Looking back to the sixties—gays, Jews, and blacks


I grew-up among people who couldn’t have told you what a blackeyed-susan was, because the only word they knew for the flower was “nigger head” or “nigger navel.” Few people today realize that white people didn’t always intend the word nigger as an insult, but more often as casual slang as opposed to the formal—and small-casednegro.

When I was about ten, I started to worry that if I got too close to a black person, his germs might settle upon me like a noxious fog. This fear was partly societal, partly due to my mother’s phobia of germs, and partly due to the fact that Mississippi is a very hot and humid place and I could detect what I considered an unfavorable difference between the smell of black people’s sweat and that of white people’s sweat. Yet, there was a time when I was younger that I played with black children and rode in a farm wagon with a black family. Later on, when I was in high school, one of my best friends was black, so I only held the aforementioned attitude during the relatively short time when I didn’t know a single black person despite being surrounded by them.

Not only were water fountains and toilet facilities segregated, entrances to buildings were often separate, and even if a restaurant served black people, they would have to order from an outside window. The black area of Brookhaven was called “Little Egypt,” and, unlike the white parts of town, it had no curbs or sidewalks. Black people were exposed to constant reminders that they weren’t as good as white people, yet there were more blacks than whites in many Mississippi towns, including Brookhaven.*

I was a student at Brookhaven High when it was integrated by two black girls and a black boy in 1966. We had a no-nonsense principal whose last name was Roach, and he told us over the intercom that he wasn’t going to allow any trouble, so there wasn’t any, at least physically. Emotionally, it was another story, what with those kids being continually met with hostile stares and muttered curses. The level of hatred was so intense that it scared me even though I wasn’t on the receiving end. I felt sorry for those kids, but I never offered so much as a friendly smile because I was terrified, and because I halfway believed the common argument that black people only wanted to go to white schools because they hated their own race. If I had been those kids’ parents, I don’t think I would have let them go through such an ordeal.

Every year, Brookhaven’s Spanish class would visit Monterrey, Mexico. One year, a busload of Mexican kids visited Brookhaven. They were dark-skinned, so a lot of the boys called them niggers and told them to get the fuck out of Mississippi. I felt sorry for those Mexicans because they would have had no idea why they were being attacked or even what some of the words meant, but, again, I didn’t say anything because I was too scared. I don’t feel guilt for how others of my race treated dark skinned people, but I very much feel guilt for not supporting those people.

In 1967, I was driving home after a date when I saw a cross being burned in a white family’s yard, and I felt sorry for them and wondered what they had done to provoke the Klan. I sometimes found Klan leaflets in my family’s driveway, and I fed on a steady diet of racist newspaper editorials. The best known was Jimmy Ward’s “Covering the Crossroads” that appeared daily on the front page of the Jackson Daily News. Ward believed that God had meant for black people to be subservient and wrote that, “Our negroes were happy until Communist-inspired outside agitators stirred them up.”

Mississippi’s white population commonly believed that black people were by nature childlike and immoral, and needed white people to keep them in line for the good of all. “Outside agitators” were seen as either ignorant of the limitations of black people (many of them having come from areas of the North that had but few black people) and were therefore “dupes of the Communists,” or else they were “Communist infiltrators
whose goal was to “destroy America by fomenting unrest among its negroes.” The impression one got from the national media was that the entire country—if not the world—was united in its contempt for the white people of the South, so when riots started happening in other places, white Southerners rejoiced that “the Yankee chickens have come home to roost.”

Upon seeing a succession of bereaved black parents on the news, parents whose many children had died in one of the devastating house fires that were common among poor blacks who heated their flimsy homes with gas space heaters, my mother said, “I guess negroes grieve for their loved ones just like we do.”

When I called a black customer in my parents’ country store “ma’am,” my mother told me that black women didn’t deserve the same respect as white women. My father thought better of black people. When a rumor went around that a group of black people might try to visit our church, my father was asked to stand guard at the door, but he said he wouldn’t do it because, “This is God’s house, and if God doesn’t want them here, then God can keep them out.” (When I was in college, I often visited black churches, and was always affectionately welcomed.) My father’s views were so liberal that if my sister or I had wanted to marry a black person, I don’t think he would have objected, but it sure would have upset our mother because she was not only bigoted, she also cared deeply about
making a good appearance.

Dad sometimes employed a black preacher—Reverend Truly Westbrook—as a carpenter’s helper, and the two became friends. Truly was a loving man, but he didn’t think much of his own race. One day, he told my father that he knew my father was smarter than he because he was black. He also told me that the hand of God was upon me, and that I was going to become a preacher. I never became a preacher, but I was touched that Truly thought so well of me. My father was a bad-tempered man who was in the habit of cursing loudly and scarily pretty much all day everyday. He took this behavior to the point of acting insane, and I could tell that it hurt Truly to listen to it just as it embarrassed me for him to act as he did.

When I was old enough to do carpentry with my father, we often worked in black people’s homes. He always treated them with kindness and respect, and would even forego his cursing in the presence of a black woman. Sometimes, he and I would share a meal with a black family. Perhaps his transsexuality—although he kept it a secret—gave him a sympathy for those who, like himself, could never be a part of respectable society.

When I was a teenager, a black neighbor named Jerry Kelly became one of my best friends. He would visit me at home (this during an era when, if a black person went to a white person’s home, he would knock at the door and then stand in the yard until someone appeared), and Jerry even went camping and fishing with me and two other white kids, John Collins and Tony Lopez (see photo). Tony was the only person with a Hispanic name who I ever knew in Brookhaven. He had black hair and black eyes, but his skin was white, so no one—to my knowledge—gave him a hard time. I also had a friend named Tony Damico, and he seemed exotic to me because he was a both a dago and a Catholic. I remember spending the night with Tony when it was awfully hot. I was surprised and delighted to find that he had a fan in his bedroom because my mother wouldn’t allow me to have a fan or even to have a window open because she thought that drafts and night air contained “vapors” (She was so afraid of germs that she would run for cover if she saw buzzards overhead because she believed their germs would fall upon her).

