Lest We Forget

I’m feeling a certain kind of way, and it’s only midweek! It’s tough being black at the moment.

First, the Supreme Court’s punting on Affirmative Action on Monday (a policy that helped me access college, a PhD program, and my current academic position), then the Trayvon Martin trial started (and I’m getting emotional so early – y’all, I can’t!), and yesterday, the weakening of the Voting Rights Act, fought so hard for back in 1965 (check out above video).

I’m telling you: I’m feeling a new Reconstruction era/New Jim Crow coming on – it can only happen if we continue to forget our history!

My main fear is not folks trying to set us back legally and otherwise, it’s: Do we in 2013 have the same courage as the Civil Rights generation to rise up and fight injustice? Those people were prepared to die for freedom.  I once asked my students if there was anything they were prepared to die for.

No, was the collective answer.

Frightening! (A self-absorbed generation would NEVER have been able to face down those state troopers in Selma 1965, and the non-black allies who responded in kind to the violence by joining their fellow African American citizens in the struggle: do we think – had they been so self-absorbed as today’s young people – would have looked at the same footage and join the movement? Or, would they simply say: “Not my problem”?)

Of course, all is not lost: in gender politics, Texas state senator Wendy Davis gave an 11-hour filibuster that blocked a law banning abortions in Texas. She trended last night on twitter: #standwithWendy.

But the racial fallout might make these gender politics mute if we don’t protect the basic rights that are the cornerstone of democracy.

Sigh. I need my David fix right now…

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Posted on June 26, 2013, in current events. Bookmark the permalink. 47 Comments.

  1. Sigh…Lest we forget…I grew up in the 50’s & 60’s in the south. Segregation was everywhere…at that time no one questioned it…it just was. Then came those brave folks who stood up for equal rights…and I can tell you from living it…it was ugly! As a teenager it scared the hell out of me. I was never Paula Deen, never used the N word …but I didnt know a black person, it just wasnt accepted. But then came that infamous bus ride and folks began to take a stand for what they believed in, equality…for all. It took my parents awhile to come around to the “new way of thinking” but me personally…I never looked back. Thought to myself..what was all the fuss…so HQ and all that were on the other side of the coin. *BRAVO* Lets hope this some what screwed up country doesnt send us back to that time!

    Oh, the young folk of today…would they take stand and even fight and die for equal rights. Heck no, they would just tweet abut it and feel they did their part!!!!

  2. Oh and anyone that knows me…knows that Imagine is my all time favorite song. I had the privilege of hearing John sing it live and then one day hearing David was a dream come true! My autographed copies of Imagine (by John himself) hang (or hung) in Davids home. I gave them to him on a tour stop.

  3. Hello Gorgeous

    Thanks for sharing, Candy! 🙂 I can’t even imagine what life was like back then, that’s how privileged I am living in the here and now as a black woman. But I’ve heard enough horror stories to know we just absolutely cannot go back!

    Funny you think today’s generation would “just tweet” that’s enough.

  4. It might just be my institution, but the students I come across are for the most part apathetic and really politically uninformed, and don’t follow the news.

  5. In reading about the Supreme Court decision yesterday, what stuck with me was the fact that “Congress reauthorized the law in 2006 by large majorities; the vote was 390 to 33 in the House and unanimous in the Senate. President George W. Bush, a Republican, signed the bill into law, saying it was “an example of our continued commitment to a united America where every person is valued and treated with dignity and respect.” (From NYT). If the Supreme Court felt that the act was in need of revision, they should have sent it back to Congress for them to work on it. They know their states better than 9 isolated judges sitting on high. The assertion that racism is gone from voting (or from anywhere) is ludicrous. Only someone who has no grasp on everyday realities would believe that. It’s a nice dream but we’re not there.

    In reference to the idea that the current generation doesn’t care enough about causes to involve themselves, I agree and disagree at the same time. In the certain areas of the world, I do feel like the young people are largely internally and superficially focused but that is a product of many years of local peace and seeing the troubles of the world play out on tv in faraway places like it’s some movie. But look at what young people across the globe are doing. Arab Spring was and is one of the most powerful forces shaping the world at large today, with much of the impetus for change being led by a new generation. Those young people are living it everyday though and they have to get out and change their world to make it a better place to be. To me, it has similarities with the Civil Rights era — only now their fight is broadcast to the world instantaneously on twitter or via other social media. I think our young generation has the ability to fight for change. They just need something that challenges their comfortable life enough to get their butts off the couch.

    • But would today’s Congress even be able to vote like in 2006? That’s what’s scary! Midterm elections next are more important than ever before!

  6. I feel and understand your concerns HG. Actions are required to keep that ugliness and meaness from taking greater hold. Have written my representatives and cast my votes throughout my life as soon as I was of age. Have also taken my pocketbook elsewhere with certain business enterprises when it has been evident that they are of a wrongheaded mindset. Money talks big time.

    my young adult children were reared with an awareness of what those that came before sacrificed. They both have served in the military and are amazed how so many of their generation take our liberties for granted. So not all but many would not be moved to die much less confront for injustices.

