Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Now Serving #44

From Obama's inauguration speech:

"This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath."
Actually, oddly enough, Obama's father probably would have been served.

Many years ago, I read a fascinating article (I wish I could find it!) about a black civil-rights activist in the '60s who was refused service at a lunch counter. If I remember correctly, one day he tried coming to the same counter where he had been denied service many times, only that day, he dressed in traditional African clothing and faked an accent. He was served with no fuss.

He asked the waiter why the other black men were not being served, and an answer was given to him that indicated that apparently many Southerners were racist not against Africans, but African-Americans.

Racism is a strange thing.

1 comment:

marauder said...

I think I can see that in some way. To the racist mind, "white American" is one thing and "black African" is another. They're wholly distinct.

"Black American," though, is an amalgam of the two, and racial amalgamation makes uncomfortable people who have no problem with the two as separate things. My mother, for instance, always taught us a vision of racial equality, and yet as long as I can remember, she's been opposed to interracial marriage. Some of the opposition to Obama's candidacy surely was due to a black man running for a position of power that traditionally has been reserved for white men. And you may recall that the people of Judea and Galilee bitterly hated the biracial Samaritans.

And today's word is "treed," the psat tense of the verb meaning "to chase something up a tree."