Sunday, May 19, 2019

Trapped In Politics

One of the things I love the most about the South is the racial harmony you see, particularly when you go to blue-collar dives like Waffle House. When wife kitteh and I went on our Great Confederate Livermush Adventure last year, we started off in Nashville. I took her, a Chicago girl, to an inexpensive BBQ joint. There, we saw mixed race staff, customers, married couples and so on. Everyone was Southern friendly and was having a good time. A fan of NPR and civil rights movies, she was surprised.

The next day, we went to an upscale restaurant and things were significantly different. The customers were all white and the wait staff were mostly black. "Ha ha!," I thought. "Look at those racist Democrats!" After all, it's the blue-collar whites who were the backbone of the Trump victory and the upscale folks who went for Hillary.

That was an entirely wrong analysis and was born of a desire to find justification for my own politics. The truth of the matter was that no one was racist or, if anyone was, it was the isolated jerk who could just as easily be sneering at short people, fat people or something else.

I figured this out while in Mobile last week. Wife kitteh looked up Fairhope, Alabama, which was the town on the outskirts of Mobile where we were staying. Wikipedia gave its demographic makeup and it was predominantly white. It was also pretty upscale, particularly for Alabama. The people we met were as charming as expected. No hate there.

It dawned on me that, like all of us, they can only be friendly to the people around them. Given the opportunity, they were warm and welcoming. It wasn't their fault that they lived in an area where almost everyone was married. It was just the nature of income generation for families of any and all types. Married families earn more so they can live in places like Fairhope and that's all there is to it.

I thought about our own lives back in San Diego. With the exception of a large number of Hispanics we know from Cursillo, our social circle was about as diverse as Fairhope. I, the converted Trump enthusiast who loves Robert E. Lee, had the most diverse circle of friends of anyone we knew. Politics didn't drive it, racism didn't drive it, opportunity drove it.

I misjudged the people at that upscale restaurant in Nashville and I'm ashamed of it now. No doubt a lot of them voted for Hillary, but so what? Americans are a decent lot. Almost none of us harbor hate for anyone. It was only my desire to score political points that caused me to slander them in my thoughts.

Focus on the people and the scenery and get politics out of your mind. You'll end up with a more accurate representation of reality.


Foxfier said...

what is white?

Because either 95% of our local community's "minority" folks are in the Catholic church (and they ain't Mexican--seriously, not ONE) or "white" is a default answer unless you correct it.

My kids are darker than most Mexicans. My husband was the in person folks for most of the papers. We were listed as "white" on the paperwork.

Possibly, "white" means "American without obvious complications." At least in our area.

(Digression, so dang jealous of my kids, that they don't need sun screen-- my husband got a 'sun burn' last weekend. It was red ONE DAY, then turned into a tan. I am white, then bright red for a day, then peal....)

IlĂ­on said...

Just to show you how "racist" (and "sexist") old-timey Southern whites (at least, on paper) were:
* my father wanted to vote for George Wallace *gasp* for President;
* my father wanted to vote for Shirley Chisholm *what!* for President.

Shirley Chisholm, in case you've never heard of her, was a Southern black woman who attempted to run for US President, back in the day.

Sussing-out "racism" in others is a concern of Northern white "liberals" ... who actually have a very low opinion of non-whites in general.

K T Cat said...

You both make good points, but they are too subtle and get lost in the noise of racial grievance yelling. If my ancestors had been lumped into broad categories like we do today, they'd have raged about it, letting you know in no uncertain terms that they were not part of the same group as the so-and-so's who they had fought for hundreds of years.