Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Very Short White History Lesson

The sign on the left was a signifier in segregated America that a place of business catered to white people only, because at the time, it was considered acceptable for white people to deny spaces for people of color in their places of business, in certain schools, hospitals, voting booths, areas of public transportation, and so on.

The sign on the right was put up by a business owner who had no idea that for many people, the sign he put up would in a way remind people of the sign on the left. There are many people alive today who remember signs like the one on the left. I'm not sure how the business owner in question missed it when he put his sign on the front of his business where he earned the money he lived on.  Past tense, because for some reason, people just stopped coming to his business. It was as if there was a sign on the front that drove his clientele away.

But he was bewildered:
“I had to take the sign down for various reasons. It was only supposed to be a white thing, but people read more into it than that,” he wrote on GoFundMe. “I don’t think I deserve this just because I wanted to be proud of being white and be able to celebrate my heritage like everyone else does.”
Exactly. Sometimes the best way to celebrate history is to learn it.

2 comments:

Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, I don't know what was up with this guy.

Back in the 60s it was very clear about what we were trying to fight against in the civil rights movement.

But that was 50 or 60 years ago (back in those days you could find people that would fit mikey's conjecture about Southerners in the post below this one).

Most of the people alive today weren't around in those days, and since that time you have a lot of people of all races who never actually saw racial oppression as it existed back then. Today you have a lot of people who would otherwise be completely indifferent one way or another about society's racial issues. Lost in a miasma of Hispanics, Asians, Caribbeans, Hindus, Middle Easterners, and too many other racial groups to mention. In a California school, they had representatives of 125 different religions... can you imagine trying to figure out the holiday? How do you have inherited guilt with a significant part of the population that doesn't even originate in the US and who often don't have a personal family because of divorce or other reasons?

So today a lot of times the backlash is by people are basically indifferent to history. Their reaction is against the political movements pressing the racial agenda and also against the very large rise of black crime, particularly gang crime. They don't even know about what took place 80 years ago. They just know people are pushing at them when they feel they haven't done anything one way or another to be offensive.

It seems to me that until we start grasping and addressing ourselves to the racial situation as it exists today, we're not going to make any forward movement.


P.S. Incidentally, thanks for the tips about tomatoes. Your answer makes more sense than anything else I've been told.

Vixen Strangely said...

You're welcome re: tomatoes. I have had less-than ripe tomatoes fed to me on occasion by home cooks proud to be using "fresh ingredients". "Do you like it--it's from my garden!" And I nodded. "Uh-huh, tastes it!"

The diversity issue is why I don't think this guy is necessarily racist so much as a little "at-sea". Something like "Black History month" might seem exclusionary to someone who doesn't know about the abolitionist movement or white involvement in the civil rights movement of the '50's and 60's, and so doesn't think that that history has anything positive to do with people who look like him.

At the same time, missing the myriad ways "white history" gets celebrated in this country is a little gobstopping. I mean, in Philadelphia, we've got St Pats parade for the Irish, Von Steuben for the Germans, Pulaski for the Polish, Columbus Day for the Italians--all white history. President's Day--except for one guy, white history. We speak English. Our Constitution owes a lot to English Law. Anywhere bluegrass is played and biscuits and gravy, fried apples, corn bread and beans gets eaten, old settler Scots-Irish culture is being celebrated. Or don't even get me started on the variety of noodles and sausage of the PA Dutch.

Things shouldn't be so polarized, anymore. There's room enough for everyone to express their culture, but also be American.

(There's a conversation probable 2016 candidate Gov. Jindal had regarding hyphenated Americans where he declared he didn't care for African Americans or Asian Americans...and he distinctly let my kind of hyphenated American alone. Maybe the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Sons of Italy have more pull than I knew? Or he doesn't realize recent European immigrants also had to deal with some degree of assimilation vs. retaining some "ethnic" pride.)