“There has always been racism. But it developed as a leading principle of thought and perception in the context of colonialism. That’s understandable. When you have your boot on someone’s neck, you have to justify it. The justification has to be their depravity. It’s very striking to see this in the case of people who aren’t very different from one another. Take a look at the British conquest of Ireland, the earliest of the Western colonial conquests. It was described in the same terms as the conquest of Africa. The Irish were a different race. They weren’t human. They weren’t like us. We had to crush and destroy them. No. It has to do with conquest, with oppression. If you’re robbing somebody, oppressing them, dictating their lives, it’s a very rare person who can say: “Look, I’m a monster. I’m doing this for my own good.” Even Himmler didn’t say that. A standard technique of belief formation goes along with oppression, whether it’s throwing them in gas chambers or charging them too much at a corner store, or anything in between. The standard reaction is to say: ‘It’s their depravity. That’s why I’m doing it. Maybe I’m even doing them good.’ If it’s their depravity, there’s got to be something about them that makes them different from me. What’s different about them will be whatever you can find.”
– Noam Chomsky
Let’s Start With Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan was the first president I remember. He was President for the first 8 years of my life. As a kid I didn’t like his face. He looked like the word egare in Kreyol, which means confused lost, simple-minded or retarded. It was only later one that I was given a reason not to like him. Let me list them for you:
Reagan did not support federal initiatives to provide blacks with civil rights. He opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
He also said (while campaigning in Georgia) that Confederate President Jefferson Davis was “a hero of mine.”
In 1980 Reagan said the Voting Rights Act was “humiliating to the South,” although he later supported extending the Act. Reagan was unsuccessful in trying to veto another civil rights bill in March . Reagan engaged a policy of Constructive engagement with South Africa in spite of apartheid, opposing pressure from Congress and his own party for tougher sanctions until his veto was overridden.
At first Reagan opposed the Martin Luther King holiday, and signed it only after an overwhelming veto-proof majority (338 to 90 in the House of Representatives and 78 to 22 in the Senate) voted in favor of it.
Congress overrode Reagan’s veto of the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988. Reagan said the Restoration Act would impose too many regulations on churches, the private sector and state and local governments.
You may ask why MrMary do you start this reflection on the 50 year anniversary on the March on Washington with Reagan and the answer is precisely this:
Racism never went away. It became more covert in its social and global articulation. Furthermore every time the public makes some progress that would promote great harmony socially, the government steps in to undo what was done. The Voting Right act was gutted this summer. This didn’t happen over night. I am of the opinion that nothing happen in a vacuum or overnight. I do not think that we can talk about progress now when what was done in the past can be gutted, marginalized and neutered.
Anyway more talking about this as time goes on.
I have to make use of my limited internet use.
- Editorial: Historic March on Washington about jobs, too (nj.com)
- Ronald Reagan’s son Michael speaks out against ‘The Butler’ which ‘wrongly portrays President as racist’ (dailymail.co.uk)
- Back in the day: What critics said about King’s speech in 1963 (tv.msnbc.com)
- Remembering the 20th Anniversary on the 50th Anniversary (smithnrs96.wordpress.com)
- Michael Reagan: ‘The Butler’ a ‘bunch of lies’ (politico.com)
- Highlights from 50th anniversary celebrations of Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech (telegraph.co.uk)
- MLK’s dream inspires a new march, and a president (cnsnews.com)