When he turned eighteen, Jerry joined the army, and he came home with a chip on his shoulder. Specifically, he looked down on me because, while he was out seeing the world and becoming sophisticated—in his own mind anyway—I was still in the same countrified place that he had left me. Later on, I tried to be friends with other black men, but when we started getting close, they would share their anger toward white people. I took this personally, didn’t think I deserved it, and despaired of them ever trusting me. I soon gave up on even trying to be friends with black men. Black women seem more open, but I don’t know a single black person here in Oregon, and I must say that I miss them. What I like best about black people—the women especially—is their ability to laugh heartily. Despite all they’ve been through, black people are still able to laugh more deeply than white people, plus they seem to respond well to my dry and ironic humor. I know that it’s not PC to generalize about black people, even in a favorable way, but I simply don’t care. The way I see things, all people are racists, but some are more honest about it than others, and nothing tires me more than to hear some smug white liberal bullshit me about how non-prejudiced he or she is.

I used to work with a black woman here in Oregon. She was about twenty years older than I, was from Louisiana, and was responsible for training me to do my job. One day, she said I needed to stop opening doors for her because she knew I was just doing it because she was black. I told her that she was wrong, that I was doing it because she was old. We had a good laugh about that, and she then told me that she missed Louisiana because she could tell where she stood with Southern white people, but here in Oregon, white people try to hide their prejudices, and this makes them act stilted and strange. I said I could relate because so many people act weird because of my Southern accent. Sometimes, they come right out and tell me how bigoted I must be, but more often they just act vaguely hostile, and I can’t know for sure what’s behind it. I loved that woman. So often, I’ve lost people from my life simply because I didn’t make the effort to keep them in it.


Here in Oregon, it’s such a faux pas to express even the barest hint of prejudice toward anyone about anything that a person can get fired for it, and this forces people to weigh their every word because no one can ever be sure but what an innocent remark won’t be interpreted as a microagression. Liberalism=dehumanization.

It was rare in Brookhaven for anyone to have a non-English name. Among whites, Smith was by far the most common name with Case being the second most common. I don’t know what the most common names among blacks was, but there did seem to be a lot of Washingtons. I also had several gay friends, although I didn’t fully understand what it meant to be gay until I was in my twenties.

I went to school with a Jewish girl named Schlesinger who was an albino. She had a lot of friends, but I wasn’t one of them. I probably wouldn’t have been anyway, but it was also true that her family had a higher social status than mine, and that kind of thing mattered a lot in the Brookhaven schools.

I believe that Jews were better regarded than Catholics in Brookhaven because the town had three Jewish mayors (Abraham Lewinthal in 1889, Sam Abrams in 1910, and his grandson, Harold Samuels, in the 1970s and ‘80s),** but I don’t think it ever had a Catholic one. In 1861, a non-Jewish man named Whitworth donated land for a Jewish cemetery because he considered Jews to be the kind of intelligent and ambitious people who would put Brookhaven on the map, so he did all he could to make them feel welcome.

When my father’s family moved to Brookhaven in 1908 from 400 miles away in Bridgeport Alabama, they arrived with little money, and weren’t likely to have any for quite some time. Sam Abrams—who became mayor two years later—ran Abram’s Mercantile (the store’s motto was “If you don’t find it here, go home”), and he became the first merchant to give credit to my grandpa. His willingness to do this still makes me think warmly of Jews because my family would have been in a bad way without Sam Abrams. I know that it isn’t right to judge millions of people because of the actions of one of them, but I do, partly because Mr. Abrams
trust goes against the image of Jews as being tight-fisted and greedy. Later, I had dreams about how beautiful I imagined it must be inside the local synagogue. Even today, I sometimes think about becoming a Jew because I feel such a sympathy and admiration for them.

When I was about thirteen, I went camping with three gay friends (I didn’t know they were gay), and one of them suggested that we all ass-fuck, which they did, but I didn’t. I pretended to go along, but when the friend who was supposed to fuck me tried to stick his penis up my ass, I tightened-up so he couldn’t get in. Even that event didn’t boost my understanding of what it meant to be gay because I considered the event nothing more than a lark. My friends warned me not to tell anyone what we had done, which was a good thing because I was so naive that when the sister of one of the boys showed up at our campsite, I was going to tell her because I thought it was cool even though I didn’t want to take part in it.

Like my father, I never felt that I fit in, plus I was always drawn to people who seemed somehow different because I considered them more interesting than ordinary people. They would tell me things that they didn’t tell anyone else because they trusted me not to betray them. Not only was their trust well-founded, I liked them all the more because our differences intrigued me.

My parents ran a country store, and I sold used books in that store. One time I bought a lot of books from the widow of a black preacher, and among them were the complete works of Robert Ingersoll, a prominent agnostic from the late 1800s. Ingersoll was an incredibly brave man who traveled about making speeches against the Christian religion to immense audiences. I don’t know why a black preacher owned his books, but I wished that I had known that preacher. Another book he owned was entitled The Negro, a Beast or in the Image of God in which the author set about to prove that black people were subhuman. This was a common sentiment among white Southerners as could be seen in my mother’s speculation that black parents might actually grieve when their children were burned alive.

Whereas my home state had previously been ignored by the national media, it made the news almost daily during the Civil Rights era, and it appeared unfavorably in Life Magazine. As a result, most white people quit subscribing to Life (my family didn’t) and assumed a siege mentality. It was as if the entire outside world despised white Southerners, and instead of their hatred inspiring us to change, it made us dig trenches. Many people attached small Confederate flags to their car antennas, so I put one on the antenna of my parents’ 1956 Fairlane. I regarded the KKK’s white robes and cross burnings as romantically attractive, but I also harbored a secret admiration for the Freedom Riders and the Black Panthers. I simply didn’t have the will or the maturity to examine issues rationally or to understand why integration was so important to black people. In my mind, it was as if symbolism existed for its own sake, and I adored symbolism. The Klan did too, and it and I also shared a love for ritual and tradition. Then too, there was the common belief that the KKK and the White Citizens’ Council were doing their best to defend our “Southern Way of Life” from the evil onslaught that was being led by MLK, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Medgar Evers, and others whose murders were literally cheered in school. However, my fear of the Klan remained greater than my attraction to it because I knew that its ultimate reliance wasn’t upon God’s help in keeping the races separate but upon intimidation and murder. I couldn’t escape the thought that if I made known my admiration for the busloads of idealistic Yankees—scarcely older than myself—who had come to Mississippi to register black people to vote, it might be my family that had a cross burned in its yard.

What I didn’t foresee was how fast the Klan would knuckle-under when it came to going up against the federal government. If its members had possessed the ruthless determination of an organization like the Islamic State, a whole lot more people would have lost their lives. As it was, I suspect that more people are murdered by terrorist organizations in the Middle East in a single day than were murdered by the Klan during the entire Civil Rights Movement. I don’t know if it was fear that held the Klan back, or if it was a basic respect for the law, but when people talk about how much blood was shed, I rather think about how little, and for that I am glad.

