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Monday, January 21, 2008

MLK and elections

I read in the Denver Post yesterday about how many people still can't see themselves voting for a black man for president. It's just how we were brought up. It's just my nature...our nature...the region where I live...

Well, I remember the department store water fountains marked White and Colored from when I was a kid. I rode the city bus to school and black people had to ride in the back. My grandfather wouldn't allow black people in his house, and our neighbors were terribly worried that my parents would sell their house to a black family when we moved.

But a lot of remarkable, courageous people changed all that. Some of it in great sweeping, dangerous movements. Some of it in tiny steps. My parents sent my sisters and me to the first elementary school in my city to admit a black student alongside whites, and to the first high school to graduate a black student alongside whites. How huge those things seemed back then, and how small right now. On this day, I thank all those people for making this country more what it should be. And I urge everyone to think beyond the past.

7 comments:

D. Robert Pease said...

I couldn't agree more. It boggles my mind sometimes that there are still people in this country that wouldn't vote for a man just because of the color of his skin. I am a card-carrying republican so the chances of me voting for a democrat are slim to none, but my reasons have nothing to do with skin color, or gender for that matter.

mtbikemom said...

Also hoping to be able to vote for a conservative person of color someday, or a woman or both, for president. Had high hopes for Elizabeth Dole once...but that's just a bit of competitive drive that Republicans will break the barrier first. How to incorporate that theme into fantasy??? I'm not sure it's been done...

karen wester newton said...

One reason I have hope for the future is because people have the ability to act on what they know intellectually to be true and not be held back by what they were told in their youth, even if they never shake some of the effects. My mother always taught us that skin color didn't matter. It surprised the heck out of us when she was shocked by my sister dating someone who wasn't white. I think this is why every generation gets a little better at being colorblind.

Scottie said...

As a Canadian I feel a little removed from the racial struggles that the USA experienced, but just a few weeks ago I saw a commercial for an upcoming documentary about how a small town in Alberta was "dealing with diversity." Apparently this small farming community had its first non-white family move to town, and they produced a TV DOCUMENTARY about it.

In 2007.

A TV DOCUMENTARY about how a small farming community in Alberta has black people living in it.

I was shocked, amazed, and more than just a little bit saddened. Is this really how far we've come?

carolwriter said...

A TV DOCUMENTARY about how a small farming community in Alberta has black people living in it.

I was shocked, amazed, and more than just a little bit saddened. Is this really how far we've come?


Well, we still have people fighting the evolution in the schools wars, too. But things ARE better. One of my kids stood up for a woman at the Colorado Democratic caucuses last week. One of my kids stood up for a black man. That is a day to cheer about. (I was on an airplane, darn it!)

We just can't get complacent and imagine that such deep-rooted divides of race, gender, or religion have somehow vanished in a decade or two.

padlocke09 said...

I'm not going to leave a very detailed response, because my emotions on this issue can be safely summed up quickly;

You tell 'em!

People will get over this racial thing one day, maybe far into the future, farther than my children or my childern's children, and only when they do will the world really open up and reach out to us. It's just a bit sad. That's all.

Karen said...

The problems with racism and sexism are very prevalent still in images, language, and entertainment.

Have you ever noticed how garden statues of little girls inevitably hold a butterfly or a flower, whereas boys hold frogs and turtles? What does this say?

And I can think of many, many more examples for both sexism and racism.

Oh my, I really need to stop reading blogs. I feel my entire master's thesis idea shifting in my head...

-Kas