Shifting Gears for the Future

Should the reader look forward to see future progress that will knock out extinction – do not look backward for a measure of speed. The reader will be disappointed.

Media news filled additional air time in Charlotte by going down the street to the State Capitol where the Confederate war flag is displayed. Now, all the republican candidates for President can say, “Not my problem,” save two: one who ran last time, Romney, and Jeb somebody. The mariner will not join the fray; it is covered nonstop on 24-hour news stations. There must be some usable information once in a while.

What the mariner finds important is the fact that racism is still a large and unresolved stigma in the American culture and what that means about the speed with which we will take steps to avoid extinction. Consider the following speed:

  • Twenty slaves were the first to arrive on US soil at Jamestown, Virginia on August 20, 1619.
  • In 1641, Massachusetts was the first state to legalize slavery.
  • In 1705, Virginia passes legislation that slaves are real estate.
  • In 1787, it was a better than usual year, relatively speaking. The Northwest Ordinance forbids slavery, except as criminal punishment, in the Northwest Territory (later Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin). Residents of the territory are required to return fugitive slaves. Also in 1787, states (including South Carolina) began putting tariffs on interstate and international slave trade; a few ban trading slaves altogether.
  • In 1788, the newly ratified US Constitution claims that each slave is 3/5 of a person – but only for tax purposes.
  • In 1819, Virginia outlaws the education of slaves and, with North Carolina, removes restraints on interstate trading of slaves.
  • The decade of the 1850’s was not good for slaves. Many states rescinded earlier trade limitations, new laws providing the right to be a free African American were rescinded, and finally, in 1857, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott case by denying citizenship to all slaves, ex-slaves, and descendants of slaves and denies Congress the right to prohibit slavery in the territories.
  • In 1861, South Carolina secedes from the Union, followed by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina also secede. It is the beginning of the Civil War.
  • In 1862, Lincoln signs several acts that, more or less, allow slaves and free African Americans to participate in the Civil War and, indirectly, though no one said so, the 3/5 person law became dysfunctional even if it was still is a part of the Constitution.
  • In 1863, Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • In 1869, Tennessee passes legislation to create an all white government that opposes racial equality. Many states follow.
  • In 2015, the Confederate War Flag still flies at the Capitol of South Carolina and requires the heinous murder of nine religious African Americans in a hallmark African American church to request that the flag be removed. There is reticence by republicans across the board.
    • The mariner interjects for a moment to point out that it has been 244 years since the first slave arrived, a terrible civil war has transpired, the economic culture of slavery still persisted not through ownership but through outright abuse and tyranny. Any freed slave is fortunate to receive a salary other than a shack without utilities. In 244 years, how has the US culture changed? Virtually not at all; Tennessee’s idea in 1869 for all white government persists to this day. African American voting in government is gerrymandered against quite intensely. While legislation may have shifted a little, the American culture still does not include the African American as an equal citizen with equal rights.
    • In the future, even greater incursions into corporate American power and the consumer culture will be necessary to slow the clock of the sixth extinction. Beyond that, not only is extinction civil war, it is global war. Extinction includes Putin, ISIL, China and its allies, suppressed Africa. Even more troublesome, the United States itself, long a leader in creating the sixth extinction.

The mariner pursued the history of the African American experience as a model that depicts how difficult it is to alter large social, economic and political behavior that has been deeply ingrained for hundreds of years. The African American’s historical plight has become the plight of all mankind. The US has not made much progress with racism. Regarding extinction, is this to be expected for the next 244 years?

Ancient Mariner

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