*http://brookhaven.areaconnect.com/statistics.htm
**http://www.isjl.org/mississippi-brookhaven-encyclopedia.html

38 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

My family never spoke any kind of racist language. I do remember picking up a feeling that blacks were different than us and the two shouldn't mix, but no much more than that.

LindaRe said...

My family lived in an all black subdivision outside of Jackson, MS. It was a working class community but also included lawyers, teachers, preachers, insurance salesmen, store owners, etc. We were insulated. The only whites I saw in my community were salesman and those coming to pick up their maids.

I attended Westside School from 1st through 9th grade during the 1960s up until 1971. The school was all black, teachers, administrators and students until my 8th grade year. The school was built during the late 1950s, likely in response to Brown vs Board of Education.

My parents taught me to stay out of the way of white folks, not to tell them what I really thought. I was an opinionated little brat. My parents taught me these things directly and indirectly. I noticed they were smiley and passive in the company of whites. As a young child I knew whites had a power I, my people, didn't have. What that power was, was unknown to me.

Relatives told us we were just as good as whites and we could accomplished what ever we wanted. My teachers also instilled the same nuggets of wisdom.

White teachers arrived during my 8th and 9th grade years. They were mostly young liberals, fresh out of college.

By the time I entered the 10th grade at a mostly white school, black students were not an oddity. I think this was 1971. No one stood at the door preventing us from coming, no rocks thrown, no one spat on us. Others had paved the way, we were tolerated. We missed school programs consisting of black history. The mascot was old man Rebel and the Confederate flag waved at every pep rally. We would not participate in pep rallies. We didn't buy school jackets, shirts with the rebel emblem.

I graduated in 1974 in the top of my class. A good friend was the school's first black valedictorian.





rhymeswithplague said...

This post and the previous one about lynchings in Brookhaven, Mississippi, are very interesting, but I have refrained from commenting because, having lived through those times, I really don't want to revisit them. I grew up in Mansfield, Texas, and north central and east Texas was probably not that different from your Mississippi in those years. Mansfield was the scene of one of the first attempted integration incidents, and I believe it was the very last school district in the entire country to accept it.

People who didn't live through those decades have NO IDEA of how it was, but you have done a very good job of describing them.

Stephen Hayes said...

I don't think my parents were comfortable around black people because there were so few of them around where my parents were raised, and although they were not college educated I'm proud to say I never heard my parents say anything even remotely racial, although my mother still refers to our president as "colored." But then she's ninety-one.

Elephant's Child said...

You have described a world which is largely alien (and frightening) to me. Prejudice we had, and have. Against our indigenous population and against Jews. My father said that religion cost too much and didn't practice, but our surname is sufficiently Jewish for 'jew bitch' to be a term I heard often.
The Aboriginies fared worse, and still do. Name calling, segregation and casual violence against them.

Anne Last said...

I thought the post was great. It gave me a personal insight into what it was like to be a Southerner at that time. My parents have never talked about their experiences. I could relate on many levels, though. I can not say enough how insightful I found your post, especially because it gave only what you personally experienced.

When I was in elementary school in St. Petersburg, Fl, I knew of only two black girls in the school. I based my view on black people from an interaction with these girls one day on the playground. One started making fun of me and my first thought was black people are mean, then her sister told her to stop being mean I didn't do anything to them. My next thought was some black people are mean and some aren't. Because of this one experience, I have always tried to take people different than me on a one on one basis.

In SC growing up I had black friends and I had black girls tease me. I had forgotten the incident, until a few years ago I went back to FL to help my mother with my grandfather. We were driving through St. Petersburg and my mother said, "Everything has changed so much. This used to be the black part of town." I had never thoguht about black people in St. Petersburg as a child, I only knew of the two (they were the adopted children of one of the teachers) and in my mind that was all that existed because my neighborhood was mainly old white people. I felt really stupid that it never occurred to me as an adult that there would have been a black part of town. In SC I went to a school that was over half black. I walked through a black neighborhood to go home from school.

Now, why did I just tell you all that? I think it's because your post reminded me of it, and made me realize the different experiences I had growing up between Florida in the 70's and SC in the 80's. That is how great your post was, it brought me back to a time from my childhood as a southern child.

kj said...

hi snow, i haven't read your last post yet (i will) and i know you want a thoughtful response from me on this one. that will hopefully come when it's not almost one am and i'm a slow thinker as i am at this late hour. but i do want to say that this is a fine piece of writing, a compelling story, and a much appreciated sharing of your background. i knew only one black person throughout my upbringing, and only few afterwards, until i fell in love with a black woman when i was 30. we were together for almost three years and even with a heartbreak ending (for me) it is a memory and experience i cherish. i was well more welcomed in her world than she was in mine, overall.

more to come from me: i know you well enough that i know you want my reaction and opinion :^)

love
kj

Tom Sightings said...

Wow, your post is a real eye-opener. I've always lived in the Northeast ... and we're a lot like Oregon.

Sparkling Red said...

As Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and owing to my younger age, I have been lucky not to have encountered much racism in my life. My high school was 49% white, and 49% asian, with a tiny handful of non-fitter-inners thrown in. We all got along pretty well. My family wasn't thrilled when I married the only black man from my high school. When I divorced him after 5 years, I know that my family was itching to fix me up with some nice Jewish dentist or lawyer... but while they were still letting me have some time to catch my breath, I took up with my current husband, who is half Japanese and half caucasian. I told him that they wouldn't be super-excited about the match. We used to joke about them saying, behind our backs, "Well, at least he's not black!" I guess they've given up on me by now... ;-) (For the record, they have accepted Ken as part of the family, and everything is okay.)

Winifred said...

You certainly have written an interesting post Snow. It must have been difficult during those times for anyone to stand up against the discrimination.
I grew up in a small mining town in the North of England in the fifties & sixties so I didn't experience any of the things you describe. The town had very few people from outside the area. No Irish, Scottish or Welsh people so no Jews or black people. The only person I remember having an accent was a woman from Malta who had married an Englishman during World War 2.
However I never heard anyone criticise or denigrate other religions or races. Maybe that's because we didn't know any of them!

Have to say that like the black children you describe when we went to call for other children we always knocked at the back door & waited in the back yard for them. When never went into other people's houses.

