Of Blacks, Southerners, Yankees, atheists, and Christians

If you had grown up white in Mississippi during the 1950s and ‘60s, you  would have called them niggers too, and you wouldn’t have considered the word particularly offensive. By particularly, I mean that it wasn’t a term for politest conversation (although politicians used it in speeches), yet it was used far more than the word negro, which was more for pulpits and newspapers. 

Then came the Civil Rights Movement, and I saw black people with new eyes because thousands of them were risking death to end the very kinds of discrimination that I had grown up thinking of as natural and desirable. Water fountains, for example. Everyone knew that you could get germs from drinking after niggers, so it  just made good sense for white people to have their own water fountains. When the police dogs, fire hoses, bloody faces, and burning churches started appearing regularly on TV, racism no longer seemed good or natural, yet I knew that the one thing the Klan hated more than an uppity nigger was a nigger lover, so I tried to walk the line, although I sometimes worried that I pushed the limit. For example, my best friend, Jerry Kelly, was black (he’s digging a field line for a septic system in the photo from 1966), but he didn’t come into my house; I didn’t go into his house; and we didn’t spend time together with his friends or with my friends except in certain circumstances. However, the fact that we hunted and camped together could have attracted adverse attention.

During the mid-sixties, my father and I ran a seven day a week, 115 mile per day newspaper route, and we hired Jerry to roll and throw the papers for whichever of us was driving on a particular day. Every month, we would put out envelopes for our customers to use to mail us money. Some people wouldn’t do this, so we would have to knock on their doors. One of these customers ran a country café on the east side of U.S. Hwy 51 near the little community of Norfield. One day, I pulled into its gravel parking lot, and told Jerry to go in and get our money. He looked at me in alarm, and said he would get into trouble if he went in there. I knew he would get into trouble if he tried to order, but I really didn’t know that it was unsafe for him to go in at all, so I sent him anyway. As soon as he went through that door, he was cursed and threatened, and came running back out with a woman right behind him. She told me in very colorful language to get off her property and never come back. 

Three years later, Jerry joined the army. When he got leave, he visited me. He had left sweet and gentle, and come home arrogant and contemptuous. Even his voice sounded stilted, like he was choking on something. I assumed that big-city Northern blacks had taught him to hate white people, and that he had come to look down on me because, while he was off seeing the world, I had stayed right where he had left me in rural Mississippi. I never saw him again after that because it was obvious that our friendship was over.

When I entered my twenties, I wanted to have black friends because black people seemed exotic and because I wanted to know what it was like to be a black person in Mississippi, but I didn’t like any of the four black men I taught school with (I was the only white male teacher) because, like Jerry, they acted distant and superior. Right after I got the job, one of them asked me to go fishing with him, which I did. None of them ever asked me to spend time with them again, nor did they give the least indication that they wanted me to ask them to spend time with me. I assumed that the fishing invitation had been a test to determine if my presence was even tolerable.

When I was in my upper twenties, I had some pulpwood hauled off my land by a black man named Horace McDaniel (on right in 1985 photo). Horace would often stop his chainsaw and drink a little whiskey. This worried me, but I didn’t consider it my place to say anything, and no harm ever came of it. Horace and I liked one another, so one day we went to a bootlegger (the county was dry), and Horace bought a bottle of the cheapest whiskey the man had. It gave me gas so bad that I thought I would explode, so I didnt drink much of it. Horace did, and the more the drank, the more anger he expressed toward white people, so I never wanted to see him after that. When every effort I made to be friends with a black man ended with him dumping his anger onto me, I gave up on being friends with black people. Here in Oregon, I can go for days and not even see a black person, and most of the ones I do see are on the local news or sports, a surprisingly large number of them for committing violent crimes. Does pointing this out make me a bigot?

