Listening to Nina Simone After Listening to Rand Paul

by on May 23, 2010 · 40 comments

in Culture, History, Popular

nina simoneLast performance today – Sunday at 4pm.

A few nights ago I saw a premiere presentation of “Nina: A Portrayal of the Life and Music of Nina Simone” in an intimate theater setting in North Park. This work was created over a five year period and directed by Calvin Manson. It is a deeply moving, well executed and revelatory piece of theater, and the last day to see it is Sunday May 23. Read about it HERE.

Nina Simone was an extraordinarily talented pianist, songwriter, singer and civil rights activist. After her application to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music was rejected, she began playing piano and then singing in Atlantic City nightclubs in the early 60’s. Simone’s music and identity evolved against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. She wrote “Mississippi Goddam” as a response to the death of Medgar Evers and the bombing of an Alabama church in which four young children died.

This particular play is a powerful confluence of the playwright’s nuanced understanding of his subject and the songs that Ms. Simone wrote and performed. Many of the songs were chosen to convey a sense of how a young, gifted Black woman expressed what it meant to grow up Black in America.

A particularly memorable moment came at the beginning of the play. One of the four actresses taking on different time periods in her life spoke about how a young Eunice gave a recital in which her parents were told that they could not sit in the front row in that segregated building in Tryon North Carolina. Eunice said “They get a front seat, or we don’t have a concert.”

Imagine that- you are proud parents of a gifted child. And you can’t sit up close where your child can see that pride in your eyes, your smiles of encouragement and love. That’s the twisted reductionism of segregation. There were people in that theater who didn’t have to draw upon imagination or a sense of shared humanity to bridge the distance between art and reality; they remembered, they knew what it was like. Many others in the room were born after the sixties. A number of us, civil rights activists during the 60’s but not African American were also present. I don’t think any of us left the performance without a visceral awareness of institutionalized racism’s poisonous effect upon our collective soul.

Seated there in the theater, my mind kept moving back and forth between the play and an interview I saw a few days ago on the Rachel Maddow Show with Libertarian/Tea Party candidate Dr. Rand Paul. Paul won the Congressional Republican primary in Kentucky this past week. Maddow pressed Paul to express his views on the Civil Rights Act. While Paul supported the governmental/public aspects of the act, he conveyed a distinct Libertarian unease over one section. He argued that it impinged on the private sector’s Constitutional protection of free speech, even if it that speech is racist. Here’s a portion of the section which raises Libertarian concerns:


SEC. 201. (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

(b) Each of the following establishments which serves the public is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of this title if its operations affect commerce, or if discrimination or segregation by it is supported by State action:

(1) any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, other than an establishment located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as his residence;

(2) any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises, including, but not limited to, any such facility located on the premises of any retail establishment; or any gasoline station;

(3) any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium or other place of exhibition or entertainment; and ….”

I have tried to imagine how Nina Simone, who died in 2003, would react to this particular Libertarian issue with the Civil Rights Act, the portion that assured that her proud parents would not be consigned to the back of the room of a segregated recital hall. It is now fifty years later and this is the dialogue we are having within this country?

There is nothing that I can say that is more powerful than this Nina Simone remix of Sinnerman.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Ernie McCray May 24, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I caught the show the other night and it was a moving emotional delight as is all of Calvin’s productions.
Being a 72 year old black man, not to mention one who loved Nina and her music dearly (from I Loves You Porgy to Mississippi Goddamn) everything about the show resonated with me.
And it helped that Carroll Waymon, a dear friend and local activist extraordinaire and Nina’s brother, was in attendance that night. We got to rap quickly about a range of things, how the world we’ve so energetically participated in is coming or not coming along, how that sister of his could take a song to places in the heart and soul you didn’t even know you had.
Oh, she was a master, Eunice Waymon. Nina. I miss her. But her music lives on. Thanks for such a wonderful piece, Anna.


avatar Shane Finneran May 24, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I wasn’t familiar with Nina Simone’s music, but I look forward to checking it out. That remix of Nina’s “Sinnerman” is certainly sweet.

