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Essie Mae Washington-Williams - what a treat.(85 posts)

Essie Mae Washington-Williams - what a treat.94Nole
Dec 18, 2003 8:16 AM
I watched the press conference on CSPAN and what a truly pleasant lady she is.

This is a great story of love and respect on both sides of this issue - from the Thurmond side and from Essie Mae's side.

She is no doubt totally responsible for how Strom pulled this off all these years and I am just glad to know that despite his segregationist views back in the day, that he loved, respected and supported his daughter all of these years. It is really surprising to find out how many people knew about her all of these years, that the two visited quite often, that many of his staffers knew exactly who she was and her relation to Strom and yet they all respected not just Strom's privacy but Essie Mae's privacy too. And the Thurmond family stepped right up and immediately confirmed the truth of the news.

What a great story. There really is good in the world.
It's just so ... Southern.OldEdScott
Dec 18, 2003 8:34 AM
Despite the stereotype of vicious racist crackerism, stories like this were not atypical in the segregated South. Behind the 'public' face of institutional racism, there were frequently deep bonds of private affection and loyalty between the races that got expressed in just this way.

Doubtful Yankee liberals would understand or approve.
Couldn't agree more...having grown up in NE NC and SE VA94Nole
Dec 18, 2003 10:09 AM
I'll probably draw fire for this but...

my hometown is a small rural town of about 8,000 in SE VA and I have lived exactly that to which you speak.

I am one who can truly say, that some of my best friends in high school and t/hereafter were/are and continue to be black (african-american for those of you who would like me to use the label my hometown friends would never use).
It's just so ... Southern.Spoiler
Dec 18, 2003 10:46 AM
I guess Ol' Strom didn't want to lose his good ol' boy membership by being labeled a n-lover while he was alive. Only as a corpse could he feel safe revealing his love for a black person to the world.
Maybe some good will come if it inspires southerners to publically acknowlege love for black people while they're still alive.
In the old daysOldEdScott
Dec 18, 2003 11:00 AM
Essie Mae would have been equally interested in keeping the situation secret.
This doubtful yankee liberal would not understand or approve.czardonic
Dec 18, 2003 11:20 AM
All this politeness and decency went on behind a "public face" that demeaned and terrorized humans for generations.
Never expected anything less from you, czar!OldEdScott
Dec 18, 2003 11:26 AM
But I never claimed purity for myself. I'm a besmirched Southron liberal, so impure it would take the Bush EPA to certify me as clean.
I don't pretend to have the slightest insight. . .czardonic
Dec 18, 2003 11:40 AM
. . .into Southern culture, nor any appreciation of how that experience might mitigate a person's view of segregation.

I see nothing but cowardice and hypocrisy here. That said, the real scandals are racism and segregation themselves.
Well, I'll be damned, let me pick myself up off the floor.94Nole
Dec 18, 2003 11:39 AM
Of course you wouldn't Czar, and neither would/do most others (including me and other "southern whites") in our world today. A world that most would not and/or do not tolerate today.

OES hit it on the nose, it was a much different world then. Perhaps Mrs. Washington-Williams is a lot better off today given the chain of events than she and her family (Thurmonds excluded) would have been had this come to light many decades ago. Doesn't make anything right but you seem to support the exposure of this awful secret and the fallout that would have accompanied. Is that what you are saying. If so, I am glad you have no impact on the outcome of my life. You must be one miserable person who strives to spread misery.

Life and race relations is far from perfect here in the south or anywhere else for that matter but it's a far cry from where we were in the 40's, 50's, 60's, .... Hopefully you can "understand or approve" of at least that fact.

When will the debt be repaid? Ever? Do we ever get to be graded for the test we take today or will we always have to pay for the sins of our fathers? What about my children who have likely never heard the utterance of the "n" word, do they have to pay the debt? What about their children? Will they too have pay? When does it end?
Hey Nole, who'd have ever though you and I wouldOldEdScott
Dec 18, 2003 11:52 AM
be hunkered down together, helping each other ward off czar's withering ideological assault? Southronness makes strange bedfellows!

I ain't gonna be put in the miserable position of defending a great evil. Segregation was a great evil. Period. But within that evil, even its most notorious practitioners were capable of rising to Love. That seems like a human story, even an inspiring one.

Later in life, Old Strom got a lot more progressive on issues of race, BTW. I still couldn't stomach the son of a bytch, but there it is.
More than I sometimes like to admit. It's a Southern thang...94Nole
Dec 18, 2003 11:58 AM
they wouldn't understand. Okay, I guess I am revealing too much, but I'm alot softer in the middle than I am around the edges. It's my southern roots.
The fact that others don't understand something. . .czardonic
Dec 18, 2003 12:07 PM
. . .excuses nothing. Such arguments are simply an admission that even you (who does understand) can not come up with a cogent rationale.
Ouch! Damn! czar's dialectic scores another direct hit!OldEdScott
Dec 18, 2003 12:14 PM
Damn it's impossible to argue with Trots. I don't know how you board reactionaries stand it, day in day out. I'd surrender after two exchanges.