Have to say your dad must have had some courage to do the things he did in the world he lived in. It's a shame we make judgements about people we've never met. I do remember my mam used to say "Speak as you find". Hope I can do the same.

Helen said...

Fascinating post, Snow! My grandfather brought a 'colored man' (as they referred to him) into their home back in the 20s when he had nowhere to go. In exchange for room and board, he worked in the fields and helped with the horses, cows, pigs, chickens. This was rural southern Illinois ~~ my grandparents knew not to let others in their community know. My mother told me he stayed with their family for a year or so.

I have had numerous co-workers over the years ~ gay, Jewish, black, atheist ~ you name it .. who were also great and good friends. I am fortunate.

Snowbrush said...

First off, this post came out of my interest in the lynchings that my father told me about, and that occurred during his teenage years (I wrote about them in my last post). During the course of trying to find out about those lynchings, I came across two bloggers, both of whom are women who live in Mississippi. They were a further inspiration for this post, and both paid me the honor or reading it and commenting on it. One is Anne Last (https://plus.google.com/110385814136286150888/posts), a 47-year-old white woman who is a dedicated chronicler of lynchings. The other is LindaRe (http://betweenthegateposts.blogspot.com/) who, I think, must be in her early sixties and is interested in genealogy and in the history of the communities in Southwest Mississippi where her family lived, sometimes as slaves (I lived in the part of the state she writes about). Her interest extends to her relatives’ lifestyles and clothing styles, and her blog is rich with family photos.

I had two big thrills last week. One was finding these two bloggers—a piece of good fortune by which I am overwhelmed—and the other was getting a third cat, a little three pound girl named Scully. The adoption agency let us take her home on a trial basis because of our two boys. Fortunately, Scully is a fearless little black and white lady who wasn’t put off in the least by their hisses and swats. In less than 24-hours, our big fellow, Brewsky—who has a strong paternal instinct—went from hating her guts to bathing her. Our year-old guy, Ollie, went from resenting her presence strongly to letting her playfully chase him. Our joy is indescribable. I think that, before it is done, Scully might dominate both of out boys because they’re pretty passive, and she’s everything but passive.

“I do remember picking up a feeling that blacks were different than us and the two shouldn't mix, but no much more than that.”

Charles, were there a lot of black people in your part of Arkansas? Except for the fact that you’re a little younger than I, I should think you grew up in an intensely racist environment.

Snowbrush said...


“I attended Westside School”

I once taught elementary school in Clinton, but I can’t remember whether the name of the school was Northside or Westside, but I’m pretty sure it was one of the two. I do recall that the students and the faculty were all-black except for me. This wasn’t a problem, but what was a problem was that I was sick. I didn’t know enough to change doctors, and the doctor that I was going to didn’t think anything was wrong with me despite the fact that I dropped over 30-pounds in a few months, ran a low-grade fever, and could hardly get out of bed in the morning for the fatigue. Then, when I got to school, I had to deal with the horrible heat, there being no air conditioning. When I turned yellow, I was relieved because I knew the doctor would finally have to take me seriously (he did, putting me in the hospital). I only lasted about three months at that school because of my illness. I never got a diagnosis, but I finally got over it.

“I have refrained from commenting because, having lived through those times, I really don't want to revisit them.”

We are opposites about this. When I started writing, my feeling were so intensely miserable that I didn’t know how I was going to bear them, but by the time I was through, my writing experience could be better described as nostalgia and curiosity than misery, there being so much about those years that I would like to go back to. I have a question for you. Do you remember elderly black men being called “boy”. Peggy and I watched “Driving Miss Daisy” last week, and were shocked when two young highway patrolmen called the 70ish year-old character played by Morgan Freeman (who, in real life, still lives in Mississippi) “boy”. I remember old black people being called uncle but never boy, and I want to know what you remember about this.

“my mother still refers to our president as "colored." But then she's ninety-one.”

Jeepers creepers, that word didn’t come to mind during the whole writing of this post, yet it was more often used in polite conversation than the word negro. I’m shocked by my failure to remember this.

“our surname is sufficiently Jewish for 'jew bitch' to be a term I heard often.”

I hate it that you went through that. In fact, I have no words for the distress that it brings me. Everyday of every week, people are murdered, not for anything they did, but for being whom they are. Ours is a world overrun by disgusting savages. The best we can do is to cling to that which is good—in my case, that would be you and other blog friends, my two new blog buddies, and my sweet little lady kitty, and the great big old male kitties who are rapidly coming to love her.

“That is how great your post was, it brought me back to a time from my childhood as a southern child.”

Thank you.

“i fell in love with a black woman when i was 30”

How interesting that you and Sparkling Red both had black partners. I mean, figure the odds of two white readers of this blog having fallen in love with black people. Thank you for your kind words about my post.

“I've always lived in the Northeast ... and we're a lot like Oregon.”

I’m not sure, but I think one difference might be that Oregon has a lot more residents who moved here from other parts of the country, it being a good place in the minds of many to relocate to. Still, it and New England are the most liberal—and the least religious—parts of the country.

“I have been lucky not to have encountered much racism in my life”

Looking back, I’m glad I grew up when and where I did because it was far from being what you might call a plain vanilla upbringing. It was funny, though, to go from living in place that outsiders didn’t seem to know existed, to seeing the same place turn into the center of prolonged national interest.

“We used to joke about them saying, behind our backs, "Well, at least he's not black!’”

Ha. That reminds me of a former brother-in-law. The best thing that my mother could think to say about my sister’s husband was, “At least he doesn’t beat her.”

Snowbrush said...

“As a young child I knew whites had a power I, my people, didn't have. What that power was, was unknown to me.”

Linda, my parents would have been low-middle class, and for that reason and because my father was a mentally disturbed blue collar worker with no social skills (this along other problems that my family and I had), I felt as you did, but about the white people who were above my family in wealth, status, and normalcy. I remember reading an essay by a woman who wrote that, when women and black people talk about white men having all the power, they weren’t talking her father. I’ve encountered the argument that one reason for racism is that when people feel that they’re undervalued, they seek to build themselves up by finding other people to look down upon.

“We would not participate in pep rallies.”

I loathed pep rallies because of all the jumping up and sitting down, the stomping of feet, and the horribly loud noise. I also hated football players to the point that I would have been just as happy if the team had lost every game—not that I usually paid any attention to who won or lost. Pep rallies were reminders that I didn’t fit in, and that I wasn’t valued for anything that I had to offer. I wish I had thought to go the principal and told him that he had to get me out of those things. I don’t know if he would, but I rather doubt it.

