No, America Has Not Changed

In 2013, the Supreme Court repealed Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act because, as Chief Justice John Roberts said, “Our country has changed. While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”  Justice Roberts clearly felt that racism was no longer the problem it was in 1965 when the law was originally passed.  Well, guess what folks … it is every bit as big a problem today.  Two stories from this past week prove the point.

Two men entered a Starbucks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  They did not immediately place an order, for they were waiting for their friend, Andrew Yaffe, to join them before ordering.  Mr. Yaffe would arrive in just a few minutes, only to find his friends being arrested by Philadelphia police.  Why?  They were being arrested for ‘defiant trespassing’, according to police.  Mr. Yaffe explained to police that the two were his friends and were waiting for him, but the men were, nonetheless, handcuffed and taken to the police station.  Nine hours later they were released without being charged.

How often have you arranged to meet friends for lunch, dinner, or just coffee, and on arriving first, declined to order until your friend arrived?  It is not a crime, people!  Oh … unless you are black, that is.  When the men first entered the Starbucks, they told the employee at the counter that they would order shortly, that they were waiting for their friend.  The white, female employee nonetheless called police.

Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson, issued the following statement:Meanwhile, police commissioner Richard Ross supported his officers, saying, “These officers did absolutely nothing wrong. They followed policy; they did what they were supposed to do. They were professional in all their dealings with these gentlemen. And instead, they got the opposite back.”

You be the judge …

In Rochester Hills, Michigan, 14-year-old Brennan Walker missed his school bus and had to walk to school.  Not exactly sure of the best route, Brennan knocked on the door of the home of Jeffrey Zeigler and his wife to ask directions to Rochester High School.  Zeigler’s wife answered the door and immediately began yelling at Brennan, asking him why he was trying to ‘break into’ her house, as he tried to explain.  And then, along came Mr. Zeigler with his shotgun.  Brennan did exactly what any of us would have done … he turned around and ran.  And as he ran, he heard the gunshot.  Fortunately, Zeigler is a bad shot and Brennan was petrified, but not hit.

Jeffrey Zeigler, a retired firefighter who is white, was charged with assault with intent to murder and a felony firearm charge, and his bond was set at $50,000.  During his arraignment, Zeigler said …

“There’s a lot more to the story than what’s being told, and I believe that will all come out in court. I was in bed yesterday morning when my wife started screaming and crying … ”

And at that point, the judge stopped his diatribe.

A surveillance camera mounted on the house caught the incident on tape, and Ms. Zeigler can be heard saying, “Why did these people choose my house?”  These people?  Who are ‘these people’?

Brennan’s dad, by the way, is currently deployed in Syria as a part of the U.S. Army Special Forces.

In a similar case in Dearborn, Michigan in 2013, a young black woman was shot and killed by a homeowner when she knocked on his door to use the phone after an auto accident.

I have to disagree with Chief Justice Roberts – our country has not changed.  Racism is very much alive and well, and while I would agree that we shouldn’t need to legislate fairness and equality, the ugly truth is that we still very much do need to.

Why anybody should think they are superior to another based on the colour of their skin remains beyond me, but in this, the 21st century, it is obvious that far too many do.  Since the election of Donald Trump to the highest office in the land, there is increased activity by white supremacist groups, some of whom have openly stated that their goal is to “secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”  Since the appointment of a proven racist to the position of U.S. Attorney General, we have seen a rollback in programs that were implemented to monitor police departments and provide training to defeat racist attitudes.

No, Justice Roberts, America has not changed.

40 thoughts on “No, America Has Not Changed

  1. Pingback: Nothing To Be Proud Of … | Filosofa's Word

  2. Dear Jill,
    It is a good thing that I was not there. I would have raised a good old fashioned Italian hissy fit. When I first read about this story, I was so furious. I hate this racism that permeates and infects this country.

    Here’s the deal. The right has been making the argument that racism no longer exists. That is one of the talking points that was a constant talking point for years. One of the benefits of the Trump administration, is that this lie has been exposed for what it is.

