Graves Registry: A racist heir to the crown? | Columnists
People who close their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns into a monster. –James Baldwin
We hear many words tossed about today that have acquired new meanings. “Woke” was something you did in the morning. The opposite, I suppose, would be asleep. Nothing changes much when you sleep. Nothing progresses, and assuming you’re not prone to nightmares, you can forget about some of the more uncomfortable parts of life and just…dream.
The original definition of the word suggests an awareness of the changing world around you. Woke is a transition from the helpless, comfortable stillness of sleep, so it’s no wonder curators have adapted it into something potentially menacing. It became the new “Red,” the right-wing whistle to those who dared to undermine their bigoted notion of patriotism in the 1950s.
You have to wonder if there are small contingents of political hacks in seedy back rooms whose job it is to dream up these silly modes of attack. I use the word stupid because on what other planet than where the current Republican Party has set up housekeeping would a word synonymous with a state of consciousness be considered dangerous.
Merriam-Webster defines the word “woke”, in its new slang incarnation, as being “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)”.
And there, as Hamlet said so well, is the real problem.
The woke hysteria has attached itself to another perceived facet of conservative peril in America. Not so much with a word as with an acronym: the dreaded CRT.
Critical Race Theory is an academic discipline that, to my knowledge, has never been taught in public schools. To hear the outcry from the right, however, one would think that teachers were instructing their students in the intricacies of animal abuse.
Opponents of the CRT honestly believe that an outright refusal to accept this country’s abysmal history of racism is consistent with true patriotism. “Gone with the Wind” should be the historic record, not “12 Years a Slave”. It is a triumph of mythology over truth.
I don’t even know to what extent they recognize bigotry. It’s not always the spectacle of a flaming cross or hooligans in sheets.
Our former president began his campaign raising the specter of “Mexican rapists” and recently called the Taiwanese wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “the Chinese-loving Coco Chow.” He and his real estate magnate father were both charged with housing discrimination by the Justice Department in 1973.
Asked about his history of obviously bigoted actions and words, he told a reporter that there was no one less racist than him. Guess he needs the flaming cross.
The truly tragic part of his legacy is the realization that the Republican Party can benefit from principles of rejection like tolerance and acceptance. The tactic is not so different from their appeasement of southern white voters who have been infuriated by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society national programs which, among its other laudable goals, abolished inequality in the United States.
Bigotry and racism certainly polluted the air in America long before our former CEO clouded the horizon. If it hadn’t existed, the opponents of the CRT might be right. The former president’s unfiltered bigotry has fanned the embers, and men like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ensure the flame of intolerance always burns bright.
DeSantis, who is currently traversing an estimated $100 billion worth of debris in his state from Hurricane Ian, is suddenly very receptive to federal aid when he adamantly opposes it after the Hurricane Sandy destroyed New York and New Jersey in 2012. Hypocrisy, your name is Ron.
He’s the kind of politician who doesn’t breathe without thinking about the most self-serving direction in which to breathe out. A base call from his base was most likely the motive for a stunt he engineered that sent about 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard with bogus promises of work for them. It’s almost as if Ian is God’s own rebuke for his appalling cruelty, but I’m sure DeSanti’s cocky head, towering more than 5ft off the ground, doesn’t bow while his poll count is in rise. The incident will undoubtedly be written off the history books in Florida schools.
No one ever recognizes anything by denying its existence. And that’s really what the rabid adversaries of the CRT are determined to do. They don’t want children taught a particularly unpleasant aspect of their country’s history. It’s not so much about frosting the cake as about not baking it at all.
Their determination to banish the issue of racism from classroom discourse betrays the fact that on some level they are aware of its shame.
There is also an underlying fear component here. It is a fear that the day will come when, surprisingly, they themselves will be members of a minority in the United States. With this realization, it must be terrifying to imagine that they could be victims of the same abuses that other minorities have suffered throughout our history.
The denial of the insidious importance of racism in the history of our country is, in itself, an aspect of racism. Nothing is more certain than the warning that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
Denial never alters the truth, it only compromises the future.