I’ve seen prejudice from both sides. I’ve been, if not always the oppressor, a member of the oppressor race, and I’ve been a member of two oppressed groups. I’ve been a white Southerner living among Yankees; and I’ve been an atheist in a world where 95% of the population believes in God, and most of that 95% hate atheists. Now I’m starting to learn how it feels to be growing old in a society that has no respect for old people.

I never feel affection toward anyone but what I wonder if they’re going to turn on me me once they learn I’m an atheist. This is how being an atheist is like being a homosexual. A black person can’t usually hide his race, or an old person his age, but most homosexuals can hide their homosexuality, and all atheists can hide their atheism. Some of us simply refuse to do so because if we’re going to be hated, we want to find out right away. Some atheists even walk around in t-shirts or caps with ATHEIST on them. I don’t do that because I don’t want to take the heat, and because I dislike clothes that promote causes. 

When those black men tried to talk to me, I didn’t realize that they were giving me what I asked for, which was a knowledge of what it meant to be black in white-run Mississippi. They were simply doing so in a way that was raw and bleeding rather than polite and intellectual. I had encouraged their trust only to throw salt in their wounds when I got it. When, in my post before last, I gave various reasons for going to a church Bible class, and some of you still asked why I was going, I wondered if you sensed more to my motivations than I was aware of, so I gave the matter some thought, and I came up with a couple of things. One of them is that, just maybe, Im like those black men in that I seek healing, but in my case from the harm that religion has done in my life. I can’t accomplish this on my own, and I can’t do it in the company of other atheists. I also know that I can’t do it in 99% of churches because they have nothing to offer me beyond what they immodestly call Gods plan for salvation, and trying to sell a mansion in heaven to an atheist like trying to sell a mansion on earth to a wildcat

What I didn’t realize with those black men, and what very few Christians will realize with me, is that no one is in a better position to help the oppressed than those who represent the oppressor because only they can contradict his hurt simply by caring and listening. Those among my Bible study classmates who are mature will understand this, and if none do, it won’t be any less than I expected. Besides, I really don’t think there’s anything that can be done. I just know that I, like a lot of atheists, live with a pervasive hatred for religion, and that this hatred hurts. Even if something is evil, as I think religion usually is, hating it doesn’t help a person to fight it any better.


Marion said...

Interesting write, Snow, but I disagree with your first sentence. I grew up in the deep South in the early 1960's (Louisiana) and we had black people all around us, working for my aunt and uncle (who were farmers from Mississippi) or down at 'the store' where us kids bought candy, moon pies, RC colas and comic books.

The local black farm workers were treated by my aunt and uncle (and us) as friends. My uncle taught us to be color-blind. As I vividly recall, if one of us kids said the "N-word" we got our mouth washed out with Lava soap, not just any soap, but that nasty, rough Lava bar. (My oldest brother was bad about calling us by that name for some reason). I got busted once, replying to his taunt and never again did I say that word after my mouth washing. (They'd probably get arrested for child abuse today for that little cleansing. LOL!)

I was called 'nigger-lover' at school all through desegregation because I befriended the black students. It pisses me off to no end when people assume that all Southerners are racists. It just ain't so.

Thanks for letting me rant, my friend. xo

Snowbrush said...

The Hefners were a color-blind family from my area. Their pets were killed, their friends abandoned them, their business lost all its customers, and they were threatened and harassed day and night. They left the state in fear for their lives, but the harassment continued as they made their way north. They later wrote a book entitled (if I remember correctly) "The Hefners of McComb. I sure wish I could find that book.

middle child said...

Hate and prejudice are never good. It harms the person harboring these thoughts even more than the object of their hatred.
I am a Christian. I do not hate agnostics nor do I hate atheiests. I normally do not see color or sexual orientation or any other thing that-to others-sets them apart. I will say that when someone/anyone begins to act like the way they are stereotyped, I will proably move them into the "proper" category, thus becoming prejudice my self.

rhymeswithplague said...

