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Tom Finneran: The Good News On Race In America

Friday, July 26, 2013


You have to know where you've come from to know where you're going, and America will continue to improve its race relations for years to come.

Let’s rev up the time machine and take a running leap into the future. We’ll grab a fast fifty years and sneak a peek at America in 2063. That gives us two more generations of Americans as well as two more generations of social interaction–with neighbors, classmates, teammates, friends, business partners, dates, spouses, in-laws, children, and grandchildren.

America will be browner then. Immigration will make it so. Inter-marriage will too. And only racial troglodytes will care.

There will be some of them to be sure, some black and some white, racial purists who think that a black woman marrying a white man, or a white woman marrying a black man is some kind of sin against nature. I wonder what those racial troglodytes will think of the very likely handsome children of those marriages.

My fifty year leap is the easy way out of today’s racial tensions. Notwithstanding all the high blood pressure brought on by the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, a cooler look at America shows some encouraging signs.

First, white America deserves praise for not holding his mixed race background against candidate Barack Obama. White America would not have done that fifty years ago. Yes, white America has now elected a black man to the Presidency of the United States. Twice. And any honest assessment of candidate Obama was hardly compelling on the experience/achievement scale. Rather, he seemed to present an opportunity to many white Americans to demonstrate their full acceptance of African-Americans (and others) as equally able and capable citizens of the republic.

Second, black America deserves high praise for an immense patience coupled with moral purpose. Over many, many years, and for far too long, black America enlightened white America to its cruel hypocrisies. We white Americans were very slow learners…black America’s patience with us was a God-like patience.

Notwithstanding race hustlers and the diversity/quota/grievance industry, America is on the move toward a harmony that has never existed before. The harmony of homogenous nations is predictable and fairly easy. In fact, it is the norm. Not so with a heterogeneous nation. The relative harmony of a nation like America is a miracle, purchased with the blood, tears, toil, and sweat of all races.

Sixty five years ago today–July 26th, 1948–President Harry Truman ordered the integration of all American armed forces. Think of that for a moment–while large segments of white America may have cringed at the thought of such radical racial change, I suspect that young black men and their families saw it as a bitter step forward on the path to full racial acceptance. Henceforth they would have “equality” in getting killed for America. They did not yet have equality in voting, in education, in housing, in the workplace, in public accommodations, in the arts, or even in sports but they sure would be equal when it came time to catching bullets for the rest of us. And I suspect that their fathers, who had theretofore fought for America in segregated units, had come home, taken off their uniforms, and were then, more often than not, denied, any fair chance at a decent job.

Little wonder that the Trayvon Martin case excites emotions. The memories of black Americans are strong, made so by searing experience. And their patience with white America’s notion of “racial progress” seems ever more wondrous. I do not think that I would be capable of showing such patience and restraint.

It’s been a rough few weeks, nay months, for America. But even the most hardened souls can see a nation vastly different from the nation of fifty years ago. The ride forward will have its detours and its pileups, but the direction is unmistakable and unstoppable. So hop on and enjoy the ride. Ready, set, go…


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