Wednesday, March 4, 2009

“To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men.” Abraham Lincoln

We have an African American man in the White House. Still, Jesse Jackson got burned by a hot mic and was heard using that disparaging word when he complained that Obama was “…talking down to black people…telling niggers how to behave.” He publicly apologized for what he called a “crude and hurtful” remark. An ugly political cartoon sparked days of protest outside the offices of the New York Post by citizens who did not think the image of a crazed chimp shot dead by two white policemen was not directed at our president. The artist’s tell tale sign of his real racial motive lay in the purposefully placed “Beware of Dog” sign. In a statement published in the newspaper, Rupert Murdoch—the newspaper’s owner—said he wanted to "…personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted."

On a hot summer night on a stoop in Brooklyn I was the only one of a group of friends—apart from The Mister—over the age of thirty, 
way over. I was the only one of the females who was not in some stage of pregnancy or early motherhood. I was the only native New Yorker. And at some point I listened as the conversation turned to the idea of New York seceding from the United States because we were different from (read: better than) the rest of the country, where presumably most of them had come from.

Those differences will be played down even more since the Pentagon has relaxed its ban on media coverage of returning U.S. war dead by allowing families to decide whether to allow photos and television footage. Red, white and blue will be the only colors draped over the identical gray coffins.

And I suppose we can take heart that advertising has solved the racial quandary and will come to the rescue—via the children—with a new campaign for Play-Doh, making even the Ku Klux Klan adorable.

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