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Small town racism.

Posted by on Jan. 24, 2014 at 11:07 AM
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1 mom liked this

Most of my childhood was spent in Indianapolis in a predominately white neighborhood, but one of my best friends in school happened to be black.  Her name was Linda and I loved her.  We even took tap and ballet classes on Saturdays together.  Then we moved to the suburbs and I never saw Linda again, but I never forgot her.

My new town and school was 100% white.  During the 60's civil rights battles, I would see that on the nightly news but I thought that stuff only happened in the South.  I never witnessed blatant racism until I got into middle school and would listen to the other kids talk or witness how the black kids from visiting sports teams would be treated by the home crowds.  I could never get on board with that line of thinking - mainly because of my experience with Linda and my upbringing.  Indianapolis Public Schools was at that time being ordered to desegregate their schools and to start busing black students to the township schools.  This ruling, however, did not include my high school but it did the high school a mile from my home and where many of my friends went. (http://www.indianahistory.org/our-collections/collection-guides/indianapolis-public-schools-desegregation-case.pdf)

I was disappointed we would not be getting any black students, because it was important to me that my school and town be more diverse.  When I would tell people where I lived, how racist the town is was almost always brought up.  It embarrassed me to be associated with racism and the town.  When I graduated from school, I soon moved back to Indy.   To this day, 35 years later, I still hesitate to tell anyone where I graduated because of my discomfort they will believe I'm a racist by association.

On this past MLK day, this was posted by a former classmate (who still lives in town) on his wall:

"I'm confused correct me if im wrong..Martin Luther King day will be observed on monday the 19th.a lot of his followers will have the day off from work!!!!..but why was there never a George Washington day observed for the white folk and we would have to work?"

Some of the responses of his and other classmates who still remain in town:

"Because they look for every reason not to work"

"Well i dont think that MLK was ever a president...maybe its just that we have always been the minority!...and we dont get what we want...what about a naawp..instead of a naacp...now wouldnt that make us equal?"

"Why don't we get national white history month either?  Society has made it to where we pretty much "owe" them for the past"

"Whatever bub..ive worked all my life,,never followed him(MLK),,you dont think the black folk are racist againt the wite,,,better wake up stupid yourself!!!ill tell ya i work my ass off for my 65,000..plus a year!.. im sorry you have to fell this way..but i never had any interest in MLK's messages nor did i ever listen to what he had to say...so go ahead and observe his day buyb!have a wonderful day:)"

"im not racist..but i get the vibes they seem to get all the attention for some reason...i dont think i hold the ace of spades in my wallet!"

"On another note... since black people have BET (Black Entertainment Television) Do you think white people should have WET?  :)"

"its james earl ray day"

"if we had WET or White history month, the white EXPO, OR even Billy Graham day, we would be deemed racist! Why am I as a white woman, not allowed to be proud?"


The few who called out the racism in the post were attack and called names.  A couple of examples:

"Jxx is obviosley a dumacrat" and "im thinkin jxx is also a shit pile"

My friend, who is neither a dumacrat nor a shit pile, and I were both ashamed and embarrassed for these classmates and their ignorance.  But it sparked another conversation with other friends who had moved out of that town.  We noted that those of us who had moved away to the large cities or out of Indiana shared the same feelings.  We all celebrate diversity and are proud we no longer think or are surrounded by those that think like our former classmates.

Any comments or thoughts to share?  

Sherri

KittyLicking.gif picture by wer4pu
by on Jan. 24, 2014 at 11:07 AM
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Replies (1-10):
snookyfritz
by Platinum Member on Jan. 24, 2014 at 11:08 AM

That's heartbreaking. 

PurdueMom
by Sherri on Jan. 24, 2014 at 11:14 AM
1 mom liked this

When I joined Facebook, it was fun to reconnect with old classmates and friends I hadn't seen in 35 years.  But it didn't take long for me to see I had evolved beyond many of them and I eventually ended up unfriending many of them.

The original poster of the comments above is no longer a friend of mine on Facebook.  It's embarrassing to me if other friends noticed this conversation and now believe I'm friends with these people.

35 years later and I'm still ashamed.

Sherri

KittyLicking.gif picture by wer4pu
sfigu16
by Member on Jan. 24, 2014 at 11:20 AM
2 moms liked this

I would too feel ashamed to know people like that. At the end, we are all humans.

I can't believe racism still exist ( i enjoyed reading your story btw:) )

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Jan. 24, 2014 at 11:21 AM
2 moms liked this

My oldest sister, she is 69, could have written something quite similar.  Often times she has talked about what it was like when she was young, in school, and the schools were to be desegregated.  There were only two black kids in her school.  How awful most of the white people, kids, were.  Teachers were the worst.

She had a good friend who was black.  My mom and dad always welcomed her in to their home but boy did they hear it from their neighbors.  

She told me about a time when she and a friend were walking some where and this little old black man with a cane was on the same street, coming towards them.  They were getting ready to move out of his way when he stepped in to the street, which was difficult due to his age and having to use the cane.  He apologized to them for being in their way.  My sister stood there for a moment and teared up.  She helped him back up on to the sidewalk and asked if she could do anything else for him.  He was dumbfounded.   