The "acceptable" word back in the 50s in my part of Texas was "colored" or "nigrah" if you were Methodist but nobody at all ever said "Negro" and they were not yet referred to as "blacks" or "African-Americans" (those are fairly recent innovations). Many of my non-Methodist friends, classmates, and neighbors, however, said n-word and n-word lover all the time.

It is difficult for prejudiced people to recognize their prejudice since their point of view seems intuitively obvious to them and anyone who thinks otherwise is clearly wrong.

As the song from South Pacific goes, you've got to be carefully taught.

Lee Johnson said...

@Marion - And yet the mistreatment you received from fellow students reinforces the stereotype overall. Snow has previously written about the false stereotype that "all" southerners are/were racist. I don't think that was the intent of this post.

@Snow - Regarding your observation about violent crimes, it's better to back something like this up with data, but I dislike the politically correct viewpoint which demands that we not mention such observations. At the same time, we have to admit that there continue to be systematic social disadvantages to being a minority or female in this country. To name just one factor, schools in poor minority areas often receive far less funding and have correspondingly worse outcomes than schools in more wealthy white areas.

PhilipH said...

The book, 1965, is called "So the Hefners left McComb" and can be found on Amazon, but very expensive, (around $80).
I have a friend living in Gordo, Alabama, and I'm sorry to say that racism is alive and well and living in many parts of that area.
Islamophobia is the newest style of racism in many countries, here in the UK especially.
I guess there will ALWAYS be the bogeymen in this world, of whatever creed, colour or bloody religion is in vogue, so to speak.

Marion said...

Snow, I looked at my favorite used bookstores online, but the best I could come up with was a first edition at Amazon titled, "So The Heffners Left McComb" by Hodding Carter. The cheapest copy was around $80, but it was selling at Abebooks for $275.00. Might be a good investment. Sounds like a great book. It's a shame it's out of print. xo

kylie said...

snow, i will say this just once:
you have, right here on your blog, without leaving your home, people who will listen to you and care and do their darnedest to facilitate your healing re the church and instead you persist in going into unknown territory with people who are probably confused about what you are doing there.
i agree that they should accept and welcome you as you are but what you are doing is like looking high and low for a nurse to bandage your wounds while there is one living in your own house following you about with the bandages.

Snowbrush said...

Thanks to Philip and Marion for looking up the book. I couldn't find it a few years ago, and after seeing that you did, I too did some looking. I learned that Mr Heffner died in Suffolk England at the home of his daughter in 1997, and that one of his daughters had been elected Miss Mississippi at some point before the family fled the state. I couldn't remember how long they remained in McComb after the persecution started, but read in one place that it was 87 hours. I had remembered it being much longer, but I read the book decades ago so might very well have been wrong.

Has anyone read "Black Like Me," which was by a white man who, during the 1950s, I think it was, had a dermatologist apply something that turned his skin black, after which he traveled the South and wrote about his experiences. He later died from whatever chemical the dermatologist used.

"Regarding your observation about violent crimes, it's better to back something like this up with data..."

Well, the data is there, if not for Eugene, Oregon, at least for the US as a whole, but since black people are more likely to be convicted of crimes than white people (and punished more severely), the data itself is subject to doubt. But even if it were not, it would be hard to say that the cause of crime by blacks is race rather than some other factor or factors.

My assumption is that we're all prejudiced, and, last I heard, every test psychologists have devised suggests that this is true. For example, put the most "unprejudiced" white person on an elevator all by him (or her) self and measure his physiological response when various other people get on, and it invariably goes up more when those other people are young black males as opposed to young white males.

"The "acceptable" word back in the 50s in my part of Texas was "colored" or "nigrah'"

But of course. Colored. How could I possibly have failed to remember that, colored being the word that white people used when they were trying to be especially polite. I don't think my mother ever used any word but colored.

"It harms the person harboring these thoughts even more than the object of their hatred."

