Friday, May 23, 2014

Two Americas

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ cover story at The Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations,” published last night — and the subject of this week’s Moyers & Company interview — shows how dramatically the legacy of slavery and centuries of legalized and institutionalized racism have held back our country’s African-American population. In 2014, there still very much exists what in 1967 Martin Luther King described as “two Americas,” one “overflowing with the milk of prosperity and the honey of opportunity,” the other tainted by “a daily ugliness … that constantly transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair.”
This source of the quotation above and of the charts below makes the point that I've always considered obvious. That is, that the notion that anything resembling racial equality in America actually exists is probably our country's number one myth and self delusion. There has never been racial equality in this country, and that of course includes the time before we even were a country. Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of passage of the 13th amendment, the one that banned chattel slavery. 150 years in terms of human history is nothing. This country lives with the legacy of what was done to the African American people for centuries. The damage has never been repaired, and anyone who thinks it has is fooling themselves. Alas, that includes millions upon millions of white Americans right now.

(After diligently trying to embed the charts I wanted you to see, I failed. So I have pasted in links to them here and here. Of course, you can see all eight of them in the link "source" above.)
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