Friday, September 11, 2009

Racism In the United States

I am going to enter into some really drastic appraisals of the reality of the racism practised in the United States. If this offends you since I am going to be honest and probably rather controversial, then, you ought to NOT listen to what I have to say. I am more concerned about the problem and the solutions, not anyone's feelings, including mine. If you are socially conscious or at least wish to be, this is a good place to start. I am a caucasion male in my late fifties so I have seen over a half century of change in this country that has come so slowly that I really don't think some people are really trying, although I realise there is resistance. I would love to be able to address this concern to whole companies of men who still enjoy the privelege of being born a different race, depending on what the circumstances are. Different races enjoy being the majority in different occupations and areas of the country. For instance, if I was a textile worker down South, I am likely to be caucasion, although this isn't exclusively correct. There are some other races employed there but the majority of some industries actually causes a discomfort level of who is wanting to be disclosed as being the majority. For example, in Phoenix, Arizona where I am from, this doesn't apply the same as in Norton/Barberton, Ohio, near Akron. The town there is pretty much supported by the one industry that a lot of the citizens hate. In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma there is a distinct Native American population there and white people don't seem to tolerate anyone BUT other white people, and some of them, just barely. It is almost like a caste system, as in India. You are born of a certain race there and because of that you are given a certain position in society. If you are black, you work day labor, attend certain churches and can't be served food or beverages in a lot of establishments. But, they do have their own places to go. The same goes with the "Indians" (native Americans) that are overwhelmingly abundant in Oklahoma. Most of the ones I met receieved a check from the government for being native American of specific tribes. Oklahoma City has a ban on serving alcohol on Sunday and during certain hours of the rest of the time, so they have private "clubs" that a person can bring their own bottle to, and be served their own booze at an ?after hours price". The private clubs seem to be exclusively run in the interest of caucasions. There are bootleggers all over town. The whole town is set up for people who drink too much. When I worked for a paper mill for a couple days, we had a guy there who pointed out the restroom. It says Men Only. Something was scratched out over that. When I got up close enough, I could see it had been the word "White" that someone could say that they had attempted to scratch out, but not enough to where you couldn't read it. I walked into my favorite establishment and saw my friend Charley who owned and operated the Buffalo Nickel bar, tell a black man, "We don't serve niggers here." A) I couldn't believe it when this guy say those words, and B) when the black guy looked at me he said, "Why don't you come with me to my bar?" We went to a place called "Mother's." That was quite an experience. I realised I was in a reversed situation. I was in a bar whose patronage was solely black people. I also realised that this place was so opposite of what my concept would be that I was amazed.I even got the bum rush as I came in. Some little skinny black dude ran clear from the other end of the room to ask me, "What are you doing here?" The low tones of the man I came to know later came resounding like a whisper of a gun barrel. "He's with me." Without a word, the little man vaporized into the room. All I had done was look quizical at someone calling him a name and refusing to serve him. It was without a doubt, the strangest night of my entire stay in Oklahoma. That includes one time I found myself riding in a stolen car and had to bust some guy in the head to get some woman out of a bad situation and bring her home.
Tonight I have just come from a Buddhist gongyo meeting where I was chanting, my present lady friend is black, life just doesn't look like it used to for me.
Life got weird when I was a kid because of my mother's side of the family. I couldn't get a rise out of her brothers concerning some things. But when it came to black people, they didn't have any use for them, was the way they put it. Once my uncles came to a church function where they wore black face and sang the minstrel show stuff and really made the people there laugh. I found it distasteful later on, as I didn't understand, and when it was over, I saw one uncle after another tell me hello and tell me who he was. I took off running at this other man who looked somewhat similar, he just looked at me and started laughing, my dad started apologising. He told me, "No, son, my skin is always like this, this is my natural color." I had no idea.

No comments:

Post a Comment