Friday, June 19, 2009

Juneteenth



MDGF (which stands for "My Darker Gray Friend", which is what I call Michelle Hickman, much as she calls me "MLGF", which stands for "My Lighter Gray Friend", which goes back to a comment Michelle once made concerning race relations and how it would be so much nicer if, instead of black and white, we thought of skins in terms of varying shades of gray, and... Hmmmmmm. It seems my parenthetical got away from me. They often do. I start with the best of intentions, hoping to relay a bit of useful information, but end up confusing hell out of you, instead. I'll start over, assuming you’re still here.)

I had some correspondence with Michelle Hickman. During the course of that correspondence, we asked each other a few interesting personal questions; questions that might have been considered too personal by more-easily-offended people, but we pretty much understand that the other one won’t shy away from such stuff. Anyway, one of my questions to Michelle concerned the subject of race. See, she’s an African-American, and I thought I knew from reading her past writings that she had grown up in an area where her family was the only African-American family for miles around, and I wondered what that might have been like for her.

(Here’s another parenthetical, but I promise to keep a firm hold on this one. I use the term "African-American" because, as I recall, that’s how Michelle self-identified in her reply to my question. In addition, she used the term "Caucasian" to identify those NOT African-American. For the sake of flow – and because the others are just plain too much work to type - I’m going to use the simpler "black" and "white" from here on out. I realize that this somewhat negates Michelle’s lovely sentiment concerning shades of gray, but she knows where my heart is at.)

Here was my question to Michelle:

Were there any puzzling racial episodes for you? Was your neighborhood - your part of the world - multiracial? Was there some instance when you thought, "Huh? Why is this person saying that?" or "Am I missing something here?" and you were brought to a realization concerning skin tone that was either enlightening or painful?

She answered in a stark and truthful way, and it was fascinating reading. So much so, as a matter of fact, that I asked her if she might like to do a sort-of joint posting concerning our racial experiences while growing up. She could expand a bit on her original e-mail, while I would write something about what it was like to be a white kid from an almost wholly white neighborhood in Boston. I offered the suggestion that we could co-publish on Juneteenth, an unofficial holiday on the American calendar which is celebrated pretty much exclusively by blacks and the very existence of which is unknown to many whites.

(For a detailed explanation concerning Juneteenth, please go HERE.)

Michelle agreed to write her piece; I said that I’d write mine; and we agreed to link to each other on Juneteenth so that our readers could read both of our pieces and (I hope) enjoy them. And so, here we are, finally, at the point of this thing. Sorry for the delay!

HERE is Michelle's piece. Mine follows the pretty asterisks.

**************************************************************

I expect that, as with many a tale concerning American history, the white person will come off sounding like more of an ass than the black person. And, as is the case in many of those tales, I’ll aver that it isn’t so much a matter of the white person being hateful as it is just abysmal ignorance coupled with societal conditioning.

When I was growing up, my part of Dorchester (a neighborhood of Boston) was Leave It To Beaver land. Today, when I tell people that I grew up in Dorchester, they go "Ooh!" and make a scared face. This is because the Dorchester of today has the highest murder rate in the city. I’ll trade on that for street cred, but the truth of the matter is that my neighborhood was as devoid of trouble – and of anyone unwhite – as Theodore Cleaver’s Mayfield had been.

I’ll give you an idea of just how lily white my childhood was. When I was perhaps three years old, I was outside in the front yard when a black woman walked down our street. I stared at her in amazement. I had never seen such a person. And, after she was out of sight, I went into our house and asked my mother about her. I offered the suggestion that perhaps she had fallen into some mud. I was puzzled as to why her clothes looked clean, and only her face and hands still had mud all over them, but my young mind, uncluttered by any thoughts of diversity, honestly couldn’t conceive of a better explanation for how she looked.

My Mother, never one for prejudice, set me straight. She explained how people came in different colors, and that this, in and of itself, didn’t necessarily make them better or worse. I was fascinated. I soon learned from other relatives, however, that niggers were an inferior type of human. Having been inculcated with similar information from many of their relatives, I received even more bad knowledge from my friends. We grew up mostly reinforcing each other’s ignorance. General neighborhood consensus was that they smelled different. Also, we were willing to concede that there were some good ones. We decided that there were black people and then there were niggers. Basically, the more like a white person you were, the more you were accorded the honor of just being black.

