For an interesting civil rights/racism analog to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ see ‘The Space Traders,’ a story by Derrick Bell (visiting law professor at NYU) about what would happen if aliens came to earth offering to trade oil (ed: actually, energy and gold and all the answers to the country’s woes) for black people. It’s available on-line within an article length commentary by Bell himself at:
Note when the story was originally pubished.
I’d like to think that we as a society wouldn’t let that happen. But we’ve let New Orleans happen. We’ve let poverty happen. We’ve let all manners of intolerance and hate happen, and we mask it over with patriotic bullshit. When 60% of African-Americans (or more) agree that George Bush doesn’t care about their fate — and 30% (me included) of white America agrees with them based on the evidence– there’s no hiding the fact that there is an almost unbridgeable divide in America. On one site is, disturbingly, what now appears to be the majority of American culture: not just Red state, but redneck America, which waves the Bible and the flag in the face of anyone who disagrees with it. On the other is the disenfranchised of all creeds, but especially minorities and especially the urban poor.
And it looks like even Bill Clinton agrees:
The Ex-President: Clinton Levels Sharp Criticism at the President’s Relief Effort: “Former President Bill Clinton said the storm highlighted class divisions in the country that often played out along racial lines.”(Via NYT > Most E-mailed Articles.)
How do we change this? How do we bring America’s pieces back together? If you buy what Professor Bell has to say, we can’t–it’s a permanent condition, and the patient cannot be cured , only be made more comfortable.
I suspect that it can be cured, but only through radical means. John Brown knew what that meant.