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10/22/2018

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This is good and I have things to say about it, but I have stuff to take care of first.

AMDG

Good. I guess I'll leave it up then. I was thinking about taking it down because as a privileged white guy I'm not supposed to talk about race.:-/

Seriously: my wife pointed out a mistake in this, not that it matters much to anyone reading this: Karlos Finley is actually Dora's brother, not her son.

Also, more significantly, she thought people might misunderstand the significance of the Martin de Porres hospital. It existed not to keep black people out of white hospitals, but because they were kept out--i.e. to provide a service that was otherwise difficult or impossible for them to get.

That never crossed my mind about the hospital, but I suppose some people might think that way. I would have been sorry if you had taken it down.

AMDG

No, it didn't cross my mind, either, but I can see how they might. I wasn't seriously considering taking down the post btw.

I knew you weren't but I can see how some people might think you were.

AMDG

Dylan was on Wednesday, Mac! :)

Argh

I have been trying to respond to this for a couple of days but have been having a terrible time writing what I want to say.

Anyway, here goes in parts:

I was never opposed to inter-racial marriage, except that I worried that mixed-race children would have to fight the Civil War every day of their lives. It's getting to be so common now though, that in a generation or two most people with have them in their families.

At my old job, the receptionist was Mexican and had a black grandson, and my boss was black and had a white granddaughter, and I have Hispanic great-grandchildren.

AMDG

The Protestant seminary where I worked was the first white seminary to admit a black student, which might mean it was the first accredited seminary to have a black student. The seminary is very oriented toward Civil Rights. The older black faculty members would complain because the younger black people did not know or care what things had been like--they were just interested with getting on with things.

I just went to Grandparents' Lunch with my granddaughter, and saw the same thing you describe at your grandsons' school. All my granddaughter's friends are black, and the difference doesn't even seem to exist for them. This may change when they are older, but I don't know.

There is this, though. When I am with black friends, I see things that white people don't always see. For instance, once I was at my black neighbor’s house, and a workman came to the door. When she answered the door, he looked right past her and started talking to me. I’ve been in similar situations twice recently. Sunday, something like that happened again, and I mentioned it to the woman, she said, “It happens to me all the time.”

AMDG

Sunday on the way home from Mass, we were listening to The Moth Radio Hour. The man speaking, a Pakistani Muslim, was talking about what it was like to move to a small town in rural Missouri. He talked about the difficulties they face, but he also talked a lot about how he grew to love living there. He said that the people who lived there were so kind and generous, even though they might have been racist. They were good people.

It is this paradox that strikes me all the time living in rural Mississippi. They would do anything for you if you needed help, and I am pretty sure that they would help black people in a crisis too. They don't dislike black people. There is just this deep-seated, generations old sense of superiority. But in every other way, they are good people. It's hard to understand, really.

I'm not sure that if someone from another planet showed up at Walmart, they would think there was any racial tension at all.

AMDG

:-) (about the Walmart remark)

Well, I could say about as much in response to your comments as you did in response to my post. That paradox is indeed interesting. I think anyone who grew up in the South is probably aware of it, especially those of us who are older. It's a little like a remark C.S. Lewis makes about English country people--that they would rant and threaten horrible things against the Germans, but help a downed German pilot.

I once knew someone who habitually used the n-word and did not in general think well of black people. But he had a position of responsibility in which he managed a large staff, many of whom were black, and felt honor-bound to treat everyone the same.

My wife tells a story of when she was a teenager (late '60s) shocking her family by saying that intermarriage was the obvious solution to racial friction. Just mix us all up and there won't be any obvious lines to draw. As you note, there's a lot of that happening, and it's actually having that effect.

A year or so ago I was talking to a guy I'd hired to do some minor electrical work. He was someone who would be generally described as a redneck, and he probably wouldn't mind. Somehow or other we got onto the subject of race and he mentioned a friend who was somewhat racist, and believed that it's wrong for the races to intermarry. But his son married a black woman, and he loves his mixed-race grandchildren as much as any grandfather does.

That's funny. I have said for years that if I were the boss of everybody I would make a law that everybody had to marry somebody of a different race.

It takes a hard-hearted person to resist those grandchildren whatever they are like.

AMDG

There is this, though. When I am with black friends, I see things that white people don't always see. For instance, once I was at my black neighbor’s house, and a workman came to the door. When she answered the door, he looked right past her and started talking to me. I’ve been in similar situations twice recently. Sunday, something like that happened again, and I mentioned it to the woman, she said, “It happens to me all the time.”

I've been a few times in social situations where someone has deliberately ignored me and, boy, did it ever rankle. Can't imagine what it must be like to have that happen all the time, and because of my race.

There was something else. It's driving me crazy.

I speculate that in the situations you describe the workman is assuming that the white lady is the person in charge. I think men do that to women fairly often--if there's a couple, talk to him instead of her. Not necessarily a conscious snub but I'm sure very irritating.

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