    Candy, I hope that from the ranks of these young people some leadership will rise and be the spearhead for standing up. Is there is a possibility of that coming from the musical world? Leadership through lyrics like what we had in the sixties?

    Till then I will just Imagine.

  7. Shanny in Australia

    There is a weekly current affairs type of programme here where politicians and political commentators/journalists sit on a panel and answer questions from the audience. Your post here HG reminded me of a discussion that was had in the most recent programme. They were discussing the celebrity chef Nigella Lawson incident and how her husband assaulted her publicly in a restaurant and nobody came to her aid. It was basically agreed between panelists and audience members that where once upon a time, onlookers would come to a person’s aid, nowadays people are inclined to not want to get involved.

    Also picking up on your comments about gender politics….(btw I don’t see abortion as a gender issue but more as a moral issue as you will find both men and women who are for or against abortion)….during the last few hours we just had our first female prime minister ousted by her own party and replaced with the very same person whom her party had ousted in order to give her the position of Prime Minister. Kinda like cheating on your wife, marrying your mistress and then cheating on your mistress to get back with your former wife. What a shambles and a complete and utter joke. Of course, in recent months there has been lots of talk about misogyny and ‘playing the gender card’ in Australia’s politics.

    Right now as I consider all these issues….those you have raised HG and the issues I’ve just raised….I can’t help but wonder if they are in part a result of the success of the social revolutions that have swept western culture since the 60’s. Moral apathy, moral relativism, people only caring from a far and not being willing to stand strong for something.

    Of course, these are grand sweeping comments that don’t encompass everyone and everything but I do believe that the state of society today – the good AND the bad – are a result of the huge moral shifts that have occured in the last 50 or 60 years. Victims of our own success in many ways.

    • So many interesting points, Shanny, and yes, the social revolutions since the 60s have contribute to moral apathy and moral relativism.

      Still, it’s so hard to predict what’s in store. Yesterday, folks were pessimistic the Supreme Court would rule against same-sex marriage after what happened with VRA. But today, they struck down the Defense of Marriage Act!

      • Shanny in Australia

        Lol…I have debated whether or not to say this because i know my opinion will not be popular here and i’m not inclined to get into a debate over it….but…yes, I saw the news about that….and to me, that is just another example of moral relativism influenced by the social revolutions of recent decades.

      • Moral relativism meaning that marriage should only be between a man and a woman? Why? I hope the answer is not because the Bible says so because I think we all know by now that the Bible says a lot of things…many of which we no longer live by. No ham, no haircuts need apply. And are we all okay killing a child who curses at their parents? Or doing away with someone who dares to work on a Sunday? Because that’s in there too.

        If marriage is based on love and two people of the same sex fall in love then is it not more moral to unite in marriage rather than to be together outside of the institution of “holy matrimony”?

      • Preach it, Ali (lol).

    • Shanny, As someone moving down that direction hopefully soon, I also heard that you have a new prime minister? Hope you are doing well!

  8. My 20 yo son sent me this video a few months ago.
    Yes, it seems like sometimes kids nowadays are apathetic – but maybe the issues are different, or perceived as different.. Idk.

  9. Shanny-I hope your children always walk the “Straight” and narrow path, because if they dont you will have to chose between accepting them for who they are …or loosing your child. For me, it was a no brainer!! I choose my child and no bible was going to tell me any different!
    *Im going to go dunk my head in the pool as smoke is coming out my ears*

    • Shanny in Australia

      I have loved ones whom I have already accepted for who they are Candy and I have seen from the mistakes of others that the only way to remain a positive force in their child’s life is to always keep the channels of communication and love open.
      I get the feeling that I get on your nerves a lot these days Candy. It makes me sad.

      • Hope the child is a positive influence on the parent–there can’t be an authentic relationship if one side thinks that they have the more righteous view of the other’s life.

  10. Hello Gorgeous

    Before we deteriorate into personal back-and-forth, remember to keep it civil and respectful, ESPECIALLY if we’re going to talk politics.

  11. Beautiful video! I heard the song for the first time on the radio this week.

    I’m so happy for my sweet friend and his husband, with three adorable kids, who have been on pins and needles about the court decision! There really does seem to be two separate nations in the US–one where the voting rights act is still needed, and not coincidentally, gay marriage is not supported.

    I admit that the only thing I would die for is my children or husband. (Btw, are gay people any different?). Social/political challenges are rarely permanent in the historical scheme of things, and can be endured and possibly changed in better ways than offering up your life. Perhaps it’s a sign of progress that young people don’t see self-sacrifice as a good way of making changes. There are far too many deluded suicide bombers that think that way.

