I was greatly disturbed by news that large groups of African-American teenagers attacked whites randomly outside the Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee last week, but I was even more disturbed by the ignorance of politicians that followed the unfortunate incidents. Many suggested that they had no idea why such things would occur ( a similar incident had occurred in Milwaukee on July 3). Some opined that it had to do with the “breakdown of the Black family” while at least one conservative official stated that “violence is a part of the Black culture.”
To me it is not coincidental that these attacks occurred as politicians who describe themselves as conservatives or “Tea Party” members seriously advocate repeal of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, and vote to prohibit collective bargaining. Rights that were won only with the blood of Blacks and working-class Americans which we thought were irreversible gains are either already eliminated or soon to be gone. It is conceivable that we could be seeing “White Only” signs again within our lifetime.
But Americans must understand that this youngest generation of African-Americans will not lay down and let this be done without a fight. The day of patience, of relying upon the courts and of peaceful protest and dissent are over. These kids feel they have nothing to lose, and anyone who feels they have nothing to lose is alienated enough to be dangerous. Make no mistake, if conservative Americans want to re-establish Jim Crow (and I’m not saying all of them do, but the statements of Ron and Rand Paul make one wonder), they will have to use extreme repressive force to do so. There will be more and more incidents like Milwaukee’s last week.