With the advance of cameras that spanned 150 degrees and over, America got a whole new way to depict itself.
Washington—Good for the NAACP. We need an honest conversation about the role of race and racism in the Tea Party.
When asked about his race on the census form, Barack Obama, the child of a white Kansan and black African, did not take the option of checking both “white” and “black” or “some other race.” Instead, he checked “black, African American or Negro.” By doing that, Obama probably did what was expected of him, but he also confirmed an enduring legacy of American racism. According to the Census Bureau, a little over 12 percent of Americans are “black, African American or Negro.” According to geneticist Mark Shriver, “the level of European ancestry in African-Americans averages about 20 percent.” Man
Walking across the Capitol lawns yesterday morning, a little Hispanic girl noticed something exciting: protesters massing on the steps, waving flags and chanting. “Look at all the signs here!” she exclaimed to her father (in a mixture of Spanish and English), pointing toward the white marble dome. Her father might have explained to her, however, that it wasn’t their protest. The family was there for an immigration reform rally, which drew at least 100,000 participants. Meanwhile, on the steps of the Capitol were tea partiers taking a last stand against health care reform.
A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust by David S. Wyman and Rafael Medoff (The New Press, 269 pp., $26.95) Twenty-five years ago, while researching Holocaust history for the Joint Distribution Committee in New York, and as I was preparing to immigrate to Israel, I came across a clipping from The New York Times from 1936.
Last July Clarence Thomas attended a private dinner in Washington with a handful of NAACP officials. This was shortly after he’d been nominated to the Supreme Court, and Thomas hoped to soften the antipathy of the black civil rights establishment toward him. Not a chance. He was soon trashed in public statements as a snake, a black copy of David Duke, “Bork in blackface,” and putty in the hands of his conservative white wife. Gary Franks, the first black Republican elected to the House of Representatives since 1932, got better treatment, but not much.