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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Racism and the “N” word…….

I was raised in a racist home. That word was used to describe and address all black people. They were called ****** in polite circles, or ‘colored’. Those that were torn between polite and convention called them ‘******’. I remember my mother admonishing me when I referred to a colored lady as just that. She told me that there was no such thing……only colored women.
And so my upbringing, if you want to call it that, would have me be a bigot. In 1966, George Lincoln Rockwell ran for Governor in Virginia. His platform was that he would send all of the colored people back to Africa just like Abraham Lincoln planned to do. I watched him on a black and white television call-in show, smoking a cigarette, swatting a fly, and taking calls. He would say, “There goes that ni**er fly again. A person, presumably colored called and asked how he knew if that was a ni**er fly. He advised the caller that he had never seen a white one.
The KKK had rallies not far from our home, and as a kid I would frequently see flyers on the phone poles advertising them. For you fact checkers, the rallies were behind Adam’s Store in Varina.
I had only one source of guidance…my parents. But then there came cracks in the racial ice. The first black kid in school in 1966 was John Bentley. We were in Mr. Jenkin’s class at Varina Elementary School. Sure we were all skeptical at first, but he proved to be a really good guy, great student, and someone that could be a pal. Mr. Jenkins tempered John’s assimilation into our sixth grade class with teachings of the history of ethics. Race was never mentioned……….he was clever that way.
Then I got the radio. My family had one of those white plastic GE clock radios that were the staple of many a household in the day. There came a time, after many years of use, my grandmother, “Ma” gave us a new one, making the old white plastic thing obsolete. I was astonished when my parents gave the old one to me.
OK, I’m a curious fellow, and that started early in life. I took the radio apart and began experimenting with winding coils in the antenna circuit. I suspected that I could get different frequencies…..outside of the AM band for which it was designed. One coil hit the sweet spot. I wound a fine copper wire on a toilet paper tube and fitted it into the circuit. To my amazement I soon heard, “You are tuned to Radio Moscow”.
As propaganda, I suppose, they were replaying Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous speech………including “I have a dream”. I heard his dream of people being judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. I was enlightened to be exposed to this concept.
Dissecting the word, “prejudiced” I resolved to never be that.

Fast forward to two days ago. I was standing in line at the Fas-Mart obtaining a six pack of Corona, (nectar of the gods). A nice looking young black man in dreadlocks was behind me. He was wearing a cool tee-shirt with an M-16 rifle sprouting palm leaves on it. It was an odd image that I liked. I told him that it was a cool shirt. He said, “Thank you, sir”
I thought……..cool guy, I hope he lives around here. We need more like-minded people in our community. I paid for the beer and went out to my car. Backing out of my parking place, I observed him leaving the store walking across the parking lot, with a Mountain Dew and a two-pack of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. He popped the lid on the soft drink and unwrapped the candy, dropping the trash as he walked.
Right then and their he became a ni**er. And not because of prejudice. Call it postjudice. And remember what Dr. King said about character.

Ryland
 

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I had a similar upbringing. My father was klan. I've learned there are n&*^ or trailer trash in every race.

There was just a good speech about respect at the convention an hour or so ago. The speaker was right, America is losing respect everywhere.

Karl
 

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I too have been exposed to this while growing up. I always wondered why my Grandmother was so prejudice. She had no use for them.
My relation had a "plantation" home on the Ohio river in Covington Kentucky where it remained for five generations. They owned slaves at one time. I still have a copy of the reward poster when some 18 of them escaped on April 24th, 1847. :eek:
This is past US history and that is how I view it. I have formed my own opinions about mankind and believe that there are both good and bad in all races (and religions) of people.
It is how they act that determines where they rate in my opinion. Parents don't often realize how their attitudes, actions, or words can influence their children. Being so young children often to look to their elders as examples.
I am glad I am not as "opinionated" as my Grandparents or my previous generations.
CaptMax
 

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Growing up in L.A., it was always a mixed race situation, be it school or whatever. My grandparents- who I didn't get to know really, they were gone when I was too young- had first hand experience with bigotry as Christians living under the Ottoman Empire. I think my own folks just didn't have any of that prejudice in them, so it was certainly not part of our home. But all that matters is that one learns in time, no matter what one is taught when young. I always found a song- Lt. Cable's piece from the musical South Pacific- said it best about racism: "It has to be taught."

One point about America's history. Whatever one wants to think about prejudice and slavery in America, intellectual honesty (rarely present) dictates that the rest of the world was no different in that time. Hardly a reasonable argument that we were so bad when no one else had it figured out any better back then. And how did we get that way? We were taught by the best! The British, the French, the Spanish, the Dutch, the Germans, not to mention the black Africans who were so gracious as to enslave their rival tribes and generously sell them to us all. Let's not forget our Arab and Persian friends, not to mention others of the mohammedan faith, many of whom still enjoy the privileges of slavery to this day. While we were not the first country to put an end to slavery, by any stretch, we certainly are the country that paid the highest price to end it. We can pick and choose if that is a badge of honor or a disgrace, but it remains a fact of history.
 

