The Register has an interesting centerpiece this morning, headlined "Iowa's black college students: We don't feel welcome." It's worth a read (and watch the videos, too).
Such stories always interest me, in part because of my inner racist --- and he's come to the fore more during the last few years when I've lived full-time in Chariton, so white it can hurt your eyes sometimes.
My inner racist is not violent, prejudiced or in any sense hostile --- just annoying. Here's how he works: I spot the rare person of color at the grocery store, on the square or elsewhere and my inner racist says to myself, "Wow --- it's a black guy (or girl)." And I stare. I start wondering how he or she came to be here and worrying that some redneck south-of-Iowan might have said or done something offensive --- or will.
Some guy in an old pickup plastered with Confederate flags pulled up beside me at Casey's on Court the other day, after all --- and there's another guy some blocks to the northwest who has a giant Confederate flag plastered all over the side of his pull-behind trailer. Golly, hope they stay out of sight.
Then I come to my senses and say to my inner self, "knock it off" --- stop staring (golly, that must be annoying --- if you're the one being stared at) and move along.
After reading the Register piece, I did what any sensible person would --- went to "Yahoo Answers" and asked, "Is Iowa racist?"
The "best answer" --- the biggest number had favored it, as you might expect --- was, "not really." And that's maybe true, as far as it goes.