ARIZONA RACISM:DON'T BE FOOLED BY CHEAP IMITATIONS
Of course it's a shame about the defeat of the King holiday by the voters of Arizona. But we're going to remain calm and reasonable about this race relations thing. The people have spoken. Let the legislature do something about civil rights. We must move forward. This is a time for healing.
Do not listen to this public-relations ear rot being spun by the media.
This is not a time for healing.
Greed and racism in Arizona defeated the legacy of the slain Baptist minister, and it is about time that we looked this monster in the eye. This is not a time for healing, it is a time for the torch.
When King-hater Julian Sanders next approaches a microphone, pull his arms out of their sockets and beat the son of a bitch to death with his own limbs.
If Evan Mecham, champion of schoolbooks that identify black children as pickaninnies, opens his mouth again, ever, crack him so hard across the chops that you knock that Woolworth's wig of his into cornrows.
Scald those who called King a Communist.
The morning after the election, I talked to a lot of depressed people who wondered why they lived in the state where Bull Conner had apparently retired. The truly exasperated fantasized about moving. It was only talk.
I don't like living in a racist state either, but I'll be damned if I'll let a mob of rednecks whistle the tune.
Nor am I willing to turn the cheek or bind the wounds from this election. To hell with that. I want to kneecap the cretinous bastards responsible for this.
I finally heard one man put it straight.
Two days after the election, Phoenix Suns coach Cotton Fitzsimmons said the election was, flat out, the product of racism.
Fitzsimmons did not stop there.
Custodians of Arizona's paper clips and bottles of whiteout supposedly objected to honoring King because it meant another paid holiday for government workers.
These fiscal fuss-budgets were joined by Arizona's chivalrous jingoists. When the NFL made clear what was apparent from the very beginning--that the league would not stage the '93 Super Bowl in a city that repudiated Dr. King--legions of crackpots said they were voting against the holiday simply to defend our honor, to tell the football commissioner that the sovereign state of Arizona could not be bullied.
Coach Fitzsimmons just said: Don't hide behind these flimsy skirts. We can deal with your racism, but for God's sake, stop dusting off these wheezy rationalizations.
It took more than bigots, however, to humble us; it took the all-too-familiar crew of civic boosters. Instead of the black ministers who've led the King struggle for years in Arizona, the recent election was dominated by sports shill and newspaper spokesperson Bill Shover.
When King's detractors wallowed in tales of adultery, they were countered by arguments linking the slain civil rights martyr to the success of Phoenix's upcoming Super Bowl. We were told the election was about hotel rooms lost when conventioneers across the country canceled bookings in Arizona because of the state's absence of a King holiday. Instead of a campaign for human decency, we were expected to turn out on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce's checkbook.
Bill Shover suffered from white man's disease, the inability to leap for anything higher than the almighty buck. This tawdry approach was underlined when Shover and the Arizona Republic endorsed Fife Symington for governor. During the campaign, it was revealed that Symington was a proud member of the lily-white Paradise Valley Country Club, a bastion of segregation that refused membership to black entrepreneur Lincoln Ragsdale.
The King movement should not compromise with racism. We do not need to find common ground with bigots. There are too many in Arizona who believe that crack has devastated black neighborhoods because there is something wrong with blacks. There are too many quick to believe that the housing projects in Phoenix are teeming with Mexicans and blacks because these people are shiftless and lazy.
Or as the caller to talk-radio KFYI explained on election day, if the King holiday was enacted, Arizona would need a second holiday on September 1.
Why was that? wondered the credulous talk-show host.
Because that's the day the new Cadillacs come out, said the caller.
I do not want to heal the wounds of this divisive election with this moron. I want to burn him out.
For some time now, for years, this newspaper has written about the beatings and the shootings of minorities. We have listened to the official explanations of this violence and then photographed the bullet holes that contradicted the official explanations. And yet, when it came time for the King election, we decided not to get on a soapbox and lecture readers about the history of civil rights in Arizona, about the none-too-distant segregated hotels, restaurants and schools. We did not want to preach about the equality of all men in America, the one dream that makes this country unique.
Instead of an editorial we looked for a story that might illuminate the ongoing need for a King observance. We did not have to look far.
At a fund-raising dance for Pop Warner football, the president of the board of directors of Mesa American Pop Warner, Jack Polchow, ordered the disc jockey to stop playing that "nigger-loving music."
When three women at the dance questioned Polchow and reminded him that a lot of football players were black, this coach of children responded, "Well then, why don't you go suck their dicks?"
At the Pop Warner board meeting, league officials called the police on journalists from this paper who'd inquired over the womens' letters of complaint.
Now, I'm not going to lose my head over this race business. I'm not going to suggest that Phoenix Cardinals owner Bill Bidwell, staunch holiday advocate and Super Bowl supporter, pull his team from the field in protest.
The game must go on.
I don't envision anything dramatic.
Of course, we will have to pull a few of you racist crackers from your beds some evening and hang you from a paloverde in front of your wives and kids . . . . . . You're right, I'm raving. Tomorrow I'll get hold of myself. But I won't forget. The corporate movers and shakers can get the governor to sign an executive order creating a King holiday, and they can muscle the legislature into creating a King holiday, but they will never erase the vote of the good people of Arizona.
We will live forever with this racism.
We can deal with your racism, but for God's sake, stop dusting off these wheezy rationalizations.
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