Media Center

Are we going backwards?

Do you ever get the feeling we’re going backwards?  Lately, American news is filled with awful stories of police shootings of unarmed African-Americans that bring back bad memories from the past.

Some say this has been happening all along; that we’re just more aware of it today. But, it’s still painful to be confronted with the blatant disregard for the humanity of Black Americans murdered right before our eyes.


Now, I know that the vast majority of police and government officials are good people who strive to treat all people equally. But I wonder what has happened to us that we can view such raw injustice with what amounts to a collective shrug?

Have violent movies and video games glorified killing, and numbed us to its consequences? Has virulent hatred of the first African-American president been redirected toward persons of color?

No doubt these things have an effect, however, I can’t help but notice that heightened racial tension has resurfaced during a time of unprecedented wealth of the nation’s rich, and a sharp decline in the economic wellbeing of the poor and middle class.

Income inequality leads to violence

It’s just this sort of income inequality that has spurred violence between nations, religions, and ethnic groups throughout history.

Many think that’s why there has been such an upsurge in assaults on our drivers who show up at a bus stop wearing a uniform that some riders think represents everything that oppresses them. Others who are still trying to recover from the recession may be taking out their frustrations on immigrants and persons of color.

This, of course, is no excuse for racism, and certainly not for assaulting or killing innocent people, but it does help explain why racial violence is on the rise today.

Unions needed now more than ever

The ultra-rich must be watching the news at home with a great satisfaction, seeing that people are fighting and killing each other, rather than directing their anger at them – the ones who have legislatively orchestrated the transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class into their own deep pockets. That’s why unions are needed now more than ever, and why the ultra-rich like the Koch brothers are doing everything they can to shut them down.

Labor elevates the social and economic condition of workers, and that is one of the most powerful ways we protect the civil rights of all people.

Let’s recommit ourselves to this noble work to hasten the day when racial prejudice and violence is no more.

Please visit for more information and the latest ATU news.