Tag Archives: racism

This victim made ‘history’

Keith Adams was recalling to the Texas Tribune about his memories of a man named James Byrd Jr.

“He was a clown,” Adams said. “Always singing, always doing impersonations. He said he was going to make history.”

Well, Byrd made history all right. Three racist pigs chained him to the back of a pickup and dragged him about three miles down a remote Piney Woods road. Byrd’s body was decapitated and mutilated.

The reason for the incident? James Byrd was a Black man. His attackers sought him out as a target because of his race.

The crime put Jasper, Texas, on the map. It elevated the discussion of hate crimes to a national level. It was hoped — perhaps even thought — that Texas could lead the way out of the racist darkness that continues to shroud so many Americans.

Oh, no! Instead, Texas now can claim to be No. 1 nationally in the incidents of white supremacist incidents.

Two of the three men convicted of killing Byrd have been executed by the state. The third killer got a life sentence and will rot in prison for the rest of his time on Earth.

The Tribune reports: “We can’t just say that what happened to James is another day in Jasper,” said Louvon Byrd Harris, Byrd’s sister, who is 65 years old and the youngest of eight siblings. “As of now, we are on our own to keep his memory alive.”

James Byrd Jr. murder 25 years ago sparked hate crime laws | The Texas Tribune

Twenty-five has passed since James Byrd Jr. died at the hands of those monsters. Some things have changed, for the better. We have newer hate crimes laws on the books. Sadly, they haven’t deterred the haters from spreading their filth.

Just as sad to this Texas resident is that my state is leading the way down that path … straight into the sewer.


POTUS has bigger fish to fry

Butt out. Mr. President.

Joe Biden has weighed in on what is a quintessential local problem. It involves members of the Los Angeles City Council who were caught saying some nasty things about fellow Los Angelinos, namely Black, Asian and indigenous people.

Folks throughout LA are up in arms. They are demanding their resignation. As they should.

President Biden calls on all participants of racist LA City Council leaked audio to resign (msn.com)

But what is the president of the United States going to contribute by offering his own view on it? Is he trying to lend the huge weight of his office to this fight? “He believes that they all should resign,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “The language that was used and tolerated during that conversation was unacceptable and it was appalling.”

OK, fine. Let him believe it to his heart’s content. President Biden need not weigh in on an issue that should be resolved exclusively at City Hall. The president of the United States has many other more pressing issues to ponder that involve protecting the rest of the country he was elected to govern.


Racist senator earns condemnation

Wow! That was my first reaction to reports of what a U.S. senator said during a Donald J. Trump political rally over the weekend. He sought to label Black Americans as criminals.

It was as blatantly racist a statement as anything I’ve heard since the 1960s.

This came from the pie hole of Sen. Tommy Tuberville, an Alabama Republican, according to Yahoo.com:

As Republicans press crime as an election issue, Tuberville contended Democrats back reparations for descendants of slavery because “they think the people who do crime are owed that.”

“They are not soft on crime,” Tuberville said. “They’re pro-crime. They want crime. They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”

Holy … crap!

GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville promotes racist narrative about Black people, crime at Trump rally (yahoo.com)

This is an individual elected from a state with a population that is 26% Black. He was elected in 2020 to the U.S. Senate with zero experience in elective politics. He is a former football coach who worked with dozens of Black athletes.

Still, he said this. At a Trump campaign rally. Oh, and get this: The crowd that heard it clapped and cheered the speaker.

“They want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed. that.” I just felt the need to repeat that statement. It defies logic. Or humanity. Or anything resembling decent thought from someone elected to the U.S. Senate.

This is part and parcel of what has become of the Republican Party. It saddens me to say this, given that the party once held the key to enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s. Remember the “party of Abraham Lincoln?” It’s gone, man!

It’s been replaced by and large by something quite different, as exemplified by the mutterings of individuals such as Tommy Tuberville.

Black people are criminals, he says. Democrats demand reparations because those who “do the crime are owed that,” he says.

The English language cannot do justice to what is stirring in my gut at this moment.


Oh, the irony of racism

Don’t you just marvel at the irony that presents itself at times as we seek to understand our nation’s history?

This particular message showed up on my Facebook feed. It illustrates what happened to a girl named Ruby Bridges, an African American student who sought to enroll in a Louisiana school many decades ago.

She was pelted with rocks, insults and epithets from those who said she didn’t belong in the same classroom with white kids.

Now we have a movement in this country that seeks to keep that historical fact from being taught to today’s youngsters. They fear it would breed “hatred” of their country. Well … no, it wouldn’t. It would seek to connect all the facets of our past and link them to our present day.

What is so wrong with that? Someone will have to explain to me why — as the text notes in the photo — why Grandma and Grandpa want to prevent their grandkids from learning all aspects of this great nation’s history.

Every single great civilization has its blemishes, its dark chapters. We need to pass them on to our children to help them understand fully the path we have taken.


Racism shows its ugliness

Racism is an ugly and hideous condition that needs to be eradicated from civilized society. Tragically, that won’t happen.

A gunman drove three hours from his hometown in central New York to Buffalo and shot 10 Black Americans to death while they were shopping in a supermarket.

I am left to wonder: How in the name of all that is holy do you stop someone from doing what this gunman did? We cannot execute them all. We cannot round them all up and send them to prison.

Our hearts are shattered. We are left to ponder this latest spasm of gun violence that is wrapped by the specter that the shooter is a filthy white supremacist. He wrote a lengthy manifesto reportedly taken from right-wing talking points about something called “replacement theory” that laments that white people are being replaced by people of color.

So, he went to Buffalo to take matters into his own hands … I suppose.

The gun violence debate will ratchet up, as it should. So will the debate over the racial bias condition of many millions of Americans.