************************************************************

I vividly recall an incident with my grandfather, my father's father. I’ve written at least one story that shows him in a wonderful light – Solomon The Milkman – and it was a nice story, a true story, and he was a decent family man with good core values. However, as with so many of his generation and in those times – the early 1960’s - he was of the firmly-held belief that black people were from a lesser breed than he was.

I had just become aware of baseball, starting my lifelong love affair with the game. Being a young kid, I had my heroes on the local team, the Red Sox. My grandfather, an excellent ballplayer in his youth and also a huge Red Sox fan, was thrilled to hear that I liked baseball. One night, as we visited him and my grandmother, we talked about it at their kitchen table. I said I wanted autographed photos of my favorite players and had written away for them. The first one I named was Tony Conigliaro, who was always my favorite. Nice Italian kid who had grown up locally in Revere. No problem. He asked me which other players I wanted a picture of. I told him Earl Wilson.

He got a look on his face as though he had just discovered me finger-fucking a dog. He put down his drink, grabbed a nearby piece of paper and a pen, and drew a big black squiggly blob. He pushed it toward me and said, "There’s Earl Wilson!" And then he laughed.

I didn’t understand, at all. I liked Earl Wilson because he was a pitcher who had thrown a no-hitter, and he was something of a rarity in that he was a pitcher who could hit well, sometimes actually being used as a pinch-hitter by the Sox. I had never even considered the fact that he wasn’t white.

Until then.

Again, My Mom was the one with the explanation. Later, when I asked her why Pa had done that, she explained about Earl Wilson being black, that Pa was making a sort of joke – something to do with an old musical group called The Ink Spots – and it didn’t mean I had to stop liking Earl Wilson. Nor did I, until he was traded to the Tigers.

Of course, as you've gathered if you've been reading me for any appreciable length of time, the Boston Celtics were my favorite team. Despite having a leprechaun for their mascot, the team often included more black players than white players. They were the first basketball team to draft a black player; the first to have a starting five comprised of solely blacks; and the first to have a black head coach. As you might imagine, I didn't mention my love for the Celtics to my grandfather. And I was the only kid in my neighborhood who liked them. Everybody else adored the whiter-than-white Boston Bruins hockey team (and so did I, I might add. Boston was very much a hockey town, and the racial make-up of the team was NOT the leading factor. Folks just liked hockey. However, had the team had any black players, it would have been interesting to see how they would have been received.)

Then there was the time I bought a comic book and... well, here's the story.


Luke Cage (Hero For Hire) was the first black superhero character to have a whole title devoted to him. I remember visiting an older female relative at her house in Brockton and lying on a bed reading that first issue. She came into the room where I was doing so, looked at Luke Cage on the cover, and got a look on her face as though she had been physically violated. She said, "Is that a comic book about a nigger?"

Until that point, I hadn’t thought that what I was reading was all that unusual. Luke Cage just looked really cool on the cover; that’s why I bought it. The story was good, and made sense, too. He had acquired some special powers – I forget exactly what and how - so he decided that he’d hire himself out, for money, to solve folk’s problems. I figured that’s what I might have done, too, if I had somehow gained superpowers. Anyway, thoughts concerning the race of the main character hadn’t entered into my decision to buy it. Her comment, however, made me feel very radical for reading literature that had such a startling effect on grown-ups. I became a big Luke Cage fan. I bought every issue during its short-lived tenure, and whenever I was outside with one, I made sure that I carried it with the cover showing, just in case anyone was unsure of my credentials as a freedom fighter.

************************************************************

Back and forth chronologically... bits as they come to mind.

By the time I reached the fourth grade in elementary school, it was 1965 and steps were being taken to integrate some of the Boston Public Schools. Our neighborhood school, the Gilbert Stuart, had nothing but white students prior to 1965. That year, however, some black children would be put into the classes, arriving by bus from their own neighborhoods. This was mostly a curiosity to us kids, but a cause for alarm to some of the parents.

My Dad was not a member of the NAACP, but neither was he a Klansman. He had a couple of close black friends from work, and he'd go golfing with them or otherwise socialize, but he wasn't averse to throwing around words like jigaboo and spook, either. Generally, I think he understood that being black wasn't an advantage in America. When discussing some darker-skinned person whom he felt was trying to do the right thing, but who had gotten the short end of it, he would often say something akin to, "The poor black bastard!" with the idea being that the person's blackness was already a strike against him and it was entirely unfair to have the added indignity of whatever else had occurred. His heart was in the right place.

