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President Ronald Reagan has been quoted as saying, “There’s no discrimination in America.” How would he know, being a white male of privilege whose feet never, figuratively, touched the ground without others running ahead of him to lay down a red carpet and being accompanied by gun-toting bodyguards who shield him from the realities of everyday life, especially from likes of the experiences alleged by a twenty-year-old black woman in Charleston, West Virginia. Reported in the daily paper of October 24, 2007, she says she was kidnapped by a group of white men and women and held captive in a shed—beaten; tortured; raped; forced to eat feces from humans, dogs, and rats; and stabbed three times in her thigh, which photos of her wounds were shown in the picture, all the while being tormented with racial slurs in addition to being forced, on pain of death, to perform sex acts on white men. Excuse me, but wasn’t West Virginia formed from the western part of Virginia, which refused to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy? If you all want to remain in the Union, you have to get your act together! That type of carrying on was entirely unneighborly! As the song goes, “That ain’t no way to treat a lady”! Many white politicians try to curry favor with white voters, and many white parents reciprocate their complaints about “forced busing” when what they really object to is its performance to enhance integration. They didn’t call it that, and I don’t recall the term being used when it was used to enforce segregation. Most of them would have sent their children by covered wagon or a husky-pulled sled to get to an all-white school rather than take a bus to one to which black students were transported. Reagan fed this impulse when campaigning for president in the South by claiming his fervor for “states’ rights.” What he should have been campaigning for was U.S. Constitution rights rather than running for president of the white South. Bob Herbert, who authored an article titled “Righting Reagan’s Wrongs” in the daily paper, wrote that Reagan started his general election campaign at the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi in front of a crowd of whites chanting, “We want Reagan.” This is the county where three civil rights workers were murdered and secretly buried. In front of these people, Reagan chose to make his statement supporting “states’ rights.” No discrimination in America, Mr. President? In addition to having to be thirty-five years of age and a native-born American, I submit that a further requirement should be that he or she be required to see, hear, and read.

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