Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"How do they get to be that way?" Ebert on Race in America

Somehow over the years I never noticed that Roger Ebert could write like this about topics other than movies – touching, insightful, heart-wrenching, angry. This column by him is about race, and it is about as emotionally devastating as anything I have every read. Ebert kicks off from the racist attacks on that school-wall mural in Arizona.

That brings me back around to the story of the school mural. I began up above by imagining I was a student in Prescott, Arizona, with my face being painted over. That was easy for me. What I cannot imagine is what it would be like to be one of those people driving past in their cars day after day and screaming hateful things out of the window. How do you get to that place in your life? Were you raised as a racist, or become one on your own? Yes, there was racism involved as my mother let the driver wait outside in the car, but my mother had not evolved past that point at that time. The hard-won social struggles of the 1960s and before have fundamentally altered the feelings most of us breathe, and we have evolved, and that is how America will survive. We are all in this together.

Ebert magnificently sums up everything I beleive about injustice in this country. The last two paragraphs of his essay will shred your heart.

“How do they get to be that way?” (Chicago Sun-Times)


h/t Andrew Sullivan

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