From My Corner: May 15, 2017
Back to racial segregation
Those of us who remember the 60s cannot believe that the days of racial segregation could return but they are here again.
Those were the ugly days of United States history, as much as slavery. Sings of ‘equal but separate’ were common. Singer Sammy Davis Jr. could stay in hotels for white only because Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra pressure the management into allowing him to have a room. Black children could not attend schools and universities for whites, leaving the Black students attending schools in the worst conditions.
Finally, in the mid-60s we experienced the “bussing” situation transporting Black children from their neighborhoods to attend better schools in white areas. Some of them would have to travel over one hour each way and it often turned bloody. People would stone busses carrying students, sometimes getting hurt by the anger of those who could not see their own children co-mingling with them.
Sad, dark days!
I am now appalled that something that was so eagerly fought for so many years, is returning and it was decided by Black university students themselves requesting to have separate graduation exercises for them.
Harvard University is the latest to adopt this policy. Stanford, Temple and Columbia all have Black student graduations. Last year, Harvard was named the No. 2 best college for African-Americans by Essence and MONEY magazines.
Students claim that it is one more way to celebrate their culture and heritage. I am sure that many of their older relatives are not happy with that decision of exclusion.
What’s next: Latino students wanting to celebrate theirs separately, too? Perhaps Muslims students who are constantly being harassed in this country will ask for separation also.
This country is no longer a “melting pot” where immigrants came to form a better nation. The many divisions we see today are indicative of a country falling apart by hatred and lack of tolerance.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963
Freedom of expression and violence
There is a fine line between freedom of expression and inciting violence and we must call for more sensibility when making public comments.
Case in point: Texas A&M professor Dr. Tommy Curry called for white genocide, saying in a 2012 podcast “in order to be equal, in order to be liberated, some white people may have to die.”
Texas A&M President Michael K. Young refused to discipline or fire professor because the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of others to offer their personal views, no matter how reprehensible those views may be. That may be true but, in today’s violent times, we should be more careful with our public statements.
There are many crazed people out there who would consider that statement as giving him or her blessings to go ahead and commit crimes against opposing views. It has happened against homosexuals, Muslims and even attacks against churches of all denominations.
Just think what would happen if a white person says that about Blacks.
Lawrence delegation office at City Hall
I attended the reopening of the office at Lawrence City Hall dedicated to the state delegation to better service their constituents in this area. It was poorly attended if we don’t count the staff members, city employees and obvious political hacks that we see everywhere.
Probably, the reason for that is that it was treated as a political event more than a service to our residents. That office had been opened for that purpose since June 12, 2015; you can find it in our June 15 edition. Being an election year, they staged it as a new addition courtesy of Mayor Dan Rivera.
Kendrys Vasquez was the only city councilor present and Patricia Mariano the only school committee member, but most notable of all was the absence of State Representatives Juana Matías and Diana DiZoglio. No one mentioned their names and we were left with the impression that there is trouble in River City. If our representatives can’t get along and put on a happy face at a moment like that, I can’t believe that there could be any type of cooperation in private.
Remember what I said a couple of weeks ago about Kindergarten Lawrence?
Discord in the School Department
There have been a couple of articles published in The Eagle-Tribune that have me concerned. First, it was the reduction (almost elimination) of the high school library which was alarming. The superintendent’s reaction during the school committee meeting to that article was a public outcry that should have never happened. Disrespectful behavior towards another member is never excused, particularly from the leader in education in the city.
The subsequent article in the Tribune was equally strong and offensive.