As for Rand Paul, wow, how unbelievable was that Maddow interview…I mean Rand scores the Tea Party’s biggest victory to date, and then the very next day, tips his hat to the racism that underlies so much of the movement. The Wall Street Journal called it “a rookie mistake”…which is an accurate description, as experienced Republican candidates know how to more subtly court the racist vote.


avatar Ernie McCray May 24, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Wow, what a concept. “Rookie Mistake.” I had never thought of racists ever being rookies. I thought they went straight to the big leagues as “veterans,” ready to hate like seasoned pros. Like their manager: Jim Crow, the biggest “Sinnerman” one could ever know.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp May 25, 2010 at 10:23 am

The desire to preserve the freedom of choice is not racist.

It is not possible to legislate away stupidity, bigotry and racism; that is a bottom-up process, not top-down.


avatar Shane Finneran May 25, 2010 at 10:56 am

But Ian, it’s quite possible to legislate away much of the harmful impact that bigotry and racism have on people other than the bigots.

For example, it’s quite possible to legislate away businesses that discriminate based on the color of people’s skin. That’s exactly what the Civil Rights Act did — and why it’s abhorrent to suggest the Act went too far.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp May 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I think that there are still a lot of racist businesses out there, with racist owners, who make racist decisions (hiring, buying, selling), they just do it under a veil of secrecy. I would much rather allow the racists to act racist so that I know who not to do business with.

The point Rand Paul was making is that it is not the governments role to tell businesses how they should operate (so long as they are not causing physical harm), if a business wants to make stupid decisions (like having racist policies) it is up to the consumers to decide how and if, to do business with them.

If you don’t want to patronize a business because of their policies, don’t do it, I make this decision everyday (Walmart, AT&T, BoA).

Racist businesses should be allowed to be racist, so that we can boycott them, shine a spotlight on them, and run them into the ground, if they don’t change their policies. This is how an informed populace enacts change in a “free market”, when the government takes away these choices, the populace becomes less informed, more apathetic, and racist/discriminatory attitudes prevail.

This is a complex, nuanced, educational, and important debate, about the limits of the power of the government, the limits of the power of businesses, the limits of the powers of individuals, that we should be having in our country. To reduce Rand Paul’s comments as stupid, racist, or discriminatory, is the pinnacle of the shortsightedness that runs rampant in the minds of the masses who are brainwashed by MSNBC and FoxNews.


avatar Shane Finneran May 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Sorry, but it’s not at all a complex or nuanced issue.

It was before you and I were born, Ian, but it used to be that black folks could be discriminated against in privately owned restaurants, hotels, stores, schools, and workplaces. And honorable Rand Paul recently announced that he would have just sat there and said, “Yeah, I don’t like it either, but we’ve got to let the market sort it out.”

Seems like you are buying that garbage as something other than Rand Paul making a clumsy pitch for the votes of his redneck racist constituents. Wake up, dude.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp May 26, 2010 at 10:21 am

I am wide awake. If you don’t see the complexity and nuance, you are asleep. The discussion/argument cuts right to the throat of the debate over the extent of government control and power.

On the one hand we have the rights of people to make their own decisions for themselves and their business’, and on the other hand we have, what the liberal mind would call the “right” to patronizes another persons business.

I am not a Mormon, but I would like to visit their church, should the government force them to allow me to visit, even though it is against their rules?


avatar Shane Finneran May 26, 2010 at 10:46 am

The libertarian philosophy is “I can do whatever I want, as long as I don’t hurt anyone else” right? Well, denying a person equal access to commerce cripples that person. For example, a hotel owner who won’t rent to a black traveler is clearly harming the black traveler, who might not have any other options.

