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Sat Aug 12, 2017, 11:45 AM

History is repeating itself, isn't it?

We're back to hard right conservative leadership and the neo-nazis are coming out in force. We're seeing riots that remind many of us of the era that led to the Civil Rights Movement.

My two cents. I am a child of that era and I have no doubt that I benefited from the sacrifices that were made by others. In the seventies I was accepted into a college, that at that time, only had 2% minority enrollment. Affirmative Action may or may not have had a play in that acceptance, but I know there was no public money involved because my father paid my full tuition. When it was time to get a job I was described as a twofer. Essentially, a woman and a minority member. In that first job, I saw the sunrise for many Civil Rights programs. Though management was heavily male, you could see the beginning of sexual harassment policies and racial sensitivity.

The biggest changes were with companies that expected federal money. People who worked for those companies know what I mean. Policies were required to provide equal and fair treatment to members of all races. So, in a nutshell, if you really wanted opportunities to bridge differences with members of other races, you had them. So, what happened? How did enduring racist views manage to survive through the decades and surface now with the appearance of Trump?

It seems that every experience I have had in my life was tailored to answer that question. We made mistakes in believing that racism was something that belonged to an older generation. We didn't see how those ideas could endure in one family, moving from one generation to the next. We failed to really pay attention and read the signs.

For example, we didn't see that racist perceptions would find a nurturing environment in the White Flight communities that grew in the suburbs. (Don't look in the locked room in the basement!) We didn't see how the older generation could pass on their prejudices through their financial hold on their family members -- especially in areas where jobs are largely determined by who you know; and where we give far too much leeway for crooked business to older members in the community, simply because they're the "old guys."

I could expand on these thoughts, but, I think that it really isn't so hard to see what I mean. I have many Republicans that I called friends, mostly because we never talked politics. Many of them were co-workers in those companies that had policies that were influenced by federal law. I am sure many of them are denouncing the Breibart influenced right-wing youths in Charlotte, but the truth is, in decades of knowing them, race was not a subject we discussed much. When we did, their position was always that racism did not exist. I think they really believed it.

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