Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's a Great Embarrassment

I don't know if other bloggers do this, but I suspect they do. I often back-date entries, i.e., writing Wednesday's blog entry on Thursday, Sunday's on Monday, etc. That's what I'm doing now. Typing at 1:35 a.m. on Sunday morning and posting to yesterday. (Of course, I would not have this problem at all if I weren't so anal about trying to maintain one daily blogging entry. I'm not like my friend Montag over at "A Father Talks to His Daughter about God." I mean that guy is prolific, sometimes half a dozen entries a day, always at least two or three. And sometimes he so erudite and deep I cannot really follow what he means. But it's all good. I like the way his mind works.) Anyway as I was saying, I read in the Writer's Almanac that tomorrow is the 54th anniversary of the day that President Eisenhower sent over a thousand federal troops to Central High School in  Little Rock, Arkansas, to ensure the safety of nine black students who were the first to integrate the school. Like all the southern states, Arkansas had dragged its feet about implementing the order of the Supreme Court in 1954's epochal Brown decision. And in the case of Arkansas, the governor had used the state national guard to essentially prevent the blacks from attending the school. You can read all about the story here.

The point of the story is to tell how embarrassed I am now at what I was then, just another southern white guy who uncritically accepted the racism of everything and everybody around me, including my family and relatives, friends, the whole white culture in the South, as normal. It's a great embarrassment to me that won't, I fear, ever be subsiding. I was part of that whole culture of hate. My conversion, my sanity, came too late to eradicate what had gone before.

This is what it took in 1957 to get into your school . . . if you were a  black person.
Hate--an iconic image of the time.
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