The diagnosis is rough and hard to talk about
June 3, 2021
A couple letter writers this week take me to task for printing an Associated Press article on racial issues. One said I should have featured Memorial Day.
Well, on Page 1 was an article announcing the local Memorial Day ceremony presented by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5297. And on Page 1 of this week's issue is photo coverage of that event, as has occurred as long as I can remember the event occurring. The editorial cartoon last week also highlighted the sacrifices of fallen members of the armed services.
Next, I have come to the realization that white people like me have little, if any, knowledge of the history of Blacks and people of other ethnic minorities in our nation.
I've also come to the conclusion that the legacy of slavery is a cancer infecting our nation. I know from personal experience that when one has cancer, one needs to do something about it and not ignore it. Yeah, when the diagnosis first comes, it's hard to talk about, but it becomes easier when treatment is underway.
I hope some Eagle readers did read the article (entitled "In a Nation founded on Whiteness, How to Discuss it Really") and thought about it. Racism is a truly tough subject to discuss.
Last weekend was the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre in which white residents attacked their Black neighbors, killing around 300 men, women and children, and burning a community to the ground.
In his May 31 column in the Washington Post, columnist Eugene Robinson recounts similar events--Atlanta, 1906, at least 25 dead; East St. Louis, Illinois, 1917, 40-250 dead; Chester, Penn., 1917, official count seven dead; 1919, Chicago, 38 dead.
The result, Robinson wrote, was the destruction of black wealth and the codification of Jim Crow laws designed to keep Blacks "in their place."
"The point is this: There are those who deny that anything called ‘systemic racism' is a feature of the American landscape," Robinson wrote at the conclusion of the column. "They should be aware that history tells a very different story."
We need to learn from history and not repeat our mistakes. That's one step toward a cure.