That was, as a front-page article in the June 14 edition of the Baltimore Sun described what was drawn on a blackboard during class last week at the Eastern Technology High School by several students, who were suspended, not expelled, from school.
Was I appalled, shocked or flabbergasted at such a blatant instance of racial hatred, directed towards the president, in particular?
Not really. Mainly because I considered it as only symptomatic of the racial prejudice that still exists in the minds and hearts of many, where President Obama, by virtue of his reelection bid, is an easy target for venting their long-held disdain for him personally. But not so much because his performance in his first term, as it is because of the color of his skin.
And which has become more virulent and pervasive than when he first ran for the job, and with the vitriol and questioning of his very character will only intensify with each passing day before the election.
Getting back to the instance at hand, I’ve grown hardened to hearing of where the minds of our young have been inculcated into believing by their parents that blacks are to be looked down upon and regarded as inferior human beings; and that it’s perfectly alright to taunt and demean them in every way.
For that inherited legacy of bigotry, as I call it, is often as deeply ingrained in a family’s tradition and psyche as a politician’s lust for power, one that can’t be eliminated by laws, education or by the art of persuasion.
And that won’t disappear or lessen until such time as a more enlightened society is able to cast away the narrow-minded prejudices of the past, and view one another through other than rose-colored glasses.
But in the meantime, we mustn’t lose sight of the advances made so far in this country, in terms of providing equal rights and opportunities for African-Americans. A far cry from when prejudice towards them was firmly implanted in the antebellum South, when it raised its ugly head in the tumultuous civil rights movement, and when schools and colleges were integrated, both in the North and South.
And turning back the pages of history even further to 1863, when the so-called ”New York City draft riots,” which were the culmination of working-class (mostly ethnic Irish) discontent with new laws passed by Congress that year to draft men to fight in the ongoing Civil War, soon degraded into a “virtual racial pogrom,” where upwards of a thousand or more blacks were murdered on the streets and their homes burned to the ground.
The riots were the largest civil insurrection in American history, that is, preceding those that followed Martin Luther King’s assassination.
So, I can only say in closing, I’ll try to cling to the hope (nay pray) that all the anger and epithets directed at our president doesn’t turn to acts of violence in the remaining time before the election, nor, if he’s reelected, afterwards.
Have a nice, carefree weekend. And be sure to count the black sheep as well as the white ones jumping over the fence in your dreams.