Ooh, I don't know about that. I had rather suffer from being prejudiced than suffer from being lynched. I agree though that when we pigeonhole people (as opposed to labeling overt behaviors) as "prejudiced," that in itself is destructive in that it keeps us from seeing the whole person while at the same time making us feel self-righteous by comparison.

rhymeswithplague said...

Not only have I read Black Like Me by John H. Griffin but I lived two doors away from him in rural Mansfield. We called him Howard. He was in my home many times. He married Elizabeth "Pie" Holland, daughter of one of the local insurance agents. He died in 1980 at age 60 but it was NOT from the chemical the dermatologist used.

Snowbrush said...

"you have, right here on your blog, without leaving your home, people who will listen to you and care and do their darnedest to facilitate your healing re the church and instead you persist in going into unknown territory with people who are probably confused about what you are doing there."

Is mama becoming protective of her little tyke? I love you, Kylie, and I treasure you for the goodness that you have shown me over however many years I've known you. I get a lot from blogging, and I get a lot from my Christian friends who read what I write and still want to come around. Without them, I couldn't have written this post, but I don't see this as an either/or situation. If I'm wrong and you read in the Land Down Under Gazette that an American was burned at the stake by outraged Episcopalians, then that will be very sad. However, I've started something that I am finding sufficiently rewarding that I want to continue it for now. Whether it does or doesn't work out, I trust that I will still have you, the three other Christians, and the two atheists who have responded to this post thus far. As the Bible puts it, "My cup runneth over."

"He died in 1980 at age 60 but it was NOT from the chemical the dermatologist used."

I have no idea where I heard that; it's not mentioned in Wikipedia; I have no time to look it up at present; and it certainly sounds like it could have been an urban legend; so I will have to accept your word that he died of unrelated causes. Here's the Wikipedia link about him. Part of it sounds like a scene from Blazing Saddles.

stephen Hayes said...

Your posts are so thought provoking. It's wonderful reading a post where someone isn't complaining about a hangnail or something ludicrous. Thanks for exposing me to a different perspective. I've lived a sheltered life and I've been overloaded with blessings. It's time to think more of others.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

I googled the Hefner book and was shocked the price ranges from 82 - 255!

Snowbrush said...

"Your posts are so thought provoking."

Thank you so much, Stephen. It sure is a joy to read that.

"Thanks for exposing me to a different perspective. I've lived a sheltered life and I've been overloaded with blessings."

I guess that's probably true for most of us. I know I've never gone hungry, never been beaten, and never been to war, and that right there is a lot to be thankful for.

"I googled the Hefner book and was shocked the price ranges from 82 - 255!"

I don think it went through only one printing, which is really too bad. You're from Summit, I believe, so you were probably born in McComb, and you might even remember where Norfield is.

Lorraina said...

You will still have me too although i don't fit into the categories you mentioned or comment very much as i just listen and then quickly forget and am not able to relate to many of your posts. Actually probably the truth is i am too shallow to comprehend most of your posts, but i do still adore you and always will for what you have to say and way you let us into your life and sometimes i even learn things. Stay the way you are Snow, i am looking forward to more interesting peeks into your mind.

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you for a different perspective.
We treated and in general still treat our aboriginals badly. However I don't remember them being required to drink out of a different fountain. Probably I don't remember because they were largely invisible.
We had one aboriganal boy in my class at school (adopted by a white family) and he was just so exotic. He disappeared quite soon after he joined our school and I don't know why.
Another minority group which seems to be persecuted hear is people with mental illness - something I cannot understand. As far as I know mental illness isn't catching and it certainly isn''t a lifestyle choice.

Charles Gramlich said...

I grew up in the late 60s and 70s. There were only two black families in our local area in Arkansas, one Catholic, the other protestant. The Catholic family sent their kids to school and church with us while the others went to public school. There was no segregation in the Catholic school. I never heard the "N" word from anyone in my family, although when I was a teenager I heard the term used in jokes, many of which were certainly extremely mean spirited. I was in my late teens before I realized that the black Catholic family was "different" in any way. They were farmers and as far as I could tell were just like the rest of us. On the other hand, I never met an "athiest," at least a self professed one, until I was in my 20s.