When seemingly smart guys like you and Rand Paul don’t acknowledge this, it suggests either you’re not that smart or the plight of minorities doesn’t concern you.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp May 26, 2010 at 11:08 am

But there is no right to do commerce with another person or business. If I don’t want to do business with someone, then should the government be able to force you to do business with them (think, government mandate to buy private insurance)?

The ability to trade with any one other entity is not a right.

As for the example of the black traveler, what if the hotel went out of business last week for lack of customers, or the hotel owner closed that weekend because of a death in the family, unbeknownst to the traveler, the traveler is “clearly harmed” in the same matter, should the government require the business to stay open?

Or what if there are no vacancy’s, should the owner be forced by the government to give up his own bed, so that the traveler not be harmed?


avatar Shane Finneran May 26, 2010 at 11:26 am

Of course a business can’t be blamed if it can’t serve its customers for operational reasons, like no vacancy, death in the family, etc. Those reasons would apply to all customers. It’s the racist reasons that are not legitimate. Any other questions?


avatar Ian Rammelkamp May 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm

You said the customer was being hurt by not being served, and in the cases that I provided they are being “hurt” just the same, i.e. the effect is just the same. The customer being “hurt” is your justification for giving the government the power to determine how the business should operate, but “hurt” is clearly not a necessary and sufficient condition for government control, as we have agreed. Any other questions?

avatar Shane Finneran May 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Just one more question, have you ever engaged in this debate with a black person? He or she might be able to provide a perspective that I can’t.

avatar Ian Rammelkamp May 26, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Shane I understand your position. I just disagree.

I haven’t had this particular debate with a black person, but I have discussed race. I am against institutional racism, i.e. racism by the government, and agents of the government, where there is no other option. I think we still have institutional racism as Lane, i.e. our prison system, pointed out, and I am firmly against it, and think it is a huge problem. I also think that racist cops and the discriminatory enforcement that they engage in is a huge problem, which is part of the reason why our prisons are disproportionally filled with people with minorities.

My whole point with this discussion is that it is not a simple cut-and-dry, racist/not-racist, issue. The issue that Rand Paul was discussing is an complex, and seemingly contradictory, issue that cuts to the core of the debate about the scope of government control over individuals. Similar to the abortion debate. Rand Paul is not a racist, and his comments, beliefs are not racist, even though many dogmatic leftists would like to portray him that way.

avatar Frank Gormlie May 26, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Ian, I have just watched the Rachel Maddow interview with Rand Paul, and I agree with her analysis that she stated after the interview; that his positions on civil rights are extremist and not of the mainstream. Under Paul’s world view, it would be okay for private businesses to discriminate against people because of the color of their skin, that he would allow a re-segregation of this nation.

You continue unabated to espouse those same beliefs. You have crossed the line. This blog is NOT a platform for racist beliefs, and if you espouse them in the future you will not be sharing them with our readers.

avatar Ian Rammelkamp May 26, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I am about as far from racist as they come. I would stand with you boycotting any business or organization that has racist policies, or stances. I am against all types of racism public or private. The debate is over the extent of government control over the individuals, and freedom.

With respect to your comment that Paul’s view would allow the re-segregation of our nation, that is not true and it is fear mongering. AFAIK, the Civil Rights law prohibiting private businesses from discriminating, only applies to businesses that engage in interstate commerce. If your contention was true, that without this portion of the law, we would return to the pre-1960’s segregated society, then that would mean that we would still have racist segregated businesses that do not fall under the interstate commerce rule. But that is not the case. Businesses of that nature are not ubiquitous, so your fear mongering is unfounded.