I realize you were responding to Nole, but I wanted to muscle in and interject that I originally said somewhere here "Even those of us who understand it don't understand it." No cogent rationale is possible, and I can't even see that it's desirable. The human heart doesn't always bend to the demands of dialectical materialism, much as I of course wish it would.
Excuse me!? "Awful secret"!?czardonic
Dec 18, 2003 11:54 AM
I personally don't think that miscegination is an awful secret that one need be miserable about. If this woman would have been persecuted, it is here persecutors who have the awful, shameful secret to deal with. The truly awful secret here is that prominent, influential whites failed to match their words to their behavior, and thus allowed millions to suffer. Talk about spreading misery! You are right, keeping this kind of thing silent because it was more comfortable for the parties involved to do so does not make their silence right. This is one of those situations where silence was deadly for some and a tacit acceptance of injustice for many others.

Lets not get into reparations: I'm not asking you to pay any so I don't want to listen to you whine about it. Simply coming to terms with the past (and the present) rather than making excuses is all I ask.
I have to go get my dictionary, "miscegination?", Please, Czar,94Nole
Dec 18, 2003 12:15 PM
maybe this is why so many disagree, we don't know what the heck you are saying!! In all of my 43+ years, I can honestly say, I have never seen that word.

pause....checking the dictionary...Okay, now I understand.

It's not "an awful secret that one need be miserable about" now!!!! That's the point that you libs (excluding OES) don't understand. I think you guys have elephant brains. You never forget anything. Those days are over at least for the most part. Damn, Miss. St. Univ. just hired a black head football coach. Talking about a changed society!!! Do you ever get out of the house?
Miscegination is present throughout our society today, and still bothers many, and not only some in the south. There are lots of people who don't agree with it. I say, how does one stop two individuals from loving each other regardless of color? If my totally white son brings home a black or girl of any color, his mother and I will accept her. Who he falls in love with is his decision, not ours. OTOH, my parents would probably drop dead.

In the 20's and many years thereafter, this was a real issue. Heck, it's not much different than was the birth of a "same race" "illegimate" child a generation or two ago. Oh the shame that was brought upon those who gave birth out of wedlock. Today, it's a badge of honor, look at Hollywood. Is it good and right? I don't agree with it because I think the kids lose out, but that is not my call.
And M-W says it's mis·ce·gE·na·tion. Just FYI (nm)94Nole
Dec 18, 2003 12:19 PM
Pardon my spelling.czardonic
Dec 18, 2003 12:52 PM
I thought it was a common enough word.

Miscegenation was never an awful secret. There were simply many people who were against it for awful reasons. And as you readily admit, there still are. (And many hail from minority communities, by the way.) Those people have always been wrong, remain wrong today, and there is simply no excuse for them.

Being born out of wedlock is a different issue, but since you mention it, many mixed children had to "lose out" all the more because society (and in many cases the law) prohibited their parents to marry. (So much for being free to love who you love.)

Your entire argument rests on the "fact" that society can not prevent two people of different races from loving each other. Of course, that was never the case. The issue here is not love, but hate and predjudice and the way that it was (and still is) excused and "explained".
I re-read your post and I was putting words in your mouth.94Nole
Dec 18, 2003 12:50 PM
Sorry, the comment "awful secret" was not meant as you took it, I called this secret "awful" assuming that you felt it was awful that her birth and the relations Strom had with her mother were kept secret all of these years.

I likely still have not explained myself sufficiently to make any sense. I guess I know what I meant.

Anyway, FWIW.
I appreciate the gesture, but I'm not sure I understand.czardonic
Dec 18, 2003 12:54 PM
I do indeed think it was awful that this was kept a secret. I further think it is awful that anyone felt that it had to be kept a secret.
But isn't it less "awful" if...94Nole
Dec 18, 2003 1:04 PM
in this isolated case (and I know that the greater issue can not and should not be isolated to a single case) but if this case is isolated, isn't it less awful if Mrs. Washington-Williams made the decision not to come forward out of the love and respect and honor for her father? This, I believe, in this case, is the greater issue.

Because listening to her, it seems as though this is exactly what she did. And let not those put words into her mouth saying that she says this but was really afraid of the fallout from the powerful whites... This is an educated woman who appears, to me, from the words she spoke at that press conference, to have controlled this entire situation.

And Lord knows, the media would have had a hay-day with this one.
Don't think so.czardonic
Dec 18, 2003 1:49 PM
If loving and respecting her father means reinforcing a awful atmosphere of racial injustice, then no. All the more so when her silence allowed him to actively contribute to the promotion of the very injustice that she had to defend him from. (His later recantations noted, but notwithstanding.) That smacks of facilitation to me.

If she is intelligent and in control of the situation, then she is all the more culpable for her complicity in an indefensible state of affairs.
I guess this is where we agree to disagree (not surprising)94Nole
Dec 18, 2003 2:01 PM
It is amazing that choice is one of the most trumpeted rights in today's society and it's greatest champion is those on the left unless.... they come up with a reason why one should not have made the choice they made.

