Tom Wicker's Attica
IT is not widely recognized that there is more than one kind of racial attitude among whites in America. Some whites have since birth had extensive dealings with blacks, in a wide variety of situations. Some have come to these dealings without any personal, familial, or cultural involvement in the institution of slavery. Some, like the French and the Hispanics, have come from cultures in which intermarriage between races is a fairly common circumstance. But if in the pluralism of white cultures there are demonstrably different historical experiences with black cultures, our social analysts have not sufficiently noticed the extent to which the interpretation of the meaning of race in America has become “Southernized.” Not only do many of the most eminent blacks who have codified white-black relations derive from Southern culture-leaders as diverse as Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson, and Vernon Jordan; many of our most outspoken white liberals, too, those who are, as it were, almost fixated on this issue, have been Southerners: men like Lyndon Johnson, Bill Moyers, Garry Wills, Larry King, Willie Morris, Ramsey Clark, and Tom Wicker.
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