Like a Broken Record

Like a Broken Record

Three-Fifths: Voice of Clarity

Frank Robinson
Austin, Texas

President Johnson ponders Dr. King and the process of getting the Voting Rights Act of 1965 worked out. On reflection, this is more of the déjà vu we are experiencing.

As this generation walks through the social-political minefields of our day we pass anniversaries of notorious race-based mob attacks, riots and massacres: Tulsa’s Greenwood, election day at Ocoee, Wilmington, Rosewood, the infamous Red Summer, and many others. The land is stained with innocent blood. But, how many of today’s issues have we seen, never remedied, and must deal with again and again?

Confronted with factual atrocities, many respond, “That’s all in the past, a tragic, uncomfortable conversation without any relevance, because we are not racists now.” Thus, we deflect and conceal so much that contributes to our present condition. Some don’t want these things remembered or taught in schools. But why are we threatened by facts? Isn’t our denial and ignorance of facts why some saw fine people in Charlottesville, but thugs in Minneapolis?

A devout, but misinformed white friend told me Black leaders lie to their people, “to keep them blaming and hating whites.” He said he could not be a racist, as he has mixed-race grandchildren and a Black friend, a billionaire he golfed with, and if what I said was true, his friend would have told him. I assured him no matter what his Black friend drove, if stopped by the police, his life was in danger…

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