Racism: old, ugly, and inexcusable

The Florida Folk Magic series is set in the fictional town of Torreya 53 miles west of Tallahassee in the “other-Florida” world of the panhandle of the 1950s when the Ku Klux Klan, police officers, church elders, city fathers, and your next door neighbor were hard to tell apart. The sunshine state advertised itself as a playground and that’s what northern snowbirds saw. Residents, especially African Americans, saw it as a world of terror.

Unfortunately, racism is still with us in the new century. Progress has been made since the years when these stories are set. But inequality still exists, hate groups still urge Americans to return to the Jim Crow era, and even the discussions about how to bring about quality change are often divisive. This trilogy of novels was written with the hope that the voices for love, trust, and true equal rights will prevail. – Conjure Woman’s Cat Website

During the 1950s, it never occurred to me that the racism I saw around me during the Separate-but-Equal, Jim Crow era would still be suffocating our country, ruining lives, and causing violence 70 years later. I’ll confess that I was naïve in my outlook then, but I thought we as a people were better than that. I still hope that someday soon, we will be.

I have no intention of spinning the good, the bad, and the ugly of politics here or engaging in a discussion in the comments about whose fault the resurgence of racism debates is. What I see in the news and in social media is making things worse. Charges and counter-charges are not an informed debate, much less a route toward a united country where racism is no longer an issue.

To some extent, some of the news outlets are at fault because they are selective in what they show since what they show supports their agendas. Those who watch different networks and/or view different online news sites get radically different versions of the news. When news organizations have agendas, that is, loyalties to one political party or the other, we all end up with corrupted versions of what’s happening in our country and the world.

As a former college journalism instructor, it saddens me when reporters and their networks/newspapers throw objectivity out the window. Bias is the first indicator of a newspaper or news channel that cannot be trusted. Yet people are trusting them and basing their opinions on horrible reporting.

The social media further disseminate these erroneous and twisted views. People believe what they hear on their selected news outlets without bothering to check other sources for more information, much less alternative views. Most people–as evidenced by their social media comments–don’t seem to realize that many programs on CNN and FOX are not news shows, but opinion shows. Yet, these viewers think they’re getting real, objective new coverage.

Among other things, racism is being perpetrated for ratings and votes

To my mind, that’s like yelling fire in a crowded theater. One-sided coverage about nasty white cops is fueling the fire. One-sided coverage about black crimes is fueling the fire. This isn’t dialogue, it’s propaganda. It’s making people fearful of each other rather than bringing them together.

I saw news stories like this during the Jim Crow era. I don’t expect to see them now. But, political parties and sullied news organizations are doing all they can to ensure that the United States remains racist. This approach is old, ugly, and inexcusable. Blacks and Whites deserve better than this. Instead, we’re being fed propaganda that keeps us at odds with each other.

The best question I can ask is: “Who is profiting from the discord?

I think we need to find out and vote them out of office, stop buying their products, and stop seeing them as saints with words of wisdom. They are morally, spiritually, and ethically bankrupt.

Malcolm

 

 

 

 

‘Internet Service Provider’ Cuts Old Line Before Activating New Line

Jefferson, Georgia, September 5, 2012—Never ask your Insane Service Provider (ISP) for whom the bell tolls. They’ll say, “Nobody, because the line is dead.”

In fact, the line is deader than King Tut, the dark ages, and Wells Fargo’s stage coach service between here and yonder.

When we asked Windstream why they de-activated the old DSL line at midnight when the new line wouldn’t be activated until a service technician stopped by our house 8-18 hours later, they had multiple answers: (a) because we can, (b) our DOS 3.0 computer doesn’t know what time it is, and (c) we didn’t want to enable your Internet addiction.

“Nonetheless,” they said, reading from a canned apology script, “your quality care technician is just about to get ready to head in your general direction via the westbound stage coach.”

I wondered about my e-mail messages while the stage was delayed while the driver changed horses in midstream.

As a novelist, my first thought was, “What if Hollywood sends me an e-mail asking if they can add more nude scenes to the upcoming blockbuster 3D IMAX epic ‘Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire’?”

As an ass-kicking reporter, my second thought was, “Without my highly dependable, accurate and objective Yahoo homepage, how am I going to know diddly squat about Prince Harry’s butt and the other asinine news of the day?”

Ever resourceful, I turned on the TV like I would have done in the 1950s when it still had a set of rabbit ears with tin foil streamers on top.

The Catastrophe News Network (CNN) was airing continuing coverage of a posse chasing a horse thief down County Road 1534 near Junction City, Texas. The Frantic Old Xanthippe (FOX) network was holding a séance with a panel of deceased 1930s mobsters about the value of legalizing Tommy guns in churches. The local random access channel was showing random re-runs of the “Newlywed Game.”

HOST BOB EUBANKS: “Bambi, if your new husband turned into a serial killer, would he track down your mother, your father or you ex-boyfriends first?”

BAMBI:  Hahahaha. Good golly, no, Bob. He’d start out with Wheaties and then attack my Frosted Flakes.

I considered making something up: “Enraged over Prince Harry’s butt on Great Britain’s new ‘Olympic Assets’ postage stamps, a horse thief in Junction City grabbed a Tommy gun and pumped a hundred rounds of hot lead into a box of Lucky Charms on the back of a stolen horse.”

But then, how could I live with myself, aping the techniques of my newspaper’s rivals at CNN and FOX?

I called Windstream a new minutes ago and, after pointing out that the latest ice age had come and gone since we last shot the breeze about our nonexistent DSL, I inquired about the location of “our” service technician.

“His horse was stolen by a desperado wielding a Tommy gun two miles west of Yonder,” the CSR said. “CNN, FOX, and Yahoo are already on the scene splashing fresh vids all around the Internet. Twitter is on fire about it. Oh, but then you couldn’t have known that.”

“You’re right as rain,” I said.

“One more thing,” he said.

“What?”

“Your inbox on our ten megabyte hard drive was overflowing, so we deleted everything. It was mostly spam, especially those fake Hollywood e-mails asking if you wanted to do any nude scenes with horses in a movie.”

“One day, humanity as we now understand it, will thank you,” I said as I reached for the flask of single malt Scotch in the Tommy gun drawer of my desk.

-30-

Jock Stewart

If your Internet Service Provider hasn’t capriciously turned off your DSL service today, you can be enjoying a darned inexpensive copy of “Jock Talks Satirical News” for only 99 cents in a matter of minutes or, otherwise, when pigs fly.