History and racism

SF storyteller (and former Quality Engineer) Thomas Flynn takes a look at the Sterling-Silver dispute.

After setting the stage of the story, he notes that
The whole affair is an indicator of how far we must stretch today to find outrageous racist conduct. ("You call that racism? Why, sonny, when I was your age...")  Those of us who passed through the fire in the 1960s remember on clear days public behaviors that make Donald Sterling's worst utterances seem like compliments. Nowadays, someone who donates heavily enough to the NAACP to earn two lifetime achievement awards can become a racist with a few emotionally-chosen outbursts.
The difference between the National Guard marching to protect the NAACP in Milwaukee and Mr. Sterling speaking derisively in private about his mistress's public companions is very broad.

Strangely, I also learned that before Sterling made his intemperate remarks in private, he had been on track to receive his second Lifetime Achievement Award from a regional chapter of the NAACP. Mostly because of his record of donations.*

The history of racism in the United States is dark.** It also included many times when the advanced, scientific opinion of educated men was that some races were inferior to others.

The nation has worked very hard at eradicated racism, and this is evidence that most of the racist attitudes have no place in public.

* It is easy to slip between "donated to the regional branch of the NAACP" and "donated to the NAACP". This second wording might imply a donation to the over-arching National organization.
Clarifying that detail might have cluttered the story overly, and the distinction makes little difference. Though I suspect that the Treasurers of the regional and national organizations would be very interested in clarifying those details, if asked.

** Historical pedantry: most nations have a history of racial discord with some neighboring race, or minority race inside their borders. The U.S. is not unique in that department. We did not quite lead the way in removing African slavery from the Western Hemisphere: Brazil may have done that earlier than the United States. And Great Britain is responsible for decreasing the trade across the Atlantic.
But the United States went to great lengths to end African slavery. A century later, the United States went to great lengths to stamp out racism against Africans as an official government policy.

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