Tuesday, April 10, 2007

To make Dallas whole

I fell hard into my uncomfortable chair at work, the recoil of the hydraulic lift making my bean soup slosh gently. The warm bowl in my lap and my cool caesar salad on my desk, I thought about how I hadn't blogged in such a long while. I've been thinking about that a lot lately, mostly while baking bread and doing yoga at the gym. I've been wondering if I really had anything to say at all.

Sure I'd read something that would make my blood boil, but how on earth do you really speak out about anything if your job is the proverbial cat with your tongue? So, I've decided that I'll get back to the nitty gritty of Dallas, what's wrong, what's right and what we should do about our myriad problems.

If you're ever in Dallas and want to have a pleasant trip, do not talk about race, ever. That's like pulling a lion's tail, especially if you're white. It would make what Don Imus is coming back from look trivial. So, it's astonishing that in our Legislature, two lawmakers are asking that the state formally apologize for slavery. Note, they're not from Dallas, but Houston also has a history of racial tension.

So, it's really peculiar that so many racially charged issues are on the floor in the Texas House. On March 21, David Swinford effectively killed a bill from Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, that would disallow the removal of any memorial plaques or statues from state property without the approval of the Legislature, including several Confederate memorials at the University of Texas that have recently drawn fire.

Not that I agree with slaveholding, Southern, belly-up aristocracy, but history is history, even the ugly parts. Will an apology do any good at resolving centuries of ingrained racial dischord? Not really, but if it makes Texas and it's pussilanimous Legislature feel better, then sure, go ahead and apologize for slavery.

But instead of just an apology, a third-rate collection of words officially saying "Gee, we're real sorry about the whole indentured servitude thing, forgive?" How about we do something that will really change the tides of race relations and its associated poverty, something that will wash away the geographical dividing lines that still segregate. Why don't we do something meaningful instead of asking a bunch of completely oblivious white dudes to say "I'm sorry" for something their ancestors did?

With the money the Texas House has wasted debating an apology for slavery we could have gotten started with programs keeping black kids in school, providing their parents with opportunities to start over, to break the cycle of poverty, to end their relegation to Dallas' "Southern Sector" and to dissolve fifedoms of racial inequity through combined community investment.

Nah, that'd make way too much sense.


Olivia said...

Yes, like how the public were pushing Tony Blair to apologise for slavery earlier this year. What has it to do with him?

It's one thing for the Catholic Church to apologise for the Inquisition, because it is still the same church, but quite another to ask this PM to say anything about it. So far removed from it as we are today.

Of course I am not for slavery, but it's a bit like what you said - don't waste taxpayer money on pointless tokens when there could be real social improvement going on.

Blacks have already come so far from where they were, and you can't make up for the ignorance of the past now, and admittedly we built our modern world upon it - but you can continue to progress as fast as possible.

lunaliar said...

That's exactly what I don't understand. Lots of people, though, are thinking that an apology is a stepping stone to reparations, or payments of moral indebtedness. Talk about a nation of entitlements. We sound like Frenchmen!

Olivia said...

haha! Or as the french would say, heu-heu!