I am a born and raised southern man from Greenville, Mississippi. I went to college at Louisiana Tech Univ, Ruston. I married a southern girl from Shreveport, LA. I am proud to be from the south.
The south had a southern culture before slavery and the civil war. It had a culture after the civil. There are those who still choose to define the south based on the cotton-slave culture that gave way to the beginning of the civil war. That was not the south. That was the cotton-slave culture though many took part in it. Many did not. I know from the south that many tout the atrocities committed against the south by the union armies. The confederate army committed atrocities against the north. Yes, slavery to was and is an atrocity against the basics of humanity.
Nothing is going to change as the those in the south base life and beliefs on the end of the civil war. The nation is not going to change unless we all step outside of the context of the civil war that formally end in 1865.
I do not live in the south or the east or the north. I live in Everett, WA north of Seattle. I was amazed when I moved here and discovered “civil war” cemeteries marked with “Yankee” and “Confederate” graves. Symbolic of the wide spread affect of the war to this day.
Is there prejudice and racism? Yes!
Many do not realize that Tammy and I are from the south. We have lost much of our accent. We felt forced to work to lose our accent when we move to Kansas City, MO in 1988 where is was made clear to us that we were looked down on because we were white southerners. To this day many social and racial lines are based on the civil war and when we lived there those differences were reinforced in parts of society. We even had family, friends, who asked why we were moving to “damn Yankee country” when we moved to KC. White on white and black on white prejudice because we were from the south.
I do no mean to downplay the racism and prejudice perpetrated on non-whites, specifically black Americans. What I have learned that racism and prejudice flows so many different directions.
I currently drive Uber in Seattle. This has given me a view of the pervasiveness of racism and prejudice. I regularly have white riders comment or at least take notice that I am “white Uber driver”. I have even had comments as to how long it has been since a white rider had seen a white driver.
There is even prejudice between different ethnic groups of drivers through looks and glances followed by selected vocal tones when one sees a driver of different ethnic background.
My daughter has a black friend at her work. She uses Uber to go back and forth between work and home, and she has a hard time getting a ride. In her part of the city many of the first drivers that arrive are from a particular non-white background. They pull up, see a black person, shake their head no, and drive off. I could not believe it.
I am aware of the look of anger, fear, distrust, I receive from many ethnic groups because I am a white male. This stuns me each time it happens. It also saddens me.
I am white. I am aware I have unintentionally denied some things for a while. Today I am working on changing some those viewpoints, or the lack of viewing them.
Prejudice, racism, is alive and flourishing from so many different points. Each of us needs to take a look at our life and root it out. We cannot take action on it if we are not willing to look it in ourselves. And, whites, like me, starting with me, need to take the lead.
Enough for now.