Friday, June 8, 2012

I didn't mean to get political


Today is the last day of my two weeks of full time employment. After today I go back to my 3 or 4 Saturdays a month and the occasional day filling in. Not tomorrow though. Tomorrow my sister is working, an arrangement made when I thought we would be doing a workshop that weekend. And next Saturday the store will be closed because it's the annual Juneteenth Festival.  I guess the store will be closed on the 30th as well as that is the Freedom Festival, Wharton's 4th of July celebration.

The store is closed on those days because the square and surrounding areas are full of people and parades and booths and activities which is not conducive to business.  People aren't on the square to visit the local establishments.  When they come in the store it's to get out of the heat or to ask to use the bathroom.  I don't know what the other stores do, but Miss Hattie's closes.

I like living in this small town even though it is very conservative, very religious, and, quietly, racist.  Well, I don't know that it is any more racist than any other part of this country, and by 'this country' I mean the entire US,  but I've recently had a few encounters here where the person with whom I was speaking let their racism bubble to the top, one even using the 'N' word, something I haven't heard in a very long time.

I don't like that word (or any of the words used to malign people with racial or cultural differences) with it's inherent connotations of shiftless, lazy, ignorant, deceitful, useless, especially when it's being applied to a person who is working to improve his life or a group of people who are gathering for a celebration of their release from slavery.  I don't chastise the speaker for their choice of words when I find myself in an unpleasant conversation but I do speak up for the maligned individual or group.  

I think white America tried to convince itself that racism was a thing of the past in this country when Obama was elected president.  Considering the obstructionism from Congress he has faced since taking office, I'd say that racism is still alive and well in America.  His opponents and detractors are quick to assure you their position is not about race, blaming him for the results of 8 - 10 years of Republican policies, but the fact is, the old white men in our government closed ranks the day he moved into the White House.  They  were quite public and vocal about their intent to make him a one term president before he ever got a chance to govern.  Never mind that he has continued most of Bush's policies.

When your hatred of a black individual causes you to vote against policies that are good for the country and your constituents and prevents you from doing your job of representing the people who elected you, when your stated intent is to run that guy out of town on a rail instead of giving him a decent chance to govern, when you blindly blame him for the results of your own misguided policies of the last white man president who moved massive amounts of money out of the hands of the middle class and into the hands of the already rich, when you vote against bills that you previously supported because they might make that guy look good, that, my friend, is racism.

The hatred and vehemence spewing out of the conservatives these last four years is unprecedented and I for one will be glad when white people finally become just another minority in this country because I am sick to death of this attitude of entitlement and superiority.




21 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

very well said.

i like the one comedian (and i don't remember who it is) that said we should just all intermix until we're one big color of mud. :)

The Bug said...

Amen!

Joanne said...

Sadly, those old white men have little use for women, either. Actually, I believe white people have become the minority. It just hasn't sunk in, yet.

Cold As Heaven said...

Conservative, religious and silently racist; seems there are a few things that can be improved. But I think you're right; it's pretty much the same challenges everywhere. In our time we've done a good job in getting rid of the religious influence, but the other two still exist, unfortunately.

Cold As Heaven

Rubye Jack said...

When I first heard about whites becoming a minority I had to laugh, knowing how much this would be alarming to a lot of people.

What I don't understand is why people in political power let him become the nominee. They must have known this would happen. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad he is president but was able to see the prejudice against him coming before he was ever elected. Sometimes I think he was deviously set up to fail.

Linda Sue said...

AMEN! Tell it Sister! I am so tired of white folks in general! But I am also tired of the Chinese...Americans and the Chinese are the worst groups of tourists! At least we found that to be true in Italy- we made up our own language so people would not think we were from anywhere...and we behaved very well. But, yeah, Racists, sexists any ist kind of group makes me want to throw them in the pokey! People are jerks.

JC said...

I always enjoy reading what you've written. It's hard for me to believe that people are still this way. I also think that they haven't let O do the job he could have. Skin should never be what we judge people by. It should be how they act, their character, their souls. By the way, I like your soul. Just thought I'd tell you.

Pencie said...

