Opinion: The Divide at the Marches
by Wayne A. Young
I exited the Metro at the Smithsonian stop and swam through the crowd of out-of-towners trying to navigate to the subway system. “Where’s the monorail?,” one lady asked. “The subway is straight ahead,” I replied. “Monorail?” I questioned myself. “This is not Disney World!” As I made my way through the sea of people holding dearly to their water bottles and folding sports chairs, I didn’t see Mickey Mouse and I very rarely saw a Black person. Rarely.
Yet, there was this huge mural of Dr. King at the Beck rally. And I can hear the recording of Dr. King speaking about America giving Black America a check marked “insufficient funds.” It was surreal.
In Congress now, the Congressional Black Caucus is asking how even the Obama administration can ask Congress for 1.5 billion dollars in disaster relief for farmers and still tell Black farmers it has insufficient funds to pay $1.25 billion it owes Black farmers under the settlement of a major discrimination lawsuit that the Black farmers won against the U.S. government.
I continued walking and just happened to run into a stream of mostly Black marchers with its sprinkling of Whites. I felt like Alex Haley when he found the other piece of Kunte’s story. “Oh, Al Sharpton, I found you,” I thought.
America was at its best. Here I was witnessing two divergent marches and no fighting and no yelling at each other, just stares. America was also at it worst. Two marches, one Black, one White.
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