It is obvious that I am no debate champion, but the inconsistency of the stances on the left totally evade any resting place within the confines of my small brain.

I'm tired....In the Great Book of Remembrance, Mrs. Washington-Williams will be recorded as a great person and I believe her story is one that many could learn from if they would tear down the fences that prevent them from feeling and forgiving. What took place wasn't all right. The way she handled it was absolutely heavenly. Thank God for Essie Mae Washington-Williams and the many other people like her.
I don't see the inconsistency of the stances of the left.czardonic
Dec 18, 2003 2:12 PM
To be sure, there are many on the left who have different stances. I could probably reconcile most of them (the reasonable ones) if you were interested, but if you are not, that is fine too.
czar, let us speak frankly.OldEdScott
Dec 18, 2003 2:48 PM
If we're ever gonna take back the South, the Left has to be a little less ... rigid ... on these matters. The progress down here has been extraordinary. You're not gonna win these people over by holding their feet to the fires of abstract perfection, based on the sins of their grandfathers.

Even Lenin knew some things take time. We're WORKING on it. And we're succeeding.
Why, Ed - You sound just like....moneyman
Dec 18, 2003 3:07 PM
Lyndon Johnson! Fascinating, but that was the same story he was telling his Dixiecrat pals in the 50s. Yes, he did get THE major civil rights bill passed in his administration, but his was a quest of power, not of conscience. He was in bed with his pals the whole way, and your comments are just like his.

FWIW - Hang onto your hats, but I'm with czar on this one. Nothing glorious, gracious or genteel about the whole affair. It just proves what a hypocrite Strom was and what problems the South had. And has, even if just in reputation and not fact. I think the whole thing is shameful. Not just that it happened, but that it was covered up by so many people for so long.

Dec 18, 2003 3:13 PM
Johnson ONLY got those great Civils Rights bills passed! Study politics for a year and get back to me on how silly that statement was!
OK, I'm confusedmoneyman
Dec 18, 2003 3:29 PM
I don't know what your emphasis on "only" is about. Enlighten me, please.

Only Nixon could go to China; Only Johnson could pass...Dale Brigham
Dec 18, 2003 10:11 PM
...the civil rights bill. This was a huge sea change in the country and especially the South, to have advocacy for African-Americans for voting and other rights forwarded by a Southerner, LBJ.

You Northern boys say it was just a craven act of power-seeking expediency. As a Texan, I see it as a brave repudiation of the evils that shackled the South to the past. You may be right, but all I know is, LBJ did it, and we have all benefited from that act.

Dale "Proud to be a fellow Texan with LBJ"
Right. And you casually dismissOldEdScott
Dec 19, 2003 6:41 AM
the massive achievement by casting aspersions on his motives.

In politics, it is ONLY the results that matter. Motives are totally irrelevant.
I get it. The ends justify the means.moneyman
Dec 19, 2003 7:30 AM
Maybe I'm being pollyannish and idealistic about my own future, but if what you are saying is the real truth, I think I'll stick with what I'm doing now.

Nope. The ends count more than theOldEdScott
Dec 19, 2003 7:38 AM
motives. Jimmy Carter had great, pure motives, and failed miserably as president. Who gives a damn if LBJ was motivated by politics or greed or whatever in passing the Civil Rights Bill? What possible relevance is that to history? Jimmy Carter, had he been president then, would have tried from the purest heart to pass that bill, and probably would have failed. LBJ, by any measure as oppositely impure of heart and motive as possible to imagine, succeeded.

Which would you prefer, $$? Purity of heart has its place, but not in the meatgrinder of getting a tough bill passed.

Success in politics is defined simply: Good public policy. That's the pragmatism that all good politicans eventually come to, if they want to get something done instead of just posturing.
Wasn't me who said itmoneyman
Dec 19, 2003 7:37 AM
Read Robert A. Caro's biography of LBJ. I think you may have to change the rose colored lenses in your glasses. Power was what LBJ was all about. Nothing more, nothing less.

I've read the damn book!OldEdScott
Dec 19, 2003 7:41 AM
And my answer again is, so what? You would have preferred a sweeter presdient, who couldn't get Civil Rights legislation through? It TOOK raw power and ambition to get those great bills passed.

I believe you're the one looking at these matters with tinted lenses.
Wasn't meant for youmoneyman
Dec 19, 2003 8:02 AM
That was a repsonse to Dale Brigham. You would be the last one I would accuse of wearing rose-colored glasses.

I understand your point. I really do. I won't argue with it at all, either.

I stand (or sit) corrected, $$Dale Brigham
Dec 19, 2003 9:43 AM
Sorry, $$. Did not mean to tee off on you (or "Northern boys"). That was just the Argentine merlot talking (typing?) last night. Drinkin' and pontificatin' is bad practice. I'll try to stay sober while I am on this board.

