As my wife and I on our family planning trip to Senegal in 2006 stood at that fateful door on Gorée Island, we looked with revulsion at the endless Atlantic across which so many captured Africans were sent by their own African slave traders to slavery and death in America.
Gorée Island, French Île de Gorée, small island just south of Cape Verde Peninsula, Senegal, that was the site of one of the earliest European settlements in Western Africa and long served as an outpost for slave and other trading. It is a rather barren volcanic rock of only 88 acres (36 hectares) that commands the roadstead of Dakar harbor.
The irony of the GOP states who now have passed laws suppressing minority voting as US population diversity grows is not going to ultimately prevail even though the white population now is still dominant.
Here are some key numbers from the 2021 census:
US Population: 332 million—projected 434
White Alone (no Hispanic whites): 60.1%
Hispanic Latinos: 13.5%
African Americans: 13.4%
American Indians: 1.3%
Two or More Races: 2.8%
While those first African Americans didn’t migrate to America voluntarily and the same white Americans mostly from Europe enslaved them, the other migrants came for many reasons. Examples include the 1845 Irish potato famine or the rumors that our streets were lined with gold.
Read here for the full story on income, education and other key facts.
— Pew Research Fact Tank (@FactTank) March 29, 2021
Yes, many of those immigrants came for jobs, but also for presumed treasure (in Spanish South America), escape from the tyranny of royal governance, and the promise of better lives. How many of those later immigrants, passing the Statue of Liberty—dedicated in 1886—breathed a sigh of joy?
Wouldn’t it be interesting for someone to produce an African version of Henry Louis Gates Jr’s WETA series Finding Your Roots, which finds so many African Americans linked to slave ancestors in the US South?
This new series could doubtlessly find out the ancestry of some present-day African leaders who captured other Africans and sent them to death or slavery out that Gorée Island gate and other points of departure to the USA!
Meantime from our very colonial beginnings in 1607 European arrivees were breaking treaty after treaty with native Americans as these new Americans moved across the Indians’ ancestral lands.
The necessary changes in racism began slowly and haltingly, moving slowly in my youth, when the 1954 separate but equal Supreme Court ruling offered hope but far from fulfillment to African Americans. While Thurgood Marshall, later the first Black to sit on the Supreme Court, argued that case, the Justices then were all white males.
Thurgood Marshall said: “I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever ‘fixed’ at the Philadelphia convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight and sense of justice exhibited by the framers particularly profound.” https://t.co/Vmaks3XbuI
— Linda Hill (@bulldoghill) May 9, 2022
My Yale College freshman class in 1953 had one African American male.
There were too many other heroes and heroines to mention here like Rosa Parks in 1955 or MLK and John Lewis. Sadly, the Jim Crow legacy lives on today in hatred behavior toward African Americans (George Floyd), Asians, Latinos, even Jews and others not among Trump’s GOP of knee jerk goose steppers.
So, what the sick GOP would like its followers to do now is to go back to these good old days where racism kept those same minorities—remember slavery made Northerners rich too—from gaining the full promises of our Founding Fathers.
And look at the benefits immigrants of all nations, ethnicities, and beliefs have given our unique nation. Would we prefer the attempted ethnic purity of the Chinese model or any other?
My purpose here? Not to play the blame game against history but to argue for the only peaceful, sustainable choice, which embraces and enables all our diverse groups to receive those promised benefits. There now is a dangerous historically large wealth gap in the US today which enlightened legislation could repair. We all need to realize that the dream of democracy means its principles apply to everyone.
A nation of democratically enacted laws, which Albert Einstein proclaimed so vital shortly before his 1955 death, will be central to our future success.
The enactment of such laws of course includes the judicial embrace of Stare decisis—legal precedence. Killing Roe will be the proof of the evil politicization of our judicial decision making.
And don’t forget that our divided Congress’s legislative failure to clarify permanently such humane laws as choice outlines starkly its delays in solving many other issues including workable immigration reform. At least Biden and US House are trying to act on many of these issues.
Until we abolish the filibuster, votes like these are just going to be political theater.
We need to end the filibuster to save our reproductive rights, our voting rights, and so many of our other basic rights. https://t.co/3gsHhb4oyD
— Rana Abdelhamid (@RanaForCongress) May 11, 2022
What will be the program of the GOP if it takes the Congress at the midterms?
The misuse of political power can be the instigation of a route to a Putin or a Trump style of authoritarianism. Residual racism remains at the heart of what needs fixed.
We can renew and rebalance our dangerously divided republic only if we understand that the various strains of racism now still undermining our democracy can make the majority of us realize that embrace of our minorities is the best path to our future.
“What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?”: https://t.co/fHuh0CG6JD
“We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”: https://t.co/TA4j7cp1tE
“From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”: https://t.co/lkC2t3E1A9 pic.twitter.com/bQsL2mLBcO
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) November 1, 2021
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