Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Original Sin

Many foreign countries don’t have a racial problem like America, because they don’t have the history of slavery that we do.  Racism was the original sin of our Constitution, and we try to pretend that it wasn’t.

Rodney King became nationally known after being beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers following a high-speed car chase while drunk on March 3, 1991.  George Holliday, videotaped much of the beating from his balcony, and sent the footage to local news station.  The footage shows police officers surrounding King,  and four of them repeatedly struck him with nightsticks, while other officers stood by.  Parts of the footage aired around the world, and raised international concern about police treatment of minorities in our country.

Four officers were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force. Three were acquitted of all charges. The jury acquitted the fourth of assault with a deadly weapon but failed to reach a verdict on the use of excessive force.  The acquittals triggered the 1992 Los Angeles riots in which 55 people were killed and over 2,000 were injured, and ended only when the California national guard had to be called in to end the riots.

In 1994, the O.J. Simpson murder trial verdict of not guilty was hard to believe for nearly every white person in America.  Many African-Americans applauded, not because they thought he was innocent, but because for once a black man beat the system that had been beating them.

How many videos can we dismiss, year after year of black people being brutally assaulted, or murdered.   Videos showing a white police officer killing a black person, apparently without justification have become all to common.

Racial prejudice against African- Americans exists, and something appears to be very wrong with the police culture in many of our large cities.  

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