Saturday, November 26, 2016

The National Herald, Donald Trump, Reince Priebus (A necessary conversation)

When Archibishop Iakovos marched along Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in support of the Civil Rights movement in Selma, Alabama, in 1965—an example of courageous civic leadership in which Greek America often takes pride—his public statement was “far more progressive than the majority of his flock.” Clergy and staff advised the archbishop against marching, fearing that it would compromise “the quest of marginalized Greeks for full acceptance as America” (8). Were the archbishop’s actions an anomaly? With Greek America deeply ingrained in the American fabric, where does it stand on civil rights now?

Zeese Papanikolas offers his comments on the piece:

"A Greek immigrant who was knocked on the head by a brick thrown through the window of his candy store in the South Omaha, Nebraska, anti-Greek riots of 1909, and who finally awoke last November 12 to read the National Herald’s editorial congratulating Donald Trump on his election, might ask himself, “since when did Greeks in America become white?” But in fact in the 107 years since the South Omaha riots, Greeks in this country have become “white,” as have the Irish before them and there is no reason to expect that, if given half a chance, the Somalis, Syrians and Iraqis fleeing the chaos of their homelands will not become full participants in American life as other immigrant groups have before them. Greeks in this country no longer need to huddle behind the walls of Greek Town for protection, no longer need to bribe a cop to get justice or deliver a bottle of bootleg wine to a straw boss to get a job, or fawn over some ward heeler to get a hearing at City Hall. The editors of the National Herald, whose Greek-language sister has been publishing since 1915 in this country, should know this as well as anyone. Therefore the sudden about face of the National Herald on Donald Trump and its fawning congratulations to him on his election victory are both retrograde and servile."

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