Mar 3, 2003
Companies like McDonald's and the Greektown Casino have put up billboards around Detroit, commemorating black history month. Of course, it's their very distorted version of black history.
One of them features a cartoon-like Ella Fitzgerald declaring, "It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts." Another depicts Coleman Young saying, "You can't look forward and backward at the same time."
McDonald's message to black people seems to be: "Stop whining and dwelling on the past, forget slavery and Jim Crow and move on." As if the problems of a racist society were all in the past, and all we have to do now is change our attitude.
In fact the black masses have always tried to move forward in the only way that matters. They fought against everyone – slaveholders, KKK, segregationists, outright and "secret" racists – who wanted to take them and the whole society backward. And they did it by always remembering where they came from – so they wouldn't let any reactionary take them back there again.