PHILISTINE INVADES ACADEMIA.
On Feb. 12, I was scheduled to share the podium at a "Racism
in America" discussion at the Incline
Village Library. My co-panelists were announced as Sierra Nevada
College Prof. Christina M. Frederick, PhD, and Prof. Precious
D. Hall, PhD, of Truckee Meadows Community College.
to impending weather conditions threatening treacherous roads , I did
not participate. I submitted my Feb. 13 Tribune column as the
conclusion of my prepared remarks, hereinbelow, which were uploaded
to library staff for distribution at the event. I sincerely apologize
for any inconvenience.
Alternative National Anthem
knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
That's how it goes. Everybody
knows that the boat is leaking.
Everybody knows that the captain lied.
got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died.
talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
a long red rose.
knows that you love me, baby.
Everybody knows you really do.
knows that you've been faithful,
Give or take a time or two.
knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to
knows that it's now or never.
Everybody knows that it's me or you.
everybody knows that you live forever
When you've done a line or two.
knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows.
knows that the plague is coming.
Everybody knows that it's moving fast.
knows that the naked man and woman
Just a shining artifact of the past.
knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
What everybody knows.
everybody knows that you're in trouble.
Everybody knows what you've been through
the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach at Malibu.
knows it's coming apart.
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
And everybody knows.
knows. Everybody knows.
That's how it goes. Everybody knows.
By Leonard Cohen and
© 1988 CBS Records, Inc.
the Washoe County Library's "Tahoe Talks: Racism in America"
Nev., Library / February 12, 2019
I regret that I cannot attend this evening. Please feel free to call
or write with any questions. This material, including links and references,
may be accessed online starting tomorrow at Barbwire.US/ Thanks for
your interest and activism.
By Andrew Barbano, First Vice-President
NAACP Reno-Sparks Branch No. 1112
decades ago, IBM launched a forgettable advertising campaign offering
"simple solutions to complex problems."
So here's my simple
solution to the complex problem of racism in America.
The efficient causation, to use an arcane term favored by Biblical scholars,
is easier than God to describe: Slavery.
Like many Americans, I grew up listening to teachers and professors,
purportedly much smarter than me, asserting that the real reason for
the Civil War lay in the friction between agrarianism vs. industrialization.
In the opening scene of the over-rated "Gone With the Wind,"
no less than future Col. Rhett Butler hisself informs the insulted
war-loving Tarleton twins (one played by Superman George Reeves)
that "there's not a single cannon factory in the south."
As the Soviet Union learned, it's hard to sculpt hundreds of
inspiring statues to agrarianism. So Robert E. Lee and Nathan
Bedford Forrest were recruited as stand-ins. They still foul skylines
across the country.
No less than Emmy-winning documentarian Ken Burns ("The
Civil War," PBS, 1990), waffled when asked the great
question. He said that if slavery was not the principal cause, it was
still there like a snake coiled up underneath the table.
I don't know if any statues were ever erected memorializing Confederate
Slavery is a cartoonishly foolish but grimly profitable pursuit. Current
estimates assert that no less than ONE MILLION people in the United
States are held in "involuntary servitude," the current euphemism
for "the peculiar institution" practiced by the likes of Scarlett
The best depiction of the cause of America's chronic cancer actually
came in a cartoon by the creators of "South Park" included
in Michael Moore's Oscar-winning documentary "Bowling
for Columbine." In less than five minutes, it showed how fear
of post-Civil War militant freed slaves spawned the National Rifle
Association and Nathan Bedford Forrest's Ku Klux Klan.
No less than Jesus Christ and God Almighty were recruited
to justify slavery. Didn't it say in The Bible
that God gave man dominion over all the little animals?
People with dark
skin were genetically and intellectually inferior, basically cattle
who could sorta talk. They thus needed management and tending along
with a good whupping if they didn't get the message kinda like
hitting a jackass upside the head to get his attention.
Ken Burns' documentary was correct in stating that the Civil War gave
slaves freedom but little else. Welcome to a century of Jim Crow
where law enforcement was used to conscript former slaves into renewed
slave labor over petty offenses. Jim Crow was thus the forerunner of
todays' for-profit, privatized prisons which force prisoners to make
stuff. They also lobby legislatures to create new crimes in order to
increase their contracts. What a country.
As journalist Dennis Myers points out in his splendid black history
lesson in the current Reno News & Review "in
1861, Congress enacted the Crittendon Resolution declaring the
purpose of the Civil War to be preservation of the union and not the
abolition of slavery." ("Courage
and Repression," cover story, Reno News & Review, 2-7-2019)
No less than Abraham Lincoln said pretty much the same thing.
It took a working man's poet from Detroit to put me on the right path.
In my freshman year at Fresno State, my greatest teacher, Phillip
E. Levine, set me straight about my youthful racism.
He noted that oppressed classes are often awarded mythologically magnificent
sexual prowess as a coping mechanism for their lowly lot in life.
In the United States, that's black people. In England, that appellation
gets applied to Welsh coal miners, Levine noted.
The late, great Levine went on to win a Pulitzer Prize, a National
Book Award and appointment as poet laureate of the United States.
I ended up in Nevada.
So, combine fear of post-emancipation black revolt with black sexual
voraciousness, and you get 14 year-old Emmitt Till murdered for
allegedly talking to a white woman while visiting Money, Mississippi
in 1955. (The accuser recently said she made up the story.)
Dr. Jose C. Canales, another of my Fresno State profs (and a
believer in the agrarianism vs. industrialization rationale), nonetheless
left me with another useful yardstick for the status of U.S. race relations.
He said that just as the ethnicity of bullfighters provided an index
of the lower classes in Spain, the under-rungs on the societal ladder
in the US could be accurately reflected by the ethnicity of the heavyweight
boxing champion. As each class advanced, another replaced it. Indeed,
the Irish were supplanted by Jews and Italians who were succeeded by
African Americans. While the heavyweight title has long since gone overseas,
look at the lower-weight classes and you will find them dominated by
Nevada economic development shills like to tout that we no longer deserve
the appellation "Mississippi West." I disagree and
the facts are on my side.
Witness the current endemic racism in the Lyon
County School District and the Yerington Police Dept. Witness
how the Reno
Police Dept. entrance exam is biased against African Americans.
Witness the increasing volume of civil rights complaints coming over
the transom of the Reno-Sparks
At our most recent law enforcement forum, current NAACP President Lonnie
Feemster asked every Washoe County law enforcement leader "when's
the last time you did a surprise t-shirt check?"
Police officials who have done so in other communities have found white
supremacist and neo-Nazi undershirts below on-duty officers' uniforms.
When Mr. Feemster asked the question, he was met with embarrassed silence.
OK, so everybody knows what the problem is. What's the solution? Let's
take a trip to radical city from tomorrow's newspaper...