I was born right about the time Harry Truman desegregated the Armed Services. About that same time the lid of the post Civil War pressure cooker was about to blow off.Southern Politics was especially ready to blow.
In those days elections in November didn't matter much, it was all about the Democrat Primaries. From dogcatcher to Senator or Governor, win the Primary and the Donk was in.
Right about the year of my birth a young veteran named George Corley Wallace ran for office the first time. One of the planks in his platform was equal rights for black Americans. Meanwhile millions of black Americans had returned from the Services and duty in WW2.
Now we all know that the Services were segregated then, many black Americans sent into menial, but necessary jobs. Not all, of course. We know about the Tuskeegee Arimen, those black pilots who served heroically in the air. Most of us have forgotten the Tank Destroyer outfits that filled the front lines battling Germany's Panzers, and winning. We know about the Red Ball Express, running everything from bullets to beans, and most especially gasoline, all over France and Germany, often pushing destroyed trucks with dead drivers off the road so the convoy could grind on. We forget that many US Infantry Divisions in the Italian Campaign were black soldiers with (mostly) white officers.
These young veterans came home wanting what was theirs, the piece of America that they too had fought for. Most everybody my age remembers that, the trouble is there are a lot, a LOT of people born later who do not remember. Instead they get their ideas about that time from a very suspect source, the media.
During that time the segregation was caused by only one thing, really, the desire to keep wages down. Working class whites were kept in line by the the constant threat "I'll give your job to a n****r". Today, of course, no one says this, instead it's "I'll ship your IT job to India, your manufacturing job to Singapore," etc. That, my friends, is progress.
That threat, between 1866 and the 1970s was the root of animosity between the races. On one side were a people denied those jobs at all and on the other side, those kept at bare subsistence wages, living in fear for their meager livelihoods.
Today, of course, we have idiots publishing magazine covers about "is your baby racist?" back then it was very common for black and white children to play together until going to the segregated schools. This is important, it shows that racism is taught. Racism is simply fear. Southerners were taught racism like Yankee working class folks were taught to hate the Irish and the Poles, not to mention, the blacks.
Fear of The Other. It's pretty old. Genghis Khan riding out of the deserts of Central Asia, the Cossacks roaring out of the Steppes, the Apache slaughtering the Navajo, Chaka Zulu slaughtering everyone he came up against, an old old story.
Today we Americans, of any race, should not fear any of The Other. If our laughable "intelligence agencies" were not busy fighting each other and political administrations they disagreed with, we should be able to swat down any foreign threat in short order. Note, please, that we were losing men and women in Iraq only because we were trying to make a net change in that society. We could just as easily killed everyone and gone about our business. We lost those troops because we were trying to be good guys. Please note, I tend to digress, this is not one of those times. We have no reason to have to fear the other now. It might be ugly but we can literally prevent any other "tribe" from hurting us.
Back to the dawn of the modern civil rights era. It's kind of funny, back then there were huge problems the black community faced, one of them they did not have was unwed motherhood. It was not so very long ago that the rate for white people having children out of wedlock was higher than that of black folks.
This little factoid does not have a lot to do with civil rights per se, it does have much to do with poverty and crime. The left is constantly agonising over our high rate of incarceration and poverty. Well, the most obvious predictor of poverty and incarceration is unwed parents. Naturally, mention this around liberals and they get a horrible case of the vapors and start screeching about how you hate women, minorities and children and want to return women to barefoot and pregnant. Which is odd since we, when we mention this, are trying to help women and children of all races, as well as society. I will refrain from trying to guess why the segments of society closely aligned with the political left seem most interested in promoting illegitimacy, that is for another time. Still, it's strange that as actual racism in America is lessened, we get faced with two thirds of black Americans and around a quarter of white Americans born out of wedlock. It does keep prison guards in business, I reckon.
Anyhow, back to the Democrat Primaries of my childhood. There were two keys to the southern ones, populist and racist. If this combination seems strange to you, well, me too. Anyhow, or late friend George C. Wallace ran on an equal opportunity, let's build our little piece of Alabama up for all ticket. His opponent had lots of money from those interested in keeping wages low and campaigned by shouting "N****R! N****R! N****R! Wallace lost. He swore then, "I'll never be outn****red again. And he wasn't. It was not until he was out of politics and near the end of his life that he publicly recanted his segregationist career. From my perspective the problem with Wallace was not his segregationist political career, which I do not now believe was heartfelt but his failure to improve Alabama's economy. Others may disagree, many probably will but I can take a lot of bluster if every one's income and standard of living is climbing fast. Alas, neither white nor black did well.
Today we have come a very long way. When I was a boy and the KKK wanted to march, everybody trembled in fear. Today if we want to see fear, tell the KKK that, just after they've formed for their march, oh yeah, the police there are going off duty and the next shift has to cover something else.
It's kind of funny, really, the KKK now has a membership running somewhere between three and six thousand, nationwide. The only white racial groups that are growing in membership are those prison gangs, they are, of course, formed against the black and brown gangs. Want to end those, figure out how to stop unwed pregnancies. As far as the white racist groups having nothing to do with prison gangs, we've far more people warning us about racism than we do racists. When was the last time we had a noose incident or a car scratching or painting of racial slurs that wasn't done by the alleged victim, wanting to call attention to the problem?
We hear about the dangers of those NeoNazi groups, the total number, again outside the prison gangs, is even smaller than the KKK. Yet there are reinforced Regiments of groups fighting them. Again, let them go march and then, in the middle of the march, have the police detail inform them the police are called elsewhere. See just how fearsome they are!
The great civil rights crime of the last thirty years was the horrible dragging death of James Byrd. The crime was awful, no doubt about it. Yet those three peckerwoods were caught and convicted. To save time and trouble the three were given the choice, first one to roll over gets life without parole. The other two got the death penalty.
Naturally, the civil rights establishment then sallied forth with the statement that Governor Bush' refusal to support hate legislation was proof that He, and Texas, were somehow condoning Mr. Byrd's murder. Of course, most of us in Texas, even most Dems are still scratching our heads over that one. Maybe we were supposed to shoot them up with something to knock them out, then go through the process again for real? Maybe give that other one two life sentences, each without parole?
I would feel a lot better if the civil rights establishment would do two things. the first is to realise that it is not 1956 anymore. More importantly, stop being an arm of the Democrat Party. The Democrats are not doing anything for you, they don't have to. The Republicans actually do things, not for the black families but for families. We Republicans will not go out of our way specifically for blacks because it doesn't matter, no matter what we do, we are The Enemy. Same with Hispanics. When Governor of Texas one of George W. Bush' proudest moments was when he led the fight to bring running water and sewers to those border colonias along our side of the Rio Grande.
Now, this is long enough already so I'm going to close this entry. If there is no giant civil rights march outside my house I will put in my suggestions on where the civil rights movement should go. Those should go over like a pregnant pole vaulter.