Kill All Revolutionaries

From yesterday’s NY Times:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — After white parents in this racially mixed city complained about school overcrowding, school authorities set out to draw up a sweeping rezoning plan. The results: all but a handful of the hundreds of students required to move this fall were black — and many were sent to virtually all-black, low-performing schools. (Link)

Sometimes I have such faith in our species. Sometimes I don’t. Beware of people who say that racism is dead, or that there is no need to raise the spectre of feminism. Or that economic inequality is an individual failing instead of a cultural result of the very economic necessities that create wealth. Racism, sexism and economic inequality are issues that our nation likes to ignore, likes to pretend no longer exist. Or, rather, that they exist only as exceptions to the rule, as individual failings instead of central to the structures and institutions of our culture.

And where is the Democrat leadership when it comes to even talking about institutionalized racism, sexism and poverty? Nowhere. Yes, they have an African-American, a woman, a Latino running for office. Yes, there tends to be more diversity and multiculturalism in the Democratic party – but why have none of the candidates spoken of the Jena 6? Why does it take Stephen Colbert to point out the sexism apparent in the media when covering women politicians. Why have the liberals–or at least liberal leadership–stopped leading the fight for equality, for social progress?

We will need, in some sense, a revolution to overturn some of our deepest and darkest institutional inequalities. Somewhere along the way, we have let them–the conservatives, the reactionaries, the wing-nuts, and the frightened–kill all our revolutionaries. Sometimes literally, most times metaphorically. When people are willing to fight and kill and die to oppress others, are we going to be willing to fight and kill an die to stop them?

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