Race to most racist
I know you are, what am I?
No victor in sight
I’m from Detroit. A writer of a recent Detroit newspaper article would argue with me on this point since I never actually lived on any street within the city. I am a phony because I only lived near the city of Detroit.
When I lived in Warren, Michigan, I could look across 8 Mile and see Detroit from my kitchen window. (No, I do not hang out with Sarah Palin.)
Before that, I lived in Hamtramck a couple of blocks from the Detroit city limit. Hamtramck is a small city that is completely surrounded by Detroit.
The street I lived on in Hamtramck created and at the same time broke down some racial barriers. I lived on one side of the street where all the houses were occupied by white people. Across the street, all the houses were occupied by black people. Divided right down the middle. At the age of four, all the white and black people sitting on their front porches sort of looked the same to me.
One of my first observations of racism took place in the women’s clothing section of a department store. I was with my mother and grandmother. Two teenage girls debated over the monumental decision of which blouse they should buy.
My grandmother spoke in Polish to my mother, “Just look at that, black people are shopping here!” Her words implied that these black teenagers should be banned from certain places and activities. This is the first time I remember being fed a racist thought.
This was the late 1950’s and within a few years all the houses on my divided street were torn down. The dismantling continued into the 1960’s.
A Kenyan-born professor taught an African Studies class I took at an American college. One time he mentioned that the American Slave trade forever skewed the relationship between Europeans and Africans. The relationship was healthy between them before the horrible trade began and should have remained so. But the growing market for slaves in the Americas altered the dynamics.
This was an offhand comment and the professor didn’t dwell on it, nor make it a political point. It was a basic observation and lament. Many years later, this one comment remains vivid in my mind.
Africans traded worldwide as equal economic partners with other countries and continents. Advanced civilizations flourished on the African soil. The Library of Alexandria in Egypt was once the largest and grandest in the Mediterranean world. Slave did not define an African.
And yet here we are. Racism is central to the American fabric according to some groups. Even if racism is diminishing, it is not gone.
Africa has a rich history. Racism was the result and not the cause of slavery. Slave traders dehumanized Africans so that they could treat this one race as if they were property. Slavery obscures the historical Africa.
The real story of Africa is not victimhood. A sense of healing in the future might begin if we can revisit the past.
a creative writing notebook by Bill Bisgood
...promoting global understanding
Journalist, author, musician
A journal of diagonal parking in a parallel universe.
birding and bird photography
A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.
Words, words, words
Santi Tafarella's blog on books, culture, and politics
The Art and Craft of Blogging
Just another WordPress.com weblog
Cutting edge science you can dice with
Understanding and communicating the limitations of climate science. Mostly.
Strange thoughts, random mutterings
Alis volat propriis
Excerpts from a mom/wife/teacher/crazywomanby8am
A Library of Literary Interestingness
High and Low. Here and There. Now and Then.
where past meets future
Random thoughts on politics, science, society, and religion
The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change
Author. Blogger. Bigmouth.
Ideas that make a difference
Dealing with anxiety...and my dysfunctional family
You even read my tagline!
(Somewhat) Daily News from the World of Literary Nonfiction
"Everything we hear is opinion, not fact. Everything we see is perspective, not truth." --Marcus Aurelius
Conversations About Science with Theoretical Physicist Matt Strassler
A detour on the information superhighway.