Anyone who saw or read about the past two Evanston City Council meetings, would gather that all is not (racially) right in our dear city. 

A diverse group of people showed up at the last Council meeting and placed “Black Lives Matter” signs along the walls.  Several black City of Evanston employees have alleged harassment and discrimination based on race and fear that the City’s reorganization scheme will be used to eliminate their jobs.  Hmm!  This reminded me of that old adage that refers to black employees: “Last hired and first fired.”

During legalized racial segregation (apartheid) in South Africa, blacks and coloreds had to make sure they carried proper ID (passes) and have permission to be in certain areas in case they were stopped by those in authority (anyone white). 

In the United States, slaves (blacks) had to have permission to be off the plantation on which they lived (were owned) and recognized as having permission if stopped by those in authority (anyone white).  So…what’s the difference between the aforementioned examples and the current “stop and frisk” programs that target people of color?  “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” 

The USA Civil Rights Laws promote(d) the fair treatment of all Americans regardless of color, race, etc.  These laws provide(d) a legal basis for filing complaints against unequal and unjust treatment, but they do(did) not put an end to unequal and unjust treatment of people. 

When the news is filled with stories of blacks being harassed, wounded or killed by racists and authority figures in America, one must (should) wonder how much has really changed in America. 

The black woman Sandra Bland that was incarcerated in a Texas jail was abused mentally (and possibly physically) by the Texas police, and in the opinion of many, the Texas police department is responsible for her death whether or not she committed suicide. 

It cannot be denied that there has been significant progress toward the fair treatment of black people in America, but current news stories that expose instances of the incarceration of innocent blacks and the killing of blacks tell us that there’s still a long, long way to go. 

One is left with the sense that “The more things (are supposed to) change, the more they stay the same.”

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...