[sixties-l] Meanwhile, Life Outside Goes On (fwd)

From: sixties@lists.village.virginia.edu
Date: Fri Oct 19 2001 - 19:17:08 EDT

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    Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 13:08:08 -0700
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Meanwhile, Life Outside Goes On


    Dot's Information Service Hotline (DISH)
    October 5, 2001 [Vol. 4, No. 39]

    Meanwhile, Life Outside Goes On

    By Ronald M. Jacobs <rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu>

    While the US keeps its eyes on the Pentagon's preparations
    for war and its nose in the air fearing biological or
    chemical attack by unnamed terrorists, the men in blue got
    away with another murder. The officer who shot 19-year-old
    Timothy Thomas in Cincinnati, Ohio last spring was acquitted
    of all charges by a municipal judge on Wednesday, September
    26th. While the media feeds us stories of heroes in
    Manhattan and GW Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft
    try to tear up the Bill of Rights in the name of security,
    terrorism against African-Americans by law enforcement
    continues its shameful history.

    If one recalls, Thomas' murder caused major unrest in
    Cincinnati last spring. On a smaller scale, more unrest was
    seen in the wake of this verdict. There will be those who
    decry violence as inappropriate in the wake of the terrible
    bloodshed perpetrated on 9-11 against New York City and the
    Pentagon by terrorists assumed to be associates of Osama
    bin Laden. While they may have a point, it is important
    to recall the terrorism visited on people of color since
    America's founding. The legacy of African slavery and
    African American second-class citizenship, of which police
    murders are but the most obvious manifestations today,
    influences all facets of American life.

    If there is war and U.S. soldiers find themselves fighting
    an unending campaign with deaths higher than those in
    Vietnam, one can be certain that a large number of those
    dying will be African-American. Unfortunately, those who
    come back alive will be subjected to the same type of
    policing that killed Timothy Thomas. While African-American
    men and women have been told they are fighting for freedom
    in every war since the end of the Civil War, it has been
    elusive upon their return to peacetime America. Baseball
    hero Jackie Robinson served in World War II; he found
    himself in trouble because he opposed the racism he found
    stateside both on and off the baseball diamond. Black
    Panther Geronimo Pratt, a battle-decorated Vietnam veteran,
    found the racism and police mistreatment of African-
    Americans so distasteful he became a revolutionary who ended
    up being framed and imprisoned for 27 years on false charges
    of murder. The story of African-Americans used by the US to
    fight its wars then find nothing changes once the uniform
    is off is an all too familiar tale.

    There were those against the Vietnam War who tried to link
    the war and racism at home. Some even made the claim that
    the two wars were the same. This conclusion requires no real
    extension of the imagination. Indeed, the attacks on New
    York and the Pentagon have brought out some of the worst
    racism against Asian and Middle Eastern people. The growing
    peace movement has been careful to address this in its
    slogans and literature, calling for an end to discrimination
    against Arab-Americans and Muslims. It would do well to
    include in its struggle a call to end the seemingly never-
    ending war against African-Americans, who, despite the
    systemic and individual racism they face every day, grieve
    as deeply as all other U.S. citizens for the innocents
    killed on September 11, 2001, and who will most likely die
    in numbers greater than their proportionate ratio of the
    U.S. population should the Bush war on terrorism proceed.

    Ron Jacobs lives in Vermont. He is a father, works at
    a library and is against war and racism. Jacobs is the
    author of The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather

    Copyright (c) 2001 Ronald M. Jacobs. All Rights Reserved.

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