Eric W. Trant said...

Powerful post. Growing up in East Texas just after deseg (born 1971), I saw the tail-end of it. We were one of the first deseg groups to go through after the integration, and at my 5yo birthday party, I invited a black boy to my party. He was my best friend, and his mom cried, said she never thought she'd see the day.

My kids have never used the word, and it's sort of funny to listen to them describe people.

- Eric

Tom said...

To me it's disappointing that even after all these years most of us live in segregated communities -- separated by prejudice, yes, but also economics and social outlook. But at least it seems as though you're on an interesting journey of discovery and understanding. Although, as a [kind of] agnostic, I see atheism as essentially another religion. There's a thin line (as they say about love and hate) between faith and atheism.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Actually raised in McComb for 22years. Mother's family is from Tylertown; Dad's is from Hattiesburg. As I was a love child, I was born in Colorado Springs.

Not sure where Norfield is...

ellen abbott said...

I grew up in the 50s and 60s in Houston TX. My main exposure to black people was in our home. Our maid/cook and yard an we're black. Or colored. The N word was forbidden. I remember the separate water fountains, the restaurants where black people weren't allowed, etc. I didn't go to school with any lacks til high school. Out of a graduating class of over 500, there were three black kids. My parents taught us not to be prejudiced but when I started high aschool and was allowed to date, my mother took me aside and told me that if a black boy asked me out, I was to decline. My aunt and uncle lived in east Texas and I would go spend a week or two with them every summer. They always used the N word to refer to blacks and called the men bucks. But I don't think they were prejudiced as they never talked bad to or down to black people that I remember. They had some rent houses on their property that they rented to blacks and they would help them out when needed. Maybe they were prejudiced in a way but they weren't hateful to or about them. One of my favorite memories is when I was pretty young, their black handyman Smallwood took me fishing and just as I was bringing in a small perch it wiggled off the hook and Smallwood jumped in the water and caught that little fish before it could swim away.

Kert said...

The thing about hate is it's usually matched with hate. We seem to be a very defensive species. As if the only way to assert ourselves is to build a wall and hate the people on the other side. I am guilty with this as well. When my atheism gets challenged (as it always is since I'm living in the "only Catholic country in Asia"), I can't help but come back with an attack. It seems to me that in the US, there is still a huge mistrust between the Caucasians and the African Americans. Many of the two parties look like they're still tending their own walls. But prejudice (as hard for me to say this) is a world-wide phenomena and I wonder if the people would move beyond it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this honest post.

As the mother of two adopted kids from Africa, I do have to wonder why people have to focus on the outside appearance rather than on the qualities of the heart...

lotta joy said...

Growing up in Indiana, I saw, maybe 10 blacks in my life. There was no prejudice because no one caused grief for anyone else.

Now, living in Florida, there is prejudice and it comes FROM the blacks.

Why whites are still self-flagellating themselves over their past prejudices of the 50's and 60's - while black are oozing it without an equal backlash - is beyond me.

Deb said...

Let it Snow, let it Snow, let it Snow... a little "holiday" song fer' ya. ;) Trying to be "PC".

Isn't it sad that there are still people out there who are angry at us, for whatever and whoever we are? As a homosexual, I haven't seen much animosity (other than trying to take my rights away) because like you stated, I don't show my "homosexuality". I don't look gay, nor do I display public affection to make it known. I have gotten a couple of responses that raised some eyebrows: "How can you be gay and Christian" and "Can I watch?" (Yes, from men.)

