A parking flap proves this nation's still got a long way to go.
"Well, you're being ignorant right now."
"No, you're being ignorant. Now mind your business."
When I walked away I was so angry that I neglected to get his name. But ultimately neither of our names mattered. In his eyes, I was simply a black man who should be challenged because his blackness merited questioning. In my eyes, he was simply someone trying to take away the rights I've worked so hard to attain.
My anger grew as we walked to Penn's Landing and were greeted by the bass-heavy strains of "Hollywood Swinging" echoing across the pier.
"Hey, hey, hey," the background singers chanted over the horns. "What you got to say?"
Ironic, I thought, as we caught the last few notes of the concert. All this to be asked what I have to say.
Well, if I must say something, it's this. Racism as I've experienced it is nothing more than the unwillingness to share the so-called American dream-whether in the form of housing, economic freedom or even something as seemingly meaningless as press parking spaces.
But when our country is at war with those who seek to destroy it, we must put aside the American legacy of racism. When nuclear weapons are in the hands of enemies who hate us all equally, we must strive to treat each other as equals. When American soldiers named Brahim are targeted along with those named Seamus, we not only have to quote Dr. King's admonition to judge each other by the content of our character-we have to embrace it.
Because the truth is, we can no longer afford to live in a racially divided society. We are one country. And if we don't start acting like it, we won't need terrorists to destroy us. We will destroy ourselves.
We’re always having a beer in Philly. But we haven’t had a beer the way President Obama had a beer last week—sleeves rolled up, hanging with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley—trying, with the force of his charm and a few frosty mugs, to defuse the nation’s latest racially charged incident. “A teachable moment,” the president called it, and goddamn if Philly isn’t chock-full of teachable moments.
Letters to the Editor