I suppose you would have to walk in Thom’s shoes to know life on his side of the tracks; my guess is that life is pretty damn good. I give Thom credit, however, for fighting for the common man, like Charles Foster Kane. When asked by his Wall Street patron why he was upsetting his own applecart, Kane replied that someone with money had to look out for people without money, because he didn’t want them to turn on him.
Thom has disturbed me again by suggesting that if wasn’t for the “old dinosaurs” in this country, there would be no racism. This after he talked about the rise of far-right political parties in Europe feeding on nationalistic and racist paranoia. Thom seems to be suggesting that the ADL and SPLC are lying in recent reports that show a dramatic increase in the number of hate groups in this country over the past eight years , even during times of alleged prosperity, in part riding the wave of anti-Latino sentiment. The recent killings in Pennsylvania and Long Island that occurred in an atmosphere of racial hate fueled by local officials and the media cannot be passed off as mere “coincidence.”
I’d hate to think that Thom and his listeners are fooled by the fact that since there are not currently widespread lynchings in this country that bigotry is waning in this country. It isn’t. Besides the ADL and SPLC exposes, a study last month reported that there are as many as 10,000 sites promoting race hate on the web with millions of hits daily; many of these sites target young people, and have infiltrated YouTube, Facebook and other popular websites. Why would anyone check-out hate sites if they did not want to read or hear something along the lines of their own thoughts?
The Tacoma News-Tribune printed the following “letter to the editor” from someone with a very Irish name who quoted the following Irish poem, reflecting his thoughts concerning the Sonia Sotomayor nomination:
“May those who love us love us.
And those who don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts
And if He doesn’t turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles.
So we’ll know them by their limping.”
Is this guy “subtle” or what? Either he’s been listening to too much Limbaugh and Gingrich, or he’s just your typical low-level Irish bigot; yeah, I remember that photograph of a black lawyer being held by those Irish Bostonians while another was planting that flag pole in his belly.
Discrimination, of course, is the silent partner in all of this; a president, popular athletes and entertainers do not disguise the dark underbelly of real life. African-American unemployment has historically been twice that of their white counterparts, but as high as it is doesn’t tell the whole story: incarceration, homelessness, dropping out and “working” on the street places the jobless rate at least double that. Perhaps some people also recall the Texaco case, when executives denied they were discriminating against minorities until a manager taped a meeting where they discussed their efforts to cover it up. The whistleblower was later charged with illegal wiretapping.
Because of what Thom said, I began to wonder if he was going to try to marginalize Brian Tackett as someone who is “evidence” that hate groups are fighting a “losing” battle, rather than someone who realized that sitting in prison was no way to live one’s life. But the fight against hate goes on, largely because of attempts to marginalize the perpetrators and pretend they don’t exist. It was reported back in February that residents of a Nashville neighborhood received KKK leaflets inserted in their mail circulars, reminding them of the “ongoing” race war; these leaflets could only have been inserted by an employee or employees of the company that put together and distributed the circulars.