In my past, I have had quite a few black friends who eventually lost touch because they grew angry at me. They always had a chip on their shoulder and used the term "white privilege" way too much for me to take. One friend, unfortunately, had stolen a family heirloom of mine. She was always angry toward me and insinuated that the reason why I got my job was because I was white. Every conversation had a topic of "white privilege". I had a horrible horrible experience with someone in my line of work who always took the race card out on me. He had verbally abused me and another friend about a controversial news headliner, --- nothing 'racial' about the argument, but then he said I was arguing with him because he was black. WHY??? This has nothing to do with any race, religion, creed----why go there? Why are you SO angry?? I'm not saying all black people are like this, but I can name more than 15 negative experiences of my own having dealt with racism as an issue in my life.

One interesting story that had taken place a few years back was when Prop 8 was being voted upon in California. Of course, I had blogged about it and a friend of mine who happened to be black stated, "Gays should NOT be married at all!" I then reminded her how blacks or interracial couples were not allowed to marry not too long ago. She said it wasn't the same and that God would not approve of this. I asked her if she ever looked up slavery in the Bible, and why God approved of that too. Touchy issue.

Kudos for speaking your mind and sharing this with us. I love the honesty in your writing.

Unknown said...

"Snowbrush" has been included in the Sites To See for this week. I hope this helps to point many new visitors in your direction.


Vagabonde said...

I think it’s too bad that you could not live in a country that was not so prejudiced like here (and still is.) I was brought up in Paris and black people were, at the time, may be a little more “in” than the others. I had several black friends, from Africa, and nobody treated them differently. The same for my Arabic friends. I had a pen-pal from Martinique, black, and when she came to Paris to study, a year after I left home for the US, my mother gave her my bedroom and she lived there for years with my folks. She married a white French guy. I think that is why so many black authors or artists went and still go to Paris. In France it was never against the law to intermarry – I read that many Louisianans would go to France to marry their black partners – they also sent their kids to school there. I also find it amusing that President Abraham Lincoln wanted to free the slaves but was trying to ship them back to Africa – and no one thought badly of him.

Also about religion – France now is the most secular country in Europe, with only 5% going to church. In Paris the people in churches are usually tourists. You only have to say to people “je ne suis pas croyant” (I am not a believer) don’t have to explain about what religion – and they leave you alone – to tell you the truth I never heard anyone say grace while growing up and when I heard it here I thought they were fanatics! Actually religion is not talked about like here as it’s not on people’s mind. If someone running for office mentioned their church, he/she certainly would lose as people don’t like that – they want to vote for someone’s skills not for his/her faith or lack of it. I am always so constantly amazed at this country, which is supposed to be so modern, and in fact is so far behind many other countries, and not only Europe in prejudice. For example where I worked I had trainees from Dubai – some were black but frankly I can’t remember how many as no one in the Dubai group acted differently with any of them – they were all from Dubai, that’s all. I like to read your posts and don’t comment often but I find it very informative about the ways of this country.

kylie said...

i wanted to comment on that other post! put it back!

Deb said...

Vagabonde, I absolutely agree - this country is supposed to be the "melting pot" - but with our type of history, people are still angry from what people did in the past - rightfully so, but it does affect our relationship with one another. And can you imagine - two humans who want to marry one another, no harm done to anyone -- to reject them to marry? Interracial and homosexual relationships doomed for an equal union as anyone else. It'll ruin the "sanctity" of marriage. But, sadly, this country has a lot of growing to do because if you really think about it, 50 years isn't such a long time and that was such a drastic era in time. We'll get there, I hope.

Snowbrush said...

"hey! i wanted to comment on that other post! put it back!"

Two hours after I posted it, I suddenly realized that I should have run it by my friend first because there was no way I could disguise her so that those who know her wouldn't know who I was talking about. So, I wrote to her and said that I would pull the post before I went to bed unless I heard from her. An hour later, I pulled it rather than wait. As soon as she approves it, I'll put it back up.

Vagabonde, I envy you your former life in a secular country, yet here you are in the American Southland, the most non-secular parts of a non-secular country. I can't imagine. Your culture shock must be about the same as if one of Southern Baptist neighbors were to move to Saudi Arabia.

