Race

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As a result of seeing “Selma” recently I was reminded of Henry Hampton’s “Eyes on the Prize”. Available in Netflix I added it to my queue, received it, and now have watched the first of three discs. The first disc covers the 1950’s period up through 1962. I had forgotten the circumstances of Emmet Till’s murder and the great difficulty of James Meredith enrolling in Old Miss. The mob rule in the south and the deep prejudice was pretty profound back then, maybe some improvements since then in minds and hearts but not an awful lot. Of course, I’ve got no way to know for sure.

At any rate, thinking of Henry Hampton reminded me of Bob Hohler who worked with Henry and who I had known, along with his wife Barbara who I had a special crush on, at the Arlington Street Church back in the 1950’s and 60’s. He had quite an effect on me. He was a powerful intellect, a dead end kid who was strongly self educated. He left Barbara back in the 1960’s, remarried, and died while on vacation in England with his new wife in June 2011, just a month after Cynthia died, and Barbara died in the same month as Bob, June 2011. Strange coincidences and that year 2011 one could maybe say was a right of passage for me.

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What’s this I read? We’re not descended from Neanderthals after all? Hey, I sort of devleoped a fondness for the ancient race after having read Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series a few years ago. I thought maybe we had a little Neanderthal blood in us. But I guess not?

But what about this guy? Didn’t he used to play for the Boston Red Sox?

Oh, and I forgot about this guy! expletive Blagojevich!

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Racism is still rampant in America. The latest Rasmussen polls say 53% of Americans think Obama’s “dollar bill” remarks were racist while 22% think McCain’s Paris Hilton ad is racist. What a travesty! This disgusts me! It really should be the other way around. Clearly McCain’s ad comparing Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears has the subtext message, “Watch out! This uppity Negro is gonna steal our white women.” Good old middle of the road David Gergen really hit the nail on the head today with this statement: ““When McCain’s camp calls Obama “The Messiah” and “The One”, he’s really calling him “upitty.” I’m from the South, and we understand what that means. That’s code.” Here’s the video, thanks to Talking Points Memo:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfXvK84MPqQ[/youtube]
So, is McCain going to become our next president by playing the race card? That’s what he’s doing and it may work.

UPDATE: Bob Herbert in the NYT on Saturday explains why the Paris Hilton and Britney Spears ad is racist: Running While Black.

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1qbAxqGdIU[/youtube]
Juan Cole gives an impassioned discussion of this speech and what it means in America, with the city of Detroit as an example. Well worth a read. Here’s the first paragraph:

Barack Obama was talking about something very personal to him, about being rooted in family and community. He recognizes that race had shaped both and had wounded both. He refuses to give up on the communities in which he is rooted even if they sometimes act out on issues of race. He cannot, he says, afford to give up, and neither can we. No matter what happens in electoral politics, on March 18, 2008, Barack Obama entered the American history books with his brilliant, searingly honest speech on race.

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