NFR Racism Today - A Different Prospective (Possibly)

Rock Creek Fan

Active Member
I wanted to post this on other threads but it just did not fit in...

I have a bit of a different perspective. It is based on my experiences and how it affected me... It will use nomenclature acceptable at that time.

I grew up in Seattle, Burien actually, until I was through the 3rd grade. My dad was transferred to Alabama in 1962 as a part of the Saturn V program. Of course my mom and brother and sisters followed. On our way across the country I saw the first Negro I have ever seen. At that time Seattle was not as diverse as it is today. I asked about that and my parents provided some history about slavery and the environment we were about to enter. At the age of 9 or 10 I had no awareness of it and was quite surprised. Also I could not comprehend it all...

Arriving in Huntsville, Alabama I saw a lot and it was very different than Seattle. There were different classes of people; Southern whites, Negroes, and Northern whites. It was the first time I ever was a minority on the lowest rung of the ladder - a Northern white. I had a lot of issues in school getting along. I was brought up that all people are equal and I found out that was not true...

During my 'stay' in Alabama I learned/saw a lot of things:

There were cotton fields and they were only picked by Negroes.
Negroes lived on the other side of the tracks - a non-desirable section of town.
George Wallace was governor followed by his wife Lurleen.
I watched Governor George Wallace prevent Negroes from entering college campuses in the news.
MLK Jr. was very active with marches during my time in Alabama.
I saw the bloody massacre at the Selma Bridge in the news.
I found out deep-fried food was wonderful.
Black-eyed peas, collared greens, corn bread, and pig hooves/ears were a staple at lunch at school lunches.
The 'milk' truck that pulled up delivering gallons of 'milk' every Friday afternoon was not providing 'milk' I could drink...
White Castle burgers were the bomb! Negroes had a separate entrance with separate bathrooms. The Negro bathrooms had not been cleaned in years if not decades. The white bathrooms were sparkling clean.
I learned about the 'N' word and what it truly meant!

The maid we had was a Negro lady. She placed her life on the line to protect the me and my brother and sisters. She lived on 'the other side of the tracks' literally. My parents placed her in the highest regard and helped her in many ways (including financial) because she was great people. Her name was Mabel and she was a part of our family for sure! I just wish I could go back and visit with her now... Truly a great lady!

My mom volunteered registering voters. A white just needed to sign with his name or an 'X'. A Negro had to answer/pass a questionnaire that was 7 pages long. Any wrong answer would not allow the Negro to vote. My mom was college educated, somewhat rare at the time, and she tried to pass the questionnaire questions and could not not pass it.... She was horrified to say the least!!!

My parents had a choice of sending me to a Northern school or moving the family back to the NW. As I indicated earlier I was having a lot of issues being down South. They choose moving the family back to the NW mainly because of my issues.

Skip forward a couple of decades. Civil rights have improved a lot. Negroes (now blacks) were on greater/equal footing and there has been a lot of progress in that regard; or so they say.

I was on a business trip for Boeing to a new manufacturer for interior parts. An engineer and I went to the new facility/manufacturer to determine their capability. Went to lunch provided by the manufacturer which was allowed by Boeing Commercial policy. As we approached the mansion, now restaurant, the president of the company said, 'You do not need to worry about "those" people because they enter by the back door and you will not see them'. I was infuriated (livid) and then some. I did not want to award a contract to them at all due to his bias. So 20+ years only buried the issues just under the public scrutiny so not to be as visible. IT IS THERE!!!!

Skip ahead a couple of decades. My wife and I could not have kids due to some medical issues. We tried In-vitro to no avail. It sure was fun practicing... Hehe. We decided to adopt a couple of girls from China. Best decision we ever made! When our daughters first went to school on the bus they were harassed due to their color. WTF!! My wife and I had many long discussions about it. We taught them that everyone is equal and disregard those attempts. They were only showing that they were not worthy...

There are a lot of discussions nowadays about changing the 'system'. What is not being talked about is what we are teaching our kids to be racist. Kids that are 6 to 8 years of age do not learn about racism by themselves. It is learned/taught from their parents IMHO. It will take a long time to have blacks, browns, yellows, and whites be equal. It is Multi-generational... First we need to start with ourselves and match that with a system of laws that coincide with it. Training will not do it if racism is ingrained into us.

KUDOs to the current generation for standing up and requiring change. It is a top down approach BUT until we have a bottoms up approach to meet it it may be futile...

My edits: Fix typos...
 
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Hem

Active Member
I live on the fringes of the Gallatin valley.
The valley is a melting pot of white people . Most have come from every corner of our country.
It's such a healthy environment, predominately entitled white folks enjoying the fruits of their labor....or dare I say, the fruits of their parents labor.
Everyone is happy, they feel safe amongst themselves.
There are few blacks. The Latinos hide on construction sites and taco busses. The First Citizens are sequestered on land deemed worthless( to whites).
Yeah....its fucked up and not going in a better direction.
 

