Instead of Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis, I was thinking Magniloquence and Stacey Campfield. I hate to do that to Mag, but dang, Campfield needs to be handcuffed to someone who is willing to slap him upside the head every now and again.
Today, Campfield is, I guess, pretending to protect us from The Black Panthers.
The Tennessee General Assembly passed The Rosa Parks act yesterday that would allow folks who had participated in the Civil Rights Movement and been charged with crimes in connection with those activities to have those crimes expunged from their records.
Campfield and five others voted against it.
A lot of talk has been going around about the Rosa Parks act and why I voted against it. Long and short of it is I did not like the expunging of felonies part of it. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and many others advocated for non violent resistance to end the discrimination problem in their time. I support that system as well.
Felony charges in that arena were seldom non violent charges. Half of Memphis was burned when MLK was shot. Homes and businesses of innocent people were robbed and burned. Violent resistance was advocated by some groups like the black panthers. I feel expunging those type crimes and others like it need closer scrutiny then was given in the bill. I had an amendment to remove that part of the bill but it was killed. If the felony part was not in the bill I would have supported it.
But let’s take a look at the wording of the bill, shall we?
All public records of a person who has been charged and convicted with a misdemeanor or felony while protesting or challenging a state law or municipal ordinance whose purpose was to maintain or enforce racial segregation or racial discrimination shall, upon petition by that person to the court having jurisdiction in the previous action, be removed and destroyed without cost to the person.
So, his example of what happened in Memphis when King was assassinated doesn’t even make sense. People who burnt down buildings and rioted weren’t “protesting or challenging a state law or municipal ordinance whose purpose was to maintain or enforce racial segregation or racial discrimination.” They would be ineligible to have their records cleared under this law. So, if Campfield is sincerely not racist, why the hell can’t he find a plausible and applicable scenario under which to object to this law?
But he goes on (warning, may trigger people who have common sense and a knowledge of history):
Yes, I knew how it would look when I voted against this bill. The classic cries of racist would go out. But I know who and what I am (and what I am not). These false attacks do not bother me but they do bother many who fear the impending attacks. I figured all along that was part of the plan of this bill, Some legislators use this type of tactic to pass questionable legislation, to stir up race hatred, to divide us. But I have long believe that a nation divided against itself will not stand. This type of tactic on this issue is one of the worst that is used in politics.
A. Let’s talk about this notion of “stirring up race hatred.” Some white people seem to believe that black and brown people are just contentedly lounging their days away in a bliss of unawareness of injustice until someone shouts out “Hey, that’s racist” and then the heads go up and the herd starts to stampede.
Black and brown people, on the other hand, will gladly tell you that as much as they might not want to think about race and racial inequality all the damn time, it is virtually inescapable for them. Mag again: “If you doubt that the nature of abuse and harassment people of color suffer, online or off, differs from that white people experience, then you don’t know what you’re talking about. Oddly, the Internets offer a way for you to verify this fact for yourself.” And as Mag so brilliantly notes, when you claim that you are being dispassionate, you rarely are–“It is, in fact, taking a side. And the people on the side you’re taking, incidentally, include the bigots, the minutemen, and the invective-slinging racist fuckers.”
In other words, accusing “folks” (i.e. liberal whites and black leaders) of stirring up racial hatred is itself based on the racist premise that, if there weren’t outside smart folks telling black people they were being oppressed, most black people would be too stupid to notice.
Which leads us to B., Campfield’s implication that this legislation is not about healing the wounds of the past, but about fraudulently causing some state legislators to have to vote in a way that would make them seem racist. Y’all, just dwell on that. Campfield seems to be saying–“I figured all along that was part of the plan of this bill, Some legislators use this type of tactic to pass questionable legislation, to stir up race hatred, to divide us.”–that part of the plan of this bill is to make him look racist if he opposes it. Boy howdy, talk about your conspiracy theories.
And C., it doesn’t matter how “But I know who and what I am (and what I am not).” you believe yourself to be, if you keep hearing from folks that you’re racist, guess what? You’re racist. It doesn’t really matter what’s in your heart, if you go around living your life in such a way as to continually make life difficult for people of color, you are a racist.
Perhaps we don’t need to handcuff Mag to Campfield. Maybe putting her in a room with him and just letting her laugh at him long and hard would be enough.