    We notice this more now like when all the FOX TV pundits refer to the Black Lives Matter as a terrorist group or as a group which is anti-police. But then, this was a lie that went unchecked. But it has no basis in reality.

    This lie set the Supreme court conservatives to do away with the “voting rights act” and restricting the ability of Universities to review applicants through the prism of affirmative action.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • I, too, was furious and that is why this post even got written, for I had planned to give myself a much-needed day off, but when i saw these two stories, I knew I wouldn’t rest until I wrote it. I hate what this country is becoming … even people who I have worked with and never dreamed they had a bigoted bone in their body are showing their ugly side and I find that I want nothing to do with them now. Those who cannot understand the BlackLivesMatter movement are either supremely ignorant or arrogant … or perhaps both. I have explained it so many times that I’m blue in the face! The same can be said about Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the national anthem … there is meaning behind it, and nobody needs to feel threatened by either thing. Sigh. It isn’t going to be easy getting all these worms back into the can, is it? Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The question we must ask is if America has not changed what led us to conclude that it had changed? Were we deluded ? or did we totally fail to understand human nature? I believe it was a failure to look carefully at human nature and and see that racism is often deeply hidden when the circumstances are right .
    I’m fortunate in that I have been living with my weaknesses a long time and I can see how pressure can and has made me do things I’m ashamed to admit . To be a non racist when you live and move only in white circles is much easier than when you are forced to face the fact your daughter is marrying a black African or a strict Muslim.
    About black skin or a religious mind are not easily removed but tribal symbols of dress can be quickly changed. A hoody can remove his hood , Rocker his blue suede shoes and flick- knife, a Mod can grow his hair and change his scooter for a car.
    This is why we need strong- minded fair men in charge of nations because they will pass down their moral authority they will believe all men and women are equal , not in ability , but in their need for justice and fair treatment. The top brass of the law enforcement needs to be examined and if necessary sacked for failing to administer the law fairly without discrimination.
    On a lighter note my oldest son has found his DNA contains Neanderthal DNA , not much but enough to show he is not entirely descended from homo sapiens. Fortunately he is wise enough to know our family is not tainted but all of us come from the same origins and have nothing to boast about.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not sure that we have, at the foundation. Oh sure, cosmetic changes, political correctness … but all of that seems to have flown the coop once Trump came on the scene and said, “Hey everybody … it’s okay to hate blacks, gays, Mexicans and Muslims … let’s make America white again!” I’m not liking what I’m seeing … not at all.


    • You make some thoughtful and thought-provoking points, Kertsen. I think that the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s – 1960s put such a guilt trip on those who believed there was something superior about ‘being white’, that blatant racism went into hiding … under rocks, so to speak. It was no longer fashionable and in fact was frowned upon, looked down upon … illegal, even. But, while some of us thought that humans had actually come to understand that there is no such thing as a ‘superior race’, and that people had truly changed their attitudes, it is now apparent that they did not. What brought them back out from under the rocks? Probably the election of the first African-American president, for that was when I first noticed both the increase of racist attitudes AND spoken denials even before any were needed. People criticized not only Obama, but also his wife and daughters for things that ‘Dubya’ and his family would have done and nobody would have batted an eye. They made up stories about them for no reason whatsoever. And if one questioned … “why do you think xyz about Obama?”, the answer would likely be “Hey, I’m no racist or anything, but …”.

      And then along came the Trump clan, and by clan I mean his entire entourage. He made blatantly racist comments on the campaign trail, and surrounded himself with racists such as Jeff Sessions, refused to deny the support of white supremacist groups, that it became, to his supporters, at least, once again ‘okay’ to adopt that air of superiority. And it snowballed from there, until Charlottesville, when Trump claimed that some of the KKK and neo-Nazis were ‘fine people’.