I've asked for Caro's first LBJ bio for Xmas, and I hope to plough through the rest of the volumes in time. Based on your recommendation, of course.

As you might expect, LBJ had a better rep in Texas than the rest of the U.S. Heck, he was our first U.S. President. Now we got three of 'em. Go figgur!

And if $$ and I agree. . .czardonic
Dec 18, 2003 3:20 PM
. . .it should give people some pause. Not that it is any more likely to be a solid position, but at the very least it indicates that there is more than persnickety PC liberalism at play.
Good move - head vs. heart debates don't have winners (nm)Starliner
Dec 18, 2003 2:18 PM
re: Essie Mae Washington-Williams - what a treat.Fredrico
Dec 18, 2003 9:14 AM
James Baldwin wrote that most black people never really hated white people, but felt an emotion more like pity. What a strange system, segregation, where whites who saw themselves as superior to blacks, actually admired and even loved, although they could never admit it, those who cooked their meals, tended their gardens, built their houses and public buildings, raised their children, and administered to the white man's spirtual needs by entertaining him with the only American indigenous music: jazz.

Essie Mae Washington-Williams' story is one of many that will remain buried in that morally confusing time.
What about Hip-Hop? (nm)53T
Dec 18, 2003 11:19 AM
Stole it from the Indians.128
Dec 18, 2003 12:22 PM
While I might agree Jazz is the USA's singular cultural contribution to the world (many hold this view) there are other indiginous musical forms: Native American, Mexican and Appalachian folk music come to mind. I'd argue that most music made here is indiginous. Jazz lifted from the European classical form so you need to consider that too...

"Been getting out of the comedy thing and into the Native American pop music music thing: I'd like to sing a little of it for you now 'Hi-ya Hi-ya, hia hia hia, Woha, whoa, wo. Little girl'" -steve martin
Dec 18, 2003 9:16 AM
He loved, respected and supported his daughter all of these years?


My parents also loved, respected and supported my siblings and I. I'm not exactly sure if it was their love, respect, or support that caused them to publicly acknowledge they were, in fact, our parents. It sure was comforting for us.

This story isn't good. It's totally shameful. A guy occupying one of the highest public offices in the land for decades doesn't acknowledge his own daughter??? A guy fighting to keep an oppressive system in place towards a class of people at the same time has a daughter in that same class??? Would you fight to impose or extend a system that hurts your own kids? That's what he did. For one of his five kids, anyway. That's NOT good.

It's insane that anyone thinks this is good. The only thing good about this story is that she seems to have grown up to be a fine lady. I wonder if that would still be true if he had been successful in his segregation efforts.
There's good in it, and bad in itOldEdScott
Dec 18, 2003 9:28 AM
and enough complexity of both to fill a dozen Gothic novels of the South. Even those of us who understand it don't understand it. I wasn't joking about Yankee liberals (or latter day Yankee conservatives, for that matter) not approving. You would have to have lived in that world to even know the good was there. Otherwise, you're right, on the surface there's much that's evil.

I always despised old Strom's politics, and his early views on race. This story makes me despise him a little less.

God, no wonder Faulkner wrote such convoluted prose!
yep, fron the outside people see little difference between...dr hoo
Dec 18, 2003 3:53 PM
... Strom and Jesse Helms. Strom changed a great deal in his time, Jesse didn't. But to most non-southerners they are just two sides of the same coin.

Every politician could learn a great deal by looking at how Strom used power.
Just wondering, Mohair...94Nole
Dec 18, 2003 10:37 AM
what part of the country/world do you come from? (bad english, I know). I think OES' suggestion of how

I do not believe that it is totally shameful as you suggest. It speaks of mutual respect, something that I believe has long been lost in the world in which we now reside. The shame in this is Mrs. Washington-Williams' call, and she (and those around her) choose(s) not to run her father through the mud as you would appear (to me) to desire it.

But in this story, there seems to be much more than a coverup, that appears at least to me, that never took place. It seems as though it was Essie Mae's decision to not make this public all throughtout the years.

It has been made very clear that those in and around Strom's office (and perhaps many on the other side of the aisle) knew full well who this wonderful lady was.

It is true that there are many negatives that could be pointed out from this but I believe from listening to her that she would have none of that.
Dec 18, 2003 10:59 AM
Apparently, strom supported her over the years and certain people knew about it, and it's great that he didn't abandon her. It's great that she didn't go on Jerry Springer and purposely humiliate herself and her father. I just find it shameful that he refused to acknowledge her to prevent his own embarrassment. I find that incredibly selfish. Call it southern gothic if you want, but I don't see how anyone can not find that shameful.

We hang people for less out here in the wild west.
This is a little tough to swallowAlex-in-Evanston
Dec 18, 2003 11:29 AM
It gives me the creeps to see men falling all over themselves to praise this woman's class and sense of respect. What does that mean anyway - "classy"?

This whole situation stinks. The legacy that put that 16 year old girl in Strom's house stinks. The sense of duty that kept Essie Mae quite for so many decades stinks. Well rehearsed arguments that boil down to how "we wouldn't understand" stink.