“My grandfather brought a 'colored man' (as they referred to him) into their home back in the 20s when he had nowhere to go.”

I can see how that could have been a problem, but darned if I know how they kept it a secret unless they just never had any company. If that man was so desperate in the ‘20s, I hate to think what his life would have been like after the crash in ’29.

“This was rural southern Illinois”

I always thought that the part of southern Illinois that is adjacent to the Mississippi River was a pretty area. It seemed so remote that it was almost as if it existed in its own little world. I remember a house on Hwy 61 north of Cairo that had scores of whirligigs out front. I knocked on the door to ask if I could take some photos, and the owner turned out to be an elderly black man who had never been a hundred miles from where he was born. His ignorance of the climate and geography of other areas was amazing, but he seemed so content that I envied him. I visited with him at least twice.

rhymeswithplague said...

I certainly do remember when black men of any age were called "boy" and black women of any age were called "girl." In a court, they were called by their first names only, never as Mr. or Mrs. or Miss anything. Also, "colored" or "negro" is what signs on water fountains or public rest rooms said and how educated, liberal, mainline church folk referred to them in speech. Everyone else used what is now called "the N-word" and it caused great consternation to learn that the first two terms were also considered to be slurs. "Black" became the new app-elation in the 70s until it was replaced by "Afro-American" in the 80s, which in turn was subsequently replaced by "African-American."

Helen said...

Had to smile at your comment, the closest farm to my grandparents had to be over ten miles back then. I do recall Mother saying they 'kept him hidden' (whatever that meant, she was slipping into dementia when she shared that part of the story! My aunt and uncle also told me about the 'border/farm hand as well. I think they called him Charlie.

Kranhu said...

I read this book several years ago.

http://isabelwilkerson.com

I visited the two blogs mentioned and I could spend weeks reading it all.

LindaRe said...

"I’ve encountered the argument that one reason for racism is that when people feel that they’re undervalued, they seek to build themselves up by finding other people to look down upon."

I agree. If we feel undervalued, low self esteem, we find fault in others so we can feel better about who we are.

My family of origin was at the bottom of the barrel among our peers. What was left from Dad's paycheck, after boozing and womanizing, was what came home and most of the time it was nothing.

My neighbor's prejudgements about me, their feelings of superiority, had no impact on my life UNLESS they had power to control my life. Racism implies to me the ability to control the outcome of my life because of the support of the government, the church, the community, etc.

Snowbrush said...

“‘Black" became the new app-elation in the 70s until it was replaced by "Afro-American" in the 80s, which in turn was subsequently replaced by "African-American."

I prefer the word black for various reasons. One is that the word African has nothing to do with race or nation, but is rather the continent of one ancestors’ origin, yet everyone ancestors came from Africa, so this makes the term inaccurately exclusionary. Two, much of the northern part of the continent has been heavily populated with non-blacks for all of recorded history, and this makes the term particularly unfair to these people (a “white” American of Libyan or Egyptian ancestry would only create confusion if he called himself an African American, yet that’s what he is). Three, I have a very poor opinion of hyphenated Americanism, which, in my mind, reeks of political correctness without regard to rationality. What does it mean, after all, for a person to identify more with the continent of Africa than with the nation of America, although no one in that person’s family might have lived in Africa for hundreds of years? Fourth, it seems to lump all the black nations of Africa into a harmonious whole, which is probably no more accurate than lumping all the nations of Europe or Asia into a harmonious whole. Fifth, do all black people really prefer to be called African Americans? I’m about one-fourth American Indian, and I had assumed that “my people” preferred to be called Native Americans or Indigenous Peoples, but discovered that, no, they’re divided about this, so, perhaps, the same is true of black people. After all, they has been no vote. Sixth, African American is an awkward mouthful. If you tallied up all the times that I wrote the word “black” in this post, and replaced them with “African American.” wouldn’t that make for one hell of poor read? You might say that we should call everyone what they want to be called, but I’m not going to do that. For example, if your name is Elizabeth, I’m going to call you a diminutive of that name because I have better things to do with my day than to call you by a four-syllable word, and African American is even worse, it being seven syllables. To insist upon a designation that is exclusionary and comes with other objections just because one can get away with it doesn’t work for me. If I’m to be called racist for this, then so be it, but while I’ll admit to being racist, I’ll be damned if I’m going to admit to being racist because I won’t use some term that I consider tedious, exclusionary, and inaccurate.

Thank you for the information about “boy” and “girl” being used without regard to age. I just remember “uncle” and “aunt,” but since you were older, I suspect you are right, either that or customs differed from place to place.

Snowbrush said...

“http://isabelwilkerson.com”

I hadn’t heard of her, which shows how ignorant I am. Thank you for the link.

“Racism implies to me the ability to control the outcome of my life because of the support of the government, the church, the community, etc.”

Yes, which means that a person can harbor racist feelings while doing all he or she can to treat everyone fairly and compassionately. I’ll give a parallel. I will never accept transgender people as really being trapped in the body of the wrong gender, yet I believe they have the right to live in consistency with the gender they believe themselves to be. This, I think, is what you're talking about when you define racism, not as an attitude, but as a way to enforce control. Behavior is one thing, what one thinks in his or her deepest heart is another, but it seems to me that liberalism is like a witch hunt in that it seeks to flush out those who don’t conform, not just in action, but in thought to what it claims to believe, and this intellectual brutality destroys the possibility of real dialogue. I especially pity college professors because here you have institutions that are supposedly devoted to truth, yet where truth is the first thing to go. You’ll recall the Harvard president who lost his job because he suggested that there might be gender differences that would lead a person to favor one major over another, yet without research, no one can prove him wrong or right. Like religion, PC, abhors having its unproven tenets questioned.

rhymeswithplague said...

One thing you definitely need to remember is that my name is not Elizabeth.

E. Rosewater said...

when i was in the coast guard the main winch on deck was called a "niggerhead" and coincidentally i had an african room mate. he was from ghana and was black as the ace of spades but he didn't bat an eyelash when he heard "niggerhead" multiple times a day.

i'm pretty sure that racism isn't in our nature, it's nurtured by our parents, friends, media etc.......

Snowbrush said...

“i'm pretty sure that racism isn't in our nature, it's nurtured by our parents, friends, media etc…….”

