Anyway, here's a more subtle but equally as infomative view of his death:
Monday, July 7, 2008
Published on Sunday, July 06, 2008
Because we all know our days will eventually come to an end, and because we respect the leveling power of death, we usually idealize the recently died.
We clean up their lives for them, often pretending they were not as messy as normal, human lives tend to be. Death becomes most people. Former Sen. Jesse Helms is no exception.
We will continue to hear many mini-eulogies of the powerful political figure this weekend, but I doubt you will find many black people willing to burnish his checkered legacy.
A respectful silence is all he will get from most of the black community, and all things considered, that’s about as much as could be asked.
Even in the shadow of Helms’ death, I see no need to pussyfoot about: He was hell on black people. Perhaps no single figure in the 20th century could claim more credit for sowing enmity between whites and blacks in North Carolina, and if you know history, you know that the minority group is always the biggest loser when racial strife reigns.
I first fully understood what Helms had wrought in 1990, when Helms’ Senate campaign infected our state’s airwaves with the poisonous “white hands” TV advertisement. The ad showed a pair of white hands crumpling a rejection notice from a prospective employer.
A voiceover says, “You needed that job. And you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota. Is that really fair? Harvey Gantt says it is.”
Helms’ opponent, whom he defeated, was black.
Political experts still rate the brutal ad as one of the most effective in playing the race card in Southern politics. I would later study the ad in a college course on advertising.