- The belief that whites are inherently superior to other races and therefore should dominate society is as American as apple pie. It is an idea that has caused much pain and suffering in the world, is an artifact of “white culture,” but still plays a role in American society.
- Part 1: The New Racism - This is How the Civil Rights Movement Ends.
- Part 2: Selma’s white supremacy legacy: What America must reckon with today
Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest
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Part 1: The New Racism - This is How the Civil Rights Movement Ends
The South, where 55 percent of America's black population lives, is increasingly looking like a different country. Fewer children can read; more adults have HIV; its residents suffer from the shortest life expectancies of any in the United States. Six of the eleven states that made up the former Confederacy are at the bottom.
Jason Zengerle, New Republic
August 10, 2014 | Long before he became the most powerful man in the Alabama Senate, before he controlled billions of dollars in state money and had lobbyists, governors, and future presidents seeking his favor, Hank Sanders used newspapers and magazines as bathroom tissue. His mother would collect periodicals from the wealthy white family whose house she cleaned and bring them back for Sanders and his brothers and sisters. There were 13 children, all told, and they lived with their parents in a three-room shack that their father had built out of one-by-eight boards among the tall pines and chinaberry trees in Blacksher, a speck of a town 50 miles north of Mobile.
This was Alabama in the 1950s, when Jim Crow reigned and a governor's race was determined by which candidate managed to secure the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan. Life in Baldwin County, where Blacksher was located, may have been marginally less horrid for its black residents than in other parts of the state: The county's last lynching had occurred in 1919 and some of the white men who perpetrated it had even gone to prison. But there were certain realities by which Sanders, as a black child, knew he must abide. He knew not to spend any of the money he earned picking cotton on the six-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola at the drugstore; those were only for white customers, and a black person who tried to buy one risked more than just being refused service. He also knew not to look in the direction of a white woman. The one time he did, the woman's male companion threatened to whip him, and probably would have had Sanders's mother, a strong-willed woman named Ola Mae, not intervened. For Sanders, the fact that there was no electricity or running water in his house-to say nothing of toilet paper-was far less distressing than the constant threat of danger.
Jason Zengerle is a senior editor at the New Republic.
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Part 2: Selma’s white supremacy legacy: What America must reckon with today
The 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" requires us to confront some very ugly ideas and history -- starting here.
Ronald J. Sheehy, Salon
Barack Obama participates in a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, March 7, 2015. (Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
Monday, Mar 9, 2015 | While this weekend America paused to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” where civil rights protesters and Alabama police confronted each other at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama, we should not forget that an all-white police force was protecting the established racial order dictated by the idea of white supremacy. In order to put in perspective the progress made as well as the current challenges around the question of race, we have to interrogate and confront the idea of white supremacy.
As George Santayana reminded us, “Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”
The belief that whites are inherently superior to other races and therefore should dominate society is as American as apple pie. It is an idea that has caused much pain and suffering in the world, is an artifact of “white culture,” but still plays a role in American society.
Ronald J. Sheehy, a molecular biologist, accreditation official, and now retired university administrator, is the author of Affirmative Action Revisited recently published in Diversity: Issues in Higher Education, and a memoir, Possibilities: A Search for Personal Liberation.
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