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View Diary: Three counties in Kentucky (135 comments)

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  •  I am familiar with one of these counties (1+ / 0-)
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    and can tell you that in that case it is populated by folks who do tend to be openly racist.  I think people who did not grow up in areas like these indulge themselves in some serious denial about just how bad things really are in some places.

    •  I never said racism didn't exist there. (2+ / 0-)
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      bythesea, mumtaznepal

      I merely suggested that, given their electoral history, I don't believe racism to be a primary factor in the 2012 results.

      Think about it - if racism were a primary (or merely significant) factor, Wolfe County would never have gone into the Obama column in 2008.  Racism cannot explain Al Gore's 2000 performance of 19% (or Kerry's 21% in 2004) in Owsley County.  If you look at McCreary County, Democratic percentages have been going downhill since 1996; at the same time, Democratic percentages have steadily risen in Wolfe County.  Both of those trends deny the influence of racism, do they not?

      Oh, and I'm familiar with all 3 counties; I live in central Kentucky, and I was raised in southern Kentucky.

      •  I don't disagree, but (1+ / 0-)
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        I am Generation X yet I still remenber a man who lived on the side of Hwy. 27 who put up a sign that said "Happy James Earl Ray Day!" every year for MLK's birthday and continued into the nineties (when I'd guess the man responsible died or became incapacitated).  I know there are many factors of course but I dislike seeing what I know is out there dismissed or downplayed.

        •  I know exactly what you mean... (2+ / 0-)
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          bythesea, mumtaznepal

          However, I'm on the other side of that particular question.  There's a danger in overplaying, too.

          I dislike seeing singluar examples being used to label entire populations.  I grew up in a rural Kentucky county that was 97% white, but I can honestly say that I never witnessed a racist incident or heard a racist comment firsthand; to us, the far more important question was whether a person was carrying their share of the workload or contributing their share to whatever effort was at hand.  (I can honestly say that I heard racial slurs FAR more often during my stays in Texas and NYC than I did during my 15 years in that rural Kentucky county.)

          Was it idyllic?  Nope.  Was it some marvel of racial harmony?  Nope.  Was it a fertile recruiting ground for Christian Identity, skinheads or the Klan?  Nope.

          I understand your point, and can identify with it; incidents such as the one you describe certainly linger in our memories.  For me, most recently, it was the woman who announced to a local TV reporter that she had voted for Hillary because she couldn't stand the thought of "one of them" in the White House.  I still wince when I think of that one...

          I hope, however, that you can understand my chagrin at seeing "racism" offered up as an almost kneejerk reaction to any discussions that involve Kentucky and President Obama, especially when the hard numbers and historical data don't support it.

          •  Well how could you? (0+ / 0-)

            Those other 3% must have been on their best behavior, emulating a Stepin Fetchit character so as not to arouse anyone's ire, while they planned their escape.

            Your comment is tantamount to saying "there wasn't much anti-Semitism in Germany after World War II".  No, I'll bet there wasn't.

            Racism without a minority to oppress is still racism.  It may not be the Georgia type of racism, which has an opportunity to express itself any time of any day, but it still IS racism.  In fact, all the Georgia crackers down here might be a little LESS racist, because they actually interact on a daily basis, maybe even touch a black person or be touched by one at the bank or the restaurant.  And sometimes, they forget their racist upbringing and act like actual human beings.*

            White Appalachia racism seems to me like fear of socialism or fear of Communists.  Never mind that they have never met a socialist or a Communist, they know they hate them. Racism in the Deep South has followed the Lee Atwater prescription, and now has to be expressed in coded language.  It's the area that is looked down on, must be some coincidence that the people in that area have a dark complexion.

            I can guarantee you though, if significant numbers of Somalis, or Nigerians, or even Latinos or Asians moved in to these counties, the Klan and the skinheads wouldn't have to recruit, their 800 number would be ringing off the hook.  They've already been carefully taught, all they need is a minority they can target and a demagogue to get them stirred up.

            *Although all bets are off if they are with their peer group.

            •  In which part of Kentucky did you live? (0+ / 0-)

              I'm just curious, because you can't seem to refer to any firsthand experience in the area, and you certainly don't reference anything specific to Kentucky.  You pontificate about how "white Appalachia racism seems" to you, and you "can guarantee" things, but there's no actual content in your comment.

              Sadly, you've just proven my points about kneejerk reactions and overplaying.  

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