What does it mean?94Nole
Dec 18, 2003 11:53 AM
ACCORDING TO HER, it means she LOVED her father and her father LOVED her (paraphrasing her). What is wrong with a "sense of duty"? What is wrong with unconditional love?

Isn't this her call? Who the heck are WE to establish right or wrong in a situation of which we likely have no idea. She specifically stated that she waited until he was dead to come forward. That was her decision that according to most who do not seem to agree, was improper. That she should have destroyed two families many years ago.

Heck, she attended college in SC at the suggestion of her dad! Doesn't it seem that if he was really trying to keep all of this under wraps that he would have suggested that she stay in Philly?

I am thrilled that one so cared for her parents so as to honor them in this way. Unconditionally.

As an aside, assuming you are not black (A-A), I guess then you don't buy the "It's a black thang, you wouldn't understand" argument that was/is used in the black community? Is it fair to say that that argument stinks too?
Sense of duty.Spoiler
Dec 18, 2003 3:46 PM
"A sense of duty" sounds to me like something you're obligated to do, no matter how sickening it is to you.
tough to swallow..Fredrico
Dec 18, 2003 2:04 PM
To put things into perspective: Southern planters had sex with their most good looking and healthy slaves to produce better slaves. Many had such affection for these offspring, they gave them the best jobs around the plantation: driving the coach, being house servants and cooks, managing the field hands.

These half breeds were admired by the darker skinned slaves, a cultural thing which still resonates in many black communities now, although Lerone Bennett, the black historian, says that today at least 80% of all blacks have a white ancestor in their past, and 30% of whites have a black ancestor. Asians and Hispanics have also been intermarrying with African-Americans for some time, so the racial barriers are even less distinct.

"Class" in Essie Mae's case is really respect, respect for Strom Thurmond's need to get along with his political cronies, respect for the fact that he was supporting her financially, respect for the power of the institution of segregation which was enforced with shotguns and hangings.

When white people see a black person who is refined and well spoken, he may fall all over himself praising that person, as if he or she were the exception. This is because most whites are still mentally segregated from blacks: they don't have much contact with blacks, still fear them and feel uncomfortable around them. Sensing that, blacks stick together in racially mixed social situations, like on college campuses. That was true in the civil rights movement back in the 60s, and is still true today.
I think you could equally exchange the word white with black...94Nole
Dec 18, 2003 2:38 PM
and vice versa in your closing paragraph. I don't think you have said anything here. Cyclists like to hang out with other cyclists. Painters with painters. There are common interests. Blacks have common interests. Whites have common interests. Why do people see this as some great disservice to the other race? I see exclusion as another argument. I thought racism was about exclusion and oppression, not about forcing those with dissimilar interests to interact with one another.

And I believe your assertion depends on what groups of blacks (whites) you refer to. "A black person who is refined and well spoken" (I assume you mean refined and well spoken as defined by white people) is definitely the exception if you are talking about blue collar blacks (that I went to school with, worked at the paper mill with, etc.) or those on the street or in rural communities. If you are talking about the blacks found in the the professional world (in my experience in a large accounting firm), then I would agree. Most are refined and well spoken as are most whites in that or other like setting.

Pardon my speaking for most blacks (especially since I am not black) but I would submit that they would much prefer to hang-out with other blacks rather than with whites. How much do you think the members of the congressional black caucus spend with white congress members? Bet it is not as much as you would think.
Dec 18, 2003 3:46 PM
Why you would assume that people of other races would naturally prefer the company of their own kind? Doubtless many do, but it is for unnatural reasons. Region and class are far better cues to a person's sympathies, IMO. What common interests do a Black person from the rural South and a Black person from San Francisco have (other than sheilding themselves from the "common interests" predjudice)?

Surely you see how being black and white is not the same as being a cyclist or a painter.
Why would you assume that they don't???94Nole
Dec 19, 2003 7:05 AM
I totally disagree. Apparently, you don't get out much. I would strongly urge you to get out from behind your books and step into the real world for some practical experience. You seem to me to live in a world of theories and empirical studies and have spent far too little time among the salt of the earth peole that have brought the great nation to where it is. We ain't perfect but people die everyday trying to get here. I don't see long lines at the airport of people waiting to leave for a better life in places where all that is bad with America does not occur.

Have you ever heard or seen anyone walk into a meeting, etc. asking for someone from "their region" or someone of their equivalent social status so that they will be more comfortable with where they sit? THat is one of the most obsurd assumptions/opinions I have ever heard from you.

Take your Southern Black example and SF Black example. If they both walked in a crowded room knowing no one but each seeing the other seated at a table and then seeing the rest of the room nothing but whites, where do you think they are likely to sit? What is unnatural about that?

