“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Confessions of a Racist Bigot

My generation and our kids, the baby boomers, took up the fight for equality and explored ways to make amends.” (Amarillo Globe-News, February 9, 2007)

Yes, we all remember Virgil Van Camp in that crowd of 200,000 civil rights supporters applauding Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech that August day before the Lincoln Memorial. We remember Virgil marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge outside Selma as he began that long trek to Montgomery in March 1965. We remember his long-standing advocacy of affirmative action and his condemnation of the Ku Klux Klan’s visit to Amarillo last year. Remember?

No? Have our memories grown dim, unable to recollect this champion of the black man’s civil rights? Why do we seem only to recall another Virgil Van Camp, an old white man who regularly denigrates blacks, Latinos, indeed every minority group he sets his hateful gaze upon?

One Virgil Van Camp confesses a history of a man who survived the evils of segregation, who stood up and fought for racial equality, but now expresses a few criticisms about African-Americans. Another Virgil Van Camp, the one every thinking person in Amarillo knows, is and always has been an ignorant racist bigot.

His is no petty masquerade. Like an S. S. officer escaped from Auschwitz by pretending to be a prisoner, he now pretends to have always been a friend of the Jews, praising himself for how much he has done for them, but now chides the Jews for being hung-up on the Holocaust and not moving on.

Despite his sham sympathies, he still betrays his racism. Do we really need Black History Month and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Boulevard? Aren’t racial incidents overblown? “American blacks are no more African than I am Dutch” is his canny deceit, for Van Camp thinks American blacks still have one foot in the jungle. Behind every line is the stench of bigotry.

Van Camp pretends the mere trifles of today’s inequality to be nearly over. Like so many bigots he simply wants the struggle for equality to go away, to declare “Mission Accomplished” (did he miss something?) and have non-whites put back in their place as society’s underclass.

This grotesque fraud is an insult to us all. It makes a mockery of the struggle for civil rights and the equality of all peoples, the struggle against racism and prejudice, the struggle that continues to this day. Only an utter hypocrite and cynic would write such an imposture. Only his ethically compromised apologists and enablers would publish it.