"I can't believe I have sex with a loser."
I read a book recently on the origins of NASCAR. The author painted a picture of a still defeated South in the pre-WWII era. The "massa" race had been crushed by their most hated enemies - right in front of the negro captives. How would these white men ever be able to look in the mirror again? The black man knew their sins - he had lived them.
But screaming Jesus a thousand times a day won't bring you any closer to God. Only repentance can do that. For the most part I have not seen a formal apology issued so healing can begin. How many are still fighting a war long lost? Oh, the eternal shame.
But now imagine that you as a southern white did not participate in WWII, the greatest struggle for freedom in history. And upon the war's end a uniformed black man stands in your presence. This man has seen the world and found himself. After all the years of being called "inferior" he has found the truth halfway across the world. It's broken down whitey who's got nothing to show for himself.
The incident below concerning Sergeant Isaac Woodard was one I first came across watching a civil rights documentary. After fighting the forces of oppression I thought we'd be more enlightened. Time to put the past behind us. Southern hate is nothing new to me. Having hippie hair and a functioning brain has not endeared me to my southern brethren. But goddam, how insecure can you be?
Isaac Woodard, Jr., (March 18, 1919 – September 23, 1992) was an African American World War II veteran who was attacked by South Carolina police in 1946, while still in uniform, hours after being honorably discharged from the United States Army. His attack and injuries sparked national outrage and galvanized the civil rights movement in the United States.
The attack by South Carolina police left Woodard completely and permanently blind. Due to the state of South Carolina's reluctance to pursue the case, President Harry S. Truman ordered a federal investigation. The sheriff was indicted and went to trial in federal court in South Carolina, where he was acquitted by an all-white jury.
A Nazi atrocity right here on American soil committed in broad daylight. What was the war for? What is any war for? What about the ideals of freedom and equality? Was it all just empty words, lip service to a myth? Was it not obvious that the civil rights struggle of post WWII America was a continuation of the struggle for freedom?
On February 12, 1946, U.S. Army Sergeant Isaac Woodard Jr. was on a Greyhound Lines bus traveling from Camp Gordon in Augusta, Georgia, where he was "mustered out" en route to rejoin his family in North Carolina. When the bus reached a rest stop just outside of Augusta, Woodard asked the bus driver if there was time for him to use a restroom. The driver grudgingly acceded to the request after an argument with Woodard. After Woodard returned to his seat from the rest stop without incident, the bus departed.
The bus stopped in Batesburg near Aiken. Though Woodard did not protest, the driver contacted the local police, who forcibly removed Woodard from the bus. After demanding to see his discharge papers, a group of police officers, including the chief of police, took him to a nearby alleyway, where they beat him repeatedly with nightsticks. They took Woodard to the town jail and arrested him for disorderly conduct, accusing him of drinking beer in the back of the bus with other soldiers.
During the course of the night in jail, the police chief beat and blinded Woodard. Woodard also suffered partial amnesia as a result of his injuries.
In his court testimony, Woodard stated that he was punched in the eyes by police several times on the way to the jail, and later repeatedly jabbed in his eyes with a billy club. Newspaper accounts indicate that Woodard's eyes had been "gouged out"; historical documents indicate that each globe was ruptured irreparably in the socket.
The following morning, the police sent Woodard before the local judge, who found him guilty and fined him fifty dollars. The soldier requested medical assistance, but it took two days for a doctor to be sent to him. Not knowing where he was and still suffering from amnesia, Woodard ended up in a hospital in Aiken, South Carolina, receiving substandard medical care.
This was not some anomalous event. Whites felt more threatened than ever by returning blacks who had a new sense of self. For Southern whites - who need blacks' approval and love more than anyone - this was their worst nightmare. In their minds they would lose everything: family, friends and fealty from their own. Fear ravaged their minds just as it had the Germans, oppressors terrified of being exposed as losers. Of course, what they did not realize is that's the only reason why one would oppress in the first place.
In Alabama, when a black veteran removed the Jim Crow sign on a trolley, an angry streetcar conductor unloaded his pistol into the ex-Marine. The Chief of Police found him staggering away and administered a single bullet to his head, finishing the job.
In South Carolina, another veteran complaining about Jim Crow transportation had his eyes gouged out with the butt of the sheriff’s billy club.
In Louisiana, a black veteran who defiantly refused to give a white man a war memento was dismembered, castrated, and blow-torched.
In Monroe, Georgia, two black men (one a veteran who did not show proper obeisance and the other accused of flirting with a white woman) and their wives were surrounded by a lynch mob of over thirty who tied the victims to trees and then fired close-range into their faces. One of the men was also castrated. One of the women had her spine severed by force of the sixty bullets that entered her body. The other woman was seven months pregnant.
America's liberals have been its saving grace. From our founding fathers taking the first steps towards democracy (those who complain it was not a complete utter shift to 20th century democracy are ignorant) to the last few remaining civil rights fighters left today, by this very thread we have survived. We still want to be seen as freedom fighters - as long as it's in other people's countries. But how can you fight for that abroad and not do it here?
Are we as brave and enlightened as we believe ourselves to be? Today we have the unthinkable of forty years ago: a black President. But this president has done more to roll back civil liberties than any other in history. Is this moving forwards or backwards? Also, more has been done to institutionalize the prison of poverty in the 21st century than in any other time in our history. I thought equality is what we're shooting Middle Easterners for.
Truth is, we're all niggers now. We've gotten past the overt violence of the fifties and sixties and moved on to the only color that counts: green. We're so busy congratulating ourselves for moving passed daylight eye gouging that we've turned a blind eye to the greatest (and growing) discrimination of all: a lack of money. But unlike in the past, there is no movement to rectify this.
Until we have a universal living wage, we are not fighting for freedom. Until we stop electing the whores among us to positions of power, we are not fighting for justice. Until we stop serving the idol of money we are not fighting for equality. We love our American myth and salute those who die for it. But can someone tell me the point of serving or dying for a myth? The only enemy left to us is in the mirror.