(This is in response to a blog post, made by my high school friend, Donna Scuderi, at: http://donnascuderi77.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/irony-and-the-r-word/)
This is a touching piece and I sincerely appreciate and understand the sentiments expressed. You should, rightfully, be proud of your Dad, for he was teaching you something that many in his generation failed to do or were ambiguous about with their children. Luckily, I had parents in the same league, and growing up, in and out of hospitals, I got to meet, firsthand, lots of AAs who worked there, mostly in janitorial positions. There all impressed me with their understanding and caring for me and the other kids, who were usually in beds, wheelchairs or casts of one kind or another.
Fast-forward (if I can steal a phrase) 50 years and what do we find? Because of the failure or ambiguity passed on by some parents, there is still racism, bigotry and hatred in our society. There is little difference in the vitriol, but there does seem to be a difference between the outright racism of our growing up years and the racism of today. Today, there is very little direct reference to the “N” word. Those political strategists looking to harness the “energy and passion” of those who hate, have reframed the issue to attack by making references to “class warfare” being perpetrated by AAs and their ideological companions. The sad fact is that those who might otherwise disagree and who would abhor the outright racism of the ’50s, are accepting of the “class warfare” moniker. The strategists are being rewarded by those who have been duped into believing that “class warfare” was initiated by the left.
The truth is that “class warfare” has ALWAYS been initiated by those in positions of power and wealth, as a defense against those in servitude who demand equality, opportunity and respect. After all, who would come out and say they are against equality, opportunity and respect? Especially if they profess to be of a superior moral fiber?
In its most current incarnation, “class warfare” erupted on the scene, concurrent with the election of President Reagan, a man who was convinced that if the wealthy and powerful were given more wealth and more power, it would eventually “trickle down” to the masses. Unfortunately, it took too many, too long, to admit that when the wealthy and powerful were given more wealth and power, they simply became even wealthier and more powerful.
Economic growth isn’t one-sided and it is certainly not top-down. Growth comes from a combination of the “top” meeting the “demand” of the “masses”, meaning that without the people with the means to purchase, there can be no growth. The people with the means (the Middle Class) have been losing ground over the past 30 years, both in power and in wealth, with real income and savings going down, not up, as it has been heading for those who are already wealthy and powerful.
Step in, the strategists, who see the poor and former Middle Class (after the economic meltdown) as the supporters of “class warfare”. Because of social and economic realities, the percentage of poor in this country are black and Hispanic. Hence, racism rears its ugly head and is now cast in economic terms; much more palatable and easy to publish, than straight out screaming of the “N” word. Sadly, even those who were properly taught and who sincerely believed they were saved from being the racists of our generation, have succumbed to the “class warfare” tag, allowing themselves to be cast as the modern-day bigot, even though they may not be.
I don’t believe that either of our Dads would be happy with the current state of affairs. Even the true Conservatives of the ’50s and ’60s (the Goldwater’s and Nixon’s) would not want to be seen with the likes of most Tea Party members today. I dare say, even the Great Communicator, President Reagan, must be restless in his grave, “seeing” what has happened as a result of his failed “trickle-down” theory and the economic imbalance it has caused.