Sunday, February 10, 2008


A spot-on article by Jeff Jacoby.  I didn't realize that anti-Italian prejudice was so strong at one time:
Yet real racial transcendence will be achieved not when a black candidate's race is no bar to his election, but when it is not even an issue in his election. When the Morgan Freeman standard becomes the rule -- when there are no longer "black" candidates and "white" candidates, because Americans will be indifferent to such labels -- only then will our politics have truly moved beyond race.


     Is the colorblind idea nothing but a dream? It need not be.


     There was a time in US history when anti-Italian prejudice was so intense that the prospect of an Italian-American president would have been unthinkable. When 11 Italian immigrants were lynched in New Orleans in 1891, The New York Times described the victims as "sneaking and cowardly Sicilians, the descendants of bandits and assassins . . . a pest without mitigation." During World War II, thousands of Italian Americans were expelled from their homes, and hundreds of immigrants were interned in military camps.


    Yet there was little if any attention paid to Rudy Giuliani's ethnicity during his recent campaign for president. No one blamed anti-Italian bigotry when his effort came to naught. For all intents and purposes, his Italian descent was simply not an issue.


     The color of Obama's skin is irrelevant to the content of his character or his fitness for office. Would that its significance to his campaign were also nil. No, we're not there yet. But until we are, we would do well to remember there is no faster way to a society in which race doesn't matter than to stop talking and acting as if it does.


By Jeff Jacoby

The Boston Globe


Sunday, February 10, 2008


     On the subject of Black History Month, I'm with Morgan Freeman, who described it a few years ago as "ridiculous" -- for the excellent reason that "black history is American history," not some segregated addendum to it. The only way to get beyond racial divisions, he told Mike Wallace of "60 Minutes," is to "stop talking about it. I'm going to stop calling you a white man, and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man."


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