May I ask where you reside and where you grew up? How close was the closest black family to where you lived and how much did you interact wth them?
Nole- You should read what you wrotemoneyman
Dec 19, 2003 7:52 AM
Once again, I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with czar. The statements that you make are really, really disturbing. If they are indicative of the "New South", it doesn't sound much different than the "Old South." The thinking that says the races prefer to be with their own kind smacks of separate but equal. I can just hear it - "We gave them their own restrooms, water fountains, schools and neighborhoods so they could be with their own kind."

Maybe you should reconsider your reasoning. Oh, one more thing. How many southern high schools and universities have "Rebels" as their mascot / team name? I think that may be more indicative of the actual change of attitudes.

I did re-read it and you should read my previous posts...94Nole
Dec 19, 2003 8:29 AM
What the heck are disturbing about them? Unless you live in the South and know about what we speak, then I would argue that it your comments that are most disturbing.

You people confuse me. Maybe this is just another example of my inability to communicate effectively. There are several schools in my local area that refer to the "Old South" with "Rebels" as their mascots (and Robert E. Lee and many other the Old South names) and the majority of the black people whose children attend schools there couldn't care less. What exactly is your point?? Life here in the South is not really how it is portrayed or how many in the media or elsewhere would have you believe. This is what OES has been trying to get you hardheads to understand.

I have lived in the South (NC, VA, now North FL which many refer to as lower GA) my entire life and have lived among southern blacks all my life. I know these people. And they think alot of this is nothing but crap these days. Sure there are others who will play it for all that it is worth. I have admitted, as have many others, that there is still plenty wrong in many areas, not only in the South (we jst get all of the blame because it sells news), but the road yet to travel is not near as far as we have come throughout the years. We get picked on because of our accents. We're stupid because many think we sound stupid. Anyone who disagrees with that is just ignorant knowing only what they have read. I have lived it everyday for 43 years.

Sure, there are still cases of racism, no one can deny that, but look at where we have come in just one generation. I was a 4th grader in VA when the black kids really started attending the elementary school I attended. It was different but it didn't affect me other than giving me more friends at school. We knew the kids already because they lived just down the road from us. They shopped at the same country store where we shopped. My son is now a 5th grader and thinks nothing of having blacks kids in his class. Why should he think anything differently? Why should he acknowledge the color of another kid's skin, after all that is the problem, right? The fact that people notice skin color. That, my friend, will never be the the case. How we treat those of another color is the issue and all that matters in my mind and in my life and how I raise my kids.

Just to come forward to my perspective now - my neighbors right across the street are black. Who cares?! I don't?! Next door to him is an Hispanic family. My neighbors two doors down and across the street are black. So what!! The race issues aren't with the majority of people in the south that I interact with on a daily basis. I am sick and tired of people who have no idea about what they speak that keep things stirred up about race. If there is an issue, fix it!! Don't paint the entire South with such a broad brush.
People do notice skin color.czardonic
Dec 19, 2003 12:00 PM
They also notice hair color, eye color, height, fashion, speech and countless other features. Some of these features are relevant to that persons identity, and some are not. One might reasonably assume that two people in football jerseys share common ground. But it would be silly to assume that two people with blue eyes are kindred spirits.

It also seems like you are saying that prejudging people based on their skin color (e.g. making assumptions about whom they would feel most comfortable associating with) is okay, as long as the predjudices aren't negative. But "positive" or neutral predjudices are wrong for the same reason that negative predjudices are wrong.

I agree that there is a predjudice towards the Southern accent (and it is wrong). It also illustrates my point. That predjudice is applied to Southerners regardless of race. In fact, your whole "Southern thang" argument supports my contention that black and white Southerners have more in common with each other than they have with people from other parts of the world who are the same race.
I dount any Southerner black or white would disagreeOldEdScott
Dec 20, 2003 3:48 PM
with your last sentence.
Wyoming!? and you are going to educate me...94Nole
Dec 19, 2003 9:34 AM
about the New/Old South? What's the black population of Wyoming? Did you ever live here in the South? If not, you are no different than everyone else outside looking in. Oh, let me guess, you have a friend who has a friend....Sorry, but this crap drives me nuts.

Sounds like you might need to stick with snowmobiles. I will admit that I wish we got enough snow down here to need/use them. Just 4-wheelers for us.
Wyoming!? and you are going to educate me...94Nole
Dec 19, 2003 9:51 AM
Wyoming is less than 1% Black. Can I ask you where you got all of your experience in the Old or New South?

Most recent towns in which I have lived.

Jacksonville, FL 29.03% Now

Charlotte, NC 32.72%

Tallahassee, FL 34.24%

Franklin, VA 52.31% This is my hometown. I lived here almost 26 years. One high school then. One high school now.

Murfreesboro, NC 37.6% My dad's hometown and where many of my relatives now live.

I think I have plenty of experience in the Old and New South.
Dec 19, 2003 10:47 AM
I am not going to debate legitimacy re: race issues based on where I choose to live. I am drawing attention to your statements that indicate people would rather hang out with others of their own race. That has, in my opinion, an underlying tone of separate but equal status, which sounds a lot like the old south. You can take that or leave it, but your contention that I cannot possibly know what I'm talking about because I don't live there is meritless. I was commenting on your statements and their tone.

