Monday, November 10, 2008

A bedtime story or At Grandma's Knee

I've told this little anecdote a few times since the election so figured it deserved a little space here. Maybe the title should be "Discrimination is Dead."

When trying to explain my own attitude I can think of nothing more appropriate as to why blacks stay in a mindset which makes them either victims or vengeful than to describe the kind of Norman Rockwell moment where the kid, if it's a boy, is fishing with Grandpa or, if it's a girl, in the kitchen with Grandma. And what do you suppose they talk about?

Now raise your hands if you ever had an "elder" talk about walking 5 miles through the snow to school? Or having to build a fire for the teacher in the one room school house? Or having Monday for washing clothes, Tuesday for ironing, Wednesday for baking, Thursday for cleaning, etc., etc. (With no labor saving devices.) Or on a farm making hay and threshing. And having a paper route, being a Boy or Girl Scout or in the 4-H club and going to the county fair or even to the point of telling about the boat trip that brought them from another country to Ellis Island.

Now, if you are darker skinned, did your grandparent ever tell you the story of a grandparent, great grandparent or shirt tail relation who was lynched? Did you learn what "separate but equal" meant? Which relative had a cross burned in their yard? Which hotel would allow you to register if you were lucky enough to travel? Separate water fountains, having to move off the sidewalk when meeting certain people on the street, not being able on a hot day to buy a tall, fizzy Coke because coloreds were not allowed at the soda fountain--plus a whole bunch of other Jim Crow laws.

You're right. Those days are gone, but if those are the stories you grew up with, it would be pretty hard to just dismiss the stories of Grandma or Grandpa. Especially if there are folks around who have made a living making you feel like a victim and the monetarily successful around you are gangsta rappers, drug dealers and pimps. Not to mention single parent families, sperm donors and an abortion rate 5 times greater than white women. 50 abortions per 1000 pregnancies vs 10.5 per 1000for white women. In Mississippi, Louisiana, Maryland and Georgia more than half of all abortions are performed on black women.

So now try to tell me that they don't have good reason to shed some emotional tears. We'll get into "I'm Okay, You're Okay" aka as transactional analysis which was a popular contrast to the Freudian "Mom made me do it" era.

A Christian or spiritual attitude is going to be absolutely imperative for all of us and working together a necessity if we're to get through some pretty trying times.
I leave you with a Reagan quote if you think I am getting too Pollyanna-ish:
Trust, but verify.

See you tomorrow

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