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Response to Empowerer (Reply #174)

Mon Feb 1, 2016, 06:32 PM

208. Thank you for your thoughtful & moving reply.

 

Last edited Mon Feb 1, 2016, 08:06 PM - Edit history (2)

I feel both honored & humbled that you took the time to share such heart-felt observations,
I appreciate your passion and your grasp of the subject matter, invoking the truism of MKK Jr's
words, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice".

I've re-read your last post several times, and still keep finding things I'd missed before, a gift that
keeps on giving, as they say. So thank you again.

A little re my racism-tinged roots: I'm an old white hippy who was raised in mostly rural Oregon by
parents who were decidedly Democrats, but they never-the-less had sadly subscribed to the racism
inherent in the Zeitgeist of those times, during the 1940's and 50's. One the surface they were always
kind and respectful when engaging with African Americans, Asians and other PoC; yet there were
sometimes unflattering innuendos or things said after the fact, behind their back, as it were, things
that I sounded ugly or embarrassing to me; and I sometimes was jarred by off-color racist jokes or slurs.

It saddens me to remember all that, but the good news is it seems -- intentionally or not -- you're
inspiring me to self-reflect more on how the racist influences in my upbringing (along with my white
"privilege" shaped my teen/young-adult consciousness initially.

Of course, as an adult I have never considered myself a racist, and it's always considered "cool" to
NOT be racist in my social & professional circles. As an adult I've had a number of intervening
experiences in adulthood that have helped heal my racism to some extent, including marching in 60s
civil rights actions, I lived and owned a house in the Albina area of Portland, which at the time was a
thriving 95% African American community, with many resident-owned store-front cafes and businesses,
and we came to know our neighbors.

I also worked for Rob't Kennedy's campaign in both OR and CA primaries. The deciding factor in
choosing to support Kennedy instead of Eugene McCarthy was that I saw Bobby on the tv news, riding
through the streets of Watts in a sedan with it's top down, and there were Watts residents, packing the
streets, pouring out of doors, there was so much power in that connection -- hopeful & joyful tears -- that
it pushed me into the Kennedy campaign, and I've never regretting that decision.

Six years before the '68 primaries, I inadvertently stumbled into the middle of the Watts Riot; had been
hitchhiking w/girl friend, picked up by 3-4 Latinos, who soon started pulling out guns and talking about
"shooting n***ers" and we were horrified, and ask to be let out of the car. So they pulled over and we
got out, on an elevated freeway/expressway w/ no sidewalks. We didn't know for sure where we were,
but we could hear occasional gunfire and smell the smoke of burning buildings; we knew something big
was up.

Eventually a motor cycle cop pulls up and we're excited to find out what was going on, and perhaps he
could call a cab to come pick us up. He was cold, all business, including giving us citations for the crime
of being "Pedestrians on a Freeway". He told us there was a riot going on, then said he couldn't call a cab
because cabs "were NOT providing rides in or out of the riot area at this time". So he called a police service
van to come take us out of the area. When the van came, the driver was black. I loved the irony, which
got even richer when we promptly had a flat tire; so the driver and and I were in the middle of the Watts
riot changing a tire on our way of escaping to relative safety.. we still were kind of in shell shock from the
whole experience. Anyway, this ^ experience heavily influenced my decision to work for Bobby.

Sorry I got a little carried away & didn't really mean to bore you with my whole life story. In closing, I'm
admittedly still a work in progress re dealing with my latent racism; which is difficult to hear my self say,
but I know is true to some extent. Be well, and take good care. ~99thMonkey

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Empowerer Jan 2016 OP
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LineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineReply Thank you for your thoughtful & moving reply.
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