Op/Ed By Dr. E. Faye Williams
(TriceEdneyWire.com) — If you were born between 1930 and 1960, you may remember that the Western Genre, or as it was more commonly called, the “Cowboy Movie,” was a favored theatrical production of the times. The genre even overlapped into performance radio and television. In fact, the television series “Gunsmoke” stands as the longest-running (20 years) prime time live-action drama in US history.
Even when I was young, I could see the parallels between how Native and Black people were treated in those movies. As much as with seemingly unnecessary demonstration of heavy-handed brutality, I learned the subtleties of dealing with whites by the use of some very telling movie expressions. One that sticks in mind is the constant complaint from the Native Chief, “White man speak with forked tongue!” It was true then and Lord knows it’s true now!
Lest I create conflict and misunderstanding with my last statement, let me elaborate. If circumstance can or could be manipulated to bring advantage to him, the white man would lie, cheat or steal. Moreover, he would abandon his most cherished principles to realize that advantage. A generalized and sweeping condemnation for sure, but justified in so many circumstances. I’m not talking about the white men who don’t do that—and you will know who you are better than I. I have bothered to say that because I know how I feel when so many white people put all Black people in the same bag when speaking of negative things a single Black person may have done or been accused of doing.
Even though the history of the United States is full of examples of broken promises and treaties that can be examined, one doesn’t have to go too far in the past to uncover duplicitous actions and intent on the part of an alarming number of white men. Even white women will tell you that their own fathers, brothers, spouses kept the vote from them until 1920, and that many in Congress today are still trying to control every aspect of their lives.
From the mouths of the founders came a pledge of a country that holds the right to vote as sacrosanct. Its superlatives include precious, private, inviolable, uninfringeable, unbreakable, and unchallenged. Yet today in Alabama’s so-called “Black Belt” access to the primary means of self-identification for the purpose of voting has been stripped from over 10 of the Blackest counties in the state. These counties average Black populations of 75 percent and predictably vote for Democratic candidates. Offices issuing drivers licenses have been closed to those populations and, by extension, limiting access to the ballot box. Although proponents of this action claim no designed racist intent, the disparate impact is obvious as a (racist) action to dilute the Black vote.
While I usually don’t focus on or make fun of personal impediments, I am truly amused by Republican Congressman and once heir-apparent to Speaker Boehner, Kevin McCarthy. He appears incapable of functional speaking at any level. It seems as though he was, at least temporarily, smitten with the curse of telling the truth. He readily admitted that the select Congressional Committee on Benghazi was established to bring political ruination upon the democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton, instead of discovering the truth of related circumstance.
Unfortunately, McCarthy backed away from the truth that he told and tried to put the genie back in the bottle with as implausible story I’ve ever heard. Too late! The retreat didn’t help him, and he backed out of the race. From my perspective, truth is a commodity that is generally absent in the constructs of the Republican Party Establishment who are, by the way, predominantly male and predominantly white. So much for sayings gleaned from old cowboy movies.
(Dr. E. Faye Williams is National President of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. www.nationalcongressbw.org. 202/678-6788)