Socially Speaking's Blog
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Lose Until You Change

The weekly socio-political commentary from activist, Perry Redd

The weekly socio-political commentary from activist, Perry Redd

Some people never change; those people never win.  If history is any indicator human truths, the “moral arc of the universe” is severely crooked, because some people are not trying to change.  What I know is that though America’s moral arc is crooked as hell, it will change.  It’s just that those who refuse to, will keep losing.

Here we are, Thanksgiving 2013, and some Americans are still perpetuating the falsehood that the Pilgrims sat down with the Indians and thus we have the first Thanksgiving.

Not that the date is important, but Thanksgiving in the United States was observed on various dates throughout history. From the time of the Founders until the time of Lincoln, the date Thanksgiving was observed varied from state to state. The final Thursday in November had become the customary date in most U.S. states by the beginning of the 19th century.

Thanksgiving was first celebrated on the same date by all states in 1863 by a presidential proclamation of Abraham Lincoln. Influenced by the campaigning of author Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote letters to politicians for around 40 years trying to make it an official holiday, Lincoln proclaimed the date to be the final Thursday in November in an attempt to foster a sense of American unity between the Northern and Southern states. Because of the ongoing Civil War and the Confederate States of America’s refusal to recognize Lincoln’s authority, a nationwide Thanksgiving date was not realized until Reconstruction was completed in the 1870s.  This is a snapshot of the Republican party of today: just plain disagreeable because they can be.

There are some groups out there calling on the NFL’s Washington franchise to disown it’s name and mascot, Redskins.  Hours before the game, a group of African American, Latino and Native American leaders stood with their backs to the stadium and said the time had come for the team to change its name. Owner Dan Snyder—a white male—is insistent that he “will never change the name.” 

In response, those calling for respect of Native American peoples of this land, are summoning the powers from beyond to make sure the football team loses until it changes.  Now, I, like Stevie Wonder would say, “Superstition ain’t the way,” but what I know is the Redskins lost last night—on Monday Night Football—27-6 to the San Francisco 49ers, effectually sinking the rest of the season.  They’ll continue to lose…until they change.

This recalcitrant behavior is much like the white southern establishment that fought like the devil (because they were akin to him) to prevent racial integration.  Their undying efforts to thwart all avenues to progressive policies to end discrimination are set before us as a historic lesson in what not to do.  We just commemorated the November 22, 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  White racists wanted him dead to prevent changes in racially discriminatory policies he had on the agenda.  They were successful in eliminating him, but the work continued.  His successor, Lyndon B. Johnson put Civil Rights into overdrive!  They lost.

The Civil War is yet another historic example of losing until you change.  The southern racist wanted to continue the tradition of slavery and bondage—based on race—in order to protect, not only their means of commerce, but to preserve their constitutionally illegal, humanly unjustifiable, racially superior status in society.  Eventually, they were willing to die for it…and did.  The North won, Blacks were freed and they had to change.

No, their change isn’t complete.  That’s why they keep losing.  From the Moral Majority in the 1980’s to the fall of apartheid in South Africa;  from the 16 states in the Union that recognize gay marriage to the election of the 44th president of the United States—a Black man—Barack Obama.  They will continue to lose…the invent of the Tea Party is nothing more than a soft makeover of the Conservative Citizens Council.

The CCC is the modern reincarnation of the old White Citizens Councils, which were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to battle school desegregation in the South. Created in 1985 from the mailing lists of its predecessor organization, the CCC, which initially tried to project a “mainstream” image, has evolved into a crudely white supremacist group whose website has run pictures comparing pop singer Michael Jackson to an ape and referred to blacks as “a retrograde species of humanity

The White Citizens’ Council originated in Greenwood, Mississippi following the 1954–1955 US Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education that school segregation was unconstitutional.  You know what happened there, don’t you?  They lost!  They’ll continue to lose until they change.  The change is for the betterment—and peace—for all mankind.  Just like the resistance to change by Israel in allowing Iran to enrich it’s own uranium, the agreement this week brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry, demonstrates my point: they can hold out, but they won’t win.  Change is inevitable.

So the lesson here is, if you want to be on the winning side—the right side of history—become amenable to change, because you won’t be here forever anyway to see things stay the same.


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