I espouse no racist beliefs, only a concern for preserving individual freedom and choice.

avatar Ernie McCray May 26, 2010 at 7:39 pm

I don’t know you, Ian, but I’ve got a feeling you’ve never experienced being hungry as hell and spotting the only cafe open and walked in and had the proprietor say: “We don’t serve nigras here.” It doesn’t leave you with a good feeling at all and it does nothing to ease your hunger.
It’s bullshit to even semi-suggest that a person, who has been given a permit to run a business, should have a right to treat another human being like that. What kind of right is that? I have concerns about a government having too much power over me but I fully expect the government to protect me from such treatment. What the hell else is the government for?
Of course I’m not going to support a business that’s run by racists but I don’t want to find out that they’re racist because they blatantly treated me like crap. I’ve been to places where I was first in line and several people came in and got served before me. My deodorant was working. I was dressed nicely, shoes shined, hair combed, looking good as I wanted to be. My English was polished. My money was worth the same as everybody’s in the place. I left to never return. That was what the establishment wanted, I’m sure. But if I was masochistic I could have stayed. The “choice” was mine not theirs. I had the government behind me, a government that dragged its feet to protect me into my late 20’s but it finally came through after a long hard civil rights struggle which I was very active in and remain so. No business needs to have the right to treat me as a second class citizen. Been there. Done that. Ain’t returning.
Emotional harm is just as, and sometimes more detrimental to one’s well being as physical harm. And physical harm is a possibility if a neglected brothuh decides to raise a little hell in an establishment because “the man” is likely to put a cap in his butt.
Please don’t excuse racism with some “market economy” jive. I want a recourse if somebody refuses to sell me an egg salad sandwich. Your line of reasoning would be better served on Craiglist’s Rant and Rave. Let us left winged weirdos have some fun.


avatar annagrace May 25, 2010 at 11:13 am

Just reading the news on any given day makes it pretty clear that expressions of individual prejudice and stupidity have not been eliminated by the Civil Rights Act. Here is what was changed through the Civil Rights Act: “All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation.”

The Neo-Nazis and Anarchists still get to march in Arizona. This video is from 2009.


avatar OB Joe May 25, 2010 at 11:55 am

Ian, I’m confused at what you mean here. What are you calling “freedom of choice” exactly?


avatar Ian Rammelkamp May 25, 2010 at 3:12 pm

What I mean is, just as annagrace has pointed out, racist Neo-Nazis can still march, and promote their racist ideology, so why can’t businesses be racist a promote their racist ideology?

What I mean by “freedom of choice” is really the freedom to be stupid. I think that people should be free to make bad choices for themselves and their business.


avatar Shane Finneran May 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm

It’s one thing when it’s just words: skinheads spewing their hateful drivel, or whatever. It’s another thing when citizens are being denied the essential services that businesses provide. Duh.


avatar annagrace May 25, 2010 at 6:07 pm

“Why can’t a business be racist and promote their racist ideology? I’m glad you asked that question Ian, although I am surprised that you are unable or unwilling to acknowledge the distinction between free speech in the streets and the provision of services etc to the public by the private sector. Let’s start with the opener of the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. ”

Since 1776, when those words were penned, we the people have engaged in a prolonged and often rancorous discussion about what it means to be created equal. As a people we have agreed that not only are all men created equal, but women are too. We have come to agree that all men are not equal if some people have slaves and other people are slaves. We have come to agree that people with disabilities are equal. People of different creeds are equal. And people of different nationality and races are equal. Maybe one day soon we will agree that the gay/lesbian/transgendered citizens among us are also equal- not there yet. Equality signifies the most basic ability to participate in our society and the most basic access to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. All else pretty much flows from those lines.

The basis for discrimination of any stripe is the belief that a broad group of individuals (any of the above) is inherently less than, inferior to one’s self . What you refer to as the protections of freedom of speech, freedom of association, and free choice in how the private sector chooses to conduct public business is un-American, undemocratic and I believe a tremendously unpopular belief that tries to undermine our most cherished value of equality.

There is a big difference between a business that posts a sign “No shirt, No shoes, No service” and “No Negroes, Jews and Dogs” or “Ladies require a male escort.”

