Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Transparent Racism: From Washington, DC to St. Bernard Parish
Over the weekend, tens of thousands of angry protesters gathered in Washington DC in a demonstration that was largely organized by Fox News and right wing radio. They were not protesting the lack of health care for tens of millions of Americans, or the out-of-control criminal justice system, or under-funded schools, or the continued wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Waving confederate flags and carrying signs with racist slogans, they were expressing their fear at the changes happening in this country.
Welcome to the so-called post-racial US.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to rebuke Republican Congressman Joe Wilson for shouting “You Lie,” at President Obama. The vote to rebuke fell largely along party lines. During 8 years of Bush administration innovations in the art of lying, including the multi-trillion dollar lies that brought us to war with Iraq, no member of Congress ever shouted at the President during a speech. And, unlike much of what has been said by Bush and many presidents before him, the statement that inspired Wilson’s outburst, about healthcare for immigrants, was unquestionably true.
Wilson, who in 2003 called it a “smear” to mention that Senator Strom Thurmond had a mixed-race daughter, denies that race anything to do with his remark. But former President Jimmy Carter disagrees. To Carter, it’s clear that Wilson's outburst was rooted in fears of a black president. "I think it's based on racism," Carter said. "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president."
Meanwhile, here in New Orleans, St. Bernard Parish city government continues to look for ways to discriminate. According to today’s Picayune, “The Parish Council Tuesday night called for a November special election that would give voters the chance to permanently ban most future apartment developments.”
As the chorus of voices calling for accountability grows, a growing list of relief and recovery organizations have pledged to challenge racial discrimination in the parish. "St. Bernard Parish officials just don't seem to be getting the message, " Morgan Williams of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center told the Picayune. "The purpose and intent behind this ordinance, coming as it does after three findings by the U.S. District Court holding the parish in contempt, is transparently discriminatory."