The fall television season is seldom filled with re-runs, but this October there’ll be an exception. Get ready for the 10th anniversary of the “Million Man March” in October, and get ready to endure a litany of complaints about the state of race relations in this country.
Race-baiting “minister” Louis Farrakhan got the ball rolling back in June when he announced, “If anybody deserves to strap a bomb on themselves and give pain for the pain we have suffered, it is we. But none of us would kill.” That’s a relief.
Not to be outdone, another “minister” from Toledo announced, “They don’t want to see us do for self.” Charles Muhammad added in the Toledo Blade, “The success of the Million Man March shows they don’t have any control of what we think and who we want to be associated with.”
That rhetoric is sure to heat up as the march approaches, but the underlying theme will be consistent: The United States is a racist country.
If the organizers wanted to disprove that assumption, though, they could hold their march at a beach in South Carolina. Because just a few days there should prove that race relations in this country are better than ever before.
We’ve made so much progress since, say, 1960 that it ought to boggle our minds.
I recently played a round of golf at a course near Litchfield Beach. My playing partner was a native Georgian. A man from Georgia and a man from New York playing golf together -- that alone would have been notable just a few decades ago.
We were paired with an even more unlikely duo -- an elderly white man from South Carolina and a middle-aged black man, a chaplain at a nearby school. Not long ago, this man’s skin color would have kept him off the golf course. Today, he’s unremarkably filling out a foursome with three white men.
By coincidence, this was the same day that a Mississippi jury convicted 80-year-old Edgar Ray Killen of manslaughter. Killen, a “former” leader of the Ku Klux Klan will spend the rest of his life in prison for his role in the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers.
Killen’s conviction is remarkable, because it alone shows how far this country has come. In attempting to defend Killen, his lawyer noted, “He lives eight miles from the courthouse. Why they are prosecuting this case now is beyond me.” But that’s exactly the point. In the 1950s and 60s, it was possible, if not likely, for a known violent racist could feel completely secure living just a few miles from the seat of justice. He never expected to have to answer for his actions.
However, the country has changed. For the better.