      Unfortunately, even once Trump & Co. are gone, which I hope is soon, I don’t look for certain change, for it is hard to stuff the Jack-in-the-Box back into the box sometimes, especially when the lid is broken.

      Congratulations to your son!!! Any idea which side of the family it comes from?


      • Yes, there is still far too much racism around. But things have changed.

        I look at this in terms of what I see on college campuses. In the 1970s, the dining halls and cafeterias had separate black tables. Today we see black and white students talking to one another on good friendly terms. That’s quite a change.

        If we look at that Starbucks incident, we had two black men waiting at Starbucks to eat with a white companion. We would not have been likely to see that in 1970. Black culture has moved toward being closer to white culture, and white culture has accepted ideas from black culture. Black and white cultures are slowly merging. It is far slower than I would like, but let’s welcome the changes that we do see.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are more optimistic than I, but for all our sakes, I do hope you are right! I was once an optimist, but that changed to extreme cynicism over the course of the last 2-3 years. I wonder why? 😉


  4. Good post about an ugly topic, Jill. I was floored when I saw the Starbucks story on TV news over the weekend.Not only is racism alive and well in America but also in Canada and all over the world. Unfortunately, no matter what the schools do to eradicate these attitudes, racist parents will continue to raise racist children.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I think that a racist person needs to interact with persons of another race and discover for themselves that they bleed red too. I grew up in a small town of 5,000 people and there were no Blacks in my school. Believe it or not, I had my first conversation with a black person in my first year of university. I told him that and he almost had heart failure! He was from Washington D.C. If one is not open to this kind of interaction, there’s not much hope for change.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wow!!! As one who grew up in a world of diversity, that is just amazing. And yet, you do not have a bigoted bone in your body! You are right … people need to interact more with people who are different than they. People, like most animal species, tend to be clannish, and there is a price to be paid for that. We are seeing the results every day. Sigh. Hugs!!!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks, Jill. I remember growing up in the 1950s in the midst of racial prejudices: Germans were damned Nazis or Krauts, the Japanese were Japs – and on it went. I think that one of the most important factors that helped me to shed that garbage was the study of history. Philosophy in university helped as well. I looked around at my own world and I saw society consumed by fear, hatred, and violence mainly because people refused to acknowledge and internalize the truth that human beings have far more in common than differences. Soldiers in the trenches of World War I gave witness to this truth when Germans and Allies left their trenches on Christmas Day, walked out to meet each other in No-Man’s-Land, drank together and sang Christmas carols. The next day they went back to killing each other. We all bleed red.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Ah yes … how well I remember those days. And I? I was called a ‘damn kike’ more times than I care to remember.

              In high school, I had two best friends, Janice and Amy. Janice was African-American, descended from slaves imported from Jamaica. Amy was 1st generation American-Japanese, whose parents and grandparents had been placed in internment camps during WWII. And I was that ‘ugly, four-eyed Jew girl’. We three were inseparable and none of our backgrounds made a bit of difference … we accepted each other as friends, and that was all that mattered.

              Yes, fear and hatred … ugly tools used by politicians to keep us in line, to keep us believing that we need their protections from those who are different, but yet whose blood, as you note, runs just as red as ours. Yes, my friend, we DO have more in common … the important, basic things, like love for our children, basic needs of food and shelter. But for some, it is the initial differences that stand out. I think it boils down to the very most basic of all building blocks … caring. Yep, my friend … we all bleed red.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Jill, good post on an all too familiar topic. Earlier today, I read of a black man retuning from a visit to Egypt, who was pulled by customs because he is active with Black Lives Matter. I have had this discussion with a conservative friend who feels Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group. I found myself correcting these unfounded fears.

    White privileged is something that is unrecognizabke to far too many in my race. As a white man, I can pretty much go anywhere in America without repercussion. If I lingered in Starbucks, I can assure you they would not have called the police on me. To me, this issue could have been amicably straightened out. Yet, the bias gets in the way.

