Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Feel Good Story of the Year

YFWP brings us an offbeat story that intrigued me when I saw the headline in an actual paper copy of the rag that I was reading while waiting for a bacon-and-egg sammich yesterday morning.

The Supremes' 1896 decision Plessy v. Ferguson was one that staid historians like to call a landmark, and that judgmentarian history geeks like me prefer to call a travesty. Homer Plessy, who was what was once called an octaroon back when people tracked such metrics, and what we would now just call a brown person, was arrested in Louisiana for refusing to leave a whites-only rail car. Louisiana law defined octaroons as brown people and limited them to their own damn rail cars. Hilarity did not ensue, as a state judge named Ferguson held that the state could so prohibit brown persons from occupying the same rail cars as those with less melanin. The case advanced to the Supremes, who held on a 7-1 vote that treating brown persons differently did not demean them. The original Mr. Justice Harlan was the lone dissenter, correctly labelling the decision as every bit as ridiculous as the Dred Scott case. The separate but equal doctrine that followed the decision (doctrinally--of course, in reality conditions were far from equal) held for 58 years, until Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954.

Fast forward to Plessy and Ferguson's descendants. Phoebe Ferguson, the judge's great-great-granddaughter, and Keith Plessy, one generation closer to Homer Plessy (his great-grandfather was Homer's cousin; you figure it out) organized a foundation to teach the history of civil rights through education, preservation, and outreach. It's a tremendous example of how we should all just shut the fuck up and get along.

So do that. Uhm, please.

Updated prior to publication: Jeebus, is Anthony Weiner ever a dumbfuck. On behalf of everyone who continues to believe that there is some difference, thanks for the cockpunch, asshole. Thanks for putting such an incredible, no, impossible fucking strain on the good feelings associated with this post (which I wrote about 4 hours ahead of Weiner's admission that no, never mind, he really did twittertwat pictures of his stuffed boyshorts to random babes, scheduled for publication some hours hence--now in the past with the post unpublished, for reasons I don't bloogergrok). Fucking dipshit.

1 comment:

Sasha said...

Thanks for the feelgood. It was new to me and I appreciate.

And in other dipshit news, the NYT is reporting that Weiner's wife is preggers.