Nothing could be more insulting to me than the concept of civil rights. It means perpetual second-class citizenship for me and my kind. – James Meredith
James Meredith was the first black to attend the University of Mississippi. As noted in today’s Daily Dose, he did this on this date in 1962. Whites did not take this well and there were the usual riots you’d expect from that place and time. While a complete recap of Meredith’s life is beyond scope of The Thought for the Day, Meredith would graduate from Ole Miss in 1963 with a political science degree and, still hale and hardy at 84, lives in Jackson, Mississippi.
We have never understood why today’s Thought is not on its way to living down the ages because it should be embraced by blacks, whites, reds and greens. It cuts right to the heart of what the American experience should be about: a society where the only identity that matters is that of American.
Should be about, but isn’t. America has always made everyone except white males work like hell for every gain. Even today, 152 years after the Civil War, we relegate non-whites to second-class citizenship by insisting that American identities be hyphenated.
This is wrong. Sure, all of us come from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. Personally, half of our blood is as Mexican as a siesta with the other half divvied up between English and German stock. We don’t think of ourselves as anything other than American. And unless you are directly descended from the Indians that originally patrolled these lands, you are descended from someone who came from somewhere else.
But we are all American. To oblige some to further identify themselves by hyphenating their American identity is insulting and until we stop degrading our fellow citizens like this we will always be a racist country.
It means perpetual second-class citizenship for me and my kind….
Friends, we rise as a society and we fall as a society. As long as we mandate people refer to themselves as African-Americans or Asian-Americans – or anything other than American – we will always relegate those so required to second-class citizenship.
And as long as we keep doing that we will always be a second-class nation.
The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.