Saturday, February 26, 2011

White People Can Be So Lame...

This is not a rant, it's just something that been coming back to me again and again lately. I've lived in Virginia going on thirteen years. Before that, I lived in New England for more than twenty years. So I've been in both the North and the South for a couple of long times. I was born and for the most part raised in New England.

And thus far in my experiences, I've met lots of white Virginians who are racist as hell. But as bad as they are, I think that their racist white New Englander counterparts are even worse.

The demographics have something to do with this. Virginia's white population is around 68 percent. The African-American percentage is around 19. We have a great deal of Asians, Hispanics, and Latinos as well. Hell, the apartment complex I'm in now kind of looks like a miniature United Nations -- and my neighborhood has businesses run by Lebanese, Chinese, Mexican, Greek, Italian, Brazilian, Ukranian, Syrian, Indian, African-American, and people I can't think of off the top of my head right now. I live inside a melting pot. This is a nice little neighborhood here.

Contrast that with the states of New England. My home state of Massachusetts: 82% white. Connecticut: 85% white. Rhode Island: 90% white. New Hampshire: 95% white. Vermont and Maine: both 97% white.

This is just one of the reasons why I don't want to move back to New England, having lived in a more racially and ethnically diverse place like the Richmond/Henrico area for close to thirteen years. I like the greater diversity here. I feel like I could live here for the rest of my life. I never felt that way in the twenty-odd year I spent in New England.

And I think that has something to do with the differences in demographics. seems to me, the more homogenous a community is, the more unwelcoming its citizens are to anyone they perceive as different from them. My hometown of Pepperell was around 97 percent white when I was a kid, and far too many of the adults in my life in those days hated black people, Asians, and Hispanics and Latinos, and when you're a kid looking to adults for guidance in a climate like that, it stunts your awareness and your still-developing sense of understanding.

I'll give you a few examples. I had a couple of black friends in those days, but they were my nigger friends, not my black friends. Once in a while, we'd order food from a Chinese restaurant, but it wasn't Chinese food we were getting -- it was Chink food. I knew of a couple homes who had Hispanic or Latino people come in once a week to clean their houses, but as far as these people were concerned, their help was made up of Spics. The more homogenous the community is, the more ignorant it is about other people -- and the more that hurts the community.

It didn't get this way overnight. The main reason I think Northern whites are more racist than their Southern counterparts is the fact that, while Southern whites were coming up with all that segregation and Jim Crow bullshit legislation generations ago, Northern whites were outright barring blacks from living in their towns, driving them out of their towns, or forcing them to cluster together in the inner cities. So small wonder that all these northern locales have scarcely any black people living there these days -- the Southern whites may have treated them like shit for all the world to see, but at least they had the fucking courtesy to allow them to live among them anyway.

I love what African-Americans bring to the table. I find it inspiring, actually. These folks found a way to turn table scraps into cuisine -- hell, if that ain't sayin' somethin'...


2 comments:

  1. I grew up in one of the northern states in the 1960s. It was no way no how like what it was in the south. Hell, my grammar school was full of black kids whose families came up north because of Jim Crow. They were in my class just like everybody else. Yes, there was and is plenty of racism in northern states, but it's like comparing Democrats to Republicans: sure, there are extremist Democrats, but there aren't nearly as many and they aren't nearly as well accepted in the mainstream of Democrats as the Republicans are.

    You're what, 40 years old? Born in 1971 or something like that? I was in school when the riots were in my town in the 1960s. You could be a little more circumspect when making these grand statements of yours that are based entirely on anecdotal stuff, because you'll find there are a lot of people like me with their own anecdotes, and some of us have been around longer and seen more. I've heard this "Yankees are more racist than southerners bullshit before. It's always someone in the south who says it, and it is always because they don't like having the racist label applied to them. Well, buddy, the facts are the facts. They earned that label. If you think there isn't a difference between de facto and de jure racism, all I can say is that you are mistaken.

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  2. To expand on that last sentence a bit, there's a big difference between a group of citizens who decide among themselves that they won't sell their homes to black people and a law that says, "If you drink from this fountain, a cop is gonna grab you and arrest you and take you somewhere and beat your kidneys until you piss blood".

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