Dear Editor of the Register Guard,
In his Mailbag letter (September 1), Jack Roberts writes that after Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their black-gloved fists in the air while receiving their Olympic medals in 1968, millions of white Americans took this as a sign that "nothing they did for black people would ever be enough," and they suddenly decided to revert to their racist ways.
Tragically, Roberts informs us, this happened right when we were so close to "uprooting the last remnants of discrimination in America." Roberts concludes his letter by stating that Smith and Carlos are directly responsible for setting back the cause of civil rights in America.
I'd like to posit that it is actually Roberts, and all the people like him, who have always and continue to set back the cause of civil rights in America by arguing that it is actually black people who are responsible for the racism in our society. It's not that Roberts wants to discriminate against black people, he tried to "give" them their civil rights, but they are just so ungrateful that there's nothing he can do but "backlash."
Of course, Roberts writes in a long tradition stretching back to antebellum America of white men finding the source of their racism in the character of black men. Hopefully, we are nearing the end of that tradition, but until that time, it is the responsibility of all who strive for equality in our society to keep raising our fists and fighting men like Jack Roberts.