In kindergarten my teacher would make us pair up guy-girl and hold hands walking from one classroom building to another. There was one black boy in my class whose parents were missionaries. Because he was black, holding hands with him wiereded me out so I’d always make sure to not pair up with him. Isn’t that sad?
For some reason that story kept coming to mind walking through the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham last week. The exhibits were fantastic in how they compared what was typical in the life of a typical American white person and a typical American black person in Alabama before and during the Civil Rights movement. The best part of the museum was a room where silhouettes of different Birmingham residents from the past scattered about the room and their comments about integration came out of the speaker overhead. So many of the quotes were excuses. Excuses from black and white people who either didn’t want to change, didn’t see that change was possible, or didn’t see what was wrong with how things were.
What always really freaks me out about civil rights is that so many people were complacent and resistant to change. Their way of life was such the cultural norm that many couldn’t even see what was wrong with the way their community operated.
I say it freaks me out because it makes me wonder what wrongs are we doing today that we don’t even see???