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Black and White
added Tue October 18 2005 at 10:37 AM
On September 30, 1962, James Meredith became a national hero by attending the University of Mississippi. He was the first black student to do so, and white bigots opposed to this action came out by the thousands to protest. Not surprisingly, the protesting quickly deteriorated to rioting as the protestors began throwing rocks, bricks, bottles, even bullets at the police officers assigned to protect Mr. Meredith. I defy anybody to justify the actions that took place or blame them on Mr. Meredith. Any non-racist person would agree that what he did was a service to the civil rights movement and that the riot was a sign of the racial bigotry that was sadly characteristic of Mississippi at that time.

This same theme was played out over and over again during the civil rights movement, as peaceful protests led to white retaliation led to violence. All too often, the violence was targetted at the individuals protesting, but on several occasions, the violence became targetted at the police officers assigned to protect the protestors. It was a dark time in our nation's history, when racial bigotry dictated that gangs of white men could freely harass any black man that was pro-active, and peaceful demonstrations to call attention to the injustice often ended in violence.

Fast forward to October 15, 2005. Racial tensions in a mixed-race neighborhood simmerred and stewed until a group decided to protest the apparent injustice. Much like the civil rights movement of 40 years ago, this group of unarmed men decided to stage a peaceful protest by marching through the neighborhood, decrying the racial targetting. Also like so many similar protest 40 years ago, the protest was met with violence. The protestors were forced to cancel their march, and those opposing the march took out their anger on the authorities assigned to protect the marchers by throwing rocks at police cars, media vans, even ambulances. The scene is hauntingly familiar, but with one exception. The fault now clearly lies with those organizing the march instead of the ones throwing rocks and bricks.

What makes this event different from the demonstrations of the 60's? The march was organized by white men instead of black.

I'm disgusted as I read on the news that "This would've have happened in any neighborhood the neo-Nazis show up in, It was a very small group that caused the problems." This is a quote from a Terry Glazer, who believes the problem is related to a lack of jobs and local YMCA's and anything but the people living in his neighborhood. Terry is not alone in blaming the Neo-Nazi's for stirring up all the trouble. Apparently, I wasn't watching the same riots in question, because I saw lots of black young men throwing rocks at ambulances and police officers, but not a single Neo-Nazi resorting to violence. In fact, the Neo-Nazis weren't even in town at the time that these kids set fire to a local bar.

Don't assume for a minute that I support the ideals of white supremacists, and I even find it plausible that they knew what the reaction to their march would be. I also think it's likely that James Meredith knew what would happen when he set foot on the campus of the University of Mississippi, because why else would he be accompanied by "123 deputy federal marshals, 316 US Border Patrolmen, and 97 federal prison guards" [source]? The fact that violence did break out does nothing but support the claim that the black gangs are actively causing problems. However, in this case the Neo-Nazis acted more like Martin Luther King, Jr and other black leaders that protested the race crimes of white gangs like the KKK.

This neighborhood in Toledo ought to be ashamed of itself for proving the Neo-Nazis right.

Will says:
Interesting take. Hard stance to argue though similarities are apparent. The question could really become did the violence of their opposition justify their cause? Some could argue that it did indeed and the law protects even those whose morals you
dissagree with. But does that make it right? It makes it lawful but right is harder to prove. Few would argue that James Meredith was wrong in his actions. Most would argue that neo-nazis are. Does the rule of majority apply to right and wrong?
posted Sat September 23 2006 at 1:58 PM

Jo-Pete Nelson says:
The interesting thing is that I agree with the reason they marched, if taken at face value. They were accusing the gangs in the neighborhood of targeting white people because of their race, which is intolerable no matter what race is involved. Of course, the Neo-Nazis are more focused on racial supremecy rather than racial equality, but I've heard plenty of black people go off about how superior blacks are.

If the rule of the majority dictates who is right and wrong, then James Meredith was clearly in the wrong. Few would argue *now* that he was wrong, but you'd've been hard pressed to find people in Mississippi in 1962 who would admit he may have been entitled to attending Ole' Miss. Right and Wrong should be determined by impartial parties, not by a simple majority.
posted Sat September 23 2006 at 1:58 PM


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