Tag Archives: African-Americans

Megyn Kelly gets the boot she deserves

Now I get it. I am ashamed of my ignorance on the hideous history behind “blackface,” but I have been educated.

I want to stipulate that I’ve never accepted or laughed at blackface performances. I have known all along how insensitive and inciteful — and profoundly offensive — it is. I just didn’t appreciate fully the extent of its offensiveness.

Until now.

Megyn Kelly, the broadcast journalist who became a media superstar over her questioning of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s treatment of women, now has joined the Media Hall of Infamy for her on-air remarks regarding blackface.

Kelly said she saw nothing wrong with people smearing black grease paint on their face to make them “appear black.” The reaction to her remarks was ferocious. NBC canceled her morning talk show. Her future now in broadcast journalism is, shall we say, in serious doubt.

I have learned about how African-Americans have perceived blackface performances by entertainers, how they have demeaned an entire race of people. They portrayed African-Americans as subhuman, as cartoon characters. I now know about how this practice pre-dates the Civil War, a bloody 19th-century conflict fought over the issue of slavery and that euphemistic issue of “states’ rights.”

I once rooted for Megyn Kelly to succeed after she changed networks, moving from Fox to NBC. Her new employers saw a great deal of potential in their new hire. Her weekday morning talk show struggled with ratings. Her future was getting a bit tenuous even without this outburst of anger over her on-air thoughtlessness.

Do I believe Kelly is a hateful racist? No, I don’t. However, she has painted herself (pun intended) as an individual who clearly needed an education on a behavior that long ago has been tossed onto the trash heap.

Her popping off in front of an entire nation about how blackface is no big deal exemplifies a level of ignorance that has no place on a major broadcast network.

Oh, boy … Trump heads into minefield

Imagine if you will Barack Obama saying something like this …

“Now that the United States has elected — and re-elected — an African-American as president of the United States, it will be difficult for voters to elect a white citizen to the highest office in the land.”

The reaction would be, um, probably hysterical.

Donald Trump now has introduced race into his campaign for the Republican Party presidential nomination by declaring that Americans will have a tough time elected an African-American because the current president, Obama, has set the bar so low.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-no-black-presidents-obama_55be34c3e4b06363d5a27ec4?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

I am almost speechless.

He spoke this morning on ABC-TV’s “This Week” news-talk program, telling Jonathan Karl that President Obama’s performance in the White House makes it difficult for another African-American to win the presidency.

I believe Trump is suggesting that, based on one man’s performance as president, that others like him — you know, folks of the same race or ethnicity — are doomed to fail as well.

All I’m left to say is: My … goodness.

There’s a silver lining in this flag debate

Wait! I think I see a silver lining beginning to shine through as the nation continues this debate over the meaning of a flag.

Americans — all of us — finally might begin to understand the meaning of the Confederacy, why it was formed in the first place and why its place in history has to be put completely in its proper context.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/what-this-cruel-war-was-over/396482/

The debate has ignited in the wake of the Charleston, S.C., church massacre. South Carolina legislators have agreed “to debate” whether to take down the rebel flag that flies on the statehouse grounds in Columbia. Let ’em debate, then take the thing down.

But the broader issue must be to determine the Confederacy’s place in American history.

As Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in Atlantic magazine: “The Confederate flag is directly tied to the Confederate cause, and the Confederate cause was white supremacy. This claim is not the result of revisionism. It does not require reading between the lines. It is the plain meaning of the words of those who bore the Confederate flag across history. These words must never be forgotten. Over the next few months the word “heritage” will be repeatedly invoked. It would be derelict to not examine the exact contents of that heritage.”

I’ll stipulate here, as if it needs stipulation, that I am not a Southerner by birth. I was born and reared in Oregon, way up yonder in Yankee territory. Oregon became a state on Feb. 14, 1859 and sent troops to battle to fight to preserve the Union. But for the past 31 years, my family and I have lived in Texas, which was one of those Confederate States of America, those states that committed the treasonous act of seceding from the Union and fighting tooth and nail to preserve something called euphemistically “states rights.”

It has been papered over by Confederate apologists ever since that the underlying reason for going to war in the first place was to keep black Americans subjugated. The individuals who governed these Dixie states wanted to maintain the right to flout federal law and that if state officials felt it was OK to allow slave ownership, then they would be willing to fight to the death to preserve that right.

They did. They lost that fight. Yet the justification for going to war remains central to this discussion of “Southern heritage.”

The article attached to this post lays out clearly the intentions of those who decided to go to war with the United States of America. Read the notations taken from that time and you’ll understand why this discussion is important to have and how the tragedy in Charleston has opened up this effort to remind us of why Americans went to war against fellow Americans.

