We Have a Way to Go

America is trying to get past her past, but we have a way to go.

A friend of mine called me early this morning and asked if I knew that the people who died in the University of Alabama shootings were all people of color.

Two African American professors and one Indian, who was the head of the biology department, were those who died.

There have been no pictures of the victims in any of the media accounts of the shootings. I said to my friend that I just assumed they had been white, and that pictures were not shown because next of kin had not been notified.

I wondered why I had thought that. Was it because it was science professors who had been shot, and I do not think of African Americans teaching those subjects?

I know that it has been alleged that the shooter was angry because she did not get tenure. Not until my friend alerted me about the color of the deceased professors did I do some addition and conclude that possibly this shooting was race related.

I surmised that it was possible, unfortunately, that this woman was angry because she, a Harvard-trained professor, had not gotten tenure and that the only reason these people of color had tenure was because they were in fact people of color — babes of Affirmative Action.

The further away we move from the historic election of Barack Obama as president of the United States, the more clear it is that this “post racial” dribble has been just that – dribble. Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, among other prominent white journalists, proclaimed that with the president’s election, the issue of race was behind us. We had finally overcome, he and others concluded.

Not quite. Race is such a part of who and/or what America is. The issue of race, specifically, the issue of white over black, white against black, has been the refrain of every hue and cry of American history lesson from the beginning. The issue of race, at the heart of the Civil War, nearly tore this nation apart.

There was never any healing. Blacks went forward and succeeded on many levels, not because of white people, but in spite of white people – and that, even BEFORE there was ever a thing called Affirmative Action.

The resentment whites have against blacks remains front and center in the minds of still too many. I am afraid that racism and resentment about so called “preferential treatment” given to black people, is probably at the heart of the Tea Party movement, even if nobody ever says it aloud. I feel and hear the resentment when I listen to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter and others.

Never is there the acknowledgment by people like that that African Americans have worth or that they add tot he fabric and strength of this country, only that African Americans, and, probably, anyone not white, only pull from this great nation.

After my friend called me, I searched frantically on the web for any pictures, any mention of the color of the victims. There were none. I finally did a search of the victims by name and found that a television station in North Carolina had shown their pictures. Both of the African Americans were graduates of North Carolina State University.

When John Wilkes Booth killed President Abraham Lincoln, he felt like he had done nothing wrong. Lincoln was a man, Booth felt, who was out to destroy America and American values.

Why do I feel like so many people, who say they want “their America back,” are calling for a time when discrimination was overtly rampant and the government supported it? Why am I feeling like white resentment among some, along with fear of what Obama’s presidency means for white people, is at the heart of many who are so angry? And why do I feel like they feel their anger is justified?

I am a little disappointed at mainstream’s media apparent attempt to quell any conclusions that people might make by not showing the pictures of the victims. I thought that was standard journalism, to show pictures of victims and suspects, once next of kin were notified.

Apparently not, not in this case. Maybe the editors feel like doing so might ignite the spark of resentment or cause one more person to admit, sadly, that the era of post racial America is not yet here, if it ever will be.

That’s just a candid observation.

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Comments

  1. *sarcasm on*

    Maybe by not showing the faces of the victims, it will allow the alleged killer to get a “fairer” trial.

    *sarcasm off*

  2. *reality on*

    Killer is not alleged.

    What does that say about our justice system that the faces of victims (people of color) would not allow the system to be “fair”?

    *reality, still on *

  3. It says that our “justice” system still has a long way to go, just as Rev. Smith intimates in this blog.

    It has been shown in study after study, and in statistical analyses nationwide, that the unfairness in the justice system when it comes to the Death Penalty (as an example), is NOT that criminals of color get the DP more often than white criminals (though in some states this is certainly true), but that criminals of ANY color who kill minorities don’t get the DP at equal rates with criminals of ANY color who kill whites.

    It’s as if black/brown/yellow/red lives don’t matter enough to want to kill the person who kills them. But kill a white person, you gotta pay the ultimate price.

    Therefore, if this is the “sentiment,” the dirty little secret, the elephant in the room that everyone is ignoring, it should not be surprising that few, if any, media outlets have bothered to show the faces of the victims or even query as to whether or not race was a factor in the violence.

    And besides, there’s other news of far more “import:”

    Will Lindsay Vann win a medal with her bruised shin? Is Brangelina on the rocks? Inquiring minds need to know…

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