Your argument is bogus. It is not only morally bankrupt, it is bankrupt in terms of our history and the way in which we have thought, spoken, acted and died “to form a more perfect union.”


avatar Ernie McCray May 26, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Oh, hey, one look around this country and it’s plain to see that the freedom to be stupid and make bad choices is very alive and more than well. That’s not what this conversation is about; this is about one’s right to walk into a place and expect to be served, no matter how stupid the proprietor is or how many bad choices he or she has made. Now, I would stupidly be making a bad choice if I insisted on being served a lemonade after being grossly disrespected but, again, that’s my right. My “choice” as it was my people’s “choice” when, in order, to be served at one time, we had to insist on it and risk being jailed. But that’s passe. Now is a different day, a day that has given birth to racists like Rand Paul.


avatar lane tobias May 25, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Ian, one level, you are right. It is not possible to change a true bigot’s values. Much of that comes from generational views passed down from parents, grandparents, whatever. That is something we can agree on.

But I would have to agree to disagree with you on pretty much every other level. One argument you make is that you prefer to have racist business owners openly advertising their hatred, so that you can make an informed decision. My guess from this statement is that you;ve never been a victim of bigotry, or racism, or true hate. Because if you had been, or if you had been exposed to it at some point or another, you would know that this is an issue that is deeper than simply saying “freedom of choice”. Racism is a plague, a disease. If you discriminate against someone, they carry that moment with them for the rest of their life. There are emotional scars that build up over time that cannot be erased. If someone is a victim of a hate crime, you are essentially dehumanizing them. Saying, “you are not equal to me. I am human and afforded basic rights and luxuries, while you are subhuman and do not deserve the same as me”. If you expose someone to the ideology and tell them it is the way the world was meant to be, they carry it with them for the rest of their life. They become racists. They breed racism.

The far reaching impact of the civil rights act has been that despite a small fringe that seems to be the apple of mainstream media’s eye, the overarching, GENERALIZED, INSTITUTIONAL racism that once dominated this country is gone (the prison system will take another hundred years or so to catch up, as it is the only institution that still mirrors the racist America of the past). Maybe people are still racist at home, behind closed doors, or whatever. THAT is their free will. But as far as I’m concerned, I do not want to be exposed to hate. I don’t want to have to explain to my as yet unborn children that yes, there are people out there who will hate you or your friends just because of skin color, or religious beliefs, or some other ridiculous trait that people latch onto. Its because I don’t want them to know what racism is. If there is any free will left in our society, if there’s anything that a libertarian and a radical progressive should agree with, its that. MY personal freedom is impeded by bigots. And guess what the civil rights act does? It makes sure that MY personal freedom is respected. As a human being, I shouldn’t feel obliged to pick and choose establishments based on their preference for white or blue or orange or magenta skinned clientele. If I want a piece of pizza, I should be able to walk into a Newport Pizza, or a Pizza Port, and buy it. I should only be forced to choose which slice I buy based on the taste. Of course, places like Wal-Mart and other large conglomerates have cornered the market on poor ethics as well as general merchandise, and I won’t shop there either. But I shouldn’t be faced with outright racism in the decision. It is not something I feel an American should have to deal with on a daily basis in a supposedly just society.

And on another level, I certainly wouldn’t want to be forced to open a restaurant next door to someone who can put a sign on their window that says “whites only”. It would be bad for my business regardless of whether or not my business was open to all. So Rand Paul, who I’m sure has endured a ton of mistreatment and racism and bigotry on his way through medical school and now into the public eye as a politician, really has no solid logic behind his problem with the second amendment except the empty promise of “free will” and “personal choice”. My guess is that he’s not just a racist, but also a closet anarchist. Because otherwise, he would understand the implications – politically, economically, and socially – of erasing one of the proudest moments in our country’s history.