I am left to wish for all I can that we can find a way to end the violence we have all witnessed in Buffalo, N.Y. That’s all I have at this moment.


CRT: not about ‘hating’ America

Someone has to explain to me: How does teaching our public school students about race, racism and discrimination indoctrinate them into a “hate America” thought process?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he intends to prevent teachers from educating students in his state about such things as slavery, racial discrimination and how that played a part in the development of our nation’s history.

They call it “critical race theory.” Perhaps it’s the name of the concept that has so many politicians up in arms. The terms “critical race” somehow are interpreted to mean that students who learn about racism in this country will grow up hating themselves as Americans, that they will be so darn ashamed of their country that will grow up to seek to create a vastly different country.

I don’t get it. I do not understand why public educators must be told they cannot teach such things to our students.

It is a fact that this country enslaved Black people. It is a fact that those people were denied the rights of citizenship in the country of their residence. It also is a fact that society didn’t value Black people as full-fledged human beings; they were deemed the “property” of their “owners.”

Shouldn’t teachers be allowed to educate students on what all of that means to citizens today? And shouldn’t teachers also be allowed to tell students what the country has done over many years to repair the damage that was done to those who were enslaved? Yes and yes … in my view.

I see nothing wrong with teaching children about the racial history of this country. It is a major part of our national story, the one that is still being written.

Someone has to explain why that is such a bad thing. Let’s discuss. OK? I’m all ears.


Racial justice: Has it arrived?

One jury verdict does not necessarily signal a trend, although some thinkers and analysts are trying to ascribe a trend to the Georgia jury that convicted three white men of murdering a black man.

The trend that some are asking: Does this verdict signal the arrival of racial justice in America?

Let’s hold on here. Ahmad Arbery was jogging through a white neighborhood when he was accosted by three men who seemingly though that Arbery, who was black, didn’t belong there. One of the men shot Arbery to death and that individual, Travis McMichael, was convicted of all the charges associated with the killing.

The jury, comprising 11 white people and one black individual, delivered a stern warning to anyone thinking they can hide behind a “self-defense law.”

What about the racial justice question? If it spells the end of verdicts that acquit white people of killing a black person on flimsy evidence, the answer is “no,” we don’t have racial justice. Nor do we have it if a jury acquits a black individual if he kills white victims, such as what occurred in 1995 when a mostly black jury acquitted O.J. Simpson of murdering his former wife and her friend.

I am not going to ascribe an abundance of significance to the Georgia jury’s verdict. I welcome it, but let’s wait a long while before we attach any historical significance to what the jury has ruled.


What is ‘woke’?

I need to brush up on my glossary of contemporary idioms.

For example, I do not know how to use the term “woke” in a sentence … even though I am doing so at this very moment.

I saw a definition that describes the word “woke” thusly: the quality of being alert to injustice and discrimination in society, especially racism.

That’s it? OK, I understand all of that, but today’s discourse contains this word all the time and I am finding it a bit distracting. For instance, when I hear the term or read it my mind freezes for an instant as I try to remember what it really means. “Woke” this or “woke” that. Adjective or noun?

I write this blog for my own pleasure. I recognize fully one shortcoming in my own writing skill, which is that I am not fully fluent in contemporary language. It’s kinda getting away from me, sorta like the new media age has lapped me at least a couple of times.

I’ll just have to be content with relying on my old-fashioned use of English as I plow through these discussions. As for my use of this term “woke” … well, I’ll have to pass. I’ll surely know “wokeness” when I see it.


Listen to The Bulldog

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The 20th century’s greatest statesman was so wise on so many fronts, levels and issues.

His view that a nation must remember its past reminds me of something I saw while my wife and I were visiting friends in Germany in 2016.

Our friend took me to what they call in Nuremberg the “The Documentation Center.” What, you might ask, is the Documentation Center?

It is an exhibit that walks visitors through the Nuremberg war crimes trials that commenced shortly after World War II. Axis Powers officials were put on trial for their crimes against humanity. You know, The Holocaust … for example!

Our friend Martin told me straight up that Germany does not hide its past. The descendants of that terrible Nazi regime confront the ugliness of that era head on, he said. “We aren’t proud of it,” he told me. However, they put it all on full display for the world to see.

I came away from the exhibit moved and shaken at many levels by what I read and saw.

Five years later, the debate in this country centers on “critical race theory.” It speaks to the enslavement of human beings by other human beings. It poses fundamentally sound questions about the United States today remains a racist country.

These are not specious questions. They are legitimate. They deserve to be studied and discussed in our classrooms, in our dining rooms, in our living rooms.

Why do we care?

A friend of mine in Amarillo posted a question on Facebook that wonders whether we should care about what pro football, hockey, baseball, soccer and basketball players think about police brutality.

I told him “I do” care. A lot.

Pro athletes are protesting the shooting of a young black man in Kenosha, Wis., who police shot at seven times, hitting him with four rounds in the back. The young man, Jacob Blake, is paralyzed; it might be permanent paralysis.

Meanwhile, a white teenager allegedly killed two protesters who were marching for justice in the earlier mentioned case. He walked past police officers with an assault rifle. He was allowed to go home that night. He surrendered the next day. I won’t mention the alleged shooter’s name because I don’t want to give him any more publicity than he deserves.

The first incident involved a man who was fleeing the cops. He had turned his back on them. They shot him with a Taser, then with a pistol. The other one involved a young parading down the street brandishing a rifle, yet no police officer thought to question him.

Again, the first man is black; the second man is white.

That is why the pro athletes are upset. It is why they are boycotting the games they are supposed to play.

It also is why their voices are worth hearing and heeding as they seek justice in an unjust world.