Gravity's Rainbow

botany, shoes, books, and justice

May 12, 2014
by sarcozona
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Racism, always a national fact, not just a southern one, emerged in northern cities, as the federal government made concessions to poor blacks in a way that pitted them against poor whites for resources made scarce by the system. Blacks, freed from slavery to take their place under capitalism, had long been forced into conflict with whites for scarce jobs. Now, with desegregation in housing, blacks tried to move into neighborhoods where whites, themselves poor, crowded, troubled could find in them a target for their anger.

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In Boston, the busing of black children to white schools, and whites to black schools, set off a wave of white neighborhood violence. The use of busing to integrate schools – sponsored by the government and the courts in response to the black movement – was an ingenious concession to protest. It had the effect of pushing poor whites and poor blacks into competition for the miserable inadequate schools which the system provided for all the poor.

1970s. From Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States

May 5, 2014
by sarcozona
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Another black woman, Margaret Wright, said she was not fighting for equality with men if it meant equality in the world of killing, the world of competition. “I don’t want to compete on no damned exploitative level. I don’t want to exploit nobody. . . . I want the right to be black and me. . . .”

1970s. From Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States

April 28, 2014
by sarcozona
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In the spring of 1963, the rate of unemployment for whites was 4.8 percent. For nonwhites it was 12.1 percent. According to government estimates, one-fifth of the white population was below the poverty line, and one-half the black population was below that line. The civil rights bills emphasized voting, but voting was not a fundamental solution to racism or poverty.

1963. From Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States

April 21, 2014
by sarcozona
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REGISTRAR: What do you want?

CRAWFORD: I brought this lady down to register

REGISTRAR: (after giving the woman a card to fill out and sending her outside in the hall) Why did you bring this lady down here?

CRAWFORD: Because she wants to be a first class citizen like ya’ll.

REGISTRAR: Who are you to bring people down to register?

CRAWFORD: It’s my job.

REGISTRAR: Suppose you get two bullets in your head right now?

Early 1960s. From Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States

I have relatives who argue that because oppression and racism are a thing of the past, things like affirmative action or diversity training in the workplace aren’t relevant. Ignoring the fact that racism is still an enormous problem, this is the kind of thing that was commonplace during their lifetime. How can you think this was happening to black people around you and think that it’s over? That as soon as a couple non-discrimination laws get passed people’s minds change and victims magically recover? It may be history, but it’s not over.

April 14, 2014
by sarcozona
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Desperate people were not waiting for the government to help them; they were helping themselves, acting directly. Aunt Molly Jackson, a woman who later became active in labor struggles in Appalachia, recalled how she walked into the local store, asked for a 24-pound sack of flour, gave it to her little boy to take it outside, then filled a sack of sugar and said to the storekeeper, “Well, I’ll see you in ninety days. I have to feed some children … I’ll pay you, don’t worry.” And when he objected, she pulled out her pistol (which, as a midwife traveling alone through the hills, she had a permit to carry) and said: “Martin, if you try to take this grub away from me, God knows that if they electrocute me for it tomorrow, I’ll shoot you six times in a minute.”

1933. From Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States