Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Racism Still Alive And Well In The U.S.

America is known to have a racist past, but our history books try to tell us that all the bad stuff stopped with Martin Luther King. Of course those of us with our heads not stuck in the sand know differently. Racism in America is still prevalent, it merely took another form, but sometimes it makes itself readily apparent and brutally shocking to the many that abhor this attitude that skin color has anything to do with anything.

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Marietta bar owner Mike Norman says the T-shirts he's peddling, featuring a look-a-like of cartoon chimp Curious George peeling a banana, with "Obama in '08" underneath, are not meant to offend.

Norman acknowledged the imagery's Jim Crow roots but said he sees nothing wrong with depicting a prominent African-American as a monkey.[...]

Marietta native Pam Lindley, 47, joined the protest after reading about the controversy online.

"I don't want people to think this is what Marietta is all about," she added, motioning towards the tavern. "This is what some people think the South is still like. Marietta's come a long way but I guess it's still got a little ways to go."

She said she'd like to see the city ban Norman's provocative musings regularly posted on a sign out front of the bar, which is near Marietta's downtown square. The loosely formed coalition of civil rights activists who gathered Tuesday say they will continue their campaign against Norman's "hate speech."

But his defenders are just as resolute. Mulligan's is a refuge, they say, in an otherwise hypersensitive world. Here, smoking isn't only allowed, it's expected.

"This place is a diamond in the rough," said Gene McKinley, a Woodstock engineer. "People here are genuine and honest. It's the one place I can go without having to worry if I'm offending someone."

That would be code for "I'm free to be my racist self."

Of course Norman is free to sell that crap, but it is a sad state of affairs that the blatantly racist t-shirts are selling so well. It is worse than the newspapers' poll that more than 38% of the people who voted thought the shirts were perfectly fine.

America has come a long way from Jim Crow, but the road ahead is also an arduous trek.