If you put physiologic sensors on a “non-predjudiced” white liberal, his or her reactions in social situations with black people, or while watching images of black people, will show him (or her) to be unaware of his own racist feelings. This doesn’t, of course, prove that racism is inherent, societal, or a little of each, so I have no idea if you are right. I also question whether that black Coastguardsman was as nonplussed as he appeared, given that he had no good avenue for complaint.

I do consider it obvious that we’re a tribalistic species, and that the goal of everyone valuing everyone else the same is absurdly idealistic. If I were in a lifeboat, and someone had to be thrown out, I would tend (I must necessarily simplify here because various factors might cause me to change my decision) to save children over adults, young people over old people, women over men (maybe), the healthy over the infirm, and people I liked over people I disliked, regardless of race. So, in that situation at least, race wouldn’t matter. In other situations it would, but my emphasis would always be in favor of the individual over his or her race. As I see it, racism exists along a continuum as opposed to being something that a person either is or isn’t.

Emma Springfield said...

This is a wonderfully timely post. I pondered over the thoughts and feelings you express in each paragraph. I grew up in a part of the country where most people were descended from Germanic countries, Slavic countries, and Scandinavian countries. There were a very few Irish and Polish and other Eastern Europeans in the mix. Indians mostly still lived in towns that are on reservation land. So we were pretty much the same.
Most of the people I knew were Protestant as far as religion. There are of course many denominations but again mostly the same. Catholics were few until one town we moved to. I did not know any Jews until I was in high school.
When I went to high school there were a few more varieties of people because it is a larger city in the area. I went to school with a few black kids. To my knowledge we accepted them the same way we accepted everyone else. If we liked someone we hung out with them. If we did not like a person we stayed away. I'm not sure but I don't think differences in national origin, religion, or color made much of a difference.
I agree with you that people have inborn prejudices. Anything different is foreign to us and therefore we feel a certain amount of distrust. This is why we find ourselves staring at people who dress differently, have a visible disability, or speak another language. We are not necessarily hating. We are simply trying to reconcile what we are seeing in our minds.
Of course there are harmful prejudices too. To hate someone only because of their difference from us is to limit ourselves and is unacceptable.
This was a thought provoking post and I enjoyed it.

Snowbrush said...

“I went to school with a few black kids. To my knowledge we accepted them the same way we accepted everyone else.”

In Mississippi, blacks and whites were roughly equal in number, and each had their own culture. In general, even after integration, each preferred to spend their time with people who shared their race and culture. It seems likely to me that when you have a situation in which there are few black people—as where you grew-up—they would tend to adapt to white culture, and this would make mixed-race friendships easier because black people would seem much like everyone else only colored differently. I would conclude from this that, in a largely integrated society, it’s not race per se that’s the cause of friction, but rather culture. No doubt, this ignorance of the cultural component was part of the reason that people from other areas so despised white Mississippians. I miss the South, but I’m also glad to be out of that part of the country because of its heat, humidity (to get off a plane in Mississippi in the summer is like walking into a wall of heat and humidity), ignorance, provincialism, poverty, political conservatism, remaining racial tension, but most of all for its smug religiosity. Here in the homogenous Willamette Valley, there’s great faith in the liberal belief that strength comes from diversity, and therefore diversity should be welcomed and encouraged, and anyone who doesn’t welcome and encourage diversity is an intolerable bigot and should be treated like a pariah. My belief is just the opposite, that the greater the diversity, the greater the friction. I’m not saying that there is nothing of good that can come from diversity, but rather that the good is outweighed by the bad when diverse groups are forced to live in close contact.

rhymeswithplague said...

In my opinion, the comment above is one of the best paragraphs you have ever written.

All Consuming said...

To me it is less forcing diversity and more getting integration right, he sue people can integrate, but it won't happen unless both sides have less of the kind of biased folk you described from your youth. It's still within many people, many good people, but they have been swept away by the media and by by some of the worst run governments one could hope for. They want people to hate each other, they want to segregate and keep certain kinds of people poor and angry, and at the same time chip away at that which others have and make sure the blame goes on any fucker but themselves, it infuriates me. Over here things have been going that way, and the extreeme left have created the perfect miserable fuel for the far right to feast on.

I read a post today that said that no one can 'steal' your job, the employers choose who they want to work for them and that's the poorest cheap labour they can find. Force a true living wage in and anyone would be able to get the jobs. It's those who have the power who are twisting this world into the shape that suits them, and I don't believe segregation is the answer, in fact over here it just makes things worse, and I certainly can't see that telling people to stay in 'their own county' is feasible. People will always migrate, there should be reasonable laws put in place to ensure they can contribute to the economy unless they are in fear of their lives. But the core thing that's missing again and again is respect for those who are different. Like you. Like your dad. Like me. It's just that we're different for other reasons than our colour and culture. When I see people I believe to have good hearts chanting for Trump I despair at the shame of it, that they've been played so well. Because that's what it is. And I don't live in some airy fairy place with cottages an green fields, skipping along with flowers in my hair not 'knowing what it's like', the gangs are right here, people get shot and mugged round the corner, there are more children of colour at some local schools than white kids now, but people still get on just fine when they hold back the anger and fear created and stoked by the papers they read and the crimes they know of. They grieve, they love, they're bigoted at times, and they die just like any one of us. Fear is the most powerful card any government can play and it's being played just like it was in Germany. One of our so called politicians, the previous leader of UKIP, actually used a picture of migrants that mirrored a Nazi Germany propaganda film about the Jews. Not subtle, and he said it was ' a mistake' when people caught on.

"If I had been those kids’ parents, I don’t think I would have let them go through such an ordeal." - The thing is, some black kids had to be the first ones, and their parents knew that. Those children's parents will have known the pain their kids went through and known that someone has to be first. There couldn't have been a sudden influx, it didn't work like that. I admire those parents and I am absolutely sure that their children did too.

Well. That's set me off eh?! *laughs*. Absolutely brilliant post dear, really insightful, and utterly absorbing. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you write so well, and I love you to bits. X




Snowbrush said...

“To me it is less forcing diversity and more getting integration right, he sue people can integrate…”

Ironically, political correctness involves turning dissidents into pariahs in the name of acceptance. Give me an unabashed bigot anyday over a smug politically correct totalitarian.

“Over here things have been going that way, and the extreme left have created the perfect miserable fuel for the far right to feast on.”

