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In 1965 Bobby Kennedy suggested that “in 40 years America might well have a negro president.”

He was close.

Race has been on my mind much lately
As on every thinking person's mind

Noise has little effect on deaf ears
They still believe the Earth is flat

Two pieces tonight on the subject of racism



A recent diary by Denise Oliver Velez reminded me of how racist William 8uckley was and how eloquent James Baldwin was in their debate at the Cambridge Union in 1965.  Two Cambridge undergraduates have first spoken to each side of the proposition

"Has the American Dream Been Achieved at the Expense of the American Negro?"

These clippings show Mr Baldwin's speech and Mr Buckley's response after two speeches from Cambridge undergrads. They take about 45 minutes. Well worth watching!

I was 21 at the time, a university undergrad in Sydney. I remember listening to the debate at a local coffeehouse. Baldwin held us in his mighty hand, took us by the collective throat, and squeezed.

After each part click for next part with Buckley's response. There are 5 or 6 9 minute parts.

Thin Veneer of Intellect
(On watching the Baldwin-Buckley
Cambridge Union debate in 1965 again)

At last you Buckley fake intellectual snob
Come out from behind the multi-syllable
Unpronouncable inaccessible to ordinary men

And stand naked before the mighty Baldwin
In his elegant from the heart and guts and spirit
Explanation of your ingrained automatic racist

Answer only with veiled personal insults
Disguised as academic argument wrapped
In thin veneer of intellectual argument

Together on spur-of-moment improvisation
Excuse for white oppression for four centuries
Of gain at black expense while becoming

Poor excuse for exploitation of sweeter nature
Closer to the earth unconcerned with material
Possessions therefor ripe for picking from the

And tossed into a floating box whence transported
Across the heaving seas to the promised land
Promised only for those with certain belief that

Shall inherit all the earth by divine right supported
At no cost, by red and black and brown and yellow
Until the race is won by their race and only their

Now the true nature of color is about to be
Discovered by a generation of humanity who
At last begin to comprehend the meaning of

© CJ Campbell April 2012

For a Dead Teenager

When all the shouting dies
When all the name calling ceases
There is one inescapable

A teenager is dead
At the hands of a self-appointed
Upholder of the law

Not because he wore a hoodie
Or because he answered back
But because fools carry guns

Who cares about stupid George?
Let him play with wooden sword
And tin foil helmet

But when society allows such as he
To arm himself with deadly force
We are all to blame

To Trayvon's grieving family
From we who believe in justice
Sorry is small comfort
And that's a fact

© CJ Campbell April 2012

Will we ever become human?



Originally posted to Indigo Kalliope on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Protest Music, DKOMA, Community Spotlight, and Readers and Book Lovers.

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