Anyway, on the first day of school that year, he (not so) surreptitiously trailed Stephen Murphy and me as we walked the third-of-a-mile to the Gilbert Stuart. He tried to stay hidden behind trash cans and whatnot, a half block behind us, but we knew he was there (and I can only imagine what the neighbors thought he was doing, skulking along in the shadows.) The idea, of course, was that he would be on the ready to scoop us up and carry us away should any trouble develop, though what trouble might have been instigated by a half-busload of eight-year-olds is still a mystery to me. Needless to say, no trouble developed, he went home, and we kids got along OK.


[Photo from end of school year, 1966. I'm the red-headed kid, whose pants and socks don't quite meet, in the front row. Snazzy bow tie, though!]

The major racial memory I retain of the black kids was of us discovering, one day during recess, that the palms of our hands were all more-or-less the same color. Oh, and they smelled pretty much the same as white kids.

**************************************************************

I wasn't an innocent lost in a world of hate, floating along on a cloud of my own pure thoughts. Lest I leave you with that mistaken impression, I'll admit to a few reprehensible acts. I won't admit to them here and now, however, as this is already entirely too long for one day's post. I'll be back on Tuesday (Monday being reserved for softball, as usual) with the darker side of my journey towards enlightenment. It won't be heroic, but it will be the truth. And, I hasten to add, it is NOT where I'm at now. I've learned...

Enough. Come back then, please.

Remember to read Michelle's piece, please!

Soon, with more (better?) stuff.


50 comments:

Michelle H. said...

Morning, MLGF! I'm getting the links set now.

BTW - your parenthetical got away from you? I know of a good doctor who can fix that. You'll have full use in a few days with only minor discomfort. But if your pee looks green, get yourself to the emergency room immediately!

lime said...

what a wonderful idea for juneteenth posts. as always, i appreciate your forthrightness. thanks to both you and michelle for being willing to do this and foster better understanding. off to read hers now.

Pete Mittell said...

Hey Sully, Great Stuff! I'm sucker for what you and Michelle have written. Now she is my 2nd blog! See you regained your youth with your batting prowess. Congrats. You never should have retired in the first place. Ridley is only 30 yrs ahead of you!!

Sarah said...

What a great idea for a dual post...

I think you guys are both pretty brave for sharing your experiences so openly.

Thanks for this.

Hilary said...

Brilliant co-posting idea. I love your and Michelle's openness. Lots to think about as always.

Jazz said...

Great idea for a post. I'm on my way to Michelle's now...

Ruth and Glen said...

Thanks to you and Michelle for sharing these stories. Growing up in the heart of New York City, the melting pot, it was so ethnically diverse that it seemed natural to have many friends and neighbors of different races and ethnic backgrounds. Not saying that racism didn't exist. . . I'm sure it did. My mom, much like yours, made sure that we didn't hold any prejudices.

~R~

Moannie said...

I love you for your extreme honesty which does not always make for easy reading, there are words that make me flinch for a time that has past while leaving dregs that linger.
I have a huge well of guilt for the sins of our fathers, the fore-fathers of those who dragged men and women from their villages to be sold as slaves.It was an abomination. How many years have so many suffered and continue to suffer.
Now I am going over to Michelle's blog.

Eric said...

This is a great post. I had already read Michelle's (since I'm a avid follower of hers), and I'm glad I journeyed over to read yours as well. Both of you have inspired me to write my own post concerning race, so feel free to stop by and let me know what you think.

i beati said...

good stuff both of you ..I know an African- American History opening

Ananda girl said...

Great post with a good, honest set of views... the only kind worth getting. Thank you both.

And Suldog, you really did not have to tell us who you were in the picture. I saw you for you before the words pointed you out. hahaha

(I love the skulking dad thing too.)

Jeni said...

