Racial Strife Will Keep Threatening American Democracy

By Donald A. Collins | 19 June 2021
Church and State

(Credit: Fibonacci Blue / Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

As I wrote on June 15th, the underlying racism felt by many Americans against African Americans will continue to plague us until we understand the remarkable contributions this racially disadvantaged block of citizens has contributed to our wellbeing.

For example, in May, Pittsburgh’s first black mayor was ousted after serving for 8 years by another Democrat Ed Gainey whose statement reflects the residual racism I fear goes far beyond Pittsburgh. He said “I like Bill. Bill’s done a good job but it’s time for a change.”

Bill Peduto, the first mayor ousted in nearly 90 years commented that “There was a very strong wind of anti-incumbency and anti-establishment not only in Pittsburgh, it’s all across the country”. Peduto has higher further political aspirations.

I worked for years in Pittsburgh, having been raised in nearby Greensburg, so I applaud the fact that its citizens were willing to elect its first black mayor, based apparently on his civil service, starting as a staffer at the City Council in the 1990’s and then representing his district for 12 years before becoming Mayor and doing what his successor calls “a good job”. Pittsburgh is 65 percent white.

African American playwright August Wilson was born there and wrote memorable plays about Pittsburgh’s racism in its largely black Hill District, but he did not find his full voice until moving away! Wikipedia gives us his biographical highlights in a career tragically shortened by liver cancer at 60.

My daughter, now a professor of Theater Arts at USC in LA had the pleasure, when as a production stage manager, of meeting Wilson when he and his veteran cast came to present one of his ten plays, Jitney, which tells how residents of the Hill District used private cars to get downtown instead of regular taxis whose drivers were unwilling often to go to the Hill.

Famed trumpeter Roy Eldridge, the mentor of Dizzy Gillespie, and famed jazz pianist and composer Erroll Garner were born in Pittsburgh along with many other noted black performers.

From Wikipedia I quote part of its bios on these famous musicians.

You can read about the vestiges of current racism in the attached articles. We have a long way to go to atone for our sad racial history.

But the current failure of many top GOP leaders to acknowledge who created the January 6th insurrection and to continue to accept his lies about the November 3 election should abruptly bring us to understand the danger to our democracy of these blatant lies.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
Kindle Store

1968 commission reveals why racism in America hasn’t gone away

How covid-19 exposes systemic racism in America | The Economist

GOP Voter Suppression Tactics Explained

Be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here