It's been almost half a century since the assassination of Martin Luther King and the urban infernos that followed his death. That's two generations, and many people have no memory of that time. But we may be returning to that time. Linda McQuaig writes:
I’ve always been amazed at the way Americans routinely describe their country as “the greatest democracy on earth,” without considering how that characterization fits with its history of genocide against Native Americans and more than two centuries of slavery.The fact that slavery was central to the American experience is rarely acknowledged, with little attempt to make amends for this atrocity — as South Africa did after apartheid or Germany did after the Second World War. There’s been only a belated apology, from the U.S. House of Representatives, in 2008, after decades of pressure.
And certainly the emerging Trump administration is in no mood to offer apologies:
The soft, itchy underbelly of American racism has been given a good scratching by Trump, who for years kept alive birther attempts to discredit the first black president.Whatever damage Trump is likely to do around the globe, at home — under the guidance of master provocateur Bannon — he is almost certainly going to pick a fight with the Black Lives Matter crowd, despite their reliance on peaceful protests in the face of routine police killings of unarmed black men.And when those tensions are further inflamed, the man who will be there to ensure justice is done will be Trump’s new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, the Alabama senator whose racial comments led to his rejection as a judge by the Republican-dominated U.S. Senate in 1986.
Consider Sessions' record on race relations:
Less well known is the insidious role Sessions played in preserving Alabama’s long history of separate and unequal education. In the 1990s, 30 of the state’s poorest school districts and a disability rights group successfully challenged the system, with an Alabama judge ruling it unconstitutional.Sessions, then Alabama’s attorney general, fought to ensure ongoing inequality, using his office to wage a fierce two-year battle to overturn the decision — which was eventually upheld by the state’s supreme court.Given Sessions’ history, it’s not hard to imagine how, as the nation’s attorney general, he’ll clamp down on black street protestors, stripping away their civil liberties and emboldening police — moves that will lead to more anger, violence, further clampdowns, mass arrests, etc.
Gordon Lightfoot's song "Black Day in July" may, once again, be getting a lot of air play.