The shooting has stopped but the battle endures. Those who keep insisting that the Civil War was about protecting state sovereignty are going to lose this one, too.

 

‘Diversity’ needs a broader definition

Rachel Dolezal has quit her post as head of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Why is that big deal? She’s the white woman who ran the organization, declared she is African-American, even though her obviously white parents say she lied about her racial identity.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/rachel-dolezal-resigns-as-president-of-naacp-spokane-chapter/ar-BBlaVht

She’s going to move on, I guess, to pursue other interests, as they say.

Here, though, is where I think this story needs to be told in fuller fashion.

Why is it such a bad thing for a white person to head an NAACP chapter? The only serious misdeed here has been Dolezal’s lying about her race. She changed her appearance over many years. She darkened her skin, curled her hair, married an African-American man, with whom she had two children. She “identified” more with black Americans than with white Americans. That’s all fine.

But she lied about her race.

Back to my point. Why did she have to lie to become accepted by the Spokane NAACP chapter?

I’ve noted before that the organization’s name doesn’t stipulate any racial requirement. Individuals can become champions for the “advancement” of a race of people, even though they aren’t of that particular race. Can’t they do that?

The NAACP has white people in its rank-and-file membership. These are individuals dedicated to the cause of advancing the fortunes of Americans whose ancestors once were enslaved by other Americans. Theirs is a noble cause.

It also speaks to the issue of racial diversity. If we are to proclaim the need to diversify the ranks of, say, elected bodies, such as Congress, to include more African-Americans or other “people of color,” then it stands to reason that we could issue calls to diversify the leadership of organizations dedicated to helping ethnic and racial minorities. That would include the NAACP.

So what, then, if Rachel Dolezal is white. Had she merely been truthful about her background, her DNA, her heritage, there ought to be no problem at all with her serving as head of an NAACP chapter.

However, she’s a liar, and liars aren’t to be trusted, no matter their race.

 

Clear it up, Rachel: Are your white parents lying?

rachel

Rachel Dolezal is going to set the record straight Monday … she says.

The head of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is going to tell us whether she’s white or black.

This clearly is one of the stranger stories any of us — white or black — has seen in, oh, since the last strange story burst on the scene.

? http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/naacp-leader-to-speak-monday-parents-say-she-lied-on-race/ar-BBl53nJ

Dolezal’s parents, from whom she’s estranged, says their daughter has been lying about her race. She claims to be black. Her parents, who are white, have produced pictures of her as a fair-skinned blond girl. Her hair now is curly; her skin is considerably darker.

She’s been strangely coy about answering a direct and succinct question: Are you white? He answer to a question from a Spokane Spokesman-Review reporter: “That question is not as easy as it seems. There’s a lot of complexities … and I don’t know that everyone would understand that.”

“We’re all from the African continent.”

What the … ? My head is about to explode. Actually, the question seems more than “easy.”

The NAACP is backing Dolezal. Her parents, who live in Montana, said she’s been misrepresenting herself.

I’ve noted already that the NAACP’s very name doesn’t require one to be African-American to join, let alone assume a leadership position. Indeed, the organization was founded by a white person.

But as I look at Dolezal’s picture as a little girl — that’s her in both frames attached to this blog post — she looks pretty darn white to me.

Please, please, Rachel … explain yourself.

 

Gov. Abbott must act as AG Abbott did on rebel plates

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott no doubt casts himself as a man of high principle.

Well, here’s his chance to demonstrate it. He can ensure that the state does not issue motor vehicle license plates that carry the Confederate flag on them.

http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2015/01/texas-faces-a-serious-confederacy-conundrum.html/

He should take the argument to the Supreme Court of the United States and argue the same thing he did while he served as Texas attorney general. The plates are offensive to a significant number of Texans and they should not celebrate Confederate Heroes Day. Period.

As the blogger Tod Robberson points out on the link attached to this post, the plates would “honor” individuals who became enemies of the United States of America by fighting to defeat the Union during the Civil War.

Robberson writes: “It shouldn’t matter whether it’s a visible symbol on a license plate or the in-your-face knowledge — especially among African American taxpayers of the state — that Texans have to pay state employees for the day off to commemorate people who were enemies of the United States and who fought for the right to preserve slavery. It’s offensive either way to a huge number of people.”

I will add that African-Americans comprise about 12.5 percent of the state’s population, or about 3 million people.

Gov. Abbott is the same man who served as attorney general. He was right to oppose the issuance of the plates before — as was then-Gov. Rick Perry. The new governor should follow suit and not allow these license plates on Texans’ motor vehicles.