By York Van Nixon III
Two decades before Steve Jobs transformed the concept of an apple into a computer, Anthony Burgess morphed another fruit into social dissonance when he published his magus opus “A Clockwork Orange.” Many other books during the 60s challenged the status quo and shed light particularly on American hypocrisy in politics.
One such book was “The Spook Who sat by the door,” by Sam Greenlee. His book opens with a white senator facing re-election who is looking for ways to garner the “Negro” vote. After he accuses the CIA of racial discrimination because they have no black officers, they hire their first African-American.
Dan Freeman, the new recruit of color, seems the perfect black man. He appears to be happy just to have a desk near the door, even though his function is nothing more than a window dressing for tacit diversity. Agent Freeman accepts the reality of his employment will last as long as he says and does what is expected of a “good boy.”
Later in the book, the CIA yes-man emerges as an undercover black revolutionary with his own agenda. He leaves his job and returns to Chicago with his new skills and understanding of the establishment.
The same transformation was hoped by many people of color after Clarence “Uncle” Thomas was sworn in as the second African-American to the Supreme Court. But Justice Thomas had no other agenda than to fit in. His record of ultra-conservatism since his appointment proves he knows how to keep his standing in the Republican Party: pretend his is not black.
GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain appears to have done all the right things in his past. During an interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, when asked what he did during the civil rights movement of the 60s, Mr. Cain said his father told him to “stay out of trouble” by moving to the back of the bus.
Mr. Cain tried to wiggle out by saying most freedom riders were college students and that he was in high school during the height of the movement. He lied. Herman Cain was a student during that time at Morehouse College, the same school Martin Luther King attended.
There is insufferable irony in Herman Cain seeking the seat of president in the Oval Office and his history of being satisfied with sitting in the back of bus. Perhaps he will realize that he was not staying in his place at the GOP convention in August, when he is given a seat in the rear of the hall.
Your comments are welcome