Revisiting the Kerner Report
Back in the days of the race riots in 1968, then President Johnson commissioned a report asking three questions. Those questions were: why did the riots occur, what sparked them, and what needed to be done to prevent future race riots? The commission included a number of prominent business CEO’s and other such people. To its credit, the commission was thorough in its research, and brutally honest in its conclusions. The answers, it turned out, to the first two questions were easy, but the answer to the last one was, and still is, complex and difficult for a society. These questions and answers exist in the Kerner Report.
In a nutshell, the cause and spark of the race riots was, and still is, institutionalized white supremacy. NOT individualized white supremacy, but the the entire framework of how our society is set up and how it operates, plus the added problem of mostly white police forces, which are hostile to people of color. Yes, those answers were researched, found and published back in the late 1960's! The solution, of course, is to totally, lovingly and thoughtfully revamp our society to afford everyone equal opportunities, pay for work, housing, medical care, etc. If, as the Supreme Court found in 1954, that we constitutionally should be an equal society, we all need to make sure we are! And, that equality needs to be made real…not just an oral agreement that everyone should have equal opportunities.
Before I even heard of the Kerner Report, which I learned about this evening through my local WGN9 TV station in Chicago, I generally knew the causes and solutions involved in this commissioned study and resultant document. I believe it doesn’t take a “rocket scientist” to figure all of this out. It just takes people who are genuine, secure in themselves, caring and just to understand the issues and solutions, and to want to implement them. And, it will take a majority of such people to be able to do so.
Our society in the U.S. is in crisis presently for a number of reasons. Needless to say, the worst of what our Nation consists of has been rearing its ugly “head” lately. Without a doubt, this uptick in strife of all types is spurred on, if not initiated, by our current National leader. All anyone has to do to recognize his nature of division is to watch him perform and listen to what he says. I saw this said leader’s sad and unfortunate leadership of division during his visit to Texas, due to the flooding in Houston. While meeting with the white Republican governor of Texas, whom he praised for his handling of the weather crisis in Texas, our leader said nothing about the superb leadership skills and ability of the mayor of Houston. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a black lawyer who is a Democrat, has handled, in conjunction with other key people, the flooding crisis in Houston astutely well. He has forseen what is needed and has implemented all manner of beneficial maxima and minutia. General supportive statements of Texans, made by our National leader, did not go far enough.
Perhaps our Country needed such a catalyst, in a leader, in order to deal with a lot of old business and get through it to a better place. Regardless, we all are looking at a very similar social situation to what our Nation experienced in the late 1960’s, because no one then ever did anything to learn from the Kerner Report and to make the needed changes in our society. And, this time around we all had better find and implement the correct solutions, which are clearly stated within the the pages of the old Kerner Report. I will dare to say it won’t happen until the above mentioned “leader,” Trump, is out of office. However, at that point in time, most of us in the U.S. should be champions of true equality, who will be motivated to clean house of institutional racism, and make the needed improvements.
If anyone is interested, the old Kerner Report is available at Amazon in three forms: hardback, paperback and Kindle. I have just ordered a copy of this old report. Supposedly, a new version of the Kerner Report will be published soon.