DarrellP

Wannabe Steelheader
I grew up in MS. We integrated when I was in the 6th grade. We were about 50/50, and we all got along. Many whites pulled their kids to a private school for whites only. I stayed in the public school. If you go to areas with high populations of black people, you will find that the public schools are around 100% black. Nothing much accomplished there.

We hired a guy 2 yrs ago to help with some tree cutting. He quit school in the 11th grade and could not read. Public school "education."

That is not representative, but that is not rare, either.

My family was racist, as were most all southern whites back then. It will take a while to fix the racism, as "the beer can doen't fall far from the trailer." Whites here in MS are politically far right wing for the most part. They will cut their nose off to spite their face in order to prevent "undeserving" black people from getting something for free. Once you understand that, you understand the politics.

Most people are good hard working people. Most whites have close black friends at work. They go to different churches, and different clubs. Young people are generally more colorblind. Things are slowly improving.

I do think people know this is a problem and want it to improve. With the exception of a sizeable minority of rednecks, people want to not be racist.

I came home to help my sick Mother who recently passed away. I am leaving soon.

The south is the only part of the US to be "conquered", so to speak. That resentment was passed on. Likewise southern blacks came from slavery. That resentment dies hard, too.
 

Swimmy

I have an amazing collection of fishing shirts
WFF Supporter
I live on the fringes of the Gallatin valley.
The valley is a melting pot of white people . Most have come from every corner of our country.
It's such a healthy environment, predominately entitled white folks enjoying the fruits of their labor....or dare I say, the fruits of their parents labor.
Everyone is happy, they feel safe amongst themselves.
There are few blacks. The Latinos hide on construction sites and taco busses. The First Citizens are sequestered on land deemed worthless( to whites).
Yeah....its fucked up and not going in a better direction.
It is no secret that I love my community. But man do we love to celebrate diversity and pat ourselves on our back because we are so tolerant.

Yeah, easy to virtue signal when you live in one of (if not the most) vanilla small cities in the country. Just look at all the diversity


And whatever happened to social distancing?

 

MT_Flyfisher

Active Member
Thank you for sharing your uniques perspectives on this, @Rock Creek Fan.

My background is a bit similar to yours. I grew up in a small town in northwestern PA. There were no blacks, Hispanics, Asians or other “minorities“ living there at the time. However, our town was divided between the Italians, who largely lived on the west end of town, and the northern Europeans - Germans, Swiss, English, Irish, Swedes, etc. (most all of whom were 2nd or 3rd generation immigrant families by that time) who lived on the other end of town. Everyone pretty much got along, but there were still notable cultural differences between us.

In 1960, my parents moved our family to a small town in south central Florida. The south had not yet become integrated. The blacks lived, literally, across the tracks in their “quarters”, which my mother referred to as “colored town”.

(As an aside, I just learned this week that during the mid-1990’s George Floyd attended junior college, and played basketball, at the college in that same Florida town where we lived.)

There were no blacks in our “white” schools back then, there were often separate entrances in the back for blacks into public buildings, and as you said there were always separate, dirty toilets and water fountains for blacks in the back, or sometimes outside.

Blacks always held menial jobs back then, like working in the orange groves that were prevalent in that area of Florida, or they were the janitors in our schools or churches, for example.

It was clear to me at that time that there was a definite separation between ”us” and “them“, but I did not encounter anything there that seemed like racial hatred. In fact, all of my encounters with the blacks who lived around our town at that time were congenial and friendly, from what I recall. Looking back now, however, the racial prejudice was there, obviously.

My perspectives changed dramatically, however, in the summer of 1964 when I left Florida after graduating from high school to attend college in northwest Georgia (not far from the border with Alabama). That summer was the start of the integration between the blacks and whites in that part of the country.

I was in the movie theater in town that summer the first night ever that blacks came in to watch a movie. When this small group of blacks sat down in the seats in the front row, all of the white people who were sitting close by got up from their seats and moved far away. After the movie, a large crowd waited in the street outside the theater, and I watched as the crowd chased the blacks down the street, while the policemen stood by looking like nothing unusual was happening.

I went swimming at the public pool in town one day that summer, when a couple black boys came in. That may have been the first time, or certainly one of the first times, blacks had come there to go swimming. I heard one of the boys ask the gate attendant if they could come in, and his reply “Sure, you can come in. I just can’t promise you that you’ll get out”.

That same summer, Lester Maddox passed out ax handles on the steps of his restaurant in Atlanta, as a symbol of his desired continued segregation, and he was later elected governor of Georgia.

