Race

292 – “The framers of our Constitution firmly believed that a republican government could not endure without intelligence and education generally diffused among the people. The Father of his Country, in his Farewell Address, uses this language: ‘Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.’”

–Ulysses S Grant, 18th President of the United States

Context for this quote shows a paternalistic, but somewhat progressive for that time, view arguing that African Americans, who had been enfranchised only a few years before, should be allowed to educate themselves in order to make them selves “worthy of their new privilege,” which was the vote. An educated and informed Public is a requirement of for any democratic form of government to function well.
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“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.
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“Being born elite in the US gives you a constellation of privileges that very few people in the world have ever experienced. Being born poor in the US gives you disadvantages unlike anything in Western Europe and Japan and Canada.”

David Levine

See Source Notes for further reading on this subject if you are interested.
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“The greatest existing cause of lynching is the perpetration, especially by black men, of the hideous crime of rape – the most abominable in all the category of crimes, even worse than murder.”

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

[Note on why I have included this quote: This quote is representative of the idea that people see what they want to see in history, while ignoring what they don’t. While in many ways Theodore Roosevelt was very progressive (one of our most progressive presidents in some respects), yet he still was a man very much of, and constrained by the ideologies of, his time. The idea that rape was being committed on a large scale by African American men against (white) women is an old, exaggerated, and thoroughly false accusation. This argument was used to avoid the terrible nature of lynchings and protect the perpetrators, in a system akin to what happens in rape culture today.
It is important that people acknowledge a more complete and complex picture of history and historical figures. It is possible to acknowledge the achievements of historical figures, while at the same time condemning them for their failings, immorality, and flaws, among other negative features, after all they are only human. So often we put historical figures on a pedestal, both literally and figuratively, overlooking anything that deviates from our preconceived narrative of said persons. We glorify achievements, while ignoring faults; even when we have pointed out such faults in others. It is analogues to the lesson from the proverbial saying of the Mote and Beam. While celebrating history is fine, and in fact should be encouraged, sanctifying it distorts the truth. History is not a straight-forward and linear discipline, history is messy and complex, made all the more so by the permanent loss of historical records of the past and egos who let ideology and notions speak in place of documented record.] (more…)

Patches Quote from “Keep Hope Alive” Speech

“When I was a child growing up in Greenville, South Carolina, and grandmamma could not afford a blanket, she didn’t complain, and we did not freeze. Instead she took pieces of old cloth—patches, wool, silk, gabardine, crockersack—only patches, barely good enough to wipe off your shoes with. But they didn’t stay that way very long. With sturdy hands and a strong cord, she sewed them together into a quilt, a thing of beauty and power and culture. Now, Democrats, we must build such a quilt.

Farmers, you seek fair prices, and you are right—but you cannot stand alone. Your patch is not big enough.

Workers, you fight for fair wages, you are right—but your patch labor is not big enough.

Women, you seek comparable worth and pay equity, you are right—but your patch is not big enough.

Women, mothers, who seek Head Start, and day care and prenatal care on the front side of life, relevant jail care and welfare on the back side of life, you are right—but your patch is not big enough.

Students, you seek scholarships, you are right—but your patch is not big enough.

Blacks and Hispanics, when we fight for civil rights, we are right—but our patch is not big enough.

Gays and lesbians, when you fight against discrimination and a cure for AIDS, you are right—but your patch is not big enough.

Conservatives and progressives, when you fight for what you believe, right wing, left wing, hawk, dove, you are right from your point of view, but your point of view is not enough.

But don’t despair. Be as wise as my grandmamma. Pull the patches and the pieces together, bound by a common thread. When we form a great quilt of unity and common ground, we’ll have the power to bring about health care and housing and jobs and education and hope to our Nation.

We, the people, can win.”

Jesse Jackson (more…)

“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shores, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles of racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its Indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it.”

Martin Luther King Jr

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