Thursday, September 8, 2011

Soapbox {again}

This post, well, it might really trip some triggers, but here goes...
Today I was asking my co-worker about seeing the movie, "the help"
She said that she was really eager to see the movie, she had not seen it yet, and she was
just amazed that it was even showing here.
I asked her, "Why?"
--you need to know, dear reader, that she is not {from here}.
Nor is she Southern.
She was assuming that a movie with racial social commentary might not be well
received {in these here parts}.
Well, I took my five minutes to {school her a bit}, and to be honest, after having lived here
a while, I am surprised she needed schooling.
The place where I live, up until now, has been mostly half white and half black people.
The white people here do not go around saying where their ancestors are from either..
We are just white people who have been here (Eastern NC) a long time.
The black people have been here a long time too...
Enough said.
So I said to her, "It is surprising to me that you would think that this movie would be offensive,
or touch a nerve.  This is {our story}."
Now this movie is not the story of everyone.
BUT every old white lady I have talked to remembers that time, the hair
the social strata and the mistreatment of half of the population b/c of the color of their skin.
Yes.  They remember it.
I did have to confirm with my mother that people actually did their hair that way...
Since I left home after high school even until now, I am always amazed by
the assumptions that people who are {not from here} make about racism, about
how Southerners interact and treat one another.
When I have actually asked these people questions..well, I have been schooled on
what {theoretical} means.
Not being racist is theoretical for them...as most of them never even went to school with a
black person--there were no black people at their school in (you pick it)--New Hampshire,
Wisconsin etc.
There were none.
So then, when I can say to them, well, you see...
A black lady really did raise my mother.
I went to school, and grew up with (fill in the blank's) mother, and aunt
and cousins...and I have known them all my life.  My principals, and teachers and the
valedictorian of my graduating class were all black people....
When I can say that relating to people of another race is built into my life and has been
for generations...then I can honestly say, and believe that I am not racist.
I really do care about the education of all these kids, and I have a vested interest in them...
I know their mama! :) (They all love it when I tell them this, no matter what shade of skin they have!)
Meanwhile, some of the most racist remarks I ever hear come from people who have moved to the South
from the North or Mid West, and they realize that --ugh..We all go to the SAME WAlH3ll  HERE!
Yep...there ain't two em...
You are gonna see lot of black people all around--b/c that is how it is!
And how Not Racist do you feel when you actually have to live around, and educate, and shop with
people who are not just like you?
It is not theoretical...so check yourself, and do not assume anything about me..

1 comment:

Bethany said...

Interesting! Tell it! I am surprised she thought there would be {movie censorship} there? You are right - it is our story. In all its gut and glory and rights and wrongs. MYSIL from Cleveland has said similar things - they live in basically segregated, ethnic neighborhoods... she is fascinated by Real Life in a small town. Good post, Susan! Oh, and what I have heard from parents who move out of our school district: It is too "multicultural" - is that the new global racism? Xenophobia. :)