Monday, October 10, 2005

The Hidden Wound (Cont'd.)

This is an excellent article about one group of evacuees from New Orleans, removed to the almost foreign country of Oklahoma. This comment doesn't reflect at all the tone of the article, but it caught my eye.

The land was becoming sparser and drier. They had passed the last traffic light miles ago. There were no other cars on the road and no more stop signs or signs of life other than cows resting under the locust trees. They had seen no other black people since leaving Arkansas. Now they saw no people at all. Some of the evacuees began to grow fearful.

"Where is they taking us?" Nitayu Johnson, a hotel maid with a young daughter, remembered thinking. "They trying to slave us. They going to make us pick cotton. We gon' die."
Remind yourself again it is not about racism, and that segregation ended decades ago, that Brown v. Board of Education was in 1954, slavery ended in the 19th century, the Civil Rights Act was 1964, and tell yourself, if you must, that we are a "colorblind" society.

And then, unless you are African American, try to imagine ever, in your life, having that fear, or any possible reason to have that fear.

And then tell yourself again, such things are long in the past. Long, but not yet long enough.

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