On 12/4/2014 Glen Ford published an article titled The New Movement: Are We There Yet, which provided his analysis of the state of race relations in America. And he suggested that a new movement for equal rights and equal opportunities for people of color "has no choice but to challenge the very legitimacy of the State and its armed organs of coercion."
I commented in basic agreement with Glen, and I appreciated his recognition that the successes of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s resulted in many terrible right-wing reactions that produced the ongoing era of Neo-Racism, Neo-Jim Crow attitudes, and increasing Neo-Apartheid.
I wrote two fairly long comments about his article, and I decided to expand on it here in this article because this subject is far more important than most people think it is -- and I'm gonna tell you why.
For example, the Southern rock song, Sweet Home Alabama, was a blatantly defiant response to conscientious critics of Southern racism and apartheid, and it specifically targeted Neil Young and his great hit song Southern Man, sung by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
In reaction to that, the defiant rebel song Sweet Home Alabama dismissed and snubbed Neil personally and praised racist Alabama Governor George Wallace. And, during the 1970s and 1980s the song Sweet Home Alabama was sung on many stages where the Confederate flag was proudly and defiantly displayed before huge Southern crowds.
On camera, of course, Reagan chose his words carefully concerning race, but in his attitudes and policies he clearly demonstrated his position. That's why Civil Rights leader Julian Bond later said Reagan "was a polarizing figure in black America. He was hostile to the generally accepted remedies for discrimination. His appointments were of people as equally hostile. I can't think of any Reagan policy that African Americans would embrace."
One of the things Ronald Reagan did that was extremely harmful to people of color was his 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which added to the problem of racial discrimination in many ways. For example, it not only ushered in both procedural and substantive laws that are terribly unfair and continue to haunt the administration of federal criminal justice. It severely restricts the discretion of judges and results in terribly unfair prescribed minimum sentences, and it is the main reason why America's prison population is now mostly black and Hispanic males.
Since Reagan's "get tough" "anti-crime" measures and laws were put in place, many others have followed that are similarly tinged with subtle racism, which when put in practice is blatant to people of color.
Distinguishing Between Black Criminals and Black Victims of Racism
To be fair I think it should be said that bad guys are bad guys whatever their color. I mention this because I think that even though we need to point out racism wherever and whenever it is readily apparent, we also need to face the fact that there are many black thugs and gangsters who deserve to be arrested and put in prison. And I believe that in order to be taken seriously and to provide effective advocacy, civil rights advocates must choose their causes carefully and make sure to plead the cases of black and Hispanic people who are very apparently victims of racial profiling, racial discrimination, and police misconduct.
My point in bringing this up is merely to be fair and reasonable, but it is in no way meant to excuse police who abuse their power and discriminate against certain people because of their race. And it is in no way meant to excuse the Neo-Racism of the Neo Confederacy.
According to the progressive Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC): "The term Neo-Confederacy is used to describe twentieth and twenty-first century revivals of pro-Confederate sentiment in the United States. Strongly nativist and advocating measures to end immigration, Neo-Confederacy claims to pursue Christianity and heritage and other supposedly fundamental values that modern Americans are seen to have abandoned."
The SPLC also notes that Neo-Confederacy "is hostile towards democracy, strongly opposes homosexuality, and exhibits an understanding of race that favors segregation and suggests white supremacy. In many cases, Neo-Confederates are openly secessionist."