My wife and I are just back from a 3 day trip to Atlanta. I want to start by thanking Allen Hunt and his lovely wife Anita for their Southern hospitality in hosting us at their home for the weekend(and now the shameless plug: catch the Allent Hunt show Saturday nights at 8, Sunday nights at 6 on News/Talk WTAQ). They also know a thing or two about picking quality restaurants. Now, some reflections on Atlanta.
Allen suggested the Martin Luther King Junior Center. I was going to skip it; I have seen much of the film of the violence perpetrated against blacks during the civil rights movement, seen the interviews and read several books about it. I didn't feel I had much to learn. My wife and I took Allen's advice and visited the King Center. It was moving. And quite frankly, being one of about three white people in a center filled with blacks was a healthy experience as I saw the video displays of the hate being spewed by southern bigots. And it got me to thinking about something. I believe the race issue in this country can be defined by simple math:
I believe 47.5 percent of America (generally conservatives) believe Jim Crow was a thousand years ago.
I believe 47.5 percent of America (generally liberals) believe Jim Crow still exists.
I believe the remaining 5 percent of whites believe it should still exist(the racists among us)
And if I'm right about this I don't know how we ever bridge the gap. Many conservatives would do well to visit the King Center and study the atrocities of Jim Crow and what happened when blacks mobilized to change it. And they would do well to understand that for many of them this happened in their lifetime. Many liberals would do well to visit the center too, and learn the difference between real racism and what passes for racism today and how a once noble movement that ended a great injustice in this country has been hijacked by those who would use it for their personal gain. The other five percent I referred to are beyond help. Jim Crow is gone; blacks today have access to accomplishments they could never dream of 50 years ago. And the Obama presidency is simply the strongest symbol of those possibilities, there are many other examples of how far blacks have come(a black man having sex with countless blond white women now makes him the butt of jokes, it doesn't put his life in danger). But having those across the political specturm recognizing how far blacks have come, and how far they HAD to come, would be helpful.
If you're ever in Atlanta, eat at Mary Mac's and skip the Carter Presidential Library; it's as whiny and wimpy as the Carter Administration itself. Thanks again for everything Allen and Anita, and I'm already working on getting the two of you up here for a Packer game this fall!