Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Missing the Obvious?

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Missing the Obvious?

Michael Lee Pope's article on income gaps misses some obvious explanations. Many minorities are recent immigrants. Do we really expect them to step into jobs with incomes commensurate with Alexandria's 80% college-educated whites? Even when immigration was almost entirely white a century ago, immigrants ended up predominantly in low-paying jobs. Moreover, many of Alexandria's immigrants are not legally present, which relegates them into lower-paying, often contract positions. Income disparity is not a sign of "systemic racism," but normal economics. That is not to say that "systemic racism" doesn't exist, just not in the way the article describes.

The Millennials, minority and white alike, participating in these demonstrations do not understand that what they're seeking has been tried before. In the 1960s and 70s the naive GI Generation in political power devoted huge amounts of taxpayer funds to social services and backed off strict policing, just what today's Millennials are demanding. The result was a huge crime spike, doubling and tripling in a few years. After a couple decades of this, the public demanded the policies against which the Millennials, discounting this history from before they were born, are now protesting. But those who forget history are fated to repeat it.

With 41 of 56 Declaration of Independence signers owning slaves, obviously they did not mean "all men are created equal" literally, but as a subterfuge disguising the Declaration of Independence's ulterior intent of erasing the Royal Proclamation Line which reserved everything between the Appalachians and Mississippi for the Amerindians and assuring that Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, who held in Somerset v. Stewart (1771) that slavery "is so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it," could not threaten most of the colonies' economies. The founding documents rest on an implicit assumption of what is today commonly called "white supremacy."

Is what the protesters are calling "white supremacy" so woven into the legal, economic, and cultural fabric of a nation birthed in the "founding sins" of slavery and theft of the indigenous peoples' land that, while it can be ameliorated by ending slave importation and ultimately freeing the slaves, it cannot be fully eliminated, as the failure of Radical Reconstruction suggests? Black millennial film-maker R. Kayeen Thomas premiered Two Steps Back at the inaugural D.C. Black Film Festival focusing on Dr. Derrick Bell, the first Black tenured law professor at Harvard University, who evolved from civil rights activist to later believing that Brown v. Board had failed.

After nearly seven decades of Brown v. Board and six decades of civil rights laws, Millennials are protesting because these attempts at equality have met the same fate as Radical Reconstruction.

Dino Drudi