Bravo Congressman Cohen

You may have caught Ben Ferguson's comments on the radio the other day as he chastised Congressman Steve Cohen for "pandering to black voters" by pushing for a congressional apology for slavery and Jim Crow. Ferguson took this beyond the issue of pandering and tried to argue on the merits of such an apology with comments such as, "I wasn't even born then." and "Why don't we give everybody reparations if we have to give them to blacks."

After listening to Ferguson and his callers it was clear this was more than an issue of an opinion. This was about their perceptions on the importance of history.

I went and checked out the online comment section of the Commercial Appeal to see how readers felt about this issue. There were clearly strong feelings on an apology for slavery and Jim Crow. I would say 85% were against such an action. This made me wonder why. I mean it's an apology for one of the worst atrocities committed by the United States. Millions of innocent people under this democracy were enslaved, murdered, beaten and raped. Then the descendants of those who were enslaved would suffer though a century of humiliation by “Separate but Unequal Laws.” Why would anyone have a problem with an apology for such wrongs? In my view this objection has little to do with the issue of an apology, this has everything to do with an uncomfortable feeling that some whites still harbor toward blacks.

Now I’m not talking about the actions or even reactions of some whites but that inner most feeling that over the years they have learned to control though politically correct indoctrination. That inner feeling that is so tamed that no noticeable expression of doubt is seen. They can even look themselves in the mirror and say things like: "I don't see color." or "I feel we should just move on and forget the past."

This denial by some whites place Black Americans in a state of total confusion and frustration. Say what you will but at least with “Bull” Connor the segregationist police office of the Civil Rights Era you knew where you stood. Today many blacks feel that this overt hatred has been replaced by cold indifference. So much so Americans can watch the nightly news and hear of one black child’s death after another and show as much emotion as you would while watching water boil. But let a puppy be set on fire and there is an uproar that is deafening. Is it justified for us to be outraged over such a heinous act of animal brutality? Of course, it is our humanity for even the smallest creature that defines us, but I question have we lost our sense of priority?

As an African American I believe how America defines its past will have an important impact on all our futures. I agree history should not be used as an excuse to justify ones own personal failures, or to manifest a hatred toward others, but whites must understand slavery and Jim Crow makes up much of African American's history and to try and forget it is to try and forget African Americans.

For those who think the past is irrelevant you should talk to officials in Japan who have been criticized for trying to favorable rewrite their role in WWII, or the Iranians growing fervor over their Persian History.

So what are we going to do about this? Mr. Ferguson said people of his generation (he is 24 years old) don’t carry those racial feelings like generations before him. True but not for one moment should he believe that what is not spoken is not felt.

It doesn't surprise me in the least that a Jewish Congressman would get this. Jews and African Americans have a deep connection to history and an appreciation for the saying, "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it."

Congressman Cohen was correct for calling for an apology for the atrocities committed by this Country. For it is when we speak these feeling and confront them do we truly make progress.


Anonymous said...

Steve Cohen is only doing this to win the black vote. Why do blacks keep letting people use them.

Anonymous said...

"Congressman Cohen was correct for calling for an apology for the atrocities committed by this Country. For it is when we speak these feeling and confront them do we truly make progress."

Bravo to you Mr. Milton.

Anonymous said...

Klansman, panderer, gay, mean, Jewish elitist ...

Next they will say he's from another planet!

Ignore them Cohen, you're doing a great job!

Brad Watkins said...

The Tinker camp must be really scared if they are trying to do this. Have they no shame?

Anonymous said...

Ben Ferguson is a wannabe Rush. That kid needs to have had a life before he can go around telling people how to live their lives.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing against Nikki Tinker, but Steve Cohen is doing a fine job. Ms. Tinker has not given one good reason to why we should make a change our Congressional Representative.

Reginald Milton said...

To 1:55 P.M.
I don't think it is about people letting themselves be used. The real issue is that many of the voters in Memphis don't have and/or don't know where to turn for trusted information on who to vote for.

I put some of the blame on groups like the Shelby County Democratic Party, a group that I am now actively working with. They need to be far more aggressive on educating the public and less about in-house bickering. Now don’t get me wrong there is a lot of potential there but until SCDP is able to set some clear strategic goals, get control of these Democratic Clubs, and win the trust of the public they are not going to be of much help.

I also blame local “leaders.” Many elected officials are more concerned with self preservation and nepotisms than they are about really making a change.

Also, watch dog organizations are going to need to step up to the plate and call out these officials and agencies that are not doing their job. We should be careful though that the ones we look to keep an eye out on corruption are not the problem themselves.

To 2:00 P.M.
Thank you.

To Brad Watkins
Thanks for sharing. I too felt the ad went too far. I know Nikki and she is a good person. I can only hope this was just some bad advice from a campaign consultant and not her doing.

To 5:24
What is this? Can Memphis not support some moderate radio host? I was hurt when Air American left Memphis. Now I have to go online. We need to demand these local radio stations air some counter views.

Anonymous said...

Reginald, you are right to lay a large part of the blame at the feet of the Shelby County Democratic Party. The next executive committee meeting is Thursday, Sept.4 at the IBEW, 1870 Madison Ave. It is open to the public. Everyone needs to get involved in SCDP.

BP said...

Cohen has been the best thing for district nine since Harold Ford, Sr. Junior was a mistake. He was never part of district nine. It was a job for him and nothing more. While Cohen has been pushing real improvements for his area Junior couldn't wait to leave this city. A reporter told him (Jr.) that people where saying he wasn't doing anything for the community now that he was out of office and he said that he had done something for NASHVILLE. Screw Memphis I guess.

Anonymous said...

Reginald you made the right decision. Nikki has gone crazy!

Anonymous said...

knew it. you werent' saying anything about Cohan and Tinker race. Chan running a good race, he doing his job and everybody no it.

Anonymous said...

Nikki Tinker...Worst Person in the Worlddddddddddddd!

At least you can admit when you where wrong.

Now Ms. Tinker go away, and never come back.

Anonymous said...

All candidates who run for office are totally in charge of and fully responsible for their own campaigns and chosen strategies.

No one can force a candidate to do something which violates his/her values and basic beliefs.

If the candidate is weak and cannot maintain high standards for their own campaingn, what will they be like in office?