Thursday, January 06, 2011

Damned good point

In Leonard Pitts' column today, something caught my eye.

He wrote about how many blacks don't want to rehash the tragedies and injustices of the Jim Crow era.

He's right.

About a decade ago, my dear, now departed, coworker Carolyn Myles reacted very strongly to a Halloween decoration painted by one of our production artists.  It showed the artist hanged from a black tree against a dark sky.  It was meant to be funny, since he was constantly in trouble with the higher ups as a loose cannon.

Carolyn, an Afro-American with ties to family in Baltimore, was not the least bit amused.  She ordered him to take it down.  I can still hear her explaining that we Northerners cannot begin to understand the horror of such an image.  She was very upset, and it was the beginning of my own re-education in the extent of damage done to our black brothers and sisters.

Please, let's not pretend that slavery and brutal discrimination is over and done.  It isn't, and Black Americans will suffer the pain and injustice longer and longer, the more we try to sweep it all under the rug.

And I doubt that cleaning up the language in books like Huckleberry Finn will help matters, either.

Frankly, I thought the book overlong with a rather fairy-tale ending, but the brutality of the language and its accompanying concepts seemed instructive and necessary.

For crying out loud, when is American going to grow up?

Little Pond

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