Friday, July 23, 2010

Get Over It

When I was young, I worked for the Federal Poverty Program in a number of different jobs, cities, and towns, including a mill town in Appalachia, that had not only a Monsanto plant, but a St, Regis paper mill as well. It was so nasty that black chunks actually fell out of the air, the local streams bubbled and turned very strange colors, and people actually got "black lung," like coal miners.


I found, not just there, but everywhere else I worked for the FPP, that there was absolutely no difference between the African American and  Caucasians (about 50/50 population-wise) who lived there. Except for the very strange difference that the black people had better table manners.

I became, quite literally "color-blind," in that, if I had any reason to, I actually had to stop and think whether someone, a fellow worker, a client, a student, or whatever the case might have been, was black or white. I had to picture their face in my mind, and figure it out.

I had some pretty fierce conversations about the perceived differences with my upper middle class white friends. I broke up with my boyfriend (a surgeon) after an angry and tearful argument, over his assertion that Caucasians  are naturally smarter than African or African-American people. He actually said something along the lines of their brains being smaller or something (surgeon, remember--had to have had some anatomy lessons.) Sound a little like the Aryan philosophy? It did to me. I walked home from his house in the middle of the night that night--or would have if a local policeman had not stopped and given me a ride. (Things were way different back then.) Last I saw of him except for the occasional accidental meeting in the OR.

I discovered that poverty, lack of education, and poor diet are Equal Opportunity Providers: of low IQ, demoralization, debilitation and debasement. There was absolutely no discernible difference except the one I mentioned above.

I reasoned with my friends that I had seen, in museums in Europe, carefully illustrated travel journals' from as far back as the Middle Ages, that depicted African cities with carefully laid out street plans, four or more story buildings, and the like. I saw poetry, art work to rival any I've ever seen in beauty, and writings on mathematics and astronomy. It didn't matter. I might as well have been talking to brick walls.

Unlike some of the New World ancient cultures, the African cities were primarily built out of wood, and returned very quickly to jungles. And sorry everybody who didn't already know it; the African narions were doing a brisk trade in slavery while my ancestors (I don't know what yours were up to) were still running around naked and painting themselves blue with woad.

It's time to get over it everybody. If you're an American and reading this, you're almost certainly better off than you would have been if your ancestors had stayed wherever they came here from, by whatever means.If  you're of African descent, and someone offered you a free plane ticket, would you move to "back" to Africa? If you're of Serbian descent and offered the sane deal would you take it?

I didn't think so.


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2 comments:

  1. hi, nice post & good blog, i think u must try this site to increase traffic. have a nice day !!!

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  2. Damn, SIL, I didn't know you had done all that. You're right though, about the "nom de plume" thing, Big Brother, both Governmental and Corporate KNOWS ALL. You are SO busted.

    ReplyDelete

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