The NYT had a blurb about Marcus Garvey today. I’d never heard of him before so wanted to make a note of it here… He was born in Jamaica in 1887, and famously urged blacks to return to Africa and claim it as their own. When a black man ascended to the throne in Ethopia, Garvey was hailed as a prophet and was revered by Rastafarians as a Black Prophet and Messiah. None other than Martin Luther King said he was the first man to give blacks a sense of identity and destiny… Wow. How is it that I’d never heard of him?
After last weekends racist riots and Trump failing to condemn the racists, yesterday several F500 CEOs resigned from Trump’s administration in protest and lashed out at him. What a sad state the US is in, when F500 CEOs show stronger moral fortitude than the President of the US. Trmp was recently described as a “vile man,” and to date that is truly the best description for him. Vile. What is sad is that the racists are misguided – they blame minorities for their problems when really it is our Decision Makers of the past 40 years who put us where we are in terms of disparity, including decisions made by the very same/wealthy F500 CEOs who are speaking out against Trump.
The riots last weekend really aroused people of all kinds and beliefs on all sides, even before a racists drove through a crowd of protestors.
Although I grew up white and upper middle-class, I was bussed 20 miles to a high school that was 2/3 minority as part of a desegregation program in the 1980s (my parents gave me the choice of attending a local catholic high school, but honestly I didn’t want to spend a Saturday taking their entrance exam – an hour long bus ride every day was worth a full Saturday off). I didn’t know it at the time, but it was perhaps one of the greatest things that happened to me as a human being – I truly do believe I see all sides of the equation. At least I hope I do.
It is disheartening to me that I think America is as racist and sexist as it has been in my lifetime. But it is the worst kind of racism, one where we don’t overtly use deragatory terms, but where most Americans believed they themselves aren’t racist yet think we all (blacks, Hispanics, women, etc.) have equal rights and opportunities. With widening income disparity, manufacturing jobs residing over seas, increased college tuition, the fact that half of low income people don’t have online access (NPR), that a Presidential Candidate who wants to build a wall in the same land that has The Statue of Liberty hasn’t been beaten/arrested, that we’ve slashed taxes and thus social programs, and that American’s doesn’t believe that we are racist/sexist — it is only going to get worse before it gets better.
Reading about Kam Chancellor’s recent encounter at a local gym where he was called a heroin addict on a 911 call, seeing that there is not one NBA women’s basketball coach, reading that male doctors make (on average) more than female doctors, and knowing that our society has imprisoned innumerable blacks and poor whites — all just for starters — is incredibly disheartening.
I wish I could change it. I wish I could lead the change. But honestly, I can’t. I’m too tired from chronic fatigue, and frankly I am not magnetic enough. But I will keep my eyes out for protest marches, opportunities to encourage others, opportunities to join. Perhaps I’ll start wearing symbols. And I’ll do whatever I can to promote equality for all.