Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

March 3, 2013

Fred Goldenberg: Shackles of the mind

Ironically, February was Black History month and slavery has finally ended in the United States with the ratification of the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by the State of Mississippi on Feb. 7, 2013.

The 13th Amendment abolishing slavery was adopted in 1865. Mississippi didn’t get around to ratifying it until 1995, but then they just forgot to file the paperwork until this month —148 years after its passage.

“It was long overdue,” admitted Mississippi’s Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Xenophobia is the fear of strangers, especially of people of foreign origin. Racism is a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. Misogyny is the mistreatment and devaluation of women. All are alive and well in these United States of America.

With the election of Barack Obama, one would hope that having a biracial president would have heralded a new age of respect and tolerance and the end of xenophobia, racism and misogyny in the USA. Yet in many ways, it has brought the simmering pot of hatred to full boil: The audacity of the man, who identifies himself as African-American, to not only seek the highest office in the land, but to actually win it — not once, but twice.

Over the last five years, I have received hundreds of e-mails of the vilest form defaming the president for no other reason than he is black. Sadly many of these repugnant messages have come from people I once respected. I have told several that I no longer will accept messages from them. For a couple of others, I just set up an e-mail rule that anything from them goes directly to junk mail because I see them once in awhile and it’s easier not to be confrontational.

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