is yet another superb Washington Post column by the Pulitzer Prize winner.
Let’s not pretend that deadbeat rancher Cliven Bundy and basketball team owner Donald Sterling are the last two racists in the United States. They have company.He reminds people that as a South Carolinian
I hear regularly from proud racists who send me — anonymously — some of the vilest and most hateful correspondence you could imagine. You’ll have to trust me about the content; this stuff, mostly vulgar racial insults directed at President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, is too disgusting to repeat.
My sensibilities are not delicate.He properly places Bundy with the Black Helicopter fringe of the Tea Party movement, and notes that not all Tea Party types are either as crazy as Bundy nor as racist.
He revisits Sterling's well documented racist history, and makes clear that in Sterling's case it cannot be excused as cluelessness:
Sterling made clear in the conversation with Stiviano that African Americans were unwelcome in his “culture.” This is old-fashioned “separate-but-equal” racism, pure and simple.But all this is preface.
After the remarks about old-fashioned “separate-but-equal” racism, Robinson concludes the column with two powerful paragraphs of disparate length that belies their power.
Here is his penultimate paragraph, which I offer without his hotlinks (which are worth following, so go to the complete column and do so):
The Republican Party, Fox News and a majority of the Supreme Court would like to believe such naked prejudice is history. Yet some big-city school systems are as segregated as they were in the 1960s. Leading public universities are admitting fewer black students than a decade ago. The black-white wealth gap has grown in recent years. Blacks are no more likely than whites to use illegal drugs, yet about four times more likely to be arrested and jailed for it.Strong, direct, and serving primarily as a set-up for this, his final paragraph:
No, racism isn’t back. It never went away.It never went away -
When I coached soccer I can remember visiting a school in the county where I am currently teaching, and hearing their players offering racial taunts that should have been addressed by the referees, because if I could hear them so could he.
My students of color can recite in detail the discrimination and prejudice that has been aimed in their direction.
When one party is full of people who try to foment fear in order to perpetuate this, it never went away.
When people spouting nonsense are given wide audience and allowed to propagate their hateful attitudes, it never went away.
When the mandates of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top lead to white students from elite colleges coming into schools filled with inner city Black and Hispanic kids, and teach and teaching them to be subservient, to see their academic choices narrowed to little more than test prep while students from the families from which those teachers come have art and music and theaters, we MUST say of racism it never went away.
Perhaps Conservatives who tolerate racists and manipulators of racial animus in the midst should remember the words attributed to one of their heroes, Edmund Burke:
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
I am not surprised at the words we have heard from Bundy and from Sterling.
Nor am I surprised at many who have come to their defense, some like Rush Limbaugh, who just do not get how offensive words spewed forth by Bundy and Sterling, who have statements of their own with which we could if we chose embarrass or shame them.
After all, we know from the history of the Republican party, whether of Reagan commencing his general election campaign in 1980 at the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi, the truth to Robinson's words:
No, racism isn’t back. It never went away.