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View Diary: An Open Letter To the Black Kos Community (111 comments)

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  •  I think we all have experiences... (33+ / 0-)

    that are relatable here on the porch.  As I have said here in this community before, I am white from an all white town in rural Ohio but I have stories from the other side of the fence to tell.

    Growing up a redneck in a small farm town makes people automatically assume that I am a racist like them.  People share their feelings with me as if they expect me to agree with them.  My parents were racists.  The KluKluxKlan was an admirable group to many in my family.  I knew people so nice that they would lay down their life for their friends and family, little old ladies that could pass for Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith Show and they would swell up and let loose some of the most vile and repulsive comments ever spoken as if they were commenting on the weather.  

    A lot of people have not experienced the raw verbal racism that occurs when a bigot thinks there is no one around who objects.  I know that I will never truly understand what it is like to be black.  However, I do know how the other side truly thinks and it is almost like the twilight zone sometimes when you see seemingly respectable people reveal their true selves when they think no one is looking.  

    It has gotten worse since President Obama was elected.  I hope that it is like ripping off a scab and letting the sunlight and fresh air begin the healing process again.  It looks worse at first but it will soon lead to a more complete healing.  

    I enjoy coming to the porch.  I always learn new insight.  I hope that sometimes I contribute something of value.  I know that coming here is good for my soul and I am thankful that I have been made to feel welcome.  

    Welcome to the front porch Mimi, it truly is a wonderful place to feel at home.

    "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

    by Buckeye Nut Schell on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 04:00:19 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  See, it THIS kind of honesty that I come here for. (21+ / 0-)

      Thank you so much for sharing this. It is greatly appreciated!

    •  Yes, it is amazing how people accept racism (20+ / 0-)

      as normal.  

      People who I worked with when I was a musician, and who knew that I am of Jewish heritage, sometimes used anti-semitic slurs (not directed at me).  When I told them that I didn't appreciate it, they insisted that what they had said were simply common expressions, and not anti-semitic.  It is difficult for me to see how someone couldn't understand that a phrase such as "he Jewed him down" is not anti-semitic.

      I  grew up in a working class neighborhood in Chicago and believe me, there was plenty of racism there, although probably not as severe as in rural Ohio.

    •  Same here, somewhat. (15+ / 0-)

      I grew up, being 11 y.o. in 1963, in an incredibly unavoidable racist environment.  Not that my parents were bad people; they just didn't know or understand, and they were my only reference.  To this day, despite my objective and intellectual understanding and acceptance of all races as equals; I can't deny that ingrained prejudice that haunts me.

      For that, I can't express enough thanks (and apologies) the the Black Kos for keeping me aware and sensitive to the realities I can never understand.

      You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

      by rb608 on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 06:37:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  thank you ... when a bigot thinks there is no one (6+ / 0-)

      around ...

      I have rarely experienced raw verbal racism (may be it's a matter of what "raw" means) directed at me, but I had some moments when bigots thought no one is around and I would be with them all the way.

      Strangely I am more upset about those "polite" and / or subtle remarks than I would be about the obvious derogatory racial slurs.

      I don't want to mention them here, because my anonymity  has long been lost here.  

      •  My wife and I was at our son's baseball game... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mimi, Will Smith

        a couple weeks ago when I guy who we had sat next to all season started talking about the local high schools.

        This is an obviously professional man, retired from the military and well established in his second career.  We mentioned that our son was starting high school in the fall and told him he would be attending North.  He looked at us in disbelief and said, "I would never let my kids go there, too many blacks."  

        My wife and I were dumbstruck and caught completely off gaurd.  He said it as naturally as if he was commenting on the weather.  I said "We have had four children go to North and we have never had any problems with anyone".  It was one of those times where I wished I had said something more substantial but I was just caught unaware.  He turned back to the game and didn't say anything else the rest of the game.