Without the extreme left, Trump probably wouldn’t be taken seriously as a candidate for president. When either extreme tries to trounce the other into submission, there’s going to be blow-back, and hence someone like Trump. A big issue here at the moment is whether transgender kids should be allowed to use the school restroom that aligns with what they believe to be their correct gender. This, of course, would put boys going to the restroom with kids who are genetically girls, and girls going to the restrooms with kids who are genetically boys. To the right, this constitutes a line in the sand, and I can understand why it would. While I support transgender marriage, job equality, and so on, this bathroom issue is harder for me to see the fairness in because it’s making such a big deal out of something that seems to me so trivial. It’s taking the position that, “We want full equality and acceptance about everything, and we want it NOW.” It’s as if transgender people are saying that since they’ve been oppressed in the past then, by god, it’s payback time, and they’re going to run over anyone who stands in their way, all in the name of honoring diversity, of course. But what about the diversity of those who hold other values? Why, of course, they don’t count, because they’re just bigots, and bigots deserve nothing but contempt for being obstacles to progress.

“I certainly can't see that telling people to stay in 'their own county' is feasible.”

I would regard the taking in of Moslems by a country as the equivalent of holding a cobra to one’s bosom. Just look at the killings in France and Germany, and the rapes by Moslem men in front of the Cologne cathedral. Show me a country in which Moslem rule is characterized by anything but brutality and oppression, and THESE are the people that so much of Europe is rushing to embrace!

“But the core thing that's missing again and again is respect for those who are different.”

If being different is, in itself, reason for respect, then Trump supporters should be respected, but of course they aren’t. Those who uphold the value of respect don’t really mean respect for everyone, but for those whom they regard as belonging to righteous but oppressed groups. Personally, I have no respect for differences simply because they’re different, and I even hold a great many differences in unmitigated contempt. For instance, I don’t respect Christian fundamentalist teachers who deny climate change while teaching “creationism” as science, and I don’t respect the Catholic Church for forcing women to bear profoundly retarded babies due to Zika, and I don’t respect armed men who take over federal lands here by force and insist that the federal government should let them have them. Diversity is, in itself, a value-neural term apart from what it represents, yet is is spoken of as a virtue, as in “honor diversity,” “ respect diversity,” and embrace diversity.” Not I, said the sheep with the curly horn. I feel no obligation to allow into this country any group that reeks of discord.

Snowbrush said...

“When I see people I believe to have good hearts chanting for Trump I despair at the shame of it, that they've been played so well.”

I think of them as like those Southern lynch mobs that were no doubt composed of people who sang every Sunday about the all-embracing love of Jesus, paid their bills on time, kept their floors mopped, and gave turkeys to poor families at Christmas, but none of the good they did came anywhere close to making up for the evil of dragging young men to death behind cars. The South itself is accursed with the blood of their victims, and this is pretty much how I see Trump supporters. No doubt well-meaning people supported the Nazis too, and thought they were doing a good deed on kristal nicht. Well-meaning people are no less capable of evil than are common thugs; they’re just better at being smugly justifying it.

“there are more children of colour at some local schools than white kids now…”

Another point for me is that you can’t take in wave after wave of foreigners without the destruction of your national character. What a country like England spent centuries developing can be destroyed in a generation if enough people are brought in who don’t share your values, customs, history, nominal Anglicanism, democratic values, and so on. I can’t begin to understand the notion that a country will be better off if it takes in tens of thousands—if not millions—of people who don’t speak its language, belong to the most violent and oppressive religion on earth, practice Sharia law while holding English law in contempt, and force their women to move about in what look like beekeeper suits.

“Fear is the most powerful card any government can play and it's being played just like it was in Germany.”

But then, fear has its place. The position that everything will work out fine if only we love one another enough simply can’t be true when you have groups that regard other groups as representing the road to hell. For example, both the Palestinians and the Israelis think God gave each of them the same land for their use alone, so the problem they’re facing isn’t insufficient love but irreconcilable values. It seems to me that there might very well be situations in which there are but two options—endless half measure wars, or one big war that would eradicate the opposition. I hate to think this true, but there hasn’t been day of my life in which there was peace in the Middle East, and it just keeps getting worse. I just wish the rest of the world would leave them to settle things for themselves because we’re sure not helping.

"If I had been those kids’ parents, I don’t think I would have let them go through such an ordeal." - The thing is, some black kids had to be the first ones, and their parents knew that.”

Yes, but I wouldn’t have let my child do it just as I wouldn’t volunteer my dog to go to war in the name of patriotism only for him to get blown-up by some dumb-ass Islamic State fighter. I’m simply not going to put my loved ones in danger, and I especially don’t feel that I have the right to put my underage loved ones in danger. Once my kid was old enough to vote, he or she could make his own decisions, but at fifteen years of age? No way. Take American football for example. It’s a sure guarantee of brain damage that will follow a kid though life, yet parents sign their kids up to play “because he really wants to.” Well, who is the parent here? Can an adolescent understand what it it will be like to be senile in his forties because of some stupid game? This is how I would have seen sending my kids to that school because there’s no way they could have come out of that experience without having PTSD. Kids have enough to deal with in life without being exposed up-close and personal to naked evil when it's not necessarily.

“Well. That's set me off eh?! *laughs*. Absolutely brilliant post dear, really insightful, and utterly absorbing. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you write so well, and I love you to bits. X”

I love you too, very much.

Snowbrush said...

"In my opinion, the comment above is one of the best paragraphs you have ever written."

I really appreciate that.

PipeTobacco said...

Racism and sexual prejudice are IMO just the more blatant and obvious forms of this activity that is so rampant. It happens in a multitude of other ways as well, unfortunately.... weight differences, ability differences, and on and on are just as pervasive but less easily observed. So many folks fear anyone who is not like themselves.

All Consuming said...

I think its fair to say, we shall have to agree to disagree on almost all of thatthen. But that's ok. I'd like to come back with more from my point of view to show how much I disagree with all that about Muslims and Trump etc in your answer and try to show that I'm not some lefty hippy with an ideal of just loving everyone and it willall be ok, because I'm not at all, but I physically can't because my arm is hurting so much after surgery, and I'm mentally shattered too. X

Snowbrush said...

“It happens in a multitude of other ways as well, unfortunately.... weight differences, ability differences, and on and on are just as pervasive but less easily observed. So many folks fear anyone who is not like themselves.”

