It seems like no exaggeration to suggest that at this moment, a half-century after the greatest victories of the civil rights movement, America is drifting backwards towards apartheid. It’s not a word I use lightly, nor one we are accustomed to using when describing our current condition. Indeed, its not even a word that most are willing to utter when referencing our past. It’s a word we like to reserve for others, for the formerly white-dominated South Africa, but not for ourselves, and certainly not now, what with a black president and all.
But beyond the presence of brown faces in high places, can anyone really claim without gagging on the sheer dimensions of the lie, that we are even within intercontinental-ballistic-missile-striking-distance of that state of post-raciality so many naive white folks assured us had arrived upon the election of Barack Obama? People like Rudy Giuliani and William Bennett and John Bolton and Ann Coulter, all of whom proclaimed racism essentially over as soon as the election had been called?
Is it really a stretch to call it apartheid, even as one after another after another after another black male (roughly one every 28 hours) — and more than a few black women and girls — are gunned down by police or vigilantes in city after city and town after town, unarmed, or armed only with an air rifle in a Wal-Mart? And this, even as white men can point their guns at federal officials or parade around the streets, or in Target or churches or Chipotle, or bars (because guns around booze is always a great idea) or anywhere they damned well please with weapons — real ones, with bullets — and be left to see another day? Or in some cases even lauded as heroes and the new “freedom riders,” standing up for their constitutional rights?
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