Feb 29, 2012

Slavery By Another Name is Unknown History

People want to believe in something. What makes them feel better is preferred to that that makes them uncomfortable, so sometimes reality is not preferable. 

As Black History Month draws to a close, I wanted to help promote this program, aired on PBS recently. It's painful to think that these conditions existed in our country not so long ago, as recently as in 1950s, and it's a history that many Americans don't know or want to know about.

If one is to understand politics in the US since the colonial times, the issue of race and slavery is of fundamental importance. Even since WW2, elections, the law, and the trajectory of the political parties, all have been influenced by this reality. The Democratic Party used to be the party of slavery and segregation until the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s when it traded place with the Republican Party. The latter, through its Southern strategy made the South a fortress and a solid base for electoral victories. 

This, however, has been changing, as Obama proved that a Democrat who's not from the South can win. Furthermore, the Southern states aren't as "red" as they used to be, like North Carolina, northern Virginia, etc. With other western states turning into swingers, the road to the White House doesn't have to go via the South at all nowadays.

Unfortunately, the Republican Party is beholden to a shrinking base that is also out of the mainstream America. Add to this the activism of another extreme element--the Tea parties and even the libertarians--and you have a recipe for disaster. Did I mention immigration and how Hispanics have been trending Democratic?...

Again, the PBS program, Slavery By Another Name, is worth a watch. In the video above there's the promo of this program, plus earlier discussions with Bill Moyers and the author of the book upon which the PBS program was based.