Yeah, I wouldn't accept my meritless 43 years exp. either...94Nole
Dec 19, 2003 11:09 AM
if it didn't support my argument. In my narrowly focused view (from the grand old or new South, your choice) is that many of the problems with race today are primarily the result of those of you who have no idea what the heck you are talking about when it comes to race relations. Meritless argument, my a$$.

But you go on and judge people by YOUR perception of their tones...

The South, old or new is a wonderful place to live primarily due to the wonderful people both black and white. And the weather is pretty darn nice too. Current temp here in Jax is 58 and not a cloud in the sky.
Since you asked. . .czardonic
Dec 19, 2003 11:17 AM
. . .I grew up for the most part in California and Australia. I certainly don't represent any of these places as typical of anything, and they certainly are a world away from the American South. That said, it is not the American South that people of the world are dying to escape to either. Is it?

You say that you have lived in the South your entire life. Might that limit your own perspective on the issue?
No. And I thought the South and it's goings on were the issue?94Nole
Dec 19, 2003 12:19 PM
At least it became the issue after I first spoke of my feelings about the wonderful daughter of Strom Thurmond and how she handled this uncomfortable situation now and throughout the past 60-70 years. That was the issue.

You guys turned this in to your limited persepctives of the South vs. the real South as several of us here know about.

And please help me here, Czar. How does my ability to recite real world examples based on my life and my experiences with the same people whose rights many of you seem to be trying to protect when many of them are living their lives just fine without you, limit my own perspective?? That is like telling Neil Armstrong that the surface of the moon is really not what he knows it to be because you have viewed the surface from afar and have read lots of articles and books about the moon and have a much greater persepctive. He was obviously much too close to the surface to be able really know what the moon's surface is really like.

Isn't it much more likely that it is your perspective, Czar,(and your experience) that is limited? It's hard not to have a broad, not limited, perspective when you've seen it from all sides like I have. Oh, if there is one thing I have is great perspective on this issue. Believe me.

Some of you people never seek to amaze me. Just when I think it can't get any worse, BAMMMM!!!!
I said long ago that I had little insight into the South. . .czardonic
Dec 19, 2003 1:05 PM
. . .especially as viewed by a Southerner. If you believe that racial predjudice and segregation (neutral and volunatry as they may be) are the natural order of things, then you are entitled to that perspective.

But I can tell you from my own experience that the South neither represents human civilization as a whole, nor does it approach anything that might be considered ideal. Consider what parts of the world resemble the South in terms of racial attitudes -- I think you'd be hard pressed to come up with flattering comparisons.

Your assume that spending your entire life in one area of the world has given you "great perspective". I tend to think that perspective becomes "great" as it gains breadth.
I tend to think that surfers know surfingOldEdScott
Dec 19, 2003 2:09 PM
better than someone who just reads about it and makes assumptions.

No kiddin, czar, come on down. I'll let you browbeat me with your relentless dialectic by night (drinking Bourbon will help there) and take you to the town square by day. See how people get along. You might be surprised.
That's a red-herring.czardonic
Dec 19, 2003 2:42 PM
You know that one needn't live in the South to have direct experience with the issues of race and cultural identity.

If you want to say that Southerners hold a natural affinity for people of their own skin color, I can't dispute it. But I can tell you from my own experience that people in other parts of the world disagree.
First of all, it was NoleOldEdScott
Dec 20, 2003 3:44 PM
not me who said the 'affinity' thing.

Second of all, it's not a red herring to say direct experience is, to say the least, of some value in passing judgment on, say, an entire region of the country vis a vis its progress in race relations.

I'd put race relations in any Southern city you care to name up against race relations in Berkeley, California, and feel confident that the Southern city, if less PC, would be a more genuinely convival and HUMAN environment for whites and blacks together.

And I DO have direct experience in Berkeley, by the way. Many there thought I was a Cracker. PC doesn't extend to Southern white males, evidently.
full circleStarliner
Dec 20, 2003 6:10 PM
So you've been to Berkeley... well Berkeley is part of my experience which I took along when I visited the South. As said in an earlier post, I confirm what you say about racial interaction.

It has become evident to me that left-leaning people sometimes try too hard to live the ideals that they value, getting so wrapped up within their ideologies that they can lose touch with human reality. At their worst, they become insincere, intolerant, and highly judgemental. Not to say that they are wrong in their beliefs, but how they present themselves to the world is often in conflict.

How'd you like riding those hills?
That this is even an issue of note in the South. . .czardonic
Dec 22, 2003 10:21 AM
. . . (a prominent white with an interracial child) speaks volumes, no matter how convivial or genuine the debate.
More an issue of note in the North, I believe.OldEdScott
Dec 22, 2003 12:40 PM
The Eastern liberal media were the ones who ran with it. Southerners just shrugged.
Just not the Southerners on this board? (nm)czardonic
Dec 22, 2003 1:09 PM
Christ almighty, czar, you win!OldEdScott
Dec 22, 2003 4:24 PM
Hell, I never wanted to be in this discussion in the first place. Nole makes a little approving comment, I concur lightly, and the next thing you know it's the Third Internationale debating a fine point of Polish ethnicity or something. Whatever. I can't remember all my Internationales.