Yes. I have experienced prejudice because I’m prejudiced, because I’m growing old (gerontophobia), because I have a Southern accent (Dixiephobia), because I lack sophistication, because I’m an atheist (atheophobis), because I’m not liberal enough (conservaphobia)—or conservative enough (liberalphobia)— and, to a small extent, because I’m mostly vegetarian (vegephobia). It’s enough to make a person a neologophobe.

I will admit, however that I have suffered to some extent from cacomorphobia ever since the day that we had a 900-pound man visit us at home, and I became obsessed with the fear that he would break our furniture and toilet. However, I don’t fear such people on the street, so mine is what you might call situational cacomorphobia.

“I'd like to come back…and try to show that I'm not some lefty hippy with an ideal of just loving everyone and it will all be ok…”

I rather see it as a case of you being expansive, and me being contractive; you being embracing, and me being protective. There is truth on both sides. I moved to Eugene 30-years ago because I held the values that I see in you, and I well recall that the idea that “I’m Okay; You’re Okay” was a happier way to live. Events have changed me. Events such as the fact that Eugene has gone from being a peaceful hippie city where the worse crimes were bike thefts to being a city that has almost daily murders. It’s also true that my close association with liberals has altered the view I held when I came here that they were people who were just short of flying about on wings of shining white. The national and international news has been another factor due to the world becoming ever more brutal. Finally, I am getting old, and this leads me to feel less able to stand up to the rigors of life no matter what they be. In other words, I’ve become vulnerable in a way that I didn’t used to be, and from vulnerability comes fear. As to Trump…his supporters tend to be much like I in that they’re older, poorly educated (in this, they’re not like I), white men—the same people who listen to “conservative hate radio”. They see the past, their past, slipping away during a time of life when the past seems far superior to the present. They can’t work the new technology; they don’t recognize the names of the new singers and movie stars; they don’t watch the new TV shows. In short, they’re being cast aside as aged people who have nothing to offer and could die without anyone missing them. Trump gives them hope that what used to be can be again, that America can once more be an industrial power ruled by white males. It’s a naive hope, but that so many people embrace it scares me. It’s not that I can’t understand his appeal, but I that consider him dangerously irrational, and I fully believe he would make of himself a cruel dictator if only he could, it being such dictators for whom he expresses respect. I would even say that I don't believe there is any evil of which Trump is not capable if by committing it, he could increase his power, so, consciously or not, those who support him are a party to that.

G. B. Miller said...

I don't think I ever had a problem with racism in my family. My late father was a mathematics/computer science professor in high school and during the years he was chairman of his dept. he was host of the annual dept. Christmas party. A delightfully diverse mix of people attended his parties.

Additionally, he also spent about 20+ years during the summer teaching in Jamaica, where he became a highly respected and influential person.

I think that because of the color blindness we experienced while growing up, both myself and my brother never had a problem with other races (brother is happily married to a Latina and has a son and stepson who is mixed).

Father Nature's Corner

fiftyodd said...

Oh my goodness - this is a brave post and I have only read the first part about your experiences with black people. You could have been writing about the identical experiences of people living in South AFrica. Still today people talk of their "garden boy or the girl". Now, we sit with our first black government and after 22 years of ANC rule, we have a president and his cronies who unashamedly rape our fiscus for their own pockets so that our international reputation has been reduced almost to the point of junk status for investors.. Nelson Mandela would turn in his grave. The current debate raging in our media this week is about schoolgirls and their "Afro" hairstyles. One of our very conservative government girls' schools has ventured to suggest that these hairstyles are 'untidy' and should be tamed. This has turned into a whole racial rights debate. As a retired high school teacher, I should only say that anything that enables students to get up to mischief because they are sitting, shielded from the teacher in a row behind a bouffant 'Afro' hairstyle would be a no-no for me. Issues of physical dominance are emerging, also issues about students gathering in groups and speaking in their tribal languages during school time. Of course, they are expected to learn only in English. So much prejudice and suspicion. When will it ever end? I think most of our government schools have more black than white pupils these days.

kj said...

'I simply didn’t have the will or the maturity to examine issues rationally or to understand why integration was so important to black people'

this is certainly familiar and topical. i believe we are again at a state in america where there is an all out war by a segment of white people to allow equal power to blacks and hispanics. their upward mobility, demands for equality, and the movement toward that by our government and courts has increased white fear and anger, and i see that as the root message of donald trump and these spineless tea party republicans (now more commonly known as almost all republicans)

the biggest question for me is will we as a country ever get our tolerance and civility back?

love
kj

Snowbrush said...

“I think that because of the color blindness we experienced while growing up, both myself and my brother never had a problem with other races”

Perhaps it’s actually possible to be completely free of racism. I know that physiological tests of how people respond when faced with social situations with people of other races suggests that racism is universal, but if anyone has escaped it, I guess that person would be you.

“The current debate raging in our media this week is about schoolgirls and their "Afro" hairstyles. One of our very conservative government girls' schools has ventured to suggest that these hairstyles are 'untidy' and should be tamed.”

As I understand it, these hairstyles aren’t motivated by fashion but politics, and they’e a sign of exclusion just as much as is speaking in tribal languages at recess, this in a country that has suffered so dreadfully from exclusion. The issues puts me in mind of what France is dealing with regarding birkas, birquinis, and so forth. I don’t see how such issues can be resolved because if you outlaw them, you harden people, but if you allow them, your country is at risk of becoming even more fragmented. I’m sorry for how things are all around the world in regard to race, ethnicity, and religion. It’s very popular here in my part of America to argue that diversity equals strength, but I think it is more likely to weaken than to strengthen.

“the biggest question for me is will we as a country ever get our tolerance and civility back?”

I think so. The political atmosphere that we have now is certainly more polarized than we have ever seen it, but nothing is forever. I am as shocked and incredulous as you that so many people support a man like Trump who is open about restricting our Constitutionally guaranteed liberties in the interest of safety. I know that many of these same people are gun-toting militants who are the very people who wave their flags the highest on patriotic holidays in honor of those who died for our freedoms. How can there be such a disconnect? It’s like Mississippians being so opposed to federal welfare when it’s the state that receives the most federal welfare. The federal government actually gives Mississippi more money than the state pays in taxes, yet they deplore federal welfare?! It’s as if Trump supporters, Bible-Belt welfare opponents, and ultra-conservatives in general are able to unflinchingly hold contradictory values. This means that they’re appallingly irrational at least when it comes to politics.

Joe Todd said...

Sometime in the past KKK robes were mfg. here in good old Lancaster, Ohio. Until recently we had a restaurant called the White Cottage..and you know what that meant....