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Race isn't an issue?

September 30, 2007|By Lloyd Waters

Have you been reading lately about the Jena Six? It's a story about six young black juveniles accused of beating up some white boy in a fight at a high school in a small town in Louisiana. Some were initially charged with attempted murder. The white youth was treated at the hospital and released.

Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the Black Panthers and many others marched in Jena to protest the miscarriage of justice and treatment of the six, because of their race. No one in town, however, seems to think it is a race issue, even though three nooses were displayed in a big tree near the school sometime before the incident.

While checking out YouTube the other night on the computer, I also came across the story of Shannon Christian and Christopher Newsom. A young white couple from Knoxville, Tenn., were out on a date in January when their car was hijacked by five black men.

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Shannon was repeatedly raped, then killed and her body dumped in a trash can. Christopher, too, was sexually assaulted, shot three times, and his body burned near a railroad track. No evidence here to support a hate crime, the authorities concluded.

I don't believe Sharpton or Jackson attended their memorial services. No problems with racism here. The national media was soundly criticized for its limited reporting of this horrendous crime.

These men would probably have carjacked Sharpton and Jackson's vehicle as well, don't you think?

Closer to home in West Virginia, a 20-year-old black woman was allegedly kidnapped, tortured and sexually assaulted for almost a week by six white suspects with long criminal histories.

Even though the black victim suffered from the cruelest acts of depravity and torture, the crime was not deemed a "hate crime" by those judicial wizards who make this determination. I can't really imagine the behavior of the assailants being described as anything less than "hateful." Race was probably not an issue here, either.

As I continued to read about racism, I came across those remarks of Donovan McNabb (the Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback) who has said he believes that black quarterbacks are scrutinized much closer than their white counterparts.

On a recent Monday night, McNabb let me down by his play when I picked his team to beat the Washington Redskins. That Jason Campbell quarterback, also black, played a pretty good game for the 'Skins. I guess there might be something to McNabb's remarks.

Affirmative action. Now there's a plan to equalize the playing field. Only problem, the white folk don't fully understand when it limits or takes away their opportunities. No racial considerations here, for sure.

Hitler had a sordid solution to the racism mess. Let's have one master race where everyone has blond hair, blue eyes and pure blood. Is that some color other than red?

I wouldn't have fared too well with Hitler's plan. My great-grandmother was part Cherokee and my hair and eyes were brown.

Given my Indian heritage, I am also reminded of the racist treatment of the red man and his family by the marauding, thieving, sadistic behavior of the uninvited whites to North America. Certainly all the Indian people lived peacefully and had no problems with racism before the whites came, right?

And there are too many illegal Hispanics in Frederick County, Md. More problems on the way. Not an issue with race, just economic and domestic-related issues, huh? Now we need more interpreters.

Same here in Washington County. Why are the churches settling all these new legal immigrants into our community? "Who's going to pay for all the problems they're going to create," was one of the questions asked. Why can't these darn churches relocate these people to Virginia was another statement heard.

Not sure what color the immigrants are, but race doesn't matter anyway, huh?

Hey, Willie Mays was a great baseball player with ties to Hagerstown. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but there is no need to name a street after him in Hagerstown. A lot of other important people should have a street named after them before Mays.

No racial consideration here, either. Just simply a political decision based on pure logic and merit.

I guess after a busy week of watching the media, conjuring up a few thoughts, and reading the papers about racism, it seems like it is a pretty serious topic with a lot of opinions and emotions depending on where you sit or stand on the issues.

In thinking back to 1992, I remember seeing Rodney King on television as police batons came down across his head and body during an arrest in California. Obviously, he was resisting, right? Several white police officers were charged afterward with police brutality and acquitted. Los Angeles burned for four days during the riots that occurred in the aftermath of those acquittals.

While Los Angeles was burning, King asked perhaps the most legitimate question in regard to racism: "Can't we all just get along?" Sorry to say Rodney, it doesn't seem as if it's going to happen.

Lloyd "Pete" Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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