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I, too, grew up in a home not openly practicing prejudice. The first time I heard someone calling a black guy by "the N word" to his face was on a bus to Richmond from Northern Virginia in '59, ninth grade. The bus was overfull and a black guy was sitting in the aisle drinking and getting obnoxious. The guy seated in the aisle seat next to me told the guy "you're acting like a N, so shut the F up, N!" It was a black guy calling the black guy in the aisle names !!! :rofl: Later came Richard Pryor.


Carry On!
Gary
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I am currently reading "The Other Slavery" which recounts slavery in the Caribbean, Mexico, and the South western US where the Spanish enslaved the locals, be they Caribe Indians or other indigenous people and imported African slaves. Indians enslaved captives white or black and indian, a sort of equal opportunity slavery. Enslavement has been going on since the dawn of time by just about everybody.

My dad was born in Kentucky in 1895, so you can imagine what his views were. He ran a mom & pop grocery store and meat market we had both black and white trade, whatever he thought, it didn't extend to the customers. When I was 4 or so we actually had a black house maid who lived on some acreage she brought me double yolk eggs from their chicken coop to fix for my breakfast. Her husband worked as an auto body mechanic 2 doors north of our store, I used to go there and sit on a stool and watch him work, some times on hot days my dad would tell me to bring him a cold soda.

My first introduction to racial animus was boarding a city bus in uniform in Norfolk, VA in 1962. When the bus stopped I entered by the rear door and sat down, only to be called to the front of the bus by the driver and told "I know you are not from around here, but white people sit in the front and ******** sit in the back that's just the way we live here". This was something I had never considered before, so I sat in the front of the bus, mostly because that's what the prevailing mores were.
 

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Young people in the city (at least when I was teaching in one of the toughest inner city high schools in Philadelphia, 94% black, 3% hispanic, 2% asian, 1% white) used that word with each other the way we used man or dude back in the day in talking with each other. I knew I was accepted by them when they acted up and I had to crack down on them and they would complain saying "That ***** is tripping!" and they were talking about me. Would make me chuckle and shake my head every time. There were other moments of slang language barriers too. That same class decided they would play a practical joke on me with my papers and grade book, nothing bad, just being nudges. As I came down the hall back to my room they panicked and by accident knocked my full coffee over on my desk, my papers, my gradebook. EVERYTHING was covered and dripping with coffee. I realized it was an accident and didn't get angry, picked up the gradebook by the binder so the coffee could drain out from between the pages into the sink on the lab table and sarcastically said to a wide eyed group of fearful students expecting me to explode "that was really sweet guys" (meaning messed up) The entire class jumped to their feet upset and yellin "Why you gotta come at us like that!" Realizing my statement must mean something ENTIRELY different than what I had meant it to be I explained my meaning and asked what it meant to them. In their slang at the time "sweet"meant gay. So they thought I had called an their entire classroom of High school males gay. I apologized about the mix up and it was all good.
 

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Parents views...

My father..northern born...made a superlative choice of women. My mother...a genteel southern lady...was Miss Chattanooga,TN in 1938 and came in 3rd. in that years Miss TN paggent. Mother,being from the South,was raised by a colored nanny. Her father had died when she was 4 and together with her twin brother/sister and older sister,were raised by 'Sookie' while their mother...my grand-mother,Miss Annie,ran her own flower shop in Chattanooga. Sookie was an older colored woman who was a celebrated cook and had raised several children of her own.
When I was barely walking...maybe June 1947...my mother took me South to visit while my father was being sworn in as a federal officer. My memory,of being chased around the kitchen table in a cloth diaper while Sookie swatted my butt with her towel,remains vivid. Both my mother and Sookie were cackeling and howling their heads off while I was scooting around trying to remain out of reach of Sookie's towel. I never heard the 'N' word until high school and had only seen black folks from a distance. Never had blacks in my Catholic grade school and only had 4 in my Catholic high school. I never used the 'N' word until a few years as a police officer jaded my outlook.

Moral of my story: We are products of our enviroment. There has never been a society that did not have slavery...never. Even the Jews had slaves,as did every civilization in history. The USA just legislated it out of existence here. The 'War Between the States'...or war of northern aggression...was not about slavery. This is not generally taught because the victor gets to write and teach the history...wrongly. Study and learn history,folks.
 

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Len your dad was a Yankee? That explains a lot lol just kidding brother.

Ryland this sounds like a good conversation to have over a couple beers :drink: I am in Charlottesville for the next 10+ weeks if you get time. I think you are only about an hour away?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sure, let's do it

Charlottesville is only 17 minutes from Richmond by air. Just got a replacement aircraft, so let's do it. PM me a contact number.

Ryland
 
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