Thanks for the very informative article this past Sunday by John McWhorter. This is a timely issue for humanitarian, not political reasons. Humanity should be more pervasive in our society than the love of money, politics, and big bonuses an salaries paid to fat cat executives, lawyers, and accountants in America today. The term, “fat cats” was coined by the newspaper industry in the late 19th Century and it is very pertinent today.
There are some comments I wish to add. First of all, where is a discussion of Paul Robeson? According to an article in The Palm Beach Post (1 Feb 2004, “Robeson brought Americans face-to-face with race,” now accessed in Newspapers.com) a number of years ago, Robeson was blackballed in America, similarly to Billy Holiday (due to her singing about the Southern lynching and attacks by latent homosexual head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover), because he performed the song by replacing the word, “N****r” with “Darkies” (later “colored folks.” (See the explanation of this Robeson change in lyrics during the 1930s at a Wikipedia website. Also see the NPR article about Robeson). Sadly, many of the resources from Rutgers (Robeson’s Alma mater) and Princeton, etc., have been removed, so the best thing to do is not use the Internet, but consult books in a library.
As a result of Robeson being blackballed, like Billy Holiday, he received worldwide reaction and performed in Europe and the former Soviet Union. He was then labeled a “communist.” All this because he took a stand against the use of a word. What is interesting about this story is that Aaron Copland, a white Jewish man who supported the establishment of the state of Israel following World War II, was called before the McCarthy asinine Senate red scare committee of the 1950s and released. There are derogatory words used against Jewish people and gay people. Yet, none of those words were considered with regard to Copland. Copland was brought before the “red scare” jackasses of the U.S. Senate, because, at one time, back in the 1920s, he was a “card-carrying communist.” He had abandoned that in his later life, but was still called before jackass McCarthy of Minnesota. In the state of Israel, they were establishing “commune-style” housing called kibbutzes. Both Robeson and Copland were on McCarthy’s list. I am not trying to put down Copland by saying what I am about to say. But why was a white man let go under similar situations, but a black man was not treated well? All that happened to Robeson was an invitation to perform in Moscow where he was very well received, while America rejected one of its own sons.
At the time of the Post article (2004) about Robeson, I spoke with a pianist who told about the wonderful experience she had in accompanying Paul Robeson when he appeared in the Rochester, NY, area. She spoke very highly of Robeson. Renee Fleming, of Churchville, NY (Rochester area) purportedly recalls her mother and black singer, Esther Satterfield who sang with Chuck Mangione when he conducted the symphony in Rochester. Esther Satterfield is also on a Chuck Mangione recording with the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada symphony, titled, “Land of Make Believe.” This song is a statement about a vision for a society which gets along and coexists.
To those shameful un-American white racists who show support for racist and anti-human Trump and lousy jackass Florida Republicans like Rick Scott (Darth Vader without the mask) and Ron DeSantis (DUH-Satan), human sex artist with underage girls, Matt Gaetz, cite that “systemic racism does not exist,” they need to get their heads out of the sand.
In honor of people like Robeson, Satterfield, Billy Holiday, and others (i.e., singer Stevie Wonder and “Love’s in Need of Love Today” and Aretha Franklin’s “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”), I have a bumper sticker with one word: “coexist.” Thanks also to John McWhorter and others, we can get on track for teaching and learning what it means to “coexist” as human beings, ridding this nation of hateful attitudes inspired by jackasses like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and a lousy wealthy immigrant named Rupert Murdock. Perhaps we also need to cleanse the U.S. Senate of the lousy filibuster rules which have been used in the past to push this nation one step backwards to racist attitudes, after this nation takes two steps forward. Don’t defend these damn rules which were once used in a better manner than today, when they are used to defend the racist “South will rise again” with its lousy and traitorous Confederate BATTLE flag and enabled by lousy Americans like Trump and Giuliani.
I speak in defense of humanity, democracy, justice, but not in the name of politics. Shame on you if you state, “don’t talk to me about politics.” Shameful, shameful of you. I am about the defense of democracy in order to destroy a movement towards racist autocracy. That is NOT politics. Shame on you, if you do because you can go to hell. I don’t speak to “win” for myself or because I might be in better financial shape than others or for the non-colored people of America. I speak for America to win and for the success of America into the future. If you are too stupid to recognize this about me, then also shame on you for your idiocracy. Stop taking a step backwards towards Jim Crow and denial of voting by a race of people, and move forward. If you consider me to be mean in saying this, then tough.