It May Be 2017, But Our Problem is Still the Color Line

Friday, September 8, 2017 || By Rev. Dr. Regi Ratliff || OPINION || @maywoodnews 

Featured Image: Protesters at during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va. carrying Confederate flags, Gadsden flags, and a Nazi flag. | Antony Crider/Wikipedia

ratliffIn his 1903 book, “The Souls of Black Folk,” noted author W.E.B Du Bois (pictured below) opined that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” If we’re to mend this society’s brokenness, we must deal with this concept of the color line and the pivotal role Du Bois assigned it in African and human history.

Just like the 20th Century, the problem in the 21st Century remains the problem of the color line. And just like in the last century, this century has been littered with racists and racist hate groups.

We witnessed some of them recently in Charlottesville, Va., when white nationalists attacked counter-protesters who supported the removal of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s statue.

While the white supremacist and Nazi groups walked the streets of Charlottesville screaming anti- American rhetoric, your president refused to condemn these hate groups; instead, he said there were good people on both sides …

Trump needs to be reminded that there is no good in evil work. There is nothing good when a group of white males spew hateful words such as, “Jews will not replace us!”

What took place in Charlottesville is a reminder that racism is still alive. When Trump calls perpetrators of these hate groups “good people,” it tells the rest of our nation that he will always defend this group of people who “butters his bread.”

David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, publicly reminded Trump that it was White America who voted him into office. It didn’t take a racist bigot like Duke to state the obvious. Let’s be clear, Heather Heyer lost her life because of the heinous actions from a person filled with hate.


What is really problematic is that Trump’s enigmatic public responses about the innocent victims in Charlottesville. His aloof response in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Texas was equally troubling and his inexplicable decision to pardon disgraced former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has created a public relations nightmare for the White House.

As we go deeper into this century, there are many examples of damaged race relations in this country. One example from my own life is telling.

My wife and I visited Monticello, near Charlottesville, and toured the Thomas Jefferson plantation. Jefferson was the founder of the University of Virginia; you can see the university from his old plantation. This is also the same Thomas Jefferson who had children with his slave, Sally Heming.

Our tour guide was an older white woman named “Alice.” As Alice led us through the sprawling plantation and inside Jefferson’s home, she did something that caught the group off-guard. Alice stopped the group and told us that she has lived in Virginia her entire life. No big deal, right? But then Alice raised her chin in the air and stated proudly that her grandfather and great-grandfather owned slaves, and “we treated them well.”

Then Alice said she had a “black man” and he knows just how to treat her. I was ticked, but what do you expect when we were in a state where slaves were first imported. It was normal for Alice to celebrate such stupidity because of her racist upbringing.

I looked around to see if my wife and I were the only ones to hear what this woman just said. The other group members, all white, casually dropped their head in perceived embarrassment. One couple even apologized after the tour and said Alice didn’t represent them.

Just like Alice, white hate groups are brainwashed to display hatred toward other races. They can’t understand why the rest of the nation is in an uproar. Hence, the tragedy that took place in Charlottesville.  VFP

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