I had a number of other similar experiences while living in the south at that time, and I also had a few jobs working directly with a number of blacks, but I never had any conflicts with them, nor did I ever have any feelings of prejudice towards them.

The following year, 1965, I moved back to PA, completed college at Penn State, and never moved back to live in the south again.

During my lifetime, I have worked with, lived with, socialized with, played sports with, and have a lot or respect for people of all races and nationalities, male and female. I don’t care if you are the janitor or the Chairman of the Board, as long as you work hard, play hard, respect others, and do the best that you can.

Where I get off being tolerant, however, is with people who think they are entitled, without trying to earn things for themselves if they are physically and mentally able to do so. Entitled to get free anything. I believe that everyone should be entitled to have freedom to live their life as they choose, as long as it does not negatively impact others. I also believe that everyone should have equal opportunities to become the best that they can be or do, but I do not believe that this means that everyone should be entitled to an equal share of everything. I believe that there are differences between all of us, whether you are black or white, male or female, smart or not so smart. It is the taking the best of these difference, accepting these differences, and melding them together, that ultimately determines the best outcomes, IMO.

(I fully accept the fact that I’ll never be as good a fisherman as @Swimmy, for example, or dress as nicely as him, and I’m content with these differences. :))
 
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Rob Allen

Active Member
I was raised in a small rural community. Mostly rednecks and hippies. We were diverse but no African Americans, sorry i don't know or care what the modern pc adjective is.
In High school we had our first AA. Now this was a community very sympathetic to poaching and this boy was the son of the game warden.
He may have received some racism against him, his father certainty did. However the people who spoke to me about him, complained about his dad being the warden.

Treat people the way you want to be treated. If you don't like someone because of how they look, something we all do, treat them how you want to be treated and keep how you feel to your self.
 

Hem

Active Member
It is no secret that I love my community. But man do we love to celebrate diversity and pat ourselves on our back because we are so tolerant.

Yeah, easy to virtue signal when you live in one of (if not the most) vanilla small cities in the country. Just look at all the diversity


And whatever happened to social distancing?


[/QUOTE

That's my point.
I love every corner of Montana and between.
But there are some really difficult under tones.
And I hear comments.
 

Rock Creek Fan

Active Member
@DarrellP and @MT_Flyfisher thank you for your input. I hope reviving old memories was beneficial and not troublesome. I know I had to think long and hard before posting as many of my thoughts expressed (as well as not expressed) because it brought me back to a different time. It helped me realize what has as well as not changed. :(

@Swimmy I caught your humor and gave me a good chuckle. A good place to express it especially in these times. @Hem I agree --> not going in the right direction for sure.

I also appreciate that this thread has not turned into tone of those other threads...

For us older people, we have those memories of times past that we can refer to and has made an impact on who we are today. IMHO it also helps us to establish a baseline of what has and has not changed. By going through those times it has opened up our eyes to recognize what is happening now.

Now only if we had the energy and commitment to help today. I understand how many times we have banged our head on the wall and how much it hurt and little progress had been made.

This new generation has that energy and commitment to help with change. It has always been the younger generation that has fought for change. After all it was MLK Jr., Bobby and Ted Kennedy, Malcolm X, and others when they were younger that helped with change. Unfortunately their lives were taken way too early.

Wonders what it would be like today if they were able to continue their efforts...
 
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Albula

swollen member
Growing up in lily white Central Vermont in the 50's and 60's I knew of only one non-white family. That very limited exposure to racially caused societal differences masked any of the judgmental overtones that obviously plague this country today. It was not until getting drafted into the military that I had any real exposure to the extent of the privileges I took for granted due to my background. I feel I am a compassionate and unbiased person yet after listening in the truck today to the service for George Floyd I was struck by the fact that I could probably somewhat turn into a racist if I had to spend much time listening to Al Sharpton rub my nose in the fact that I am white. I am not quite sure how to come to grips with that.
 

Albula

swollen member
Please do not get me wrong. Absolutely no-one should be subject to the treatment imposed by those reprehensible cops. I sincerely hope that they get what they deserve. And this country has long been due for a racial reckoning. Perhaps I was just taken aback by Sharpton's seeming deification of "Brother George" and wondered if Floyd would have even been physically present for those police to confront had he not been high on fentanyl and meth which, I believe, the father of a six year old should probably be encouraged to avoid.
 
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Albula

swollen member
I listened to Sharpton's eulogy and found it inspirational. If he made you feel guilt or embarrassment for the failings of our culture then it was apparently effective. How you deal with those feelings will reveal your perspective.
It find no fault in the fact you you were inspired to help achieve racial justice. Your response certainly justifies the $1.1 M Sharpton's Foundation paid him last year to seek your support. Does it really cost that much to get someone to do the right thing?
 

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