Letter: Racism shows some refuse to learn from lessons in past

Aug. 07, 2013 @ 11:05 PM

Editor:

Racism, like a cancer, can lie in remission for a long period of time. So has been the case since the Civil Rights struggles and victories in the middle part of the last century.

Immigration hysteria and the changing demographics favoring people of color began to release something that has generated a surge in racial resentment. It is no coincidence that extremists and hate groups have increased dramatically (813% — estimate by Southern Poverty Law Center) since the election of this President. No other President has had their place of birth questioned relentlessly and labeled un-American not out of reason but the name given him and color of his skin.

The Voting Rights’ Act supported by great majorities of Congress as late as 2006 was brought to the Supreme Court on challenge by a county in a state that defined racism. The contention was problem solved — voter discrimination was a thing of the past. All the while state governments on a partisan basis continue to pass voter suppression laws which target minorities and the poor, creating voter ID requirements, cutting voting hours, polling locations, Sunday and early voting.

Does anyone really believe that those people standing in line for hours during the last Presidential election because of this suppression effort did so to vote for the candidate of the political party that imposed those laws? Voting is not a states’ rights issue. States cannot be trusted to protect this right. This is exactly why the Voting Rights’ Act is so important.

The events in Sanford, Fla. since Feb. 26, 2012 have, among other distractions, initiated a comparison of crime and race by various media sources. Some have been racist and all claiming a connection have been false. All factors considered, there is no definitive correlation between crime and any race.

Crime has but one consistent ally, poverty. Those same events in Florida have also inflamed racial tension, and understandably so. Apart from the teenage death, nothing more so than the trial and verdict during which self defense was so egregiously misrepresented.

When the teenager shot to death that night in February 2012 left the convenience store he was no different from any other teenager, white, brown, yellow or black. As he walked through the gated community where he had every right to be, he became a suspicious black man. That cannot be disputed. All of what happened next would not have occurred had it not been for that wrong and prejudiced assumption.

Lady Justice wears a blindfold for a very good reason, equality — an American value too often ignored. The Whites Only and Colored Only signs are in the past, but there are those that have refused to learn the lessons from history — they are merely products of it.

Bill Dayton

Sevierville