Listening to 1440-AM out of Montgomery in the morning on the way to work a month ago and, as is typical, the discussion turned to race relations. While the host Kevin Elkins usually implores his audience to not dwell on past perceived injustices, his guests and callers to the contrary constantly recall the prejudice and bigotry of a half century ago as though it was yesterday although most of the audience was not even alive at the time and simply regurgitate the recollections they have been told or taught in the sterling educational system which is the Montgomery school system. This particular morning, an alleged Professor hosting a conference in Bessemer maintained blacks don’t own enough wealth or possess enough power to be racists. Racism is a team sport influencing group politics and group economics he said where whites seek to make and keep blacks disadvantged. Looking even further back, he reminded the listeners that for the last 400 years, lynchings, slavery and Jim Crow laws and other institutional methods were designed to keep blacks subjugated. Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas’ and President Barry Soetoro, umm, Barack Hussein Obama’s rise to positions of prominence and power notwithstanding. It has been claimed that Obama’s presidency has actually worsened race relations and certainly the attacks on police officers around the country and on the Confederate flag across the South would testify as evidence of this. If the last 50 years of social engineering and federal and state programs meant to raise the black populace up through every institutional advantage imaginable are a failure still, perhaps we need to reevaluate these and perhaps return to a merit based system and allow natural segregation which most blacks and whites migrate to naturally anyway. But while MLK espoused everyone be judged by their character and while our Constitution guarantees equal access and opportunity, these malcontent instigators like Professor Bessemer demand equality without being earned or deserved.
It’s always interesting to hear Kevin Elkins thoughts on race relations as he relatively recently relocated to Montgomery after a career in the Army and he is a small business owner, an entrepreneur, regularly confronting militant race baiting callers. This morning Kevin stated white people and black people are not the same other than inside their skin. That in and of itself is debatable even in current scientific, forensic, and anthropological, for example as found in this article- http://what-when-how.com/forensic-sciences/determination-of-racial-affinity/. Differences in blacks and whites are not simply physical and skin deep but cultural. Obviously their histories and heritage are strikingly dissimilar to Anglo-Americans. Elkins accused blacks and whites of romanticizing a history we know nothing about, specifically for blacks referring to their African “Roots”. He pointed out that while American blacks embrace an identity of coming from Africa, they are not accepted by aboriginal Africans as having lost their “African soul”. But an interesting observation that whites don’t know their own history is sadly true. It is our Confederate history and Southern heritage that we are encouraged to learn and educate those in our communities per the SCV Vision 2016 initiative.
The following radio talk show host attorney Mark Montiel took the microphone and claimed Elkins spent an hour suggesting that every white person who did not attend the past weekend’s MLK parade in Montgomery was a racist. Supposedly though, Montiel indicated the MLK parade/rally speakers used their speaking platform as a political opportunity to pander to the largely black audience instead of speaking more meaningfully of the need to address crime in the capital city and the recent surge in murders. Elkins rebutted the second host by saying, “You’ll never know what it means to grow up black.” The exchange lost me. But, it continues. Is equality of opportunity the goal or preferential coddling treatment? One thing certainly, we need to embrace the Vision 2016 initiatives to become a highly educated historical organization but also to market the SCV, to engage and reach out to our friends and neighbors, contributing in a valuable and tangible way to our communities as an organization and as individuals.