While I was still in Texas, late in 1960, the incident most reported and pictured in the newspapers was the matriculation of a couple of tiny Negro children in a New Orleans school. Behind these small dark mites were the law's majesty and the law's power to enforce -- both the scales and the sword were allied with the infants -- while against them were three hundred years of fear and anger and terror of change in a changing world. . . .
No newspaper had printed the words these women shouted. It was indicated that they were indelicate, some even said obscene. . . . But now I heard the words, bestial and filthy and degenerate. In a long and unprotected life I have seen and heard the vomitings of demoniac humans before. Why then did these screams fill me with a shocked and sickened sorrow?
. . . Here was no spontaneous cry of anger, of insane rage. . . . [They] hungered for attention. . . . Theirs was the demented cruelty of egocentric children, and somehow this made their insensate beastliness much more heartbreaking.
. . . I knew something was wrong and distorted and out of drawing. I knew New Orleans, I have over the years had many friends there, thoughtful, gentle people, with a tradition of kindness and courtesy. . . . Where were the others . . . the ones whose arms would ache to gather up a small, scared, black mite?
I don't know where they were. Perhaps they felt as helpless as I did, but they left New Orleans misrepresented to the world. The crowd, no doubt, rushed home to see themselves on television, and what they saw went out all over the world, unchallenged by the other things I know are there.
« Older What if Michael Vick were white?... | Categories as fundamental as f... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt