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Black patriotism undeterred by racial discrimination

Melvin B. Miller
Black patriotism undeterred by racial discrimination
“Putin must have missed the class on anti-bullying.”

Past generations of Blacks campaigning for equality believed that the common racial hostility was an aberration. The spirit of the Declaration of Independence that inspired the nation’s constitution would ultimately prevail — “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Given today’s politics, it’s hard for the younger generation to believe that back then, most Blacks were Republicans — the party of Abraham Lincoln. The emergence of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as an effective leader to end the Great Depression and command the military forces in World War II induced Blacks to drift to the Democratic Party.

Despite the loss of Black support, conservatives decided to hold the line on racial discrimination. Barry Goldwater, the Republican candidate for president in 1964, was an ardent opponent of the federal Civil Rights Act. Blacks recognized that this presidential election provided a unique opportunity for civil rights. Blacks went to the polls in droves and 95% voted for Lyndon Baines Johnson, the Democrat, who trounced Goldwater.

With that election, Blacks became a political power. Ever since that time, the Black vote in presidential elections has been about 90% for the Democrats’ candidate.

The Civil Rights Act outlawed racial discrimination in employment, education and places of public accommodation. After 1964, there were many news stories about Blacks being denied admission to restaurants, primarily in the South. White resistance to Black equality became even more rigid with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Equal Housing in 1968.

Bigoted Americans have never accepted the improvement of civil rights for Blacks. Over the years, the courts have been full of lawsuits by conservatives to restrict these changes. The underlying assumption of the 2020 presidential election being “stolen” is that Joe Biden marched across America with his army of Black voters, most of whom bigots claim were not properly registered.

Trump’s minions claim voter fraud, but efforts to retard voters seem to be directed at Blacks and working-class whites. But what is even worse, the goal now seems to be to destroy the American democracy and replace it with anarchy. The Russian invasion of Ukraine informs us about what that looks like.

The staunch resistance of Blacks to despotism is assuring, but there is still some trepidation that change could come. Who would have anticipated that white radicals would invade the nation’s Capitol building to disrupt the U.S. Congress performing its constitutional duty to certify the results of a presidential election?

Also, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, as reported in the New York Times, 41 million Americans now believe in the bizarre QAnon conspiracy that gained publicity after the election. They believe that the government, media and financial institutions are controlled by a group of Satan-worshiping pedophiles. The report indicates that 68% of those who believe this myth are Republicans.

Fortunately, only 6% are Democrats. There are still very few Blacks who have been identified as QAnon adherents. No prominent Blacks have spoken positively of Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, who is responsible for the deaths of women and children as he attempts to control Ukraine.

With all these iniquities in the world, American Blacks have not succumbed en masse to any of them. Black leaders should understand that the task of guiding people onto the clear road ahead is more difficult than ever.

Black patriotism, civil rights, editorial