Yeah, businesses still make racist decisions, particularly in hiring. But in today’s world, no businessperson is too racist to make a dollar. So a white guy who doesn’t really like Asian folks will still have business partners who are Chinese, and a black bar owner who came up through the civil rights movement and has succeeded despite incredible odds probably has served up a beer to the same guy who once threw on a hood and tossed a molotov cocktail through his window. If you want to be successful in business – which is definitely NOT something I aspire to, by the way – your personal values get thrown in the trash during business hours.

SO in the end, Rand Paul can’t tell me bout personal choice. My choice is to live in a country where everyone has equal rights, everyone is treated with respect and dignity until they show they don’t deserve it, and is a model for true democratic governments around the world. The civil rights act put us up on a pedestal for most of the civilized world to respect and awe. Dont confuse veiled racism with shrinking government – it doesn’t serve any good, and weakens the libertarian value system.


avatar annagrace May 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Lane- that is one righteous piece of writing. You are absolutely right about how discrimination becomes institutionalized and that the private sector, when providing “public” services must not, absolutely must not, be a part of that institutionalization.


avatar rak May 26, 2010 at 11:40 am

“… we have a choice whether or not we will do business with them.” Who is “we”? Not those being discriminated against; that’s the point. A business that discriminates has already decided that a particular class does not have a choice.
And that kind of denial of choice is harmful. Sometimes in ways that seem small, but have grave consequences. As one commentator has remarked, the Civil Rights Act is the reason his daughter doesn’t have to pee in a cup when traveling through the South to visit family. Gas stations are no longer permitted to have “Whites only” policies.
The way I see it, it’s the businesses that need to choose. We the public, through our government, are telling businesses that they must make a choice: if you want to be a part of our civil society, taking advantage of public goods and services to make a profit, you will conduct your business in a way which is consistent with our belief that “all men are created equal”; if you do not wish to conduct your business that way, you will not do business.


avatar annagrace May 26, 2010 at 11:23 am

If I cannot enter a bar that serves the “public” but denies access to women, what does that say about MY freedom of choice? Does it mean that the only choice I have, since I can’t change my inherent characteristic of being female, is to find another bar that doesn’t discriminate, or start my own bar if there just don’t happen to be any that don’t discriminate?

Are you saying that private enterprises providing public goods and services should have the right to define the term “public?” Are you maintaining that while you personally believe in equality that the private sector does not have to acknowledge through their business practices our inherent equality?


avatar Ian Rammelkamp May 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm

What if a bar is filled to capacity and I cannot enter because it is a fire hazard? What does that do to my freedom of choice?

My answer to your first question is, yes, you can go to another bar.

To turn your question on it’s head. I think that it should be legal to have a woman’ only bar, where women can congregate, drink and socialize without the interference of annoying, drunk, groping men. Does that seem so bad? Wouldn’t that fill a need and be a good business proposition?


avatar lane tobias May 24, 2010 at 3:14 pm

isnt it strange how we can so easily connect a theatrical presentation of the life work of an American treasure such as Nina Simone, and a newly elected hate speech politician capitalizing on the movement to disintegrate unity in this country. There is so much nonsensical BS resonating from the Tea Partyites (I wont say “bagger” anymore, as its “offensive” to some, probably not Rand Paul though) that it makes a young person like me, who on a different level could buy into a government that downsized a little bit, just pull further and further away from the daily media that seems to be buying into this fringe movements supposed “growth” after one primary win.

Anna, the contrast of Nina/Rand is maddening and disapointing. I happen to be aware of Ms. Simone’s work through my mom, who was probably one of her first urban fans during the beat-folk-soul revolution that took place in early 60’s Greenwich Village, and have been blessed to be somewhat knowledgable of her work myself. With the rhetoric of people like Rand Paul filling the airwaves, I find myself retreating more and more to safe, comfortable, creative spaces in my mind – a space which Nina could always draw a crowd. What does it all mean? I don’t know. We need more Ninas, the fearless activists using creative devices to fill a void and educate the uneducated, that’s for sure.


avatar Ernie McCray May 24, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Creativity is the key. Right brain thinking could set us free.


avatar Sarah May 28, 2010 at 10:13 pm


“Creativity is the key. Right brain thinking could set us free.”

