Letters to the Editor

Race relations are still an issue

Sociologist Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week as the second week of February in 1926 to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. He provided a theme to focus the attention of the public.

Subsequently, he and the Association of the Study of African American Life and History expanded the theme to one month’s duration. U.S. presidents began proclaiming February as National African American History Month. Cultural events are being celebrated this month across the country from North to South, East to West, and, in the U.K.

Benjamin T. Jealous, president of the NAACP, says, regarding the election of the 2008 presidency, “... we celebrate whenever a glass ceiling is broken and the presidency may be the highest glass ceiling.”

This centennial year theme for the NAACP is highlighting the story of race and citizenship in U.S. history from the perspective of slavery to the politics of today. The organization is exploring the continuity of historical issues to race relations today.

For several years, I have written articles in The Journal of the San Juan Islands for Black History Month with silent feedback. These were educative and documented achievements by Black Americans in the full range of life’s participation.

The July 1, 2007 census estimated the population of Black residents in the U.S., including those of more than one race, at 13.5 percent of the total population (40.7 million).

The many milestones do not mean racial inequalities no longer exist. President Obama’s election can not be viewed as the end of racism. This is only an event that signals a new scene in race relations. Safety of the new president is a serious issue amid the large number of death threats.

Many people have begun thinking, and having discussions with more optimism about race relations than they have in a long time. I must assume that some of these same people have never discussed race relations. I don’t share their optimism.

D.T. McCarty
San Juan Island

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