Kudos to you and Michelle for posting this. Although the area where I have lived the majority of my life was, still is, very much on the pale side, unlike several of my friends and neighbors from childhood, I did experience a bit of integration when I was in 2nd and 3rd grades as I was living then in Jamestown, NY and there were a smattering of black kids in my class. One little girl my age, in my class, and I became friendly at school (I recall her name was Cynthia) and I saw nothing wrong with our being friends. And, I don't recall any of the other students making any issue of that fact either. After moving back to PA -to the family homestead here -I don't recall any instances of kids my age ever discussing race at all. In this little village, my friends here were all too entangled in the prejudices of ethnics -Slovak vs Swede -to be worrying about issues of race since all of us here were white. Maybe, because I realized early on that prejudice for really stupid reasons existed and that it was an issue I ignored, picking and choosing my friends based on what they were like, inside and not where their ancestors originated, that when I left home and went to work in D.C. for 8 years, I had no problem accepting people for who they were. And I tried to raise my kids in the same manner as well. Seeing how my kids are about race and ethnic stuff today, I'm really proud of them as they are very accepting of everyone and not base friendships on color or other features. And they aren't afraid to speak out when they hear others make degrading remarks either.
This area is still pretty much the "lily white" it was when I was growing up although I think we do have a couple of families in our school district now of other races and cultures. Plus, intermarriage or relationships with other races has brought in changes as has a lot of adoptions from Asia and such, so it has made this, in my opinion, an easier transition for the old school people than people in other regions might have experienced. There are still a few families though who get really uptight over their kids dating someone from another ethnic group -a Swede associating with a Slovak or vice versa or a catholic mingling with a protestant too. Stupid, yes -I know -but old habits often do die hard too. Thankfully, those numbers are diminishing though.
Excellent post by both of you!

Anonymous said...

I have always heard that two heads are better than one. This is proof. Great job by both of you.
Coach O

endangered coffee said...

Two of my favorite bloggers together. It's a veritable Justice League of America of blogging.

lakeviewer said...

For a wonderful idea for both you and Michelle to share these experiences. It's a good start to open up conversations that should be happening everywhere.

Chris@Maugeritaville said...

Excellent, excellent piece, Sully. I also grew up in an almost exclusively light grey town in Jersey. My elementary school had exactly two African American students, both male, both named Bruce Phillips, and not related to each other. "Big Bruce" and "Little Bruce". Needless to say, moving to Southern California when I was in HS opened my eyes to lots of things.

Again, awesome writing as always, and now I'm off to Michelle's.

Theresa said...

Great idea for dual posts. I've read Michelle's and these are two wonderful reads. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Mushy said...

Wonderful...just plain wonderful...both of you!

Craver Vii said...

I like that this piece is a constructive bridge-building effort. At home, we teach our kids that "the N word" is a vulgar swear word, and never to be uttered. Thankfully, several family members have interracial marriages, and their children are beautiful. That was always supposed to be the winning point when arguing about racism and why we let our daughter have a male friend who's skin was dark: "What if they were to have children?" ALL children are beautiful!

At your recommendation, I visited Michelle's blog, and she seems to have just as twisted a sense of humor as you. Thanks in advance for the many laughs. :-)

Joan said...

Read both. Great posts.

Buck said...

I've yet to read Michelle's piece (Suldog appearing in my blog roll, alphabetically, before Surly) but I will.

First: I remember the TV coverage of Boston's integration, and I suspect your father was more concerned about violence from those opposed to the integration than from the kids on the bus. It was an ugly time, if memory serves.

Second: You know I'm a military brat. I spent my early formative years overseas (from ages 8 to 13) and was schooled in the DoD system, which, like the military itself, was fully-integrated... and one of the first institutions to do so. This, of course, being the mid-50s. That said, my parents were closet racists... never blatant about it, but undenying of their heritage and upbringing. I like to believe that my black schoolmates and I had a part in their education.

Third: Fast forward to 1963, when I was assigned to Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS... and I was there during the worst of the "events" (think: Medgar Evers and the Mississippi Freedom Summer). Segregation was in its death throes then and it wasn't pretty, what with serious violence in the air. We, meaning the Air Force in the larger sense and my buddies and I at a micro-level, had problems of our own with the "local community." Ah... this could get way-long... I'll stop here. Suffice to say in closing I've seen the best and the worst of this issue, up close and personal.

Thanks for the post and I'm looking forward to Tuesday. (Monday, too) Off to Michelle's place now.

Jenn said...

Will be back to actually read this post but thought you might like to see this footage. Couldn't find you but your eyes might be better than mine :-)

Suldog said...

Buck:

Just to be clear, when the black students were integrated into our school, it was about 7 or 8 years in front of the court-ordered desegregation that most of the country saw on the TV news. I actually graduated high school the year before court-ordered citywide busing took place. I don't know what the impetus for our integration was, although I assume it was also the result of a legal decision and not just the wonderful hearts of the Boston School Committee.

