Dan McGraw, Eric Griffey, Peter Gorman, Sarah Perry, and Dan Malone have made excellent contributions to the Weekly. We salute editor Gayle Reaves, too, because she’s responsible for keeping a well-balanced writing team that serves the public with informational stories. Congratulations!
To the editor: To address the criticism of my guest column (“Unhealthy Rhetoric,” March 31, 2010): Some whose letters appeared in Fort Worth Weekly accuse me of being a “racist” because I described what I saw as “unhealthy rhetoric” from the Tea Party movement and at its rallies. What I wrote is nice compared to what most African-Americans are saying in secret. Most see the Tea Party as the new KKK. I see it as a cover for racism.
Now let’s not be “intellectually lazy,” as one critic accuses of me of being. The word “racism” should not be confused with bigoted racial hatred. Racism is an ideology that precedes the outward emotional demonstration of racial hatred.
The black intelligentsia specifically defined racism as “the ideology of white supremacy practiced by class suppression along racial lines.” For us, this is not a debatable concept. It is simply the definition we put forth to the United Nations in 1964, when we lodged a charge of genocide against the United States for the second time in history. The United Nations rejected our definition because, as they said, any race can oppress another and technically be called “racist.”
This accusation of my being a racist is a throwback to the Mike Wallace interview of Malcolm X around 1964. Wallace accused Malcolm of being a “black racist.” Malcolm pointed out that racism was a political ideology like any other “ism” (Nazism, communism, socialism, totalitarianism). The ideology was founded long ago on the premise of white supremacy and the myth of the “white man’s burden” to be the sole conveyor of civilization. Calling a black man a racist, Malcolm X pointed out, was like calling the victimized the victimizer.
That definition of the word has stuck with those of us who believed in the validity of Malcolm X’s argument. For the first time in history, we spoke for ourselves and defined our own reality, as we saw it.
It would be inappropriate for someone to tell me what to see and what to say. What I saw in the Tea Party movement is what I saw. And I am not the only one. (See also “Brutal Political Debate Once Again Widens A Cultural Divide” by Elisabeth Ivy, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 19, 2010; and “Remember, Some People Take Battle Cries Seriously” by Kathleen Parker, Star-Telegram, April 18, 2010).
To the editor: After reading J. Wilson’s letter in response to Eddie Griffin’s article about racism in the Tea Party, I had to shake my head. I don’t know what sickens me more — the blatant bigotry that is at the heart of the Republican Party or the blatant hypocrisy they show every time they open their mouths. Is it too much to ask these people to evolve into the 21st century? I’m really sorry, sir, that it bothers you so much that our children will now have healthcare. That really must be horrible for you. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be violence in this country. It will come from and be encouraged by the right, and it will be steeped in bigotry.
Ann Sutherland is a former staff member of the California State Senate Committee on Education, not the U.S. Senate education committee as was stated in last week’s cover story, “Upsetting the Apple Cart.” Fort Worth Weekly regrets the error.