What a wild week it’s been when it comes to race relations in the Artesian City. Shirley Sherrod was accused of racism, then had it proven that she wasn’t a racist, all within the span of a couple of days. I admit, I bought Andrew Breitbart’s story hook, line and sinker and I’m rather ashamed of it, too. Breitbart claims that his aim wasn’t to label Sherrod a racist, but to show the NAACP crowd as racist in response to the NAACP’s claim that the Tea Party movement is racist. All he did was show himself to be a jerk, just like I did by blindly listening to him.
The problem with both is that racism has no place in the modern world. Yes, I know there are racists. To argue otherwise would be idiotic. The problem is that there aren’t as many racists as their once were, so acting like every Tea Party activist or NAACP member is a racist nothing more than throwing out red hearings so that you don’t have to argue important things.
I’ll be the first to point out that there are probably racists in both groups. In fact, I know there are. But that is hardly indicative of the overwhelming majority of members of both groups. What is the norm is that both groups seem to support a specific set of policy initiatives that are at odds with one another in many cases. Obviously, there will always be friction between two such groups, but there shouldn’t be.
First, let me point to Libertarian gubernatorial candidate John Monds. Libertarian ideals are found throughout the Tea Party movement. Many Tea Party activists are Libertarians themselves. And John Monds is our candidate for governor. He’s not just a black man, but the president of the NAACP of Grady County. There’s also Project 21, an organization of conservatives – many of them Tea Party activists – that frequently finds itself at odds with the NAACP. Project 21 is for black conservatives.
With people of color standing on either side of any given debate, and with whites standing on either side of those same debates, it’s time to move aside racism. Its past time to accept that white and black can work for the same goals. After all, black and white worked together for civil rights in the 1960s, and some whites gave up their lives for that cause. The 1988 film Mississippi Burning tells the story of two white activists who were killed.
Racism has no place in the new century. It really didn’t have a place in the last century, either. It’s past time to put aside the skin color argument and start arguing facts. Many of the debates this past year in Albany have devolved into race as well, from Rod Jolivette to Joshua Murfree. Neither should have been, though. Yes, both were black men. However, their names didn’t make the papers because they were black, but for other reasons.
What do you say we put the black/white argument on the back burner for a while and try dealing with some stuff that has substance? Why not actually discuss ways to make our community, our state, and our nation better? There will always be racism, but the best way to combat it isn’t with yelling and screaming. That plays into their hands. No, the best way to combat it is by being everything they say you aren’t. Once you do that, then their world starts crumbling down around their heads.
Trust me, it’s worth watching.
Written by Tom Knighton. Read his blog at TomKnighton.com, as well as SWGAPolitics.com. A lifelong political junkie, Tom started out his adult life as a journalism major at Darton College before leaving school to serve his nation as a U.S. Navy Corpsman. Through the years, he has watched government from outside and inside. A former Reagan supporter, then later a Democrat, Tom now finds himself quite comfortable as a card carrying Libertarian and currently serves as Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Southwest Georgia.