An excerpt from my article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle:
Distant struggles can profoundly influence life in America. We are reminded of this insight often today as Islamic fundamentalists in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and other faraway places appear to threaten our country. In these times, when distant peoples often seem menacing, we would do well to recall how events unfolding around the world can benefit Americans, and in unexpected ways.
Coming first, Ghana’s independence had a special meaning for Americans still mired in the hypocrisies and inequities spawned by a system of racial discrimination and white supremacy that, in 1957, showed few signs of moderating, much less collapsing. Fifty years ago, government-enforced segregation, called Jim Crow, prevailed across the South, and in the “liberal” Northeast and West, blacks were denied opportunities and often harassed, mistreated and abused by government and private actors alike.