Born in 1931 and raised in the south, my mother told me a story when I was a boy of a maid who was employed by an uncle and aunt of hers. She was an African-American woman named Mary. Mary lived on the other side of town in a neighborhood composed of other African-Americans when segregation was still rigidly enforced by the social strictures of the day. My then teenage mother would drive to the other side of town to pick Mary up, as she didn’t drive, and would deliver her to her aunt and uncles house in the white section of town to clean and care for their home, and then drive her home late in the evening to perform the same duties for her own family. In all the time that my mother performed this simple courtesy, Mary refused to ride in the front seat and would instead ride in back even though it was just the two of them. Mother would implore her to sit up front stating that it was the 1940’s and with the conclusion of World War II, things were changing. Folks would think nothing of it. Mary would listen politely, silently shake her head and continue to ride in back.
When asked why, Mary said it wasn’t for fear of what white people thought, she could shame the average redneck into silence and had many times, but rather what the people in her own neighborhood would think of her. That they would regard her as acting “better” or “uppity” in the parlance of the time. So in the back seat she remained. Trading some dignity in the eyes of white folks for the opportunity to be well thought of by her friends and neighbors. Told by my mother, this is one of the lessons I learned as a young boy regarding the complicated nature of race in America.
We have come a long way since the days of women like Mary refusing to ride up front for fear of what people will think. Like most people my age both black and white, I’m sure I still harbor some of the lingering prejudices of prior generations. But they are lingering barely and evaporate more with each passing day. Just as my mother told me stories such as Mary’s to teach that racial injustice in her day was as much about social customs for both blacks and whites as out-and-out racism, and could not be overcome simply by an invitation to ride up front, I take the same opportunity when speaking with my own two boys that seeing people as white or black or brown is no longer socially relevent. There are just people, good or bad. Their generation is gradually approaching Dr. King’s dream of a color blind society and are honestly mystified regarding all the harsh and incendiary talk lately of racism and who is or isn’t guilty of it. As far as they are concerned, such talk is as much yesterdays news as the battles of WWII were to my generation.
My hope is that this sudden outburst of race baiting that we see from some quarters is merely the last gasp of an earlier time, from an earlier generation, when racism was real and ones skin color was very relevent to where you lived, where you worked, how you were defined by others. In this regard I can somewhat understand and forgive the heated rhetoric being used by some of the old guard in the civil rights movement in referring to the tea parties or anyone else who questions their current agenda as racist. Theirs was a world of black and white lived in the harshest terms and is all they know. They fought the good fight but cannot now see or admit to themselves that their battle has been won. Like an old victorious general who no longer has a war to fight, they will continue to relive the final battle that brought them glory until they are gone.
Again, Morgan Freeman. This, with a little bit of luck, will be the world of my children.
This invitation to an open house just came across my email.
Does this mean that if I attend I might be forced to buy said house against my will? Or that if another buyer doesn’t qualify for financing I will be made to subsidize their loan? If I don’t consider myself a member of the “progressive public” am I not welcome? Am I a racist if I don’t go? It’s all very confusing.
Occam’s Razor in action. Lifted from over at Morgan’s place because this should be passed around.
It’s been pretty boring around the blogosphere lately. With Daphne on hiatus, Andy getting his jet-set on in Italy, and Gerard gone undercover working on some covert project, I feel kind of like the person at a party who looks up from his drink to discover the host giving him the stink eye and realizing that he is the last one in attendance and perhaps has over stayed his welcome.
In that spirit, posting is going to be light for the next couple of months. The weather has been fine and given the short duration of summer in this neck of the woods, I’ve got better things to do than sit in front of this computer pissing and moaning about things that bug me. One more thing before thing before I pop open a beer and put my feet up.
There is an essay up at The American Spectator by Angelo Codevilla that has been making the rounds the last couple of days that is well worth a read. With the exception of our committed Leftists, I think it is fair to say that a sizeable majority of people in this country think that the wheels have come off the wagon of state. That our elected representatives in both parties have ceased to regard themselves as the messenger’s of the people’s will and have instead created a bureaucracy of such magnitude that they have become the message. And the message is this. “We the People” are simply too dense to comprehend that which is in our best interest so best we just click on American Idol, turn up the volume, and let our betters dole out to us what they determine we have coming, while they establish a different set of rules for themselves.
Anyway, read the whole thing and reflect on the ramifications of what he is saying. For those of us who wish to remain a people committed to “Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness” as individuals, we have a long struggle ahead. The coming elections will solve nothing even if the Republicans manage to regain control of the legislature. It will merely be the first salvo in a long battle as they have wondered nearly as far from the path established by our founders as their fellow Democrats have. They must be brought to heel as well. What has taken decades to construct will not be taken down in months.
On that note…have a great summer and we’ll talk again in the fall.
Personally, I can’t wait for all those stimulus produced green jobs to hit the market so I can get out of this business and start selling government approved automobiles.
Gerard has something cooking and as usual he is being all mysterious and cryptic about it. He’s been teasing us regular readers with comments dropped in other threads here and there and has been priming the pump over at his place with some Cosmic American Music to get us into the mood.
It’s a beautiful day and nothing much going on so I might as well play along.
Have a great weekend.
There is a brand of conservatism loose in the country that is seeking to compete at the game of “cool” with our more practiced liberal friends. Personified by the likes of GOP Chairman Michael Steele and to a lesser degree Mike Huckabee, they are square sorts who instead of embracing their squareness try to come across as “hip” or “with it” by adopting what the culture deems as cool at any given moment in the form of painfully forced “jive talk” or playing bass in a TV band. As soon as they pull this “Look, I can be cool too” persona out of their bag of tricks they have lost me. Like Pat Boone covering a Fats Domino tune, it might be a perfectly nice song but he is bound to butcher it. Better he stick to sappy ballads and crooning love songs because that is who he is. I may not like his music but I can respect him for remaining true to himself and being comfortable in his own skin. Isn’t that the real definition of being cool?
People like and have an instinctual feel for those who battle on their own terms. If conservatives insist on playing a game in which they are the visiting team on a field where the home team sets the rules and has bought the umpires, they’re just not going to win. And wouldn’t that be a shame.