I save almost everything I wrote in school. Having just graduated last May, with a couple of degrees – a B.A. in Language and Culture, Spanish; and a minor in Political Science (as a Wisdom Elder who got hooked on Politics at ten years old, I consider it a doctorate!) – some of my writings I really like. I enjoyed doing all of them, because I love to write. To me, the written expression – and words in general, carefully chosen – give you so much space to really say what you mean…communicate…interact…plead, cajole, appreciate, congratulate, share happiness, sorrow, and just a moment in time.
The few paragraphs below were an assignment from a cool Political Science professor – to the right of me in most things, but not all – and with whom I could have a discussion where we might disagree, but could see one another’s point of view (more and more an increasingly rare thing these days, when people don’t stop to think before they spew their spun rhetoric.) So, today I feel like sharing it with you. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think, yes, please?
The instructions were: “After reviewing http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/sepbutequal.htm – which addresses racial discrimination and segregation in the U.S., do you think any progress has been made toward equal treatment in America? Why or why not? Answer with a 3-paragraph essay.
Here’s my submission:
When I listen to Billie Holiday sing ‘Strange Fruit’ or to Charlie Mingus’ Fables of Faubus'(for which he wrote lyrics, but the record company refused to include them,) I am struck by the absolute veracity of Goebbels’ quote in regard to repeating a lie. I know it’s true because most of us with little melanin grew up believing in the fallacious construct of color as meaning something other than a designater of skin shade. The Supreme Court – made up of, then, pale men – believed the construct/myth as well. Their decisions came from a worldview that saw the world of Rudyard Kipling as true, in my opinion.
So the construct/myth impeded progress in the beginning, rather than made progress on what is, today, seen correctly – and by most people – as an obvious and blatant attack on the human rights of a whole group of people. I can see, from reading the decision, how – even when they may have begun to believe that there was something inherently wrong about the vicious treatment of people of color (including the hangings, at will, mentioned in Holiday’s track;) and when they knew that the rest of the world (European primarily) had done away with slavery (officially) and had none attached to color – the Court still pranced about the issue like tight-rope walkers on a fine wire.
The wire was gradually worn down – and broken – by We the People taking action. But we are not a color-blind society (nor should we be – what color is, needs to be changed and deconstructed, as mentioned above.) The very term is both insulting and phony – and attempts to say we are ‘past’ it are simply disingenuous, at best. We are not past it. It is one thing to make laws and ‘say’ things are this way or that. In practice – and more importantly, in understanding what the Lie of Color is actually about – most of us in the dominant group either have no clue, or we believe the South should rise again (especially since, as I type, there are professors in Georgia, as elsewhere, working hard to rewrite the history of the whole slavery/color/Civil War issue.) Progress? Yes, of course. But people had to die, be beaten, threatened, bombed and hung along the way. It took non-violent civil disobedience to move toward euality – We the People had to drag the Supreme Court along with us. What will happen now – with even non-violent civil disobedience becoming something the FBI and others are aiming to stop – is anyone’s guess – and the pale people running for office these days – judging from what they themselves are saying and doing – gives me precious little hope…except in the everyday thinking, caring person; who finally says, “Enough.” In us…I have hope.
P.S. this is the note (after a great mark) from my professor: “When I began reading this, my first thought was that a student had found a really good essay online and plagiarized it. Then I saw that it was from you.” (ask me if that made me feel GREAT! Funny, how when you write true and real, it works…)
(as always, all my writing is copyrighted, so anything you want to share, please ask/give credit. Thanks.)