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

way to go...you are both F.A.B. which stand for fab-ulous... in my book anyway. Rich posts and a beascon for all...love the fact you arranged this and its worked out so well...

congratulations... great message

MVD said...

Even today, Boston seems more racially segregated than New York, DC, or Philadelphia (although I live in the NYC area, I visit the other three quite often). While I never think twice about wading into the mixture of all races and ethnicities, it's the perceived absence of this visible melting pot in Beantown (restaurants, streets, subways, etc.) which makes me take notice.

Or maybe I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. It's not like I commissioned a scientific poll or anything.

Great posts, yours and Michelle's.

Thumbelina said...

Sully - standing ovation. That takes courage my friend, and I admire your honesty. I have opened Michelle's link and I am off to read her now.

I also grew up in an all white neighbourhood, but there weren't the same issues about mixing as you had to deal with, or grown ups with such fears, although words like "nigger" were commonplace. We still discuss sometimes how this was (when I was a child) a descriptive term - nothing more - until it became an insult and finally now, a term of abuse. Language changes as much as attitudes. Sometimes good, sometimes not.

I look forward to the next installment! I appreciated that post and insight, even the uncomfortable bits. Thank you.

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Kudos on tackling such a complex and difficult topic with such honesty.
I'm off to read Michelle's.
Peace, Judi

Melissa said...

What an excellent idea! To be completely honest with you I had never heard of Juneteenth either until just this year! We don't celebrate it here in Ohio.

Anyway, great post. I'm off to read Michelle's.

Jenn said...

Your dad sound a whole lot like my Grampa. Heart in the right place is a damn fine quality in a person. The next generation learning from the not so kind stuff and wanting to change it is an entirely different story and it is good to hear that even though you may have hit a bump or 2 along the way (which will be a great read next week I have no doubt) in the end you developed a strong sense of your own self acceptance. Because that is really what allows a person to accept another.

Oh & you didn't even need to point out which kid you were, you look just the same!

Expat From Hell said...

Significant post, my friend. I am moved and encouraged by what you wrote. I grew up in the West Coast version of your scenario - just substitute Maury Wills for Earl Wilson, and the Lakers for the Celtics. What a sucker punch to find out the relatives didn't have such innocent views of race, huh? I am off to find Michelle now. You are a tribute to race relations, and to Blogging with Significance! Maybe that should be a new award....

Best to you.

EFH

Karen said...

Great post. Haven't been to Michelle's yet, but I'm betting that the ending of both stories will be somewhere along the lines of "love thy neighbor as theyself..."

david mcmahon said...

Wonderful work, Jim.

Woman in a Window said...

Suldog, I'm nearly speechless. Nearly. I'm pained by all the stupid people and caught somewhere because there are so many well meaning people who just never stop to think. You paint a place and time. Boy, do you paint a place and time. I'd like to think that most of us have moved forward. I'm afraid too many have not.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Great post, Suldawg. I am blessed my parents taught us the stoopidity of prejudice and none was allowed in our house...quite forward thinking in the deep south of the 60s.

Now, and do NOT feel obligated, you have awardage waiting at my place from yesterday exactly because of posts like this. :)

Lola said...

Thank you both for this. These candid pieces gave me the chance to meet Michelle (whom I had been keeping my eye on, her witty comments here are a treat) and confirm my admiration for you, all Ionesco parentheticals and short garments aside.

Your Juneteenth joint post idea is a creative and brave way to encourage and promote a better understanding of America. I applaud that. You should publish this and divulge it in schools...

Ciao,
Lola

Maggie May said...

i'm here from Wwoman in the Window and appreciate this stellar story telling, and the honesty in it.

♥ Braja said...

amazing how things were in the US at that time...so starkly prejudiced. And other countries of course...just saying the US as there was such an "us and them" mood towards blacks. I can't figure any of it out....

Merisi said...

Congratulations, Suldog,
on POTD - in my book, you are one of the people with courage!

I spent my childhood in Europe, with very open-minded parents (at the time I thought that was the norm), but in the countryside where my mother, coming from the city, could as well have been of another color, by the way the "natives" were "suspicious" of her. Only when I moved to the USA, did I learn to understand what real racism meant. I am still trying to understand why skin color alone could provoke prejudice and discrimination. I am afraid I never really will.

Maggie May said...

Congratulations on POTD.
I came over from David's and also from Jeni at Down River Drivel. Very good post.
Now I am going to go out & check who that other Maggie May is!!!!!!!!!!!

