African Americans have made great strides since the Civil Rights Movement of the fifties and sixties. We can eat in the restaurant of our choice, shop and live where we want, for the most part. There are many in our midst that suggest with the election of Barack Obama, that our time has indeed arrived and the need for affirmative action and groups like the NAACP and Urban League has passed. But don’t be fooled by the radical extremism that has been overshadowed in many white collar circles by conservative talk outlets that preach a new, sometimes very subtle message that implies that their rhetoric has nothing to do with race, but conservatism.
A quick reality check is as close as the headlines and hidden stories in the news the past few weeks. Several stories that jumped off the pages of my newspapers:
1.Guard killed during shooting at Holocaust museum
2.GOP Activist Likens Gorilla to Michelle Obama
3. Ex-Employees claim racism in Wells Fargo subprime loan push
4. Racist e-mail aimed at Obama raises hackles in Tennessee
Just recently, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano came under sharp criticism by conservatives when she addressed the potential increase in recruitment of right-wing extremists being tied in part to the nation’s first African-American president. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that in 2008 there are as many as 926 active hate groups in the United States, a fifty percent increase since 2000, with 26 operating in Virginia.
To sum it up, racism is alive and well. There is still work to be done. Just as our ancestors stood strong in unimaginable struggles, we can never become complacent but must stay focused and committed to continuing the fight for justice and equality. We’ve come a long way, but we are not there yet!