My new neighbor is a beautiful young woman from Pakistan (although raised in the USA for a good long time now). While talking about our thoughts on people in general she told me she used to use the 'n' word with all her black friends as they do ... in reflecting comfort between themselves and I guess whatever bad is connoted with that word. I seen this before and am glad that its crossed our younger generations use, it sort of takes the sting out of it. I find that people know when its not a friendly usage. This young lady also say that when she and her boy friend went to a local vigil after the 911 tragedy they were asked to leave. I keep my non-white friends close (daily and especially in times of trouble) and allow the other cultures the respect and openness they deserve. There is so much potential for learning.
On the political thing, its a cycle 8-10 years. Nobody should expect a financial fairy to come in and make it all better. I also believe that when Obama said the markets(?) were "doing fine" he meant they are adhering to a positive course as expected - they aren't swaying all over the place.
As for racism, homophobic, subjugation of others, non-white hatred thinking...bless our next generation; they have and will continue to make it better. However you don't have to scratch our surface to deep to see what you posted about. I always try to remind the new comers of this when they talk about how great this country is; it can do better but the belief in the opportunities here make me realize how amazing this country is in comparison. Bless all that keep it that way and try to help the others.

Mr. Charleston said...

Totally agree with this Ellen. I too love living in small towns although I am currently trapped in the city.
I will say this about racism. It cuts both ways. I believe, as a group, that blacks are much more racist than whites. At least that's the way it strikes me. By example, all black comedians make whitey jokes but you know that a white comedian dare not reciprocate.

ellen abbott said...

Mr. Charleston - Oh I agree that it works both ways and I don't condone it wherever it comes from. My granddaughters, on the playground, have been subjected to it. But I will say that they have far more reason for it than white people and I'm not talking about the history of slavery but the cultural advantage that whites receive in this country, overt and subtle.

turquoisemoon said...

Quiet racism is alive and well in my neck of the woods too! My BF says I'm too sensitive (I have a bi-racial granddaughter). I just can't stand any form of racist, sexists, or homophobic conversation/jokes/whatever. I tend to make my position well known. And, it's been my practice to simply say, I don't appreciate this conversation, and walk off. I'm the only liberal, left winger, whatever you'd like to call me in his conservative/religious social circle. As far as what you said about the current political situation is totally accurate. Loved what you said about "the old white men in our government closed ranks..." It's obvious to me that's what's happening and am sick to death of how it's being portrayed. And...why are people buying it??? And...as far as your rant goes, I say AMEN!!!

Reya Mellicker said...

Wharton is lucky to have you. I don't envy the encounters with fearful, small minded people though. It's scary. The N word? Really?

Dianne said...

I can't believe the black pilot was portrayed as white!!

I think Obama being elected has proven how racist the US still is rather than showing how much has changed
I have never seen a President attacked and blocked the way he is
and you're right on - they will do anything to hurt him regardless of what happens to the country

John Kurman said...

Honestlynow, Mr. Charleston, can you blame blacks for being racists? I mean, look at the history of the US dispassionately and at a distance, and realize that, though chattel slavery may have ended in 1865, other forms of slavery were and are prevalent - take debt peonage in the Souht, which lasted until the late '40s. For all practical purposes, they've been getting, and continue to get, the short end of the stick. I'm actually surprised at how well they tolerate white people.

Hilary said...

Very well said, Ellen. Prejudice is everywhere, unfortunately. I have a few neighbours who can make my blood boil. It's people at their most ugly.

Friko said...

I am very sorry. From this side of the Atlantic it looks very messy.

She Writes Here Now said...

Get political, Ellen!

YES!

Jody Windus said...

You can just look to the history of Tennessee to see how difficult it is to change the racist politics. After the Civil War, blacks were elected into the state government. They got to serve a very short term before being pushed out and the politics of the Ku Klux Klan evolved. Are we suffering a back lash as severe as that? No, but we would be very naïve if we did not expect it and acknowledge that it is there. This will be the challenge of this next election; opening eyes to the truth of the State of the Union on so many, many issues.
(and being an old white guy, please don’t lump us all together)

Cheryl Cato said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheryl Cato said...

The comments by your followers were superb...

If the Texas GOP has its way there will be more to worry about than racism. Take a look at their platform for 2012... it's scary.

Whoops... political!

There are positions on marriage (between a natural man & natural woman only), on affirmative action as pertains to the Civil Rights Amendment, limit citizenship by birth to those born to a citizen of the United States with no exceptions, rescind no-fault divorce laws...support Covenant Marriage.

It is wishful thinking that we could lift regulations to ensure that women, minorities, homosexuals would have equal rights under the law, but it feels like we are going backward rather than advancing in our tolerance & understanding of our fellow humans.

jane.healy said...

I'm sorry that I missed this post earlier (you know the reasons why though)

One day my daughter came home from school and mentioned there wasa new girl in her class. Her name was Pearl Lee. I asked if the girl was Chinese (we lived in Hong Kong then) my daughter looked at me long and hard, I could see she was struggling with something, finally she replied "I don't know but I think she has got black hair."