2.22.2007

Eye Opening

Someone used the term "porch monkey" to me yesterday.

When I sat there in stunned silence, unable to respond, I guess she assumed I didn't understand what she had just said. So, she then graciously defined the term for me.

Thanks for the clarification.

Since our move this isn't my first experience with this kind of ignorance. I’m appalled by what I hear in casual conversation. And don't worry; I’ve experienced equal opportunity filth. No minority group is safe.

Now, I am in no way arguing that racism only exists in the South. I’m not that naive. And this move particularly is helping me realize some of my own prejudice. But such bold, seemingly socially accepted and unapologetic racism appears to run rampant around here. And I continually witness it spew from the mouths of "educated" people. It's crazy, nobody even flinches.

Where I’m from, most racists understand the need to censor their hate speech in public. Many even have the decency to appear embarrassed when it "slips" out. Is that better? I’m not arguing that it is... But it at least demonstrates the understanding that in the 21st century it is no longer socially acceptable to be a bigot.

2 comments:

ericka said...

Gosh. It makes me remember how different small Southern towns really are. Being from a Southern "city," I'd like to think we are a little more PC, but it's still a different mentality...
By the way, I'm so glad you invited me into your blog...I laughed and laughed at the buggy thing and absolutely cringed at the "bless her heart." It's so true.

Sweens said...

Not that it makes it right but we are all partially comprised of our perosonal history through our family and friends experiences and through our environmental experiences of neighbors, city and region.

Perhaps the person to whom you were speaking did not have the opportunities that you have had to attend schools, travel, live in the middle of cities, express themselves openly to their family, experience a family of openess and love for all. Perhaps there is personal hurt in his/her family that prejudices them. Certainly the Southern heritage was historically more ingrained in segration and racism. It does take time. As I remember a tremendous difference between one's grandfather's feelings and expressions and the growth that occurred over time to that of the views of the grandson or granddaughter, perhaps your acquaintance is only one generation removed.

Just one story. I thought that my grandfather was terribly outspoken and pretty much a racist. I only knew my grandfather to have one arm and for 40+ years, had an open wound on his heel. These injuries caused him to be on disability for the final 25 years of his work life. Somewhat of a bitter man. These injuries we the result of a streetcar accident where a Black man rolled a streetcar over my grandfather accidentally as a result of not checking back to see if the grounds were clear. Wrongly so, but now more understandibly, he transcended the anger toward an individual to anger toward a race.

Just some thoughts.