‘Racial integrity, as well as peace and good order requires laws providing for the separation of the two races.’
— STROM THURMOND during his 1948 presidential campaign (Quote found at MSNBC.com)
Yes, people can change their minds over the years and realize the errors of their ways. People who want to hail the death of former United States Senator Strom Thurmond as a great loss for America will repeatedly make that claim during the next few days.
They will also point to how Thurmond, who died at 100 on June 26, was the first southern Senator to hire a black staff member. The same individuals will mention how he supported the creation of a national holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr. Actions like those seem along the lines of somebody making repeated nigger jokes and then saying, “But I have a lot of black friends.”
They just seem insincere.
Thurmond did not just make his racist political statements when he was a young man discovering the world before he understood much. He made those campaign comments in his mid 40s when people’s beliefs are usually well developed. He fought against Civil Rights until the age when most people retire. Plus, he was not just some member on the fringe of a small group. Thurmond ran for President of the United States on a platform designed to separate black people from what he viewed as the superior white race.
Literally, one of Thurmond’s major campaign goals was to make sure black people could not attend the same schools, drink from the same water fountains, or use the same bathrooms as white people. The fact people want to gloss over his stance with a that-was-then mentality is disgraceful. The same goes for people like West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd.
The racism does not mean every point the person makes is automatically invalid. People can have completely legitimate points on war, taxes, the environment and dozens of other subjects. They’re still racists, though.
Saying it was a sign of the times is no excuse.
By 1948, Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, thousands of blacks served America in World War II, and many white people took up the cause of equal rights. Other people with courage obviously had started to learn the message. Thurmond was not a man of his convictions for running as a segregationist. He was a racist.
His racism was not a sign of the times. It was a character flaw.
Dave Sutor [6:29 PM]