New Low for Racial Discrimination

I don’t know where to start. What is the point of US Airways telling two Black passengers that they cannot board unless they change their outfits, but letting a White passenger on wearing the same outfit they were? This seems like racism at its most basic core in my eyes, and I think Alter Net really deserves the credit for putting this story up to its followers and for showing us that racist chauvinism is still lurking within our country to this day, even though it’s faced a successful mask since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Still, it doesn’t help that the Black community still faces too many barriers to achieve their dream of full racial equality, and receive the same opportunities as their White counterparts. I have to say, as someone who is a student of History, we are entering a new phase of race-based violence and terrorism, but at the same time, entering a new opportunity to look our inner-most demons in the eye and learning from our past mistakes. If anything, the Tea Party, like the Coffee Party and Occupy Movements, have shown us that activism, from either the Left or Right, brings change that is neither simple nor clean. However, they serve as a reminder when the political extremes break loose. Only this time, the side going off the rails is not the Left, it’s the Right. How might one ask? The answer is convoluted and messy, just like the process of change.

Think of the 40 years of Conservative governmental control, and you can start drawing a series of confirming moments about how we ended up in our current mess. Much of the social aspect goes back to the reaction in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the Voting Rights Act in 1965, and the Housing Rights Act in 1968, all of which culminated in Richard Nixon’s election to the Presidency. Unsurprisingly, Nixon campaigned on “Law and Order” to appeal to mostly conservative Whites in the South, as well as on a new expanded version of Barry Goldwater’s campaign theme of States’ Rights. At the close of the 1960’s, this message was especially popular given all the upheavals that came with that decade of radical change. In fact, Nixon’s campaign put forth a platform of running against the newly adopted Supreme Court ruling mandating the states put forth busing programs to desegregate schools. The policy Nixon advocated during the 1968 campaign was to end this order immediately. Well go to the 1980 campaign and its aftermath (of course following Nixon’s forced resignation following the Watergate Scandal in 1974, and Jimmy Carter’s victory over Gerald Ford in the presidential campaign of 1976), we see the Conservative Movement’s resurgence in the victory Ronald Reagan heralded in that year’s presidential race. Reagan instilled not just supply-side economics which America had not seen since the 1920’s, but also a series of roll-backs of Civil Rights policies nearly to the point where they were back in the 1950’s. Well, fast foward to the Republican Congressional take-over in 1994, following the Democratic (Bill Clinton) Presidential triumph just 2 years earlier, and Presidential win in 2000, now we’re getting to where we are currently, especially at the closing of the Clinton years and the start of the Bush era.

It was under George W. Bush that most of this far-right ideology began taking root, especially following the attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. For the next 4 1/2 years, think of the amount of activity the Religious Right and Crony Capitalists engaged in. I find it’s easy enough to see how these actions, together with a real growing disdain for the Black community continued to grow, due to their constant agitation for full equality. However, this cycle of constantly railing about the “Black agenda”, the “Homosexual agenda”, etc., would eventually catch up with the Conservative movement. Think of the debacle in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans (Case in point), and that should be enough to draw a line towards the Democratic Congressional take-over in 2006, and Barack Obama’s presidential sweep just 2 years later.

It’s the fact that Obama’s been office since 2009, and that under him racism has exploded to the most severe extent since the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. However, Obama is not the one to blame, as his victory in 2008 marked a shattering of a major glass-ceiling for the Black community and began a new era of racial definition. At the same time, Obama has provided the American people with a whole different kind of opportunity, not just because of his race, but because of his real ability to connect with people of many walks of life, and embodying what our most difficult daily struggles are. Going back to my earlier commentary, the fact is that when Obama took office in January 2009, some of the worst lunatic fringes of the far-right went completely haywire. The reason: a Black man should not occupy the White House. The previous statement is a testament to the fact that the fringe in question is the White Supremacist faction that tends to be one the most vocal backers of the Republican Party (No, this is not to say that all Republicans are racist, not all are, just many from this particular fringe tend to be). Well you see where that got them, as of last year’s election, just in control of the recently gerrymandered House of Representatives, as Obama’s still in the Presidency, and the Democrats still have control of the Senate, albeit by a slightly bigger margin.

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