Letter: Normalization of racism is worth fighting against

From: Mark Duwe


Maybe Colin Kaepernick is a spy.

In 1980 a short story by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov appeared in Gallery magazine. It was called “To Spot a Spy,” but the original title was “No Refuge Could Save.” The story is set during World War II, the Big One. It was a time of the old-fashioned spy game remembered in black and white. At the height of suspense there is a scene where the central character, Griswold, is interrogating a suspected German spy. Griswold tries a word association game on him to see if he can get him to slip up.

Griswold: “No refuge could save.”

The German spy: “The gloom of the grave.”

Griswold immediately assumes this guy is a spy who has been trained, maybe a little too well. He assumes that no American would make that connection, that the phrase “the gloom of the grave” would follow “No refuge could save.” These are lyrics from “The Star-Spangled Banner” that most people are not familiar with. Lines 5 and 6 from Verse 3:

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave.”

And there it is. Could Kaepernick have read these same lines? Maybe that is why he protests during the national anthem because just like in our society, right there in plain sight, buried in the third verse of what most of America considers the most patriotic song of all time is a reference to slavery and a warning. Hireling was a reference to Americans who sold themselves to the British as mercenaries, but slave just means slave.

Now with the advent of the “Alt Right” and the Trump campaign we face the normalization of racism. Like Kaepernick, many of us have had enough with this intolerant bunch. We need to do whatever we can to make sure this doesn’t infect our communities. There is already a KKK rally planned for Anderson. We need to make sure that those who would even consider organizing hate understand that the forces who would oppose them are already organized, and we are many. That’s why I support the Black Lives Matter movement, and you should as well.