Sept. 25, 2012: Our readers write

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Historical context

A while back, a writer here provided a history lesson about how minorities, especially blacks, don’t appreciate all the “good” Republicans have done for them. Much of it was factual. But as so often happens, it also was conveniently selective. What it left out was an explanation of why many African-Americans dumped Republicans in favor of Democrats.

In the late 1950s and into the ‘60s, real progress for minorities finally was happening. Absurd restrictions on drinking fountains, lunch counters, public accommodations, education, voting rights, housing and jobs were challenged and overturned in communities and states all over the country. Lower income whites, especially in the south, saw their perceived superiority under attack and began to fear that the place on economic and status continuums would slide downward.

Enter Republican Richard Nixon. The once washed-up conservative crawled out with a “southern strategy” for the 1968 presidential campaign. Basically, he encoded “resist black advances” into the term “law and order.” As with current right-wing rhetoric, everyone recognized what it meant even when it was hidden in nice verbiage. A great many southern white flipped from supporting Democrats to backing Republicans. Blacks, longing for the rights and opportunities denied to them since attaining “freedom” after the Civil War saw their chances for moving up were better with Democrats than with Republicans. What minorities figured out back then mostly has been reinforced by Republicans ever since.

A more complete look back shows that support of either party is underpinned not by reasoned enlightenment and decency, but by the unfortunate human leaning toward prejudice and discrimination.

K.G. Anderson

White Mills