    As the Occupy movements, Arab Spring, and current Brazilian protests show, there are plenty of people showing that apathy is no more prevalent these days than in the past. We also have an all-volunteer military–young people who are willing to put themselves on the line.

  12. ‘just as man cannot live without dreams he cannot live without hope. if dreams reflect the past,hope summons the future.(elie wiesel)

  13. Hello Gorgeous

    I never understood “what you’re prepared to die for” as some kind of fanatical suicide mission thing in terms of self-sacrifice. I always understood it in the sense of what the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights era understood it as: yes, you could risk going into Mississippi and get yourselves killed just for the right to equal access on public transportation and voting. That’s not suicide mission to me.

    • I admire young people willing to take risks for a noble cause, I just wouldn’t be excited about my son taking those kinds of risks, especially with his youthful sense of invincibility. I’m not like those brave military moms. I’m probably overprotective–I was even glad my son missed the Occupy protests, though he wanted to take part. (I think twelve years of infertility and adoption attempts turn one into a giant coward where your children are concerned, lol).

  14. Imagine how far your dreams will take you…if you unload the worries that can weigh you down,leave behind the douts that slow you down and set aside all the little things that get in your way,imagine how far your dreams will take you if you let them

  15. HG-Dont worry about me, Im used to dunking my head! 🙂

  16. Another wonderful thought provoking post Hg, thank you,
    Today is a good day for humanity.

  17. Was reading over tweets by famous people regarding todays news and I came across Demi Lovato’s
    ” No one is better than any one else. What an incredible day for California AND for equality.”
    Got me thinking about David, of course, if he was here would he give a positive tweet like Demi’s, I really want to believe that he would.

  18. To expand a bit on Ali’s take on moral relativism:

    I think even most religious people get relatively few of their morals from religion and the Bible. Our morals are progressing as our social consciousness improves. For example:

    Is slavery wrong? You won’t learn that it is from the Bible, Jesus or Brigham Young.

    What about genocide? How many innocent children and babies would have died in the Flood, or Sodom and Gomorrah, if they were fact?

    Is human sacrifice wrong? Abraham sets a pretty bad example by being willing to kill his child.

    Is it wrong to have sex with or impregnate young girls? We all know the religious record on that (Mohammed married a 9-year-old. Even Mary was supposedly only 13 years old).

    We believe in free speech, but many fundamentalist religious countries have anti-blasphemy laws punishable by death.

    “Thou shalt not kill” didn’t even apply to non-Jews in Bible times.

    Women’s rights, racial segregation, child corporal punishment, polygamy, education for all, animal cruelty, are among many areas where we have progressed over the protests of traditional moralists.

    • Oh, I forgot my original thought, which is kind of a contrast to the above. It is to agree that marriage for gays should be supported by traditional moralists. Way back before Prop 8, it was Prop 22 in California, and when I had people at my door, I would say that since I didn’t believe in sex outside of marriage, I would WANT my kids to be married if they were gay. Nowadays, I also believe that every child deserves the protection of marriage and a stable family–which are very traditional values.

  19. my guess David wouldn’t say anything at all.

  20. politics and religion.. kaboom!

  21. I highly doubt David would ever tweet about equality in same sex marriage! The LDS Church has never been quiet (or shy) about their stance on the issue. Its their right to believe what they want…just as it is mine.

  22. So happy with today’s ruling at the Supreme Court for my gay relatives that live in CA and friends. I am disappointed in the LDS church and other Christian religions stance on same sex marriage. LDS is not the only religion that does not take a progressive stance on it. Equality for all is the way it should be.

  23. Was reading a blog that a missionary wrote because it had a picture of David. I don’t really read the blogs just look at pictures and skim to read what they say about David, but this one caught my eye. It was regarding President Obama and how the Chilin people didn’t like him. The guy went on to say that it wasn’t only Chilin Mormons and ‘investigators” that disliked him, but liked Romeny, but everyone didn’t like him. Got me thinking, I wonder if all Mormons voted/liked Romeny because of his beliefs and his moral fiber and voted for him regardless if they liked his politics or not. Hmm. Anyway just was taken back at what was said. It was so apparent that he was a big Romeny fan, so I guess that wouldn’t be so strange for him to feel the pride.
    I’m just glad we dodged a bullet.

  24. “I’m feeling a certain kind of way, and it’s only midweek!”

    same here. it was painful to see the pic of trayvon martin’s covered body w/visible leg and tennis shoe. it brought back that weird feeling i had when zimmerman was initially released after questioning by the police. yesterday’s supreme court ruling was uplifting. but on the other hand, i’m bracing myself to hear the upcoming updates on mandela’s health.

  25. 498661 573319Howdy just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know several with the pictures arent loading properly. Im not positive why but I feel its a linking concern. Ive tried it in two different internet browsers and both show exactly the same outcome. 251191

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