiced against blacks, "It's the blacks who are prejudiced against US!" This is the legacy represented by neo-Confederate thinking. It's the attitude for which the pseudohistory of the Lost Cause provides a justification and straight-jacket of thinking.
Lauren Ritchie in a column in the Orlando Sentinel, Trayvon Martin march raises questions about those who espouse a legacy of oppression 04/01/2012, recites the time-(dis)honored white supremacy script. Her column follows the pattern generations of defenders of lynch-murder took when they thought a reporter or a Yankee or a federal revenoorer might be around. She provides an almost stereotypically classic example of a segreationist/white supremacist argument. The pattern works this way:
First: State some form of "Now, I'm not against the coloreds ..."
Ritchie's version: "I am white, and I felt at home in the crowd of several hundred people who were mostly black." The crowd was in the town of Leesburg, and the event was an outdoor meeting to protest the killing of Trayvon Martin, led by councilman John Christian. "Before the main event, folks were visiting, reconnecting with friends from years back and swapping memories from the time when blacks were shortchanged in Leesburg in just about every way." Ah, yes, the good ole days.
Second: Condemn the particular crime under discussion, but carefullly.
Perhaps that's because I, too, believe that shooter George Zimmerman had no business "patrolling" a neighborhood armed with a gun. What kind of normal person does that? He shouldn't have been following Martin, who had done nothing wrong, and he should have listened to a police dispatcher who told him he didn't need to do that.White racism? Nah, what white racism? He was just a nut with a gun. "What kind of normal person does that?" Certainly not good Christian white folks like me! I get along just fine with the colored people! I mean, I even agree with that thar nigra leading the meeting - at least when he criticizes black people:
At the very least, Zimmerman is guilty of this: He set in motion a series of events that led to the needless death of a teenager whose short life never should have ended in a pool of blood on a small-town sidewalk. Zimmerman must be held accountable.
Christian called for safe neighborhoods in all parts of town and branched out to admonish the crowd about what he said was most shameful - black-on-black crime.She nearly yelled it, she says. I wonder why she didn't, since she "felt at home in the crowd of several hundred people who were mostly black." She even thought the pre-speaker chat was pleasant, reminiscing about the good ole days when the colored folks knew their place.
"We can do better, Lake County," Christian urged. "We can do better."
I nearly yelled, "Right on, brother!"
Third: Explain that what really, really, really upsets you is all these here civil rights types and outside agitators criticizing white folks!
Yet, I still found the march troubling.The colored people think they are systematically oppressed?!? Lawdy, Miss Mellie, brang me the smelling salts, ah thank ah'm gone faint daid away!
The disquieting aspect was the racially divisive, subtle messages dropped again and again into the speeches. The event was billed as an opportunity for unity yet was based on the notion that blacks are still disrespected, seen as suspicious - even systematically oppressed.
What are They talking about? Isn't it enough that They have a black Kenyan Muslim atheist President who hates America?
This country elected an African-American to the office of president. After that, it's hardly possible to chant stale claims about widespread contempt for blacks, in Leesburg or anywhere else. Though there is still plenty to be done in the arenas of equality and civil rights, a tipping point in the American consciousness has passed. The John Christians in all communities should recognize that and tap into the support and power it gives them.Yeah, like it empowered Trayvon Martin to choose not to walk around in public while being black. If he made "bad choices", well, what did he expect was gonna happen to him?
None of the other members of the Leesburg city commission attended the event and passed up the chance to join in the "reconnecting with friends from years back and swapping memories from the time when blacks were shortchanged in Leesburg in just about every way". But Ritchie understands why:
They hadn't been asked if they wanted to be partners in a racially charged protest over a controversial tragedy that didn't occur in their town, and some had no desire for the city to be involved. Indeed, none of them attended, perhaps because they didn't care to be used to further their colleague's agenda.In other words, any event that might be remotely politically popular in town would attract the other council members, but not this one. An event to protest a racially-motivated murder of a 17-year-old African-American kid and the failure of the Sanford police to arrest the admitted perpetrator, just wouldn't have been popular for a lot of people in town. A lot of the better sort of people, if you know what I mean.
Neither did a wide variety of other elected officials who suddenly all had "scheduling conflicts" when they got Christian's invitation. Odd, considering this is an election year, and lots of them would show up cheerfully to cut the red ribbon if two Brownies opened a lemonade stand.
Here are the photos of the Leesburg Mayor and city commissioners that appears at the City of Leesburg website:
And, you know, those blacks have nobody to blame but themselves:
Those who today continue to espouse a legacy of oppression are doing the next generation of all colors a disservice. They are alienating people who would be natural friends and allies and only widening the gap.Wait, what is that, in her last sentence she lets on that race might have had some tiny part to do with the killing? Yeah, but who's to blame for that prejudice except black people who "are alienating people who would be natural friends and allies and only widening the gap"?
This calls for focus. Nobody in Leesburg pulled the trigger. The enemy of every thinking person is the man who presumed Trayvon Martin was up to no good simply because he was young, black and breathing.
You could have heard the same kind of talk in Mississippi in 1942, 1955, 1962, and in all the other Deep South states, as well. It's a resurgence, in the sense that it has become so common in discussing the Trayvon Martin murder among many people who were small children or not even born in 1965. But it's not new. Segregationist attitudes survived and thrived among many white who perpetuated the attitudes to new generations. The Christian "segregation academy" schools played a role. So has the Christian homeschooling movement. So have Republican hate radio and, in spectacular style, FOX News. The Republican Party's Southern Strategy implicitly aimed at perpetuating white racists attitudes, but it has long since passed beyond perpetuating. It now not only actively encourages and nurtures them, the segregationist mentality now dominates the national party.
Here the, uh, distinguished former Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum illustrates:
Tags: confederate heritage month 2012, trayvon martin, white racism