Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington that culminated in a legendary speech by the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King. On a positive note, these five decades have seen the dissolution of a number of barriers and a subsequent increase in opportunities for the previously oppressed.
In that sense, that march achieved its mission and that part of the great dream was realized. Today, black culture essentially dominates the general American culture and, as everyone saw on the recently telecast MTV Video Music Awards, not even clean cut Disney stars are immune to its twerking charms.
This forward movement, however, has had any affect on the human’s preference to discriminate. Indeed, our society’s progress in reducing barriers has allowed everyone to discriminate equally against each other. That, combined with the anonymity offered by global wasteland that is the internet, makes today’s world a truly fairer and worse off place.
When discussing race in 2013, one must also focus on the three incidents that were appropriated by racially motivated politicians and talk show hosts: The acquittal of the White-Hispanic – I use this term because of the parents’ literal ethnicities – who killed Trayvon Martin (a black teenager), the shooting death of a white college student by three bored teens (two black and one white), and the beating death of an old white World War II veteran by two black teenagers (one who showed his total absence of brainpower by stating that the murder was a drug deal gone bad).
These events – and the hoopla surrounding them – shows that we still have a long way to go before we have a rational discussion on crime without letting the race of the criminals overwhelm and degenerate the discussion.
On the other hand, I do agree with those who make the glass half-full argument by stating that people would not have had the freedom to discriminate against one other,regardless, or because, of their caste, color or creed, had we not become an equally more stupid nation.
In addition, one cannot talk about the racial progress of the past decades without bringing up our first black president; no, not Bill Clinton but Barack Obama. At first blush, President Obama’s election to the highest elected office in the land does indicate that the US electorate saw past his race to his qualifications.
Speaking of politics, voting rights seems to be a big issue these days but I believe that to be a bit of a red herring. Gerrymandering has been with us since the creation of this nation so that is nothing new.
Voter ID laws aren’t a big deal either because of how relatively easy it is to get an identification card. The fact is we live in a democracy which means that we need to be an active electorate and not wait until the last minute to register to vote.
This, obviously, does not mean that we should turn a blind eye to legitimate fraudulent activities but that we shouldn’t elevate everything to the dissolution of our rights.
The other topic that should not be ignored is the status of women in today’s society. The reaction that greeted both Miley Cyrus and #SlaneGirl show that while we may have made some progress in race relations, gender equality remains an unachieved and faraway goal.
The ultimate truth is that the more progress we make, the worse we become. Maybe it has something to do with the inherent problem with the human being human.