Looking for someone to blame for reversing the progress America has made since the years of Bull Connor, his police dogs and the firehoses he used on peaceful demonstrators in 1963? Look no further than the White House, where we have a president fanning racial fires and encouraging hate rather than harmony. This past week he threatened to use the same dogs as Bull Connor on demonstrators at the White House, but chose tear gas and rubber bullets, instead.
His tweet . . .
“Big crowd, professionally organized, but nobody came close to breaching the fence. If they had they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen. That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least.”
Steps to end racist behaviors now
Replace racist leaders with those who embrace liberty and justice for all -- Lasting and real change will only come to the USA if the voters throw Trump and his extremist followers out of power, replacing them with reasonable people who understand and support basic American values like liberty and justice for all. The 2020 election (if he does not block it) is our best hope to put America back on track.
Change the discussion from hate to hope with concrete programs improving life for all -- Many Americans feel alienated, damaged and ignored. Their economic possibilities have been severely limited by changes in the economy during recent decades. We must come up with dramatic infrastructure programs and other economic efforts that restore their sense that the future will be good for us all. Good times will help to replace the focus on resentment with good will and thoughts of an improving future.
Pass laws and regulations with penalties for hate crimes, police violence, discrimination in employment, etc. -- Just this month, New York State's legislature will vote to end the use of choke-holds by police and reverse the policy that kept police disciplinary records secret. We need such actions throughout the society, whether it be to protect equal employment opportunity, equal education, equal housing or safety on the streets.
Enforce these laws rigorously and punish the offenders. -- We should follow the example of Germany and make hate speech a criminal act.
Create programs that improve education opportunity for all children -- Much of the inequality we see in American society is rooted in an educational system that serves poor children badly, as Jonathan Kozol documented in his study, Savage Inequalities. Black, Latino and White children at the bottom of the society find little opportunity provided by their schools despite two decades of a failed effort ironically named, "No child left behind."
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