Skip to main content


I grew up in a family of bigots. My immediate family was less mouthy about it than my extended family but the reality was that they too were at one point racist and homophobic. There were many members of my extended family that used (and still use) a variety of disgustingly creative terms for anyone not white or heterosexual. They were in short your garden variety small town narrow-minded racists. I may well have had lot more racist baggage to overcome had it not been for a family trip we made when I was seven years old.

But First, A Word From Our Sponsor:

Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

Make sure that you include the direct link to the comment (the URL), which is available by clicking on that comment's date/time. Please let us know your Daily Kos user name if you use email so we can credit you properly. If you send a writeup with the link, we can include that as well. The diarist poster reserves the right to edit all content.

Please come in. You're invited to make yourself at home! Join us beneath the doodle...

My father's family moved from Kentucky to Illinois when my father was just a child. My mother was from Florida and moved to the North to find work after she graduated high school. Her family remained in the South which is why every summer mom, dad, my brother and I would all pack up and drive to Florida to visit her parents for a couple of weeks. Often we would divert our course to squeeze in a visit with relatives who were scattered about. We visited cousins in South Carolina, aunts in Georgia and uncles in Kentucky. Our vacation the summer I was seven years old would take us to Monroe Louisiana. My mother had a cousin she hadn't seen since she moved to Illinois and decided it was time to reconnect.

I do not remember much about arriving at their house. It was late at night and my brother and I were woken up in the backseat of the car and taken straight to bed. When we woke the next morning we were introduced to a new family, one that my mother seemed overjoyed to see again. They had two daughters who were roughly the same age as my brother and me. It was decided that we would all go to the zoo. Shortly after arriving we stopped at the restrooms. What happened next I remember as vividly as if it happened yesterday. My brother and I got in line at the water fountain. I got my drink and turned around to see my cousin looking at me like I was a cockroach. She looked up at her father and said "Did you see that daddy? He drank after a ni@@er!" I remember feeling shocked. Not because I had done something so awful as drink water from the same fountain as a black child, but because at the tender age of seven I had been exposed to true hatred. This wasn't some abstract off the cuff remark I had been accustomed to. This was raw hate directed at a little black boy and at me for breaking a taboo. That one moment woke me from a childhood innocence around race issues to begin my long journey of confronting ugly truths about my own views.

Things were about to get a whole lot worse that evening.

After dinner, we were treated to a fashion show. The family disappeared for a short while and when they returned, they were all wearing white dresses with funny pointed hats that came all the way over their faces with two little holes from which to see. The father's funny dress had some important looking symbols on it that were different from the rest. My brother and I had never seen anything quite like this and started laughing at how ridiculous they all looked. My parents on the other hand were not laughing. My mother looked ashen and my dad looked pissed. We were told it was time to go to bed even though it was no where near our bed time. We listened at the door as the grown ups shouted at one another for an hour or so. I could hear my mother crying as her cousin yelled at her. We were woken up the next morning before it was even light outside and were out the door as quickly and quietly as possible. We never saw them again.

Things in my immediate family changed after that. I don't remember either my father or my mother ever using racial slurs from then on and they didn't tolerate it from us kids either. Several years ago I brought this event up with my dad. He was surprised at how much detail I had remembered. Dad filled me in on more of the sordid details of that night. How they had to endure these two people trying to convince them to join a Northern chapter of the Klan and how their refusal was met with rage and accusations of being race traitors. While that day had opened my eyes to hatred, it had moved my parents even more deeply. Dad told me how ashamed he felt over his own racism and how that trip had forever changed him and my mother. How they both came away determined not to raise two little racist assholes. I felt a lot closer to my dad after that discussion. Even though he has his flaws, he was a much better father than I had given him credit for.

Now on to the best of the day's best.

May 13, 2012

Thanks to tonight's Top Comments contributors! Let us hear from YOU
when you find that proficient comment.

From BeninSC:

Recommend fast!! This comment by awesumtenor goes out of recommendability ten minutes after TC posts tonight! You can still reply to the comment, which may be better! Personally I care less about recs and more about substantive engagement!

It is a well-written tale of bullying and discrimination that needs to be more widely publicized.

From sfbaytransplant:
In VerbalPaintball's diary I'm Sorry Pundits. Romney's Bullying Is NOT A Non-Issue. It's THE Issue, Stuart Heady gave us this gem.
From your diarist Steveningen:
In Denise Oliver Velez's diary Misogynistic minister preaching patriarchy, GenXangster says a mouthful of truth.

Gooserock wrote this sadly sweet tribute on Mother's Day in brooklynbadboy's Midday open thread.

May 12, 2012

(excluding Tip Jars and first comments)

Got mik!

  1) This memo is an incredible shocker! by alaprst — 137
  2) Fox News and RushBo will never allow it by MinistryOfTruth — 124
  3) I wish I could say more by MinistryOfTruth — 106
  4) You're my hero. by Scottie Thomaston — 102
  5) Obama Has Thrown Them An Anvil by Beetwasher — 99
  6) What shocked me is hearing him chuckle about it by commonmass — 94
  7) Yes. by gzodik — 88
  8) MOUSETITS! by commonmass — 78
  9) As usual, Blow hits it out of the proverbial park. by markthshark — 76
10) Mitt 's a coward by trillian — 74
11) I share your outrage -- on behalf of myself by theKgirls — 72
12) And Romney knew this was coming by chloris creator — 71
13) Not to mention by gzodik — 68
14) KO was fired for supporting the Democratic Party. by foucaultspendulum — 67
15) You can have your Mousetits by Puddytat — 67
16) What a difference two weeks makes by eXtina — 65
17) raccoon porn by JML9999 — 63
18) We should do ANYTHING we can by Urizen — 62
19) I'm sick and tired of watching male by Denise Oliver Velez — 62
20) I rather like the idea that Obama by lcbo — 59
21) The long wait is over! by foresterbob — 58
22) Finally exposed to the bones? by bepanda — 57
23) I watched it go by live.   Tamron tried, by maybeeso in michigan — 57
24) She was perfectly within her rights by chicago minx — 57
25) Oopsie doopsie.  Jamie Dimon can suck it by DisNoir36 — 57
26) "They own the place" by Puddytat — 55
27) The cult of Russert bothers me by Black Max — 55
28) Well said, DisNoir. by 3goldens — 54
29) Thanks, MOT! by Scottie Thomaston — 52
30) in my professional career (30 years by cpinva — 52

May 12, 2012

Enjoy jotter's wonderful PictureQuilt™ below. Just click on the picture and it will magically take you to the comment that features that photo. Have fun, Kossacks!


Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site