Thursday, February 9, 2012
Black History Month
I don't know how long our local newspaper has been doing a feature on Black History Month, but I can only imagine it's been a longtime because it's been around since 1926. We used to see a few letters -to -the- editor complaining, but that's as far as it went. The complaints are much more visible, now that we have an online forum.
It's usually the same suspects who will try to make this a racial issue, saying “we are all Americans" but those people are usually the ones who have made remarks with racial overtones and put up blogs similar in nature. They certainly can't lead by example. A recent letter writer said we should only honor respected black heroes. That letter reminded me of an old timer I used to work with, who told a fellow black worker that he was one of the good ones. We looked at each and burst out laughing but the old timer had good intentions, even though he was stuck in generational racism. He probably went to his grave thinking that his accident of birth gave him superiority over someone who was not Caucasian.
We are all Americans but unless you live in a superficial world, we all recognize that we come from different cultures and in some cases, we're often stereotyped. I'm glad I was born in Victoria because it's such a diverse city and except for a few, we embrace that. I can remember when Victoria first integrated. I was in junior high school at the time. We elected one of the students who transferred from Gross, to be our class president. At the high school level one of the transferees was elected to be the drum major at Victoria High. It wasn't long (a couple of years) after that when an old friend, Raymond Douglas Grant, became a starter as a freshman on the VSH team of 1961. I can remember the whole student body shouting “Raymond, Raymond, Raymond" in unison at the pep rallies. It's just a hunch, but I think the ones complaining about Black History Month are not from Victoria. I could go on and on by naming a local policeman “Willy Hill" everyone loved, a City Councilman and everyone's education hero, Harold Cade but my fella Victorians understand where I'm coming from.
I like the feature called Black History Month because that's a part of history that I was not taught way back then. I would be just as interested in reading about Bohemian, German, Italian, and Middle Eastern heroes and I wouldn't think twice about it being preferential treatment. That doesn't make me morally superior, it just makes me a product of my hometown and how it handled diversity.
One last thing about the recent controversy involving the White House and the Catholic Church. The last few days I've been reading the first amendment, especially the freedom of religion and free exercise thereof. I'm not a lawyer, and I didn't want to bother my brother-in- law for his interpretation, but as luck would have it, I found my answer last night. MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell had a constitutional lawyer David Boies as his guest. David Boies, argued Bush v Gore because Supreme Court and was instrumental in California's proposition 8 been overturned by an appeals court.Mr. Boies said that the recent conflict between the Catholic Church and the government has already been defeated in the courts. He cited the New York case. He said that the first amendment means that the government cannot force us to follow a religious belief. The government in the free exercise cannot restrict a person's free will to follow his religion. This case is about the subjecting an employer to follow the same rules as anyone else. He said that the church had every right to persuade their flock in not buying contraceptives. Several Catholic charities, hospitals, and colleges are already abiding by the new healthcare law. Republican legislators are already introducing legislation to stop Human Health Services at the Federal level. It will be a political wedge issue in the 2012 political season.