What Lies Beneath

Congressman Steve Cohen is calling on congress to adopt a resolution condemning the display of nooses for the purpose of racial intimidation. He is also pushing for an apology for slavery and segregation during the Jim Crow era.

Now I have heard some saying that this is nothing more than a politician pandering to his constituents. Duh, of course politicians pander. I think it’s included in their oath when they take office. “Do you solemnly swear to pander when ever possible, to tear-up at National Celebrations, and to over use cryptic phases such as - I do not recollect.” That being said I think anyone who has even a slight knowledge of Cohen will know this is who he truly is. These are his views. Agree with him or not you must commend him for his conviction.

On the issue of an apology from the United States to African Americans for slavery and segregation I have given this issue much thought. Before I share with you my two-cents let me first share a reoccurring experience I had as a child here in Memphis. When I was around eight, this was in the sixties, I was asthmatic and had to regularly visit our family physician. I remember he was a white man with big hands. When my mother would take me to his clinic we would come in through the back door and sit in a small room that stored lots of boxes and had no windows. The only light for this room came from a single bulb hanging from the ceiling. There were never enough wooden chairs and people had to stand. I almost always sat in my mother’s lap. The nurse would take me to the doctor’s examination room. When the doctor arrived he would do something that would fasten itself to my memory to this very moment. He would reach over to his desk and pick from two thermometers, each immersed in a liquid solution in a glass jar. One jar had the letter “C” and the other jar had the letter “W” written on it. The jar with the “C” was dirty and had greenish slime on it. The jar with the “W” looked hygienic and clear. It was obvious that it was cleaned regularly. For me he would always pick the “C” jar. He would take the thermometer, shake it once and insert it in my mouth. I never complained, and I never told my parents. It was as if I somehow knew that was how things were.

Years later I would have the opportunity to revisit that building that was then owned by a friend of mine. I came in though the back and there was where my mother and I would sit. The room was nothing more than a storage area. In truth it wasn’t even a room, just a space. I proceed to the front of the building and there I saw a large waiting area with several windows, restrooms for men and women, and a drinking fountain. This is where the whites would sit. I am now in my forties, by no means an old man and these are the memories I have. I don’t even dare imagine the memories my mother must have.

You have to ask what could drive rational civilized people to do something like this? For that matter how could we as humans build concentration camps, or gulags? We would like to call these people animals, but they are not. That’s what is so frightening. They are us, just beneath our well trained politically correct nature lays the hate. It patiently waits while feeding on our fears.

I support Congressman Cohen’s resolution. Not because I need someone to apologize to me. The man who treated me less than a human has long since died. This request for forgiveness should come from a nation, an institution that says, never again! This apology is for all of us, for tomorrow you could be the prey. We must never allow this hate in all of us to ever rise again, and the way to do that is to constantly remind ourselves that it is there patiently waiting for us to forget.


Not a Racist said...

This is what is good about a blog. You can share your opinions without the risk of being personally judged. I'm not a racist but never supported America apologizing to blacks. The reason is that the radicals don't want an apology, they want to be paid reparations. The moment we support giving an apology they will scream Yea! now you need to give us reparations.

It's the same thing with civil unions it's not about having a problem with gays. But when you support the principle of one man and one women of proper age constituting what we call marriage you know the moment we pass a national civil union law the radicals will say Yea! now we want to have marriage rights. It never ends.

You make a good point Reginald and like all your posts you give us something to think about, but there comes a point where you have to draw a line or they will run right over you. Keep up the good work this is a great blog.

Anonymous said...

Cohen is doing a good job. We need to keep him in office.

Reginald Milton said...

To: Not a Racist

I appreciate your point, though I am more supportive of one taking a stand against that which they disagree with, not with an issue you can support. I have seen this same argument with the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life groups. Pro-Choice members will fight for the continued practice of partial birth abortions, but secretly many oppose this procedure. They argue that even though they have reservations about this practice they can’t give in because it would strengthen the Pro-Life agenda. Pro-Life members push for parental notification policies for minors, while knowing that this flies in the face of incestuous abuse. If you support the Apology Resolution and not Reparations. Then do just that.

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with anything but hate. This won't get passed becuase this country doesn't want to have to deal with what they did to black people. You have white people walking around right now acting like nothing ever happen. I'm 57 years old and the way these people treated us was a sin. They know it. You see all these poor black people and they try and say it becuase we where born this way. The white people made us poor. They stopped us from making money. Things only change a short time ago and they act like it was 100 years ago. They not going to pass a law to apologize watch and see.

Anonymous said...

Why do I have to apologize for something my great, great grandparents did?

Anonymous said...

Why do I have to apologize for something my great, great grandparents did?

Who is asking you to apologize? This resolution calls for the United States government to apologize. You see this government was around at that time. Get it! It helps if you take your time and read his post clearly.

Anonymous said...


I just heard about your blog site. WOW, it's fantastic! I've been sitting here reading your comments and the comments of others.