I'm a racist. We're ALL racists down here. We're a LUMP. You win.
And I meant to addOldEdScott
Dec 22, 2003 4:27 PM
let's get back to something fun and fruitful, like Bush bashing. That's where my heart lies, you know. This race crap is tiresome.
Who is lumping anyone into anything?czardonic
Dec 22, 2003 4:41 PM
Seems to me that it is the Southernerns here lumping themselves into categories.

I don't think that all Southerners are racists. I simply don't agree that the racial attitudes represented here (by Southerners) as those of the South are either natural or laudable.
Like convivality? Like admiration? LikeOldEdScott
Dec 22, 2003 5:25 PM
mutual acceptance? Like REAL diversity and multiculturalism?

I see. Theory trumps humanity. Gimme a break. You have only the remotest clue what you're talking about, yet here I am saying you win and BEGGING you to get back to something meaty like calling Cheney a fascist.

Maybe we're at the FOURTH Internationale here.
Dec 22, 2003 5:52 PM
What you trumpet accomplishments barely rate a participant award in my Ivory Tower Dweller's Guide to Race Relations.

Nonetheless, congratulations to the South for acheiving mutual acceptance, "real" diversity and multiculturalism. I look forward to discovering what "real" siginifies in this context, assuming this wave of conviviality ever reaches the Left Coast.
Never happen. You left coasters are too sour. nmOldEdScott
Dec 23, 2003 7:05 AM
'People's Republic of Berkeley,' I should have said. nmOldEdScott
Dec 20, 2003 3:46 PM
Yes it is a beautiful storyStarliner
Dec 18, 2003 1:19 PM
I grew up and live in California, but I can feel the goodness of this story which for me is a reaffirmation of the power of love, a power which is based upon non-judgemental acceptance. And how it can flourish even in the most unlikely places with the most unlikely individuals. Kind of like maybe there's hope for humanity after all.

BTW, I've visited the South a few times (Atlanta, Charlotte) and was a bit surprised to find that interaction between whites and blacks on the street seemed to be more natural and matter of course than out here (SF Bay Area). There did seem to be remnants of separation, such as two Waffle Houses a block away from each other, with blacks frequenting one and whites the other (I was served at both without problem). But overall, the comfort level between races seemed calmer than what I'm used to.
Thank goodness!!! Someone who understands...94Nole
Dec 18, 2003 1:27 PM
the point I was trying to make and has experienced, firsthand, what OES and I are talking about!!!!!! There is hope!!! Thanks again.
Very perceptive. Natural ease.OldEdScott
Dec 18, 2003 2:33 PM
There's a connection between the races here that is, as you say. 'more natural and a matter of course.' I rarely feel that in the north when blacks and whites interact. But hell, Northerners don't cotton to ME either, so I never feel ease. Just prejudice.

You've got a funny definition of "natural".czardonic
Dec 18, 2003 3:48 PM
Must be over this Northerner's head.
Must be. Come down and visit!OldEdScott
Dec 19, 2003 6:44 AM
I'll take you to Main Street and enlighten you. It ain't Berkeley, but it's pretty nice.
re: Essie Mae Washington-Williams - what a treat.Jusme
Dec 19, 2003 10:24 AM
Oddly enough those who would lecture you on matters of race tend to live in the most homogenous places. It's true, I noticed this a long time ago.

People on the Mexican border tend to have a different take on immigration than some white guy in his North Face pullover in Camden, Maine. And people in Boulder, CO seem to have a different understanding of race & diversity than those who actually live and experience diversity.

94Nole is correct. Pull up some demographics on the web. Look at which region has the highest percentage of black people in the US. Recently read a study by William Frey (one of the country's foremost demographers - google his reports) that blacks are moving en masse back to the south in the last 20 years. I can vouch for this being true. Also read the reasons why. "Lots of professional opportunities & friendly people." are mentioned often.

Whatever the south is, it aint what it was. Come on down and see what diversity is like in application. The good and the bad. And observe the easiness and real life interaction in the south.
Thanks, Jusme. It is so nice to read...94Nole
Dec 19, 2003 10:35 AM
something from someone, not necessarily from someone who agrees but more importantly, at least to me, someone who knows.
I think these quotes are interesting:dr hoo
Dec 19, 2003 4:15 PM

Mary Thompkins Freeman, a niece of the senator, said the revelation ‘‘was like a blight on the family.''

‘‘I went to a church meeting the other day and all these people came up to me and you could tell they didn't know what to say,'' Freeman said. ‘‘For the first time in my life, I felt shame.''

Freeman also said that had the secret daughter been white, not the result of a long-rumored tryst between Thurmond and a black maid, ‘‘it would be a whole other situation.''