Tuesday, January 16, 2007

 

Yesterday's March

I felt like yesterday's march really deserved a separate posting. It was a good march.

I noted a couple of interesting things. One, a defector from the ranks of the Democratic party here in Yakima was present, namely Sherriff Irwin. He was marching close to the Democrats. I ended up not able to keep up with them so I made a good thing out of a difficulty, I observed people around me and encountered new people.

i noted something disturbing, there was a young man I kept my eye on, since he looked to me not to be the usual type of fellow to attend a march of this kind.

He had a beard, a red bandana around his head, he was thin, and had a beard, reddish brown hair. I didn't get close enough to see his eyes, he had torn, tight, grubby jeans and from the hole in the back pocket, I could see he had a can of chaw. He was on a cell phone and I caught a definate Southern accent. He was talking on his cell phone in kind of a disparageing way about the march. I immediatley felt a sense of unease. I am old enough to remember marches and demonstrations where an immediate exit from the vicinity was neccessitated by provacateurs starting violent behavior. I felt relatively safe since the sherriff was in the march too, with his family members, but I was twitchy. I kept my eye on this young man, I'd say he was in his 20s. I'm pretty sure he was some sort of White Supremicist, just from his whole demenor. I was relieved when we got into the downtown area because I know the area very well and I knew in case of trouble where to go. I want to be clear with you, I wasn't neccessarily expecting trouble, just antsy cuz of this guy. I am not sure if the Black folk nearby heard him he was at one point near to some Mexicans. The thing about the march here is that it's a very diverse event, nearly all Black folks show up for it, and of course a lot of Whites, and increasingly the Mexicans and Native Americans show, the Native Americans even wore articles that identified them, some wore feathers, or beadwork, and the type of shawls Yakama people wear, they plainly had arrived as a group and stuck together. The Union Gap school band supplied music at the front of the march, and a sound truck supplied music at the end of the march. At the moment I noticed the young man who made me nervous the sound truck was playing the UFW hymn 'Des Colores' and the young man who came to spy, made some crack on his cell phone about not knowing that Martin Luther was involved with Mexicans. Well he wasn't directly involved with Mexicans, at least not in a huge way, BUT he cared about all people, and all human rights. He would not have had a problem with a Mexican presence at the march. In fact it would have delighted him!

One of the sad facts of the situation of minorities in the United States is that people who should be standing shoulder to shoulder on these issues often do not. The reason for this is that people who are members of minority groups are all too often, competing for the same crappy, and scarce low end jobs. We aren't friends with people we compete with until we see the bigger picture. It is sad that there was a person who came to spy on the march with the attitude of this young man, he too is a member of a minority, poor Southern Whites don't have it easy either. Some react by joining White Supremecist groups, some by becoming devotees of Rant Wing radio, and some retreat into drug use. None of these are helpful behaviors. None of these reactions will lead to improvement in the situation of anyone.

What would work would be refusing to be divided on racial grounds over what are essentially economic interests.

I'm not saying that everyone should marry everyone. That's an individual choice. I am saying though, that fighting people who are Mexican, Black, Native American, immigrants from other places isn't helpful to poor whites. The smarter move would be to insist that economic needs be met for the whole society. No one should have to live badly in a country with the resources the United States has. Definately no one should be deprived on racial,ethnic, religious or political grounds.


The speaker was a judge here in Yakima, a very good speech he gave about the day that Martin Luther King was assasinated. This was Judge Schwab. Judge Schwab was a student in Washington D.C. and went to class the day after the assasination, and he described how his usually rather boring instructor reacted, and seeing the begining of riots which affected Washington D.C. His speech was very touching and brought back my own memories from those sad times.
Not directly related to Martin Luther King Day, but DEFINATELY related to integration.

The man interviewed is someone famous back in the '60s, when there were OTHER riots in Paris.
Comments on Paris Riots

http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,384092,00.html

Comments:
The impact of hearing "I have seen the Promised Land" repeated so often in the aftermath of his death was extraordinary. It still makes the hairs on my neck tingle.
 
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