25 October, 2020

It's All Guns And No Roses

In unequal American society, reclaiming self-worth is an uphill climb for blacks. But their rage against racist attacks is off the route-map.

Black Death
A Minnesota policeman killed Philando Castile
It's All Guns And No Roses

The spark behind the latest bouts of race violence in the US, leading to the shooting down of five police off­icers in Dallas, was not a singular one: it was an accumulation of collective rage over a largely white police force’s treatment of blacks. It brought back to me the time I had gone to see Martin Luther King, Jr. in his office in Montgomery, Alabama. It was 1957 and I saw signs that said “colored lunch” (I hadn’t realised lunch could be coloured) as I proceeded to my destination. I waited in his secretary’s room until he emerged from a meeting. He was affable and sat for a while kidding his fetching secretary. He told me he could not grant me an int­erview because he needed to go home to nurse a bad cold.

I had thought it odd at the time that he should treat a rare visit by an Indian reporter so cavalierly when he often evoked Gandhi’s name in embracing non-vio­lence. I was also chagrined to discover later that he had time to meet a Hollywood producer the same evening!

Those were strange days for me. In New...



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