The now forcibly retired blog about: Photography, Life and the occasional UFO...
When I was a kid I would spend my summer months in South Dakota. The first time I was aware of bigotry, in the form of signs, it created quite a confusing state of emotions for me. I was taught that we are all equal and to love all peoples regardless of their colour. In fact colour just never came up. I had a couple of black boyhood buddies and they would come over to my house just as often as I would go over to theirs. It was just the way it was. Normal. So when I saw these "Whites" only signs I was very confused and angry. My father explained to me the problems they have in the US with race relations and not to adopt their views as they were just plain wrong. I then began noticing people who I looked up to during these summer vacations saying rather uncomplimentary things about blacks. Being young I just asked them why they would say such mean things. The reasons were varied and in my 5 or 6 year old mind rather stupid.Skip forward 10 years, I was what they called a long haired hippy in the US. During my annual summer visit I was standing at a red light waiting to cross the street. A cop came up to me and told me to get moving. I told him I was waiting for the light and his response was to jab in the ribs with his night stick. So I walked down to the next corner and again waited. The same cop followed me with the same results. By that time I had some words for him, which naturally ended me up in jail. I was told by a cop that I was no better than a nigger. I thanked him and told him any "nigger" I have met was twice the man he was. His response was not pleasant. I felt the emotional and physical sting of prejudice for the first time. After being deloused my aunt came and got me.Through all this I came to the conclusion that a lot of people in the US must have been missing some sort of gene. This missing gene made them into rednecks. Some sort of subspecies. But then I questioned myself, was I being racist?Later on in life I found that we had our share of racists here in Canada too. They were just better at hiding their bigotry. It's to bad that after all these 1000's of years of human "development" that we still look down on anything that is different from what we see in the mirror.The more interracial marriages the better. After some point we will all just look the same more or less. Unfortunately humans being humans we will find something to look down on our brothers and sisters.The cop with the night stick taught me a very important lesson. I have fought racism and gender discrimination ever since.
Thanks for sharing, Eric. Ironically, I just came from reading an "amusing" post about a Russian scientist's claim of possible signs of life on Venus. He mentioned seeing something black in a photo... and sure enough there's a guy with a gun icon picking up on that one description and seizing the "opportunity" to let loose with racist commentary- with others quickly joining in on the "fun." He literally managed to connect a completely other worldly topic into his narrow, primitive, hateful world view. Just don't have the energy to get into a full fledged rant right now, suffice to say that I'm always amazed at how thin the line is between the right thing... and how quickly so many just blindly follow. Race relations were making significant progress under Carter back in the '70s until Reagan stepped in and began his Presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi (sight of the last lynching in the US) using coded language meant to appeal to Southern Whites, much as Gingrich is now using.I'm not without hope, I think a lot of today's youth are significantly freer of the racial baggage we grew up with. But then, there's just too many left that won't let it die...Thanks for stepping up.
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