And my good collection of Ernie McCray quotes grows by one.


avatar Ernie McCray May 26, 2010 at 11:14 pm

I had forgotten that we started with Nina. Precious Nina. Nina Simone. To those involved in human struggles, well, she was our own. How many times did Jim Crow slap her in the face? And I remember how she stood up to such a disgrace. Through song, through her artistry, through stroking a piano’s black and white keys, through her love which she shared sometimes ever so gracefully and sometimes she would feel a rage that would fly out of control but she never ceased giving with all her heart and soul. But eventually we black folks, struggling so endlessly to be free and live with dignity saw the laws change, although much of the sentiment remained the same.
And then a man comes on to this site, like a vampire in the middle of the night, and talks about a business should have the right to be racist without a government coming down on it with all its might.
Oh, something about that is so not right. And I would never stifle him as he does have the right to mess with people who have kept the making of a better more understanding world in their hopes and dreams, in their sight. But it would be nice if he, after stinging like a bee, to paraphrase Ali, floated like a butterfly and said “Bye-bye.” If he did so, for miles around, you’d hear a collective sigh of relief. And this celebration could end with a simple loving memory of Nina.


avatar Frank Gormlie May 27, 2010 at 9:36 am

In the words of Lane Tobias: ^ bump


avatar annagrace May 27, 2010 at 10:44 am

^ bump & amen.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp May 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Why should individuals be allowed to be racist without the government coming down with all their might?

Thanks for the name calling, too. Real classy. Talk about hate…


avatar Frank Gormlie May 27, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Huh? Do you mean to say ‘why shouldn’t individuals be allowed to be racist without ….”? There’s gonna be racists for awhile and we can’t do anything about that except through education and experience. But when someone’s racism harms another, that’s when our collective unity steps in to try to stop it. The government is supposed to be the arm of our collective will, and occasionally it acts that way.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp May 27, 2010 at 3:51 pm

What I mean is, individuals are allowed to be racist, currently. The government doesn’t arrest people for being racist, being racist is against the law. Why do we allow that?

I think that as a society we are doing a good job (we could do better) at eradicating racism through education and experience, but we still have a long way to go…


avatar Frank Gormlie May 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm

As soon as racist individuals cross the line into a hate attack, they are liable for arrest. We are doing something about racism, but look at what happened up at UCSD and look at all the Tea Partiers and GOPers who cannot accept a Black man as president. And now look at Rand Paul’s new brand of libertarian racism. We got a ways to go.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp May 27, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I meant to say “being racist isn’t against the law”.


avatar The Spirit Moved me May 28, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Would you want to eat a someone’s restaurant…that held such bigoted views? My momma told me. When I was younger and I was ashamed of the home we lived in, not because it was dirty..but, because we rented and the others in the neighborhood lived in house…with trees and flowers. By age 12 I noticed the difference. Some of the popular rich girls looked down their noses at me…because we lived in an apt. I had clean clothes…my hair was combed…but, statis began to play a role. A “friend” I liked…told me one day…”I can’t eat lunch with you anymore, because I am hanging out with the “popular” crowd. For the rest of the year…at lunch time…I walked to other side of campus and hid out in the bathroom, till the bell rang. I searched my mind…and wondered how people could be so shallow. I came home that day, and cried at the kitchen table. Momma asked “what’s wrong?” I told her I thought because we were poor, that the girls didn’t want to hang out with me. she told me “If thats the way they feel, you wouldn’t want to be friends with “that” type of person anyway. It took 30 years to really understand that. People with true “spirit” heart and soul….would never judge you. So if you have only a handful of “real” friends you are lucky indeed. Will the human spirit ever evolve to a point of being non-judgemental? It starts with momma….:)


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