Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Talking with Mom



I hope everyone had a good day!

Are you all fired up for the debate tonight? Woohooo! Me, too! Let's get to debatin'! Gimme a D! Gimme an E...okay...shutting up now.

Whoops! I just almost did a spit take when Chris Matthews said just now that Sarah Palin has lost her "new car smell." That was a close one, but I managed to keep it inside. The computer is spit-free.

I had a good talk with Mom this morning when I called to wish her a happy birthday. (Thanks everyone, for the birthday wishes for her! She thought that was pretty cool!) I told her that my gift to her today was that I would NOT be singing to her. She laughed and said that she wouldn't mind, and I said, "Don't be so sure!"

We talked about several things, and when I asked if they were going to watch the debate, Mom said, "Ohhhh, yeah!" Even though they've already voted! We didn't dwell on actual politics too much, and talked more about the economy and dealing with hard times than anything. (As Depression kids, her and Dad know all about hard times, believe me.) This entry isn't about any of that...but we did talk about racism, and that's what I want to write about tonight.

We got on the subject because Mom said that it's sad that there are a lot of people who won't vote for Obama because he's black. She mentioned the South, and I said, "Mom, it's just as bad up here." LJ has mentioned that she's heard people in Ohio say that they won't vote for him for that reason, and I've heard it here in Indiana. I'm not singling out any state or region, because I've heard it plenty here in my own state, much to my chagrin. But...that's reality. I don't like it, I think it's shameful, but it's still present. The stupid Klan was very active here in the 20's, and there's still a group in the area. (By the way, I find them completely irrelevant and ludicrous. Maybe one day they'll figure it out, too.)

Mom told me about visiting a relative who had a house in southern Georgia (an aunt by marriage). This aunt, who was a very sweet lady in many ways, took Mom and Dad to a place on the property where there was a big old tree. She told Mom and Dad it was the "killing tree."

Mom said that it was a huge tree, and there was a big limb that stuck straight out sideways, and when she realized what the woman was talking about, and what that tree was used for, she had a chill come over her, thinking about all the horrible things that had happened there. She told me about the son of this woman, who said he saw "a nigger walking in town" (and you're right, Marc, it's very hard to even type that word) and he "wanted to just run him over." I told Mom that if I heard someone say that in my presence, I would probably just go off, because that is beyond belief, and I cannot stomach such idiocy.

I'll say again that this isn't about politics. This is about simple human decency, and getting past such sheer stupidity. Our friend Mark tells us that we don't fully comprehend the impact such racism has had on blacks. I don't take offense at that, because I believe he's right. I CAN'T completely understand it, but I CAN condemn it for what it is: ignorance. A complete and utter lack of understanding for other people, other cultures, and fellow human beings. I can also stand up to people who make racist remarks and hold them up to the ridicule that they so deserve.

I thanked Mom today for the fact that her and Dad never gave me any sense of that kind of prejudice and racism. It's interesting that they didn't because there are many in their family and of their generation who DID feel that way. For some reason, Mom and Dad never did, and they gave that attitude to me and my sisters. Mom said something that made me happy. She said, "Dad and I were always glad that you girls never felt that way." I never realized that it was something that was an issue for Mom and Dad, but apparently it's something that they discussed and actively promoted with us. It must have been from an early age, and fairly pervasive, because I never remember feeling that anyone was inferior to us because of their race.

So here's to my Mom and Dad, octogenarians who were way ahead of their time, and who taught me that the measure of a man or woman is not their skin color (or their orientation) but their ethics, compassion, and humanity. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

15 comments:

  1. Mom sounds like a real cool chic! Glad she raised such a cool kid.

    No debate tonight...watching the Phillies beat the Dodgers.

    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a zero tolerance for racism in any shape or form. I will say nothing more here, but, rest assured, do not even hint at racism in my prescence, PERIOD. I am looking forward to the debate tonight, and believe that this will seal the deal. Nough Said :o)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thought provoking post, although when West Indians first came to Britain they suffered terrible racial abuse, however not in the form of lynching although there are many ways to destroy people, and yes things have got much better here in the last 50 or so years,(it is illegal in the UK to make racist comments) since this became law it's pushed the whole thing underground, where I fear it just festers I personally would rather deal with it head on. In the UK Political Correctness rules, and it's gone to far EG your no longer allowed to say "Blackboard" because it may be offensive to someone of colour, but the "National Front" are allowed to hold public meetings(our version of the Klu Klux Klan) without the white sheets, people still just don't the point it is wrong, I doubt there will ever be a balance, I hope Obama wins, not simply because he is black but because he is the right person for the job.

    Yasmin

    ReplyDelete
  4. What wonderful parents you have!! I'll be switching between the debate and the Dodgers beat the Phillies tonight!!! LOL Karen!!