"he said I was arguing with him because he was black. WHY??? This has nothing to do with any race, religion, creed----why go there? Why are you SO angry??"

The city council here declined to rename Centennial Blvd to Martin Luther King, Jr Blvd, and the next night changed their minds due to charges of racism by many of the several hundred blacks who live in the area. It is easy to imagine that a great many black people use the "race card" to get what they want even when they themselves don't believe it, but I would guess that a great many of them DO believe it because they have been so hurt by racism. I can sometimes relate. For instance, if someone looks at me with a sour expression at this church I'm attending classes at, my first thought is that such-and-such doesn't want me here because I'm an atheist. In other circumstances, someone might give me the cold shoulder, and I'll wonder if they hate me because I have a Southern accent. It takes work to reason myself out of such knee-jerk conclusions, and the fact that I KNOW they will sometimes be the correct conclusions only makes it harder.

"And can you imagine - two humans who want to marry one another, no harm done to anyone -- to reject them to marry?"

No, Deb, I can't, but I did spend a couple of years thinking about it before I came down solidly in favor of it. Now, if these Supreme Court decisions go against gay marriage, I will feel devastated, not as devastated as a lot of homosexuals, to be sure, but still awfully angry and disillusioned about what America REALLY stands for behind its claim to be "The Land of the Free."

""Snowbrush" has been included in the Sites To See for this week."

Yay, thank you!

Snowbrush said...

"The thing about hate is it's usually matched with hate."

Yet, the Christian majority in this country--and in the Philippines, I'm sure--claim to follow a man who commanded that they return love for hatred and good for evil. That's another reason I'm taking classes at this church; I want to know people who do that, because, with very few exceptions, I have yet to meet them, and, despite our religious differences, I could respect and learn from people like that.

"I do have to wonder why people have to focus on the outside appearance rather than on the qualities of the heart"

Do you mean to say that you are completely free of any and all forms of prejudice? I categorize--and then reject--many kinds of people all day long due to external factors that have NOTHING to do with what's in their hearts, and I don't even want to do it, so when I hear people say that they're not prejudiced, I actually think they're fooling themselves, and research would seem to confirm this. I can go further into this if you would like.

"Now, living in Florida, there is prejudice and it comes FROM the blacks."

I was never afraid of black people in the South. Then, I moved to Minneapolis, and the hatred that I felt from so many blacks was so palpable and oftentimes so tinged with the seeming possibility of violence that it caused me to despair. I've still not gotten over it. Where race is concerned, I would prefer Mississippi to Minneapolis any day to that because blacks and whites in Mississippi are roughly equal in number, and they have had to learn to work together to an extent that no one could have imagined during the '60s.

Snowbrush said...

"It's wonderful reading a post where someone isn't complaining about a hangnail or something ludicrous."

You assume that my depth and intellect are responsible for my blog not being this way, but the sad truth is that I simply don't hangnails.

"probably the truth is i am too shallow to comprehend most of your posts"

Peggy is that way. She's sweet, loving, smart, has integrity, and interests me in many ways, but she becomes silent when I try to talk to her about anything that she considers "deep." Such talk bores her some of the time and depresses her the rest of the time, and so I rarely even try to communicate with her on that level. She and I were simply made different, probably from the time we were conceived because I don't think that such things can be entirely explained environmentally. Yet, just as you feel shallow compared to me, I sometimes feel shallow compared to those whom I consider to be intellectuals, Although I certainly try to write rationally, I am much more a product of passion than of intellect. I see in myself a lacking in that regard, and it disturbs me, but I also see it as a trade-off in that none of us can be all things good, and that some good attributes seem to be incompatible with other good attributes, so we simply have to make the most of what we've got.

Joe Todd said...

Lived through those times.. Things were "a little" different in Lancaster,Ohio LOl