Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a lightning rod for white trolls, published a mild, thoughtful column about “Black America and the Class Divide” in the New York Times yesterday. It has already collected 347 comments, most of which blame black people for being poor.
What is most astonishing is that news about increased mortality rates for older white Americans, including drug overdoses, received a much more sympathetic response, just last month.
When white Americans are defended, and black Americans are attacked, for having the same problems, this is a classic case of racism. These responses are based on stereotypes which have been flogged for centuries: the laziness and fertility of blacks, the industriousness and spotless morality of whites.
With so much ignorance, we need the annual opportunity to concentrate on morphing racist attitudes, and the education needed to combat them. Black History Month is a necessity, until proven otherwise.