We have come far, but there’s more to do

By Tuffy Fields

America went through a tumultuous time in its’ history during the 1960s. Civil rights went to the forefront of America’s interests and was right there with Viet Nam, the Kennedy assassinations and landing a man on the moon. It was a hard struggle and within Louisiana’s political landscape the ability for minority voting was enhanced with the abolition of the poll tax. Unlikely politicians such as Earl Long promoted minority voting and helped to open the doors for those that had never been given the constitutional right to vote.

Segregated water fountains and bathrooms disappeared as did segregated schools as minorities appeared at a quick pace on television and in movies. America had transitioned to an integrated society where African Americans are no longer discriminated against in the deep south just aa American Indians were integrated into a white man’s world in the West. America has grown up; at least in many quarters.

Many of us had fathers and grandfathers that went to war to fight a diabolical philosophy, an enemy that was committed to purify the earth from innocent men, women and children in a horrid social engineering experiment. The Nazi viewpoint was taken to an extreme and six million Jews were murdered simply because of their linage. Blacks were slated to be on the extermination list as were others deemed to be inferior and sub-standard humans. This was a sad time in the history of the world and a young black man by the name of Jesse Owens disproved this ideal race concept when he destroyed the track competition at the Olympics held in Berlin, Germany with Adolf Hitler looking on.

Many good men and women from the Allied nations never returned from World War II but their sacrifices insured that much of the hatred in the world would be eliminated and we could live in peace without fear of repercussion due to race, creed or religion. This ideal took a long time to be adopted and then understood by the masses. It took a long time after the war to fully espouse the concepts of Americanism; but America has come a long way. Is total equality with us today? The answer is “no” but it is so much better than a decade ago and it will be better in the future decades but we have to be observant and cautious.

Politics has a way to play different parties against each other. This competition can be good as it identifies differences in ideology. It can also be detrimental to a nation when lies and misrepresentation of a rival leads to divisions that are difficult to heal. Add to this various news agencies that take sides and legitimize stories that fit a narrative of the political party that the agency supports. An example is the use of the term “racist”. It had been years since I had heard the use of this term. It began to appear in the press in December of 2020 and quickly grew to be used against anyone that had some differing opinion, regardless of what the opinion is. To discredit that individual simply call him or her a racist and the discussion is over. 

The same is true of the term “white supremacist”.   A blight on our country, there are few true white supremacist in America, but there are some. While the intent is deplorable, the term has grown and spread within the vernacular of America to include all whites.

According to Jane Fonda white males are the cause for global warming and racism and should be placed in prison. Placing a person in prison for the color of one’s skin or gender sounds racist to me.

Strong men in our society have addressed the liberal conception that minorities are oppressed and there is little chance for a minority to achieve the American dream. These men spoke openly on the subject.

Recently one of these men was on a popular talk show where he explained his position on the ability to “achieve” while living in America. He stated, “ One of the things that I think about, and one of the reasons why I’m on the show is because of the comments that were made, frankly, on this show, that the only way for a young African American kid to be successful in this country is to be the exception and not the rule. That is a dangerous, offensive, disgusting message to send to our young people today, that the only way to succeed is by being the exception.

So the fact of the matter is we’ve had an African-American president, African-American vice president. We’ve had two African-Americans to be secretary of the state, in my home city, the police chief is an African-American who’s now running for mayor. The head of the highway patrol for South Carolina is African American.”

Another American addressed America and what it takes to succeed in what some feel is a racist country. He stated, “Success is not only for the elite. Success is there for those who want it, plan for it, and take action to achieve it.”  This American icon went on to say, “I’m not a person that really deals in color. I recognize the inequities that certain cultures have to go through. I understand the history of slavery and all those things. But I’m not a victim. I can vote, I can be a participant. I can invest my money. I can invest my time. And that’s what I’m doing.”  He later added, “Ya know, America’s a great country. It’s great because it allows you to fight. And you can win, if you have the stamina and tenacity.” 

The first comments came from Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina when he addressed the television show, “The View”. Senator Scott is the son of a man that picked cotton for a living and gave his trust in God. The second set of comments came from a man that many feel is the greatest running back in history, the late Jim Brown. Both are black men but more importantly they are Americans.

Brown addressed liberalism vs conservatism, “A liberal will cut off your leg so he can hand you a crutch.”

God Bless America and pray for the Ukraine.

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Thomas FieldsThomas “Tuffy” Fields is an author and regular contributor to The Gazette. He can …

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