I can't imagine having had to deal with things like that.  I know that, like you S, I would have not been on the bandwagon of those who made the choice to dislike another based on the color of their skin.  There is no excuse for that.  Being raised such a way doesn't work for me.  

It's a shame many people still feel that way, are still so ignorant and blind.


FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Jan. 24, 2014 at 11:23 AM


Quoting PurdueMom:

When I joined Facebook, it was fun to reconnect with old classmates and friends I hadn't seen in 35 years.  But it didn't take long for me to see I had evolved beyond many of them and I eventually ended up unfriending many of them.

The original poster of the comments above is no longer a friend of mine on Facebook.  It's embarrassing to me if other friends noticed this conversation and now believe I'm friends with these people.

35 years later and I'm still ashamed.

While I understand, I tell my sister the same thing.............being ashamed and embarrassed for those who are ignorant is not a reflection on to yourself but more so those who you feel sorry for.  You can't bring every one in to the light and some refuse to accept.  Like the fool who wrote how he never listened to MLK, etc.  Ignorance is bliss and some times that is all people have to hold on to.

PurdueMom
by Sherri on Jan. 24, 2014 at 11:36 AM
2 moms liked this


Quoting FromAtoZ:

My oldest sister, she is 69, could have written something quite similar.  Often times she has talked about what it was like when she was young, in school, and the schools were to be desegregated.  There were only two black kids in her school.  How awful most of the white people, kids, were.  Teachers were the worst.

She had a good friend who was black.  My mom and dad always welcomed her in to their home but boy did they hear it from their neighbors.  

She told me about a time when she and a friend were walking some where and this little old black man with a cane was on the same street, coming towards them.  They were getting ready to move out of his way when he stepped in to the street, which was difficult due to his age and having to use the cane.  He apologized to them for being in their way.  My sister stood there for a moment and teared up.  She helped him back up on to the sidewalk and asked if she could do anything else for him.  He was dumbfounded.   

I can't imagine having had to deal with things like that.  I know that, like you S, I would have not been on the bandwagon of those who made the choice to dislike another based on the color of their skin.  There is no excuse for that.  Being raised such a way doesn't work for me.  

It's a shame many people still feel that way, are still so ignorant and blind.


One of my good friends lived in the country just a mile from my house and had a swimming pool in her back yard.  Her mom had a pool party for her work friends, and a couple of them were black.  

The next day after the party, someone had spray painted "N*****-lover" in black on her white garage door.  A few weeks later, I hosted a baby shower for a co-worker at my mom's house.  Two of my co-workers, who happened to be black, arrived and both looked terrified.  When I asked them if something had happened, they replied nothing had happened but that they had felt while driving through my town people were looking at them funny which caused them to dunk down in their seats - and it had made them nervous and uncomfortable.  I told them of a back way to leave through the country.  I was mortified and so ashamed.  This was 1979.  I still want to cry when I think of it.

Sherri

KittyLicking.gif picture by wer4pu
shannonnigans
by Platinum Member on Jan. 24, 2014 at 11:37 AM
This is anecdotal of course, and I'm certainly not trying to pick on your state, but I've got a very close friend who grew up in Indiana, and she has told me it's absolutely horrible as far as racism is concerned. Her take was that it wasn't even that much better in Indianapolis, but regardless, some of the quotes you put up make my skin crawl. Awful.
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marmie41
by Member on Jan. 24, 2014 at 11:39 AM
I live in a small town and county. Saturday, my sister poasted on her FB page reminding the town and county about the MLK parade at 11, and asking all who could, to attend. One lady, that attends church with us, posted "Really, are you serious?" To which sis posted "Yes.". Lady then replies, "ok, I guess I can take my trailer, fill it with horse manure and bring it, LOL.". Sis was angry, private messaged her and then deleted the post and replies. She said she was really glad I had not seen the posted replies. Me too, I would not have been nice.
For most part my little town is open and accepting, but we do have some stupid asses.
Radarma
by "OneDar" on Jan. 24, 2014 at 11:47 AM
2 moms liked this

No thoughts other than it being interesting that some white people, women, primarily, have this need to prove how non racist they are.


mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Jan. 24, 2014 at 11:49 AM
1 mom liked this

Being from a small town in Kansas I can  absolutely 100% relate. I truly thought when I left for the Air Force over 20 some years ago that Racism was something that was taken care of in the 60s. Because I lived in a 95% white town and heard stories of the marches etc. When I joined the Air Force I was confronted with it square in the face as one of my close friends was not given the same opportunities as a the rest of the airmen due to her race. I was shocked and said something and it turned into this huge IG inspection and resulted in a couple of people being fired as when the leadership came in to review found horrible examples of racism and favoritism. I was called horrible names by many of the racist people for and I quote betraying my race. My next base was in South Carolina and wow did I see racism there. I find it hard to believe that those people are racist because they have been treated poorly by a black person. I think instead they are afraid of how black people and minorities will treat them when white people no longer hae the upper hand.

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