Sunday, February 28, 2016

My inner racist and me ....

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.

But the answer that resonated with me included the following: It's "kinda like 'OMG, whats he doing here?' or 'Is that a black guy? I've never seen one up close before.' Are all Iowans that way? NO! Are there more racists there than many other states? YES! Are they violently racist or vindictive? NO! Just mostly ignorant." 


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