Monday, March 22, 2010

The Return of Racism

The following is from the book Are You Liberal, Conservative or Confused? By Richard Maybury. In the chapter The Return of Racism he included an article he wrote in 1994.

"Recently I visited Orange County in Southern California. Didn't see any orange groves but did see two vacant lots. In Southern California these qualify as wilderness.

The occasion was my 30th high school reunion. It was great to see old friends but also sad. Things have changed, and not for the better. The old high school is a maze of fences and walls. I've seen prisons and military bases that were less heavily fortified. The night before the reunion someone torched the administration building. In our day this was every kid's fantasy, now they actually do it. No self-restraint. Rotten apples galore. Barbarism.

At the reunion, gazing across this crowd of some 400 middle-aged baby boomers, I was struck by how much progress America has lost.

This graduating class was of all colors. There, in Orange County in the mid-1960s, centuries of racism had been thrown into full retreat.

I'm white, and one of my good friends was black; the best man at my wedding was Mexican. Such interracial friendships were typical in this group.

At my wife's school nearby in 1964, the kids had elected a home coming queen who was white and a home coming king who was black. The parents went ballistic while the kids stood around wondering what all the shouting was about.

There, in those days, skin color was close to becoming just one more physical characteristic of no particular importance.

American law was becoming color blind.

The cause was our parents. Many in that generation were bigoted but they didn't feel good about it. Teachers, legal scholars, and, above all the churches continually reminded them that bigotry was evil.

My parents' generation didn't change much but, for the most part, they raised their kids differently. Our graduating class was one of the first to show the results. We did not know it at the time, but we were the vanguard of a new era. The African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic-American were on the way to being as accepted as the Irish-American and all others who had come before. I am entirely certain that if this natural progress had been allowed to continue, today in America there would be no racism except in a few isolated pockets.

But along came the government with its "affirmative action" in the 1970s and blew it all right out of the water. Suddenly my generation was forced to be aware of skin color.

The law was no longer color blind.

Today, race riots have demolished large parts of southern California and more are surely coming. Political power corrupts all it touches.

'Every time the government attempts to handle out affairs, it costs more and the results are worse than if we had handled them ourselves.' --Benjamin Constant, 1818."

This article is entirely appropriate the day after Congress abused its role once again.


Mom said...

I am fighting off the temptation to grumble, throw a fit or some tangible thing, or tremble in fear. I am trying very hard to remember to trust the only stable thing these days - Almighty Jehovah God.

Mom to Anyone said...

Well said. Too bad the deaf and blind have no interpreters!