"Me no Alamo! Me no Alamo!!"
So Santa Anna's troops pled at the battle of San Jacinto where Texan independence from Mexico was won and where the Texans remembered the Alamo. Hence the plea from the Mexicans to save themselves from the same fate as the Alamo's defenders.
I defy anyone and everyone to explain to me how what certain whites say (and with which I am thoroughly fed up), "What's race got to do with me? My folks didn't get here till after
1900 and it's not MY fault!" is any different in kind from 'me no Alamo'?
My initial response to this particular whine is "Ptu!"
through two fingers of my right hand, but that requires elaboration.
I'll start by agreeing: no, it's NOT your fault and no doubt your
grandparents (or further back for the younger set) heard their share of
ethnic epithets. And, yes, more than likely you don't use them either.
However, somewhere along the line you benefited by not being held back
and having a real chance to prove yourselves when others, because of
their color, did not. You, or your parents, weren't held back because of
your familial lack of pigmentation.
So, like it or not, you have
benefited from racism. No, you didn't ask for it but I'm sorry; that
doesn't really matter. What DOES matter is, what are you doing to erase
the extremely stubborn remnants of that structure? Except in the
criminal justice system, that structure's gotten quite a bit subtler
than it used to be. Jim Crow has been succeeded by James Crow, Esq.
My mother's people were among those immigrants of a century ago too, so
I'm one of this crowd as well. But it is from my dad's side (Southern
free farmers, aka 'scalawags' courtesy of the ex-planters) that I get my
nose and my near-violent antipathy for even whiffs of racism.
Here's the deal: what they used to say in the 1960s is really true,
still, today. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the
If we're not already there, how do we become part of the
solution? First, TUNE OUT Rush, Glenn, Rupert, Breitbart, Drudge and
other liars and go to Truthout, Alternet, The Daily Beast, Haaretz and
the (Jerusalem) Post for news. Read the Times with a few grains of salt.
And read what African-American scholars really have had to say about
this matter. Do NOT accept anything cribbed together by Glenn et al.
So, first thing is get and keep yourself correctly informed and form a
reasonably accurate idea of the background of the current state of
Second, don't talk out of both sides of your mouth. If we
want the Shoah to be remembered, don't slavery and Jim Crow deserve as
much? Promote knowledge of such shameful incidents as the destruction of
the thriving and prosperous black section of Tulsa in 1920 (including,
by the way, aerial bombing--no joke!!) and the destruction of another
prosperous black town in the 1920s in Florida (Rosewood) by the KKK and
find out what we can of other incidents. If we want wrongs done to us
remembered, what business have we of mouthing 'move on!' to others?! I
say to do that is nothing but SHANDA on us and surely race-based slavery and its aftermaths cast shadows comparable to Cossacks, pogroms and attempted annihilation!
Third, develop your own
senses for this sort of thing. Teach yourself more analogies; that'll
probably help a lot as this is how one learns to see parallels. Do all
you can to develop a true sense of who really has the power in each
case. While it's true that Proverbs advises us not to 'favor a poor man
in his quarrels', this is advice to treat the poor equally, not
preferentially. But if the poor today are treated anywhere near equally
to others, I've a bridge I'd like to sell you!
So, brethren, no more excuses for not doing our parts. No more whines like the one with which I began this post and no more anythings which have the ring of 'me no Alamo'--or explain to me, in proper detail and without befogging the issue, where, how and why I am mistaken. I have time to wait, so take all the time you need.