Tuesday, November 08, 2011

My Take On Southern Race Relations

I love that there's a magazine named
"Garden & Gun" that comes
out of the South. 
I've had some time to digest my trip back to the south after being in the West for almost a year now (can you believe it??). And there's something I noticed a lot this trip that I hadn't noticed before: in the South, there are only two races-black and white. And one major religion: Christian.

I wouldn't say that I'm naive, but having been exposed to this the majority of my life, it causes me to not think about things fully. I'm not going to say I'm ignorant because I don't think I am. I'm just forgetful. For example, Yom Kippur wasn't even on my radar this year. Didn't think about it because I've never had to think about it before. Clearly there are all types of people, races, ethnicities and religions here in LA. I'd never really been in a place in the US where all the signs were written in Korean. It feels odd, but kinda nice to be next to that much diversity.

And going back to the south, there were things that I missed there too about being in a two-race town, so to speak. I like being called "child" by strong black women. I don't know why, but I find it reassuring. It feels like a verbal hug. I like that there are multiple options for fast food chicken, including a gas station. I feel guilty when I see an older black man in a service uniform like a bell hop or a waiter in a white coat. I love being called "ma'am" by people much older than I am because it's a courtesy and not a slight. It feels nice to be able to get a decent biscuit nearly anywhere I went. I like that butter is treated as a nearly religious condiment--almost the accoutrement to the wafers or wine.

I feel like race relations get so much attention in the South for a variety of reasons: history, of course, but also it was one of the few places that only two races or ethnicities really interacted. I feel like when there are a multitude of people who are "different", then everyone is different. When there are only two, one's getting the short end of the stick.

But maybe that's just me.

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