Brian Miller said...

Congrats on the POTD nomination. your post touched a part of me that has not seen the light in years. i grew up in the sticks where there was a tense unease between the races. every once in a while i still see it and it breaks my heart. i could talk for a while but will leave it at thank you...look forward to the rest of the story.

Cheffie-Mom said...

Hello! It's been a while! I came over from authorblog. Congrats on the Post of the Day Award!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I moved to Canada when I was a teenager and they called me "Yank" and nobody would be my friend because I was from "The States". So I have experienced my own kind of bigotry. In Canada, I learned that they hated East Indian people, (they called them snakes.) They hate people from Pakistan, (they called them Packies), they hate people from Portugal, and they especially hated and scorned their own "native people". I sure did learn a lot about ignorance and racial divides while living up there. Bigotry is alive and well everywhere around the world, not just the U.S.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Great idea of the joint post and I appreciated the open and frank recall of your experiences - it is heartening to see the almost universal natural reaction of a child facing and accepting people of differing colour, but depressing to see how 'the big bad world involving adults with their prejudices invariably ruins it'.
The same thing here in UK.
Enjoyed you post immensely and I am just off to check Michelle's parallel post.
(Enjoyed very much our little banter the other day. btw I have challenged you to a duel!!! Think on that kind Sir. People a scurrying out of the way for a big battle!)
Finally, many congratulations on POTD. Love your blog.
Oh! and I agree baseball is a great game. Best wishes ~ Eddie

Tim King said...

Thanks for posting this story, Jim.

I'm not too much younger than you, and yet it's hard for me to fathom that these racial attitudes yes existed within the lifetime of people I currently know and love.

Meanwhile, my daughter's best friend is black, and no one thinks anything of it. I go to an old, Italian church--and I'm not italian, by any stretch--that is also 10-20% black, and no one things anything of it. Why should we?

Being a libertarian, like you, I tend to have a very open mind. And it's hard for me to fathom...

-TimK

Urbie said...

Thanks, Sully and Michelle -- good to get your perspectives on race and growing up. I grew up in Wayland, MA -- an almost 100%-white suburb of Boston -- and I think one of the worst aspects of suburbia is... well, how vanilla it is. Not conducive to understanding anything about black folks, poor folks, people from other parts of the country, or any of that. Sure, we learned all the politically-correct concepts in school -- but got almost no opportunity to apply them by actually interacting with people who didn't have exactly the same background (and race/ethnicity) we did. My parents did a decent job of raising my sister and me with the right values -- my dad, I have to say, has some pretty nasty prejudices (no -- he's a bigot), but he did not expect us to believe the same things he did. Anyhow, I'm afraid my own views are not quite as enlightened as I'd like them to be... just an outgrowth of having grown up in suburbia. In any case, great columns, both of you! -- Urb

Shrinky said...

Jim, you are such a bully - first you chase me off over here to read this before you let me read the second part I've stumbled in on, and now you are trying to swat me over to Michelle's blog, too!

I will get there, and to your more recent offering, but first I have a flock of hungry Gannets (in the guise of my kids) rugby tackling me to be fed.

Oh, and yeah - great post.

Chris Stone said...

lol. great post. that would make great video... your father shadowing you as you walked to school. gotta watch out for those 8 yr olds!

Pat - Arkansas said...

Morning, Suldog! I'm very much behind in reading my favorite blogger's posts, my having been on the puny side for a while. I am fascinated by your and Michelle's Juneteenth posts; thanks to both of you for agreeing to such a collaboration.

I was blessed to have been raised in multi-ethnic communities (late 1930s - early 1940s). Your and Michelle's comments have triggered the remembrance of my first encounter with a black person, and while it will be pale and anticlimactic when compared to your posts, I will write about it soon (with links to these more meaningful discussions).

Off to read Juneteenth 2.

Pouty Lips said...

The part I'm going to 'glom' onto is the fact that you and Michele are good enough friends that you can have this honest dialogue. I think it's very enlightening for the rest of us to read the results. I almost forgot, congrats on post of the day nomination from David. I agree with Michelle - straight to the ER if the pee looks green.

Janet said...

This was wonderful, yours and Michelle's. I just read hers, but she has closed comments - I hope she's ok.
Being raised in the South, I was taught a number of appalling and ultimately just wrong beliefs. My family was a lot like your grandfather, but unfortunately, I did not have your mother around to temper the evil.