My view on the United States government apologizing for slavery and Jim Crow "Apartheid" is clear. Of course they should apologize. It was one of the most shameful periods of our history. The fallout from this atrocity is felt even today. Can we not see the deep division and mistrust that still linger between blacks and whites? Can we not see how the African America population is still suffering? I hear fellow whites saying have we not done enough? This "Peculiar Institution" existed for over 400 years and we think a couple of decades of half hearted commitments will change everything.

It amazes me that we can spend 3 Trillion dollars to fight an unpopular war on the other side of the world but can't make a dent in our forgotten inner-cities! This is an injustice! This is a crime!

I know some will say listen to the bleeding heart white liberal. She's filled with guilt. I disagree. I am not naive. This country can not continue to sit back as we rot from within. I've seen many successful nonprofits making major changes in the lives of individuals. Take your nonprofit Reginald. SMA is the largest community based nonprofit in the City of Memphis. It provides services to at-risk youth that are HIV positive, incarcerated, under the care of the Department of Children's Services or homeless. They also support nearly a dozen neighborhood associations! I had to put that plug in for you Reginald.

The world is what we make of it. You stay in there Reginald. You are truly a Saint and trust me others are now seeing this as well.

I will tell everyone about your blog and I promise to come and post my views often.


Reginald Milton said...

To: Helen

Thank you for the kind words.

Blood Pressure said...

You want to see change then we need to start calling a spade a spade. Whites have no problem separating themselves from trailer trash. We blacks have to do the same with hood trash. it's the low class, lazy, thieving black trash that is bring our race down. We solve that problem and you won't need any apology.

Blood Pressure said...

I'm not finished. Now I'm really hot. You got all these people saying they can't pay this bill or that bill. Give me a hand out, give me a hand out, give me a hand out!

I was at the grocery store the other day PAYING FOR MY GROCERIES and I saw this welfare mother pulling out one of her government cards to pay for her grocery and she was pregnant!!!! Do I have to pay for all your kids!!!

I know this guy who's mission in life is to get classified as disable so he can start drawing government checks. He was showing me a picture of his brother and I asked him what did his brother do for a living. He said almost envious, "He's on disability." I guess it's a family tradition.

You want to help me Mr. Cohen, build more jails!!! These low lifes want free rent and free food. Then let's give them a four by six room for the rest of their lives.

I'm got to go take my blood pressure meds.

Reginald Milton said...

To: BP

Though I welcome your passion I caution you not to so easily place people in categories. I have been working with the poor for nearly two decades and the reasons for their situation are as varied as snow flakes.

Everyone has a story and many are not happy ones. The world we live in today is not the world of 10 years or even 5 years ago. Things are changing fast; many can not catch up.

We have gone from an agrarian society, to an industrial society, to now a service based nation. And for the first time higher education is a requirement. For the vast majority of our history people were able to fair pretty well with out a college education. Now I see people with four-year college degrees waiting tables.

Clearly poverty does not excuse criminal behavior or a lack of morals. I have never equated one to the other. But what I have seen is the propensity for people, once they become lost, to make one bad decision after another.

The inability of the poor or anyone for that matter to access useful, timely, and trusted information is in my opinion at the heart of the problem. There are three components to good social services:

1. It must work to solve the root causes of the problem. Many agencies I find focus too much on superficial issues which are easier to manage and measure.
2. The requirements to receiving said services must not place the client in a state worse than the one they are leaving. An example was when we require mothers receiving WIC dollars to seek work but penalized them by reducing their child care support.
3. Barriers to accessing services must be reduced. Issues such as location of services, how clients are treated, and improving communication are a must.

For every Welfare Queen you find I can show you many who struggle every day to improve their lives. I for one am not ready to give up.

Anonymous said...

Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.

Anonymous said...

"Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color."


Anonymous said...

Black areas of Memphis are without exception more dangerous that non-black areas. Crime rates have a direct correlation to racial makeup. In general, this is true in most large U.S. cities.

The population of Memphis (city) is about 65% black. The metropolitan area approaches being 50% black. As the ratio of black to non-black increases, expect the Memphis crime rates to increase because there will be relatively fewer "safe" areas to offset the "unsafe" areas.

Black areas are afflicted with more crime due to culture, NOT because black people are born with the God-given inclination to commit crime. Dominant black culture glamorizes violence, promiscuous sex, teenage motherhood, instant gratification, corruption, rebeliousness and disrespect for authority while demonizing hard work, education, duty to family and concern for community welfare. A few lonely voices (i.e. Bill Cosby) try to combat this culture, and hundreds of thousands of blacks - some here in Memphis - work to escape this culture only to be ridiculed for "being white". As long as "being black" means lots of guns, dope, and babies, Memphis does not have a very bright future ahead of it.

Anonymous said...

For those who say only a black person can represent a mostly black District 9 and want to vote for Nikki Tinker, that's ok with me. Now is it ok to say only a white person can represent a mostly white United States and we should not vote for Obama. Is that ok? Of course it's not. Get over your racism! Black or white elect the best person.

Anonymous said...

12:48 pm

You make it sound so easy, this subculture has been nurtured for decades. These people were isolated and encouraged to live this way. Poorly designed government programs destroyed the family structure. Black men were beaten down and black women were told they were ugly. Looking at all that black people have gone through it is amazing how far they have come.