    I recognize Starbucks has to deal with squatters – people who buy one cup and stay for four hours to use the wi-fi. But, straight forward communication can resolve these kinds of issues. You don’t need to call the police. You are right about the Supreme Court ruling improperly, in my view on the Voting Rights Act issue. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Keith!!! I know just what you mean. I have explained BlackLivesMatter so many times to people who simply do not understand it at all. Just like I have explained why Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem … it wasn’t about disrespect, and neither is BLM … it’s about demanding EQUAL respect! Do people honestly not get it, or do they just choose to not get it?

      Yes, white privilege … too many of those who enjoy it think they somehow deserve it. Two things will stir my anger quicker than any other: religious superiority and racial superiority. They are both such fallacies and carried out with such smug arrogance that it truly makes me furious.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I watched the footage taken by that female customer. Those two black men looked resigned. And they were silent. The only one doing an ‘back chat’ of any description was their white friend who was trying to stop them being arrested.
    Unbelievable. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. Resigned. They’ve likely seen it before, probably ‘been there, done that’, for it is a way of life in this country now. So maddening. And what makes me the most mad is how many simply shrug their shoulders and ignore it, put their rose-coloured glasses on and move along with their meaningless little lives. PAH! pfffftttt.


      • pfffftttt indeed. I’m so glad that one female custome had the common decency to speak up on their behalf.
        General David Morrison said “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” He was talking about sexual discrimination and assault in the Australian Army, but those words are true for all of us, in every walk of life. No point talking the talk if we’re too scared or busy or embarrassed to walk the walk. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are quite right … Gen. Morrison’s quote can apply to any situation, or to life in general. MLK had one too, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Sigh. Trouble is there are SOOOO many injustices that I don’t know where to begin anymore! Anyway … I shall begin by hugging my good friend Andrea … {{{HUGS}}}


  7. It is so disheartening to hear and read yet again that it is illegal to be black in America. I am so sick of the racism and bigotry of whites. Who in their right minds calls the police because someone is not ordering a really bad cup of coffee as soon as they walk into a starbucks?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, this one made me furious! I was actually planning to take the day off until I saw these two stories and my fingertips started twitching. I, too, am sick to the death of it. The white supremacists want to “make America white again” … well they can have it if they do, for I have no desire to live in such a nation filled with arrogant, white bigots.


  8. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    America HS NOT changed! In fact, it’s getting worse …
    ‘Racism is very much alive and well, and while I would agree that we shouldn’t need to legislate fairness and equality, the ugly truth is that we still very much do need to.’
    The problem is …. ‘LIVING WHILE BLACK’ ….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The world really has learned nothing much but America has had chance to correct it’s problems many times. Any generation since the 60’s should have learned togetherness by now and should have made the organisations of hate unlawful then Trump couldn’t have brought them back front and centre describing them as nice people.
    I think the police weren’t too heavy handed but they were mob handed for something so trivial but what it amazing is that the company called the police out so quickly. I’m glad they’ll be reviewing their training.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and blind ol’ bat that I am, I really thought that we had learned, had corrected the problem and learned to get along. And then along came … well, I cannot really blame it on Trump, for the renewed racism began when we had our first African-American president. It seemed to make the racists more bold, for reasons that I still do not understand. And then … along came Trump, who didn’t just overlook it, he actually encouraged it! And now look where we are. Sigh.

      No, the police weren’t heavy-handed, but the police chief said something about the 2 black guys not being respectful, and all I saw in that video was that they were resigned to their fate, as if they’d seen it so much they knew not to fight it. They weren’t disrespectful, didn’t say a word that I could tell. Would that barista have called the police if I had been there waiting for a friend, or you? Very doubtful. Hopefully Starbucks puts a quick end to this, of they will lose my business for good.

      xxx Cwtch xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is tiresome and unconscionable that this nation not only tolerates, but seems to encourage such bigotry. But, if after thousands of years of history in this world, bigotry hasn’t been eradicated, I don’t suppose it will be until the human race is gone. Sigh. Cheers Jamie!


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