    Joann

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hope your Mom had a nice birthday. This was a great entry Beth.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Beth,
    Happy Birthday to your mom. I'll never understand racism ... how people can be so cruel to one another on the basis of skin color, religious preference, etc. It's so disappointing to think that there are people who refuse to vote for someone based on the color of their skin.
    Best,
    Marty

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had a real problem with hubby's family's(originally from Tennessee)racism. I didn't want my son exposed to it. Period. They'd just laugh and say "We'll see".
    Well my son takes after his mother! So-we saw! Ha!
    :) Leigh

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes, racism is very deeply rooted in the south still. Some white families, shall I say redneck type think its ok to still act that way. Of course I have seen reverse discrimination too. I'm glad that your parents raised you that way. I wish my parents were more open minded. They didn't mind us having friends of other races, but forget dating someone, especially an African American!

    ReplyDelete
  9. You and your Mom have a wonderful relationship. I hope she had a Happy Birthday! It is a shame that there is still not only racism but predudice about women too. One day I hope we all get it right. My Mom taught me that we were all created equal in God's eyes and that I was not better than anyone else, nor was anyone better than me. We both have great Moms. 'On Ya' - ma

    ReplyDelete
  10. I will write about some of the racist things i have encountered in my "travels" this week (read into that what you know i went thru this week and you know i saw some people i usually wouldn't have seen or been around). Racism is VERY real, VERY. Is it a lower class thing? Is it wide spread? I find it SICKENING. Martin Luther King, Jr. died and for what? I do not dislike Obama for his color. It is a non issue. You wrote a WONDERFUL entry here. Loved it.
    XO

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your parents did right by you and they sound like cool folks. My mom was a flower child and taught me not to be racist towards anyone.

    It was a bit of a shock moving to where I live now since it is a highly racist area. We had one black family and they were just recently "run out of town" due to threats towards their children. The few others who tried to live here didn't last longer than a year.

    The only Obama sign in the area was defaced, put up again and they woke to find "ni&&&& lover die" spray painted on their garage door the next day. The sign is still down and I feel bad for them...I know they are now marked and will have nothing but trouble even though they are white.

    There are numerous groups around, I know where they are & what they do so I would imagine everyone else does to. Doug has been approached numerous times to join "the club"...he has politely declined each time.

    There is so much more I could say, things that have happened to good people but I am not going to do so. I just know I live in a place with 1700 people, all of them white and most of them racist...I take this times the amount of places like this in the US and see racism is most likely alive and well.

    It's sad but I don't know how it will end if the children are being raised to hate.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think that people who dislike other's because of color or religiuos beliefs need to wake up! To me it is the worst thing you can do to others, and yourself. Spreading the message of hate only weakens the soul, and sickens the love in this world. Good thing for people like MLK Jr. and so many others.

    I do have some family members who don't like Obama because of his skih, when I could point out several charater points. I will still vote for him, over McCain. I feel between the two McCain has done, and will do more harm than good!On the issue of the environment, I will challange Obama.

    I have been holding back on this election , but you will see an entry about it, and about the subject of racism. I don't want people to get me wrong, I can see hope in Obama, but have spoke to him about the subject of the Environment, and at the time his only focus was gas prices.

    I have been a witness to racism, and a victim! I'm a mutt, for I have three types of Native American, and My family name is Jewish. The years I had long hair down past my waist, were some of the greatest examples of racism in my life.

    I have never accepted racism, and will not ever! I have had friends of many colors, gay friends, and one or two girlfriends of a different color. I am a friend to all, and only see peoples hearts and souls. If you have a dark heart, or dark soul, stay out of the way of progress!

    What has bothered me about people of all colors, is that some use color to seperate us from equality. Some use it to keep us from truly loving one another. I accept anyone who is true to themself, and spreads the message of love.

    I believe we should be proud of our heritage, but be proud of other's too! We must look beyond hate, and follow the footsteps of white lighted souls.

    Peace&Love
    Wes

    ReplyDelete
  13. I grew up in the military and never really gave it much thought as a kid (thanks to my parents). We had both black and white friends at my house for dinner etc. so it was just normal. RE: people not voting for Obama because of his race...that seems to be running both ways. A lot of my black friends are voting for him for the same reason.
    Hugs, Joyce

    ReplyDelete
  14. Cheers to your Mom and Dad (raising my glass of Pepsi!), and tell them thanks from me too. Yes, racism is very alive and well in all states I believe with intense pockets in certain areas of all states. This is an interesting post and I truly applaud your parents for making it a "natural" way for you and your siblings to feel no animosity or condescension toward people of other races. I was walking out of a convenient store recently, and an old, old man held the door open for me. I made a point of looking him in the eye and smiling as I thanked him because I really do appreciate someone, especially someone who is my elder (or a very young child) offering a simple courtesy in this day and age. For some reason as soon as I'd gone through that door I had this thought come into my head -- and honestly it wasn't prompted from anything, just popped in there -- "I wonder if he'd have done that if I'd had one of my kids with me or if he'd known I have a bi-racial family." I guess I've had too many dirty looks from old white farmers (although equally dirty looks from people of color). I am happy to say that where I live we don't get looks like we would in many other places, and not even as many as we used to get in some of the more racist-pervasive areas. Whew! Didn't mean to do a post here in your comment section!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Happy belated birthday to your mom :)

    so neat that they raised you the way they did; my mom did the same; she wasn't prejudiced; my husband's parents, though, thats a different story for a different day

    betty

    ReplyDelete

I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?