Exasperation takes over

Wiley A. Hall 3rd

December 05, 1991|By Wiley A. Hall 3rd

I told my editors yesterday that I would write about the report that President Bush planned yet another attack on race-specific scholarships -- which is nothing more than yet another presidential attack on the mechanisms of integration.

And I sat down and I pulled up a cup of coffee and I poised my fingers over the keyboard and I took a deep breath and then another. And you know what?

I find that I am sick and tired of writing about race.

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

We talk about race and talk about race, and nothing ever seems to get resolved. We inch forward in little toddler's steps, then lurch backward like a drunken sailor.

I cannot write about race again today.

So, I picked up the newspaper to look for other momentous news events.

And I see that David Duke, the guy who got whipped when he ran for governor in Louisiana, plans to run for president in the Republican primaries -- the idea apparently being that a man who wasn't good enough for the people of Louisiana might be just right for the people of the United States.

And Duke says mainstream America is sick of affirmative action and it is sick of government handouts to the undeserving in the form of welfare, and it is sick of coddling criminals and those sentiments are worthy of contempt because they are based on observations that are simplistic and false.

But I am sick of David Duke.

Neither Duke nor Bush, who sounds like Duke's mentor, nor Vice President Dan Quayle, who bears an eerie resemblance to Duke, appear to realize that all of my family, neighbors, friends and I are part of mainstream America even though we are black.

Most blacks do not have access to Duke's plastic surgeon so that we can remake ourselves into his image of "mainstream." For that matter, (with the possible exception of Michael Jackson, of course) most blacks wouldn't put themselves under the knife of Duke's surgeon even if they could.

But I don't want to write about Duke and his twisted, demented, ethno-nightmarish vision of mainstream America's prejudices.

So, back to the newspaper again, skipping over the scanty but pessimistic reports from South Africa and the plight of the Haitian refugees who supposedly are being shipped back into the arms of their mad, murderous government because they didn't flee here for the right reasons.

I don't want to write about the government's specious reasons for denying safe haven to the Haitian refugees because that's the race relations question all over again.

And I am not in the mood to write about South Africa because its race relations are worse than ours.

Moving desperately on, I see that Terry Anderson, the last American held hostage in Lebanon, has been set free after nearly seven years.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Arab nations are waiting with representatives of the Palestinians in Washington for representatives of Israel to get over their sulks and show up for peace talks.

Meanwhile, in New York, the Bush administration is pressuring the United Nations to repeal a resolution that equates Zionism with racism and all of this, I suppose, represents tiny little toddler steps toward peace in the Middle East.

But let's be realistic: even if the politicians manage someday to hack out a peace treaty, there is so much bad blood now between the Arabs, the Palestinians and the Jews that we'll solve our race relations problems long before they solve their ethnic problems.

So, where do I turn for subject matter on a day like today when the news seems full of racial and ethnic contention?

The sports pages?

The comics?

I can't.

I am, as I have said, sick and tired of racial conflict.

I am tired of writing about it. I am tired of thinking about it. I am tired of wishing we had a president who had the moral fortitude to forge a kinder, gentler nation.

Who voted for this wimp, anyway?

But I am even more sick and more tired of evading the issue.

We either talk about race now, confront the conflicts and resolve them, or we will find ourselves sick and tired forever and ever and ever.

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