Archive for Southern

Blazing Saddles in Alabama

Bart, the black sheriff in the bigoted town shows up to ask, “Hey, where are the white women at?” He spoke of the fictional Rock Ridge but that’s the question for elections, nationwide, including Alabama.

In nearly all times and locals, women make up the majority of voters (more of them and they vote at a higher rate than men). They determine the results.

For yesterday’s voting, many speculated whether Alabama women could vote for a credibly accused predator of young and underage girls Roy Moore. The answer seems to be, unfortunately, that many of the white women could and did. (Chart from WaPo article. Fair use claimed here.)

Granted, they voted at much higher rates for credibly accused predator of women  and girls Donald Trump. Yet it remains surprising and alarming that any women could vote for Moore, regardless of their point on the political spectrum.

There’s much bluster and portent among lefties about how this bodes well for ’18 and ’20 elections. A deeply red state chose its first Dem Senator in 27 years. Let’s reserve judgment. Let’s first consider that Moore is a morally bankrupt, totally dishonest and dishonorable pol who has been unable to obey the federal and state constitution and perform his duties in any position. How likely is it that red states will arrogantly run such terrible candidates for Dems to beat?

We’d like to think white women in the main would join progressives in this MeToo time. They have the power and could easily use it for good of the nation, their states and women in particular.



Go Set A Watchman Commentary

Yes, there were spoilers in the review/commentary of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman, but let’s be grown up. Read the book or belly up to the intellectual bar, or both.

After all, the new (really the very old) Lee novel is under 200 pages. They read well because even before all the editing that morphed this rudimentary work into her To Kill A Mockingbird, her splendid observations and analysis of Southern, small-town life find excellent expression in lyric prose. Even in her 20s, she wrote far better than nearly all of us.

I concentrated on how we might interpret the big shocks, particularly Jean Louise finding that her father Atticus and maybe future husband Henry are in with deep South racists in Maycomb, AL. That is so apropos in this era of murder of black folk by white cops and everyone from the SCOTUS to Congress to state legislatures trying to limit African-American rights to vote and more.

Nearly all of us grew up with Mockingbird as a book and/or a movie. The simple moralism and openness to all are lessons as useful as base Christianity or Scouting (pardon the pun). Some things are just right and others just wrong.

I did get into differences in what happened in the two books and what we’d expect of the primary characters. I spoke of the few major flaws of Watchman. Yet, I would like others to read the new/old book. It is good literature at least three-quarters and thought-provoking ever it lags.

icon for podpress  Go Set A Watchman [22:32m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


SC Racism Podcast

Communications guru Marshall McLuhan married a South Carolinian and continued to visit the state regularly from his native Canada. I once heard him speak to the educational broadcasters down there. He concluded that South Carolina was ready to lead the parade into the 21st Century, because it has missed the 20th. He was optimistic but his half jest had a true basis.

Yes, SC was the first to secede from the U.S. Yes, it led in slavery, both of Native Americans and the African/West Indies trade. Yes, it saw active KKKs and lynchings. Yes, it is known for racism.

I spoke to the years I was in SC, as a student and working. I married a native and visited many times, with more in the works. I edited the weekly for Black South Carolinians. I saw quotidian racism. I interviewed a Grand Dragon.

I saw changes in the 70s and more recently. I live in Boston, where we admit African Americans and Latinos are not yet equal in many ways. Yet, we pretend we are not racists here.

I spoke of why SC is much worse than MA and whether McLuhan had a real point.

That interview of Darnell Williams, CEO of the Urban League of Eastern MA by Chris Lovett, on the Charleston murders, is here.

icon for podpress  SC Racism [24:45m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Murders in the Palmetto State

While I’ve lived 35 years in Boston, plus nearly two in Cambridge in college years, I have deep and wide Southern roots. As a child, I knew segregated schools, stores, pools and water fountains. My first college was in South Carolina. I used to be the editor of the Black weekly newspaper in the SC capital. My wife is an SC native, and on and on. I know a lot about the state.

Let me speak of the people and events I knew in my childhood and youth. Perhaps as I talk, I can come to some terms with the brutal murders of nine in a Charleston AME church yesterday.

If you are not already at work or on the way and can listen live, click this URL at 10:30AM EDT Friday to do so. I’ll take calls so long as your number is not blocked to view at 718-664-6966. Of course, any swearing or racist callers get the mute immediately.