        Keep this in mind, North has one of the better academic programs in the region for high schoolers and all of my children have been academic standouts.  Central (where his kids went) has been threatened with state takeover for poor academic achievement and has been relegated to teaching core classes and little else.  This man would rather send his kid's to a predominately white failing school as opposed to a successful school that is more integrated.  There is more of a crime and drug problem at central, there are less supportive parents at sporting events and fewer students move on to college from Central than in North.  

        I have heard much worse from people I have known much better but this one really pissed both my wife and I off and it was one of those delayed angers.  The more we thought about it the more angry we got and the more we wished we would have confronted him on it.  We were probably more angry at ourselves for not verbally letting the asshole have it.  That is what racism is though. It is a cancer.  It affects everyone with it's nastiness and I am sure that even that guy, boils in his stomach about this black guy did this or that black guy got that and it probably causes him all kinds of physical ailments hating all the time.  I would bet that he probably hates the gays and the muslims and the jews as well.  People like that usually don't limit their hatred to just one minority.  

        That was the last game that we ended up going to due to a rain out and a planned church mission trip so I haven't seen that guy since.  I know that I will never look at that guy again in the same way.  I'll probably never talk to him again if our kids do not end up on the same team again.  It's sad really.  Just another sad lonely bigot making people miserable around them teaching them their bigoted ways and how to make other people miserable for another generation.  Someday, the cycle will be broken but for now, he and his kind continue to slowly creep along.

        "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

        by Buckeye Nut Schell on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 06:32:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't be so hard on yourselves... (0+ / 0-)

          Though you were caught off guard, sometimes, maturity tells us to be silent. You can't win every war, especially with people who are set in their convictions. People who have racist, sexist, and other discriminatory or just plain old pessimistic viewpoints are hard to confront and contend with, because their prejudices are so entrenched, and many times, they have large support groups who feel the same as they do and egg them on.

          Although, you feel you failed, you really didn't. You know why? Because his kids have to contend with a second rate education, while your kids will have had the experience of being challenged educationally, of interacting in a diverse setting which will help them in the real world, and of having parents like you who are farsighted enough to know that their future will be better because of it. Kudos to you!

          •  Thank you.. (0+ / 0-)

            I often find myself wieghing the benefits of being silent about things or whether to object and if so, how loudly.  This weekend at my daughter's Christian summer camp were she works, we had Sunday service where the president of the Camp's Michigan headquarters gave the sermon.  

            He used this opportunity to say how the bible clearly states that marriage and relations are only supposed to be between one man and one woman and that "like it or not", marraige equality is against the bible.  He did not speak of any other sin specifically.

            I wanted so badly to jump up and ask about all of the other sins he failed to mention like killing.  I did not hear him bring up "Thou Shall Not Kill" even though the Zimmerman case had just been decided or Texas had just surpassed it's 500 victim.  I didn't hear about the Bankers like Jamie Dimon stealing from investors and mortgage holders even though thou shall not Steal is one of the top ten as well.  Divorce is an abomination just like eating shellfish but I have never heard a sermon that calls these things out. But I didn't say any of those things.  I sat there quietly and let him get away with lecturing all of these vulnerable kids how what others do, how others are born is implied to be the only sin bad enough to mention.  

            There were a couple hundred people there odds are, someone in the crowd was gay and felt just a little farther from God because of that bigot.  And I said nothing.  I was afraid it would cost my daughter her job.  

            The other thing is, I love this camp.  They have the best attitude towards handicapped people I have ever seen.  They make sure no matter how handicapped a person is, they get to experience all of the things a "normal" child does (like a child with cerebral palsy who is assigned to my daughter for the next two weeks will get to climb the rock wall even if my daughter has to place her foot on each rock, she will ride a horse, .)  

            I like this place so why did he have to say that?  How can a camp that is so good and so wonderful when it comes to caring for hadicapped kids turn around and be bigotted against another person's right to feel loved?

            "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

            by Buckeye Nut Schell on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 09:06:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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