When I was a child the “Civil Rights Movement” was primarily an effort by African-Americans to level the social and economic playing field in American society.  In the 21st century, some would argue that black Americans have succeeded in our quest for economic and social equality.   That just aint true!  Those of us that were around in the fifties and sixties know better.  Anyone who is in doubt only need look at statistics for female dominated households, black children born to unwed mothers, urban infant mortality rates that exceed some 3rd world countries and the number of black men that are incarcerated.  The numbers behind those sobering realities remind me of the adage of  taking 2 steps back for every step forward. 

Perception, unfortunately matters more than fact in contemporary society.  The average twentysomething middle-class black person no longer believes that racism exist that is until they are slapped in the face by it.  A young friend of mine recently tweeted about her treatment at a local restaurant by white wait staff.  My response to her was that disparate treatment is alive and well in Detroit.  It happens at ‘ole skool’ bars and restaurants but money talks and most places that practice blatant forms of racial discrimination are closing because of dwindling patronage.  I have experienced the same type of discrimination at all 3 local casinos – but never one to close my eyes or mouth when I encounter that sort of thing – I always report those type of problems to the management and have witnessed some changes.  I learned a looooong time ago that the squeaky wheel gets greased.  I will never accept or get use to racial discrimination.  I expect people to be more evolved particularly since we’ve known for over a 100 years that all life began on the Afrikan savannah.

I watch, read or hear about contemporary issues each day.  Over this past decade, there has been a perceptible shift by middle Americans regarding social and political issues.  Media has been savvy in its multicultural sexually dubious presentations of contemporary society.  On television everyone lives in a racially ambiguous glammed up world defined by designer gear and zip codes.  In the real world, the economy is causing many to make major lifestyle changes.  Many have become homeless, jobless, and hopeless.  People of a certain age are discovering that they are no longer viable in the job market.  People are mad as hell but can’t do a fucking thing about it!

Members of non-Christian faiths are finding resistance to their right to worship or freely express their cultures as they move forward in post 9/11 America.  There was a huge protest in Dearborn this past May when a bible toting pistol packin Koran burning preacher from Florida came to town.  He is an opportunist playing to anti Muslim sentiments.  When he arrived at the Mosque in Dearborn, he encountered protesters in opposition to his presence in what is typically a rather sedate community.  Some that protested defended his right to free speech and freedom of expression even though his Koran burning has reportedly been linked to retaliatory deaths in Afghanistan!  The Dearborn authorities complicated matters in a Gestapo like move by arresting him before he actually did anything effectively violating his right to free speech and freedom of expression!  Fortunately, the preacher did not get to burn any Korans, during his time in metropolitan Detroit.  His bigotry got him more media attention which appears to have been his motive from the onset    His assault on basic freedoms to worship hopefully caused many Americans to be more empathetic to the plight of Muslims living on American soil and revealed him as a trigger happy zealot. 

The notion of “Civil Rights” has moved into the mainstream consciousness of American society.  A recent article in a webzine suggested that some whites are feeling like victims of racially fueled discrimination!  Sorry I didn’t bother to read the article!  The ancillary comments I read however suggested that whites are concerned about their diminishing position as the “majority” here in the continental United States.  It is common knowledge today that there are more non white babies being born in this country than there are “white” babies.  Irrespective of that fact, the 1960 definition of racism inferred that it could only come from a group capable of discriminating against others at an institutional level.   Non whites do not control major institutions.  Whites in the 21st century may be feeling the burden of discrimination on economic and social levels.  Power brokers i.e. capitalist no longer distinguish between ethnic groups when it comes to downsizing and cost cutting.  To them its all about the green.  To quote Eugene McDaniels “we are the cannon fodder”. 

Central and south Americans are reclaiming norte America through immigration at a rate that alarms both blacks and whites.  China has become the American government’s largest financial backer because of its investment in Treasury bills.  The strategy employed by China is consistent with its cultural predilection for long-term conquest of an adversary.  Nixon took our economy off of the gold standard in the early 70’s and we no longer have European banks as a back up because of the catastrophic failure of the Euro.  America finds itself at an economic precipice.

These are perilous times.  Many Americans find themselves worse off than people in other parts of the world that were considered third world countries 50 years ago. 

We can no longer afford to ignore the rest of the world.  We need them and slowly but surely we are acknowledging our commonalities with people we once wanted to believe we were genetically and morally superior to. 

We are involved in 2 1/2 wars, our armed forces are numerically at all time lows and our borders are threatened for the first since the 19th century.  These and many other factors have caused us to be more unified than at any other time in our history. 

Americans can turn on the television or log onto the internet and find out what is really going on here and the rest of the viral world.  A new awareness has been thrust upon us.  Many people in the ‘mainstream’ are learning first hand what others in our social/political strata, who have been subject to historical forms of discrimination have been attempting to articulate.  As the American Dream eviscerates, a new reality is being thrust upon once complacent psyches.  We are coming together grudgingly but will be a stronger nation because of it. 

“If there is no struggle there is no progress.  Those who profess to favor freedom and depreciate agitation…want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening.  They want the ocean without the awful roar of its may waters…..Power concedes nothing without a demand.  It never did and never will.”  Frederick Douglas

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