Monday, February 01, 2010

The South

I'm from the South.
And please don't tell me that Florida isn't the South. Maybe South Florida, isn't but the rest of Florida is.
Anyway, a pleasant catch-up with an old friend was almost ruined by poo-pooing the South. The old friend had re-located down south and was talking about how different it was. But what began to irritate me in that narrative was the insinuation that the South had some monopoly on racism. It doesn't, it just was manifested differently and it is more blatent and in your face. Northern racism is more subtle, harder to pin down and is slimer than an eel in that it allows the Northern racist to claim innocence. Martin Luther King had the darnest problem with Chicago, and Detroit, L.A., and Boston (think bussing in the 70s) aren't necessarily racial utopias where equality flows. And just because the area where one grew up didn't have any black, or Native American, or brown Latinos around to bother discriminating against, does not make one better than the Southerner who is being judged.
I also felt the need to speak out against the other form of white superiority, where the brown, native or whatever person is given the signal that he or she or his or her people are too incompetent to do anything and must be saved, rescued, placed in permanent dependence by the White man. Energy by the hero white is spent to focus on the goodness of the white and the pitiful plight of the brown, rather than truely enpowering the brown enough to help his/her ownself. Pity rather than commpassion.


Arimathean said...

Here's how I've heard the difference between southern and northern racism explained: A southern racist doesn't care how close blacks get, as long as they don't get too high. A northern racist doesn't care how high blacks get, as long as they don't get too close.

Mari said...

Not too many weeks ago a good ole Georgia boy told me the same thing.