Part II: Shame on McCain, Palin for using an old code word for black
By Lewis Diuguid, Kansas City Star Editorial Page columnist
The PBS documentary, “Soldiers Without Swords” shows heroic scenes of black World War I and World War II soldiers and touching moments of black people celebrating in the streets of America at the end of the Second World War. Until that film debuted in the 1990s, I and a lot of African Americans had never seen such moving, memorable footage. It had been excluded from the history we studied in school and from the mainstream media.
So it is no surprise to me that tens of thousands of white people spoke with one thunderous roar against my Oct. 21 Midwest Voices blog post, criticizing Sen. John McCain and his GOP presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, for dredging up the old “socialist” label to apply to their Democratic rival for the White House, Sen. Barack Obama.
I wrote that the word “socialist” had long ugly historical roots. J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI from 1924 to 1972, used the term liberally to label white and black leaders as “un-American” because they dared to fight for equality. The news media and eventually textbooks reported on white people who became enveloped in Hoover’s crusade against socialists and communists during the Red scare. But the stories of how the FBI damaged black leaders didn’t make the press just as the everyday and success stories of African Americans were excluded from mainstream coverage.
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