This last weekend we had the anniversary of the March in Selma Alabama. The news was rife with images of the 1965 march and the violence that ensued, juxtaposed with the march of today where we saw our president front and center, marching, and doing what he did best, which was to give a rousing speech. All in all, I’m ok with anniversary celebration. But, here is what I’m not ok with.
As we saw the side by side comparison and contrasts of the march of yesteryear, and the march of today, we were also shown that Selma has not changed. A lot of things that you would think are gone are still around. Namely poverty. Coupled with that, we still hear from the usual suspects that even though things have gotten better, we have a long way to go in regard to race relations.
I think it would be nice when those who make that statement would tell us specifically how things have improved, and what specifically we need to work on. Why are they always so vague? And furthermore, I would like to hear from those people, what can specifically be done to improve the situation for minorities in places like Selma. And instead of someone like Obama going down there and doing his best Martin Luther King impersonation, maybe show up with a can of paint, or a broom, or new playground equipment for the schools and parks. Anything to beautify the place. It would be nice for once, instead of rehashing and opening old wounds, if we start making real progress in these communities. I know I don’t speak for minorities, but, I think the last thing I would want, are a bunch of privileged people showing up in my town, to grandstand and have yet another demonstration, then leave while I was still living in squalor and holding the bag.
What took place this weekend was akin to a Civil War reenactment, and there was nothing in any of the oratory that resembled a plan as how to move forward and make any one’s life any better. Again, no one ever offers up a solution. In closing, progress, racially, socially and economically will happen when we start doing meaningful and tangible things and moving beyond the symbolic gestures.