First of all let me admit that I am from the South! I mention this because, it seems to be something that twists the thought patterns of non-southerners,
You see, once I put on my “Redneck” badge, and stand up to speak, the rest of the world, and especially those raised North of the Mason-Dixon line begin making assumptions about myself and my fellow southerners.
Family mores, religious studies, university lessons and more importantly, the lessons one learns in the varied life of a traveler seem to be thrown out the door as soon as my first; Ya’ll or Aint escapes my mouth.
I can actually see the preconceptions building up behind these other people’s eyes as I make my point about something.
I can see the assumptions about me, the me that they are sure I actually am and will exhibit with my next words.
I can see the assumptions that I have ancestors who have; beaten, hanged, killed, or maimed minorities.
I can see the assumptions that I have probably, personally, done something bad, really bad, to one or more minority person in my own life.
Essentially, I can see the blatant prejudice of the non-southerner towards pretty much anyone like me.
If I actually told a few of my life’s truths, I am sure it really wouldn’t matter to many of these people.
Some of my Life facts are that;
I was raised a hard core Baptist and I went to church every Sunday and most Wednesdays until I joined the Navy.
In the summertime, during the fifties/sixties, I worked in one of my uncle’s tobacco fields side-by-side with black workers; sweating together “suckering” tobacco plants and “pulling leaves” from dawn to dusk.
And at the end of the day we all collapsing together under the nearest shade tree, after working over ten hours a day. We ate together, we told each other jokes, and we respected each other.
I have eaten dinner with many Black families, some I had never met before, and some who knew my family for generations. I have been friends with neighboring Blacks, and attended Black churches; all, in the formative years of my youth.
I watched as the first black kids entered my “all-white” High School, and also I watched as they were abused (by a few) and yet, they were quickly accepted (by the majority of the white kids without incident).
I joined the Navy to serve my country and I was chest-pounding proud to defend it, with my life. But, I was spit upon, in my uniform, by the war protesting college students, when I came home on my first leave.
I despised and will continue to loath Jane Fonda for her traitorous and vile support of the torturing of our captured soldiers and pilots during the Viet Nam War.
I had to transfer to a Black University to finish my degree in Engineering when my GI Bill support ran out, and my social views were expanded by this experience. I had a wife and kids, and there was no money available from anywhere else for me then. Student loans were for those who already had wealth, not poor white souther kids.
What die these experiences do to me and my personal philosophies on so many subjects?
Well, I believe that we are all people first, and damn your skin color, and damn where you came from. Sure that comes from my religious upbringing, but from my life experiences as well.
But, and this is just me attempting to make one lone point to this crazy World of today; I’m just another person, trying to get by on this planet, and get along with everyone else the best I can.
And, am I “PC”? Politically Correct?
Sorry folks, but that badge is nearly worn out now. It has no glitter, no shine, no beauty to be admired.
There have been too many radicals, on both sides of the political fence, who have beaten it, dented it, torn it, and worn it down to where there is no longer an understandable definition of PC for a person who thinks he wants to call himself Politically Correct.
And now, I see many of the leaders of some of the minority groups of today who are now banding into splinter groups with their own forms of radicalism and who no longer respect or listen to the saner minds of their own people.
Me? I’m the guy who spent many a night, over many years, arguing with my peers, both whites and minorities, over; theirs, and mine, and others’ philosophies trying, in our naiveté’, to understand and resolve the problems of racism for the betterment of all of our kids’ futures.
But, I will say one thing; if you thing destroying parts of yours and my History because it may make you feel “uncomfortable” at times then you may be on a dangerous path, yourself.
You see, you run the chance of putting yourself in the position where you destroy so much of our history that your children will not be aware of the roads you, myself and our ancestors walked, whether together or against each other, and the pains suffered walking those roads will be lost.
They say History repeats itself. Well let’s hope not, as far as the bad things in our nation’s history go.
Let’s hope there are still things like statues, cemeteries, wall plaques, art and books that tell the true facts about our nations past, both the good and the bad, and not some white-washed pablum dreamed up by someone who wasn’t there, actually living our history.
Let’s hope that all of us can take our children, grand-children and great grand-children, to see, and appreciate our stories about what happened in our pasts and why it happened, and how the good was saved and the bad will not happen again.
I will continue to say Ya’ll and Aint, and be a Southern Boy, so if you listen or not, I’ll still be here looking into your confused eyes trying to get you to understand.
by Don Bobbitt, April, 2016
Copyright, Don Bobbitt, April, 2016, All Rights Reserved.
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