To the Editor:
Righteously indignant reader Claire Chang of Madison (June 12) expressed it perfectly and passionately: but realize that systemic racism arrived on American shores 401 years ago, in 1619, with the importation of African slaves to Virginia to grow tobacco for the new British addiction to nicotine.
It was officially solidified (quite openly) at the highest level of government by America’s original white supremacist, President Thomas Jefferson, who owned 200 slaves and believed in increasing the slave population by any means possible – with the expressed purpose of keeping Southern slaveholders in the White House using their unfair Electoral College advantage (called the 3/5th clause of the U.S. Constitution). He may have had a gift for exalted rhetoric - but that shameful hypocrite wouldn’t even emancipate Sally Hemings from slavery in his will. Ms. Chang rightly blames racism here on many wealthy white men whose power has dominated America ever since.
However, President Obama’s coalition of minorities, immigrants, women, labor, and fair-minded whites, proved that redemption is possible (despite the current, regrettable stranglehold on government by Sen. McConnell of Kentucky).
My four young grandchildren (average age 15) do not see someone's race or religion - and think that a family of two moms or two dads, bi-racial kids, multicultural immigrants, LGBTQ neighbors and classmates, are all part of normal, everyday life … because, today, they are. And theirs will be the generation in the White House someday soon, Ms. Chang -- thank goodness. Maybe not soon enough for you and me.
Nathan Wise, Old Saybrook