Letter: Ignorance on history of American apartheid

Ignorance on history of American apartheid

To the editor:

According to Rep. Robert Pittenger, Republican of North Carolina, black protesters have only themselves to blame for racial strife.

"The grievance in their minds — the animus, the anger — they hate white people because white people are successful and they're not," said Pittenger.

How amazing and disturbing that this desperately racist, woefully under-educated man knows nothing of the history of the atrocities, crimes and race-inspired oppression of blacks whose livelihoods were literally ripped out from under them, often because whites hated to see blacks achieving incomes equal to their own. From the 19th through the 20th centuries, most black farmers throughout the South lost their land through fraud, intimidation, the terror of night riders, violence and murder. Late into the 20th century, black farmers were cheated out of federal farm support funds funneled to white farmers.

But the prime example of bitter, hateful white reaction to black success occurred on May 31 and June 1, 1921, when members of the white community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, started a riot, killing some 300 black people and destroying more than 35 blocks of the district, then the wealthiest black community in the nation. More than 1,250 homes were destroyed, 190 businesses, several churches, the local school and their hospital were burned to the ground. Parallels have been made to the destruction of Dresden. Reparations were nil, criminal negligence by the police and fire departments led to minor penalties.

For a full accounting of American apartheid, and our perpetual diminishment and willful dedication to poison the very ground, the life and the soul of our fellow African-American citizens for the last 150 years, I urge all good citizens to read Carol Anderson's "White Rage."

Richard Mason, South Lee


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