Thomas B. Edsall, a political journalism professor at Columbia University, wrote this analysis of the January 6th Trump riot.
“There is no question that out-and-out racism and a longing to return to the days of white supremacy were high on the list of motivations of the pro-Trump mob that ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6.Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times, January 13, 2021
So the MAGA insurrectionists wanted to return us to the days of Ozzie and Harriet, a lily-white utopia where people of color are relegated to a permanent status of second-class citizenship? Good luck with that. For like the Confederacy, this is a lost cause. In fact, it is already game-over.
When I went to college (Ohio University) in the early 1960s, the Engineering Department required all students to take two years of Liberal Arts courses to broaden our perspective, so to speak. I signed up for history, philosophy, speech, and social studies, among others. I still remember one lecture in a Sociology class; the professor’s analysis stayed with me all these years.
He explained that the media drives change. The example he used was cigarette smoking for women. Initially frowned on by polite society, the movies turned out to be the prime mover for glorifying women smoking. Specifically, he mentioned Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – the song-and-dance darlings of 1930s movies. In one of those movies, Fred lit up two cigarettes and handed one to Ginger. It wasn’t long before the cigarette brand, Camel Cigarettes, included him in print advertising.
In hindsight, cigarette smoking turned out to be a very bad idea. It killed both of my parents and to some extent my brother, Tim. I have never smoked, but grew up in a house that was filled with smoke.
Fast-forward to today. Is the mass media advocating a return to white supremacy?
The answer is a resounding NO. Look at the movies on Netflix and other streamers. Pay attention to advertising on regular television and streaming channels. All you see today is mixed-race couples and families.
Once again, the movies and media are driving public opinion, just like my professor suggested in 1964. Is the media doing this because it is the right and just thing to do, or is there a profit angle involved? The answer is probably a little bit of both.
The younger demographic is the one doing all the buying in today’s society, not the over-fifty crowd that ransacked the capitol. The movie, streamer, and advertising business all recognize where the country is heading (a multi-racial society), and that’s where the money is.
Pretty stark choice, isn’t it? Do you want the Trump reality show (white supremacy)?
Or do you want the Netflix show “How to Get Away with Murder,” with a racially diverse cast.
My Sociology Professor was right. The media makes it pretty clear that the nation is rejecting white supremacy, gravitating inexorably to a racially diverse society. The MAGA crowd can’t stop it. They just don’t know it yet.
Wednesday, we swear-in the first woman-of-color Vice President. Twelve years ago, we swore-in the first mixed-race President. I’m still hopeful about this country.