Gramma's view on race relations...just have to share and vent a bit - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-15-2005, 02:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Had an interesting conversation with my Gramma about race relations. She grew up in a coal mining town in WV. She claims she never saw racism the way it is up here there. Things were segregated of course the black kids had their school the white kids had theirs. There were seperate drinking fountains and toilets but That everyone wanted to be on good terms with the guy on the otherside of the cave in so there wasn't any outright animosity. Makes sense. She says she didn't see racism until she moved north into a "city" where there was "real" segregation, the black people only lived on certain streets in a certain area of town and the white people where everywhere. And the hate was over the top. Then she goes into a big long schpeel about why black people are poor and yadda yadda yadda compares "white trash" and the "N" word. then compares White people and Black people (my grandparents have this whole classist philosophy that just makes my jaw drop) At the end of the conversation I feel really dirty. And somewhat ashamed to be a member of that side of the family. It was like I was seeing my Gramma for the first time...that whole new light thing totally weird.
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Old 08-15-2005, 01:38 PM
 
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Wait a minute...are you my cousin? :LOL My grandma also grew up in a coal mining town in WV, and has similar views as your grandma. In fact, I bet my grandma can top your grandma. :LOL My grandma thinks that different races are different species , and we all know different species shouldn't breed together! I feel your shame and I'm right there with you. I'm grateful that she wasn't successful in passing her racism to my mom.
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Old 08-15-2005, 01:39 PM
 
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yuck.

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Old 08-15-2005, 02:50 PM
 
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Old 08-15-2005, 05:21 PM
 
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Just had to jump in to defend small coal mining towns in WV! :LOL My Mamaw grew up in a small, coal mining town. Actually her father was killed in the mines when she was six. That's beside the point, but she is not racist at all!
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Old 08-15-2005, 05:34 PM
 
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I guess the fact that members of different species can't breed is irrelevant ...
I am myself biracial, and my grandparents apparently were all fine with my parents' marriage. If they weren't, they were decent enough not to show it. (my mom is Asian, my dad white)
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Old 08-15-2005, 05:38 PM
 
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oh my, well my grandparents (on both sides) are about as racist as they come. And my grandmother on the one side is a total elitest snob too. I figure, there's not much you can do about it. I mean, if there were, it would be done by now. Heck, my mother was engaged to a black man, in southern VA in like 1965. If her parents didn't come around from all her civil rights movement activity, why on earth would they change now? I hope that some of the more overt racism in this country is dying out with that generation. Of course, the opressive systems of control that keep our society segregated, well, they're still going strong...

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Old 08-15-2005, 06:36 PM
 
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I guess the fact that members of different species can't breed is irrelevant ...
Divina, yes, it is irrelevant in a sense, because most people ignorant enough to harbour that kind of racism, are also ignorant enough to have no idea that different species can't breed. My grandma falls into that category. My husband is also half Asian. Fortunately my grandmother has kept her mouth shut about our "interbreeding" and that of dh's parents.

Doodlebugsmom, my grandma's father was also killed in a mine when she was six. This thread is getting eerie for me. He was killed in an explosion in the Boissevain (sp?) mine in the 30s.


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I hope that some of the more overt racism in this country is dying out with that generation.
I hope so too.
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Old 08-16-2005, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just out of curiosity to those whose great grampas where killed in mining accidents. What mines did they work in, what towns. (esp curious about the WV mining town :-) My Great Grampa was a fire boss, but he didn't die in the mines. They went fishing on the New River and a slab of mountain fell off and landed ontop of him.
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Old 08-16-2005, 05:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by coopnwhitsmommy
: There were seperate drinking fountains and toilets but That everyone wanted to be on good terms with the guy on the otherside of the cave in so there wasn't any outright animosity. Makes sense.
cwm, can you please clarify the makes sense part of that clip? thanks
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Old 08-16-2005, 05:43 PM
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KoalaMommy,

I guess if they married it would not only be Bride's family on one side of the aisle and Groom's family on the other but they would need two sets of toilets and two buffet lines, etc.

I guess that's better than Nurturing Mama's grandma's theory then Divina would be sterile like a Mule or something.

Where do these people get their ideas??!!

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Old 08-16-2005, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by wolfmama
cwm, can you please clarify the makes sense part of that clip? thanks

The part about wanting to be on good terms with the guy on the other side of the cave in. Meaning yes there was segregation but she didn't see any outright hatred between the white coalminers and the black ones because you wouldn't want to be stuck down there with only someone who you hate/hates you to save your life.
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Old 08-16-2005, 05:48 PM
 
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i dunno cwm. sounds like bs that your relatives and others told each other to justify the status quo. oh, it's not that bad. you know what i mean?
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Old 08-16-2005, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not defending it by anymeans. I just thought it made sense not to antagonize someone who could potentially save your life.

and yes I agree with you about the bs part
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Old 08-16-2005, 09:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by coopnwhitsmommy
Just out of curiosity to those whose great grampas where killed in mining accidents. What mines did they work in, what towns. (esp curious about the WV mining town :-) My Great Grampa was a fire boss, but he didn't die in the mines. They went fishing on the New River and a slab of mountain fell off and landed ontop of him.
Hey Coop. My great-grandfather was killed in Alcott, WV in Kanawa County. I don't know the name of the mine. It was in 1930. His father was also killed in the mines.
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Old 08-16-2005, 10:59 PM
 
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Oops, my grandma is from Virginia, not West Virginia :, although she lived very close to the border with WV . Anyway, Coopnwhitsmommy, my great grandfather died in 1932 in the Pocahontas Fuel Company's Boissevain mine, near Bluefield, WV.

I have a copy of a newspaper article about the explosion, and the list of dead men is actually segregated by race, first "White", then "Colored", then "Mexican" . I can't imagine living during that time.

Carrie
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Old 08-17-2005, 01:07 AM
 
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I used to think my grandparents weren't racist and then I grew older and saw them for the first time, like how you described. It makes me sick. And I hate it when one set uses the words "colored girl." I always felt like their homes were so loving and a safe place for me, until the days when I started figuring them out. and I always saw them as smart people. Now they are just ignorant and can't think for themselves and only for what was popular at their time. I'm glad that they are living to see change. I hope they eat all of their thoughts and feel real dumb.
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Old 08-17-2005, 01:39 AM
 
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My great-aunt is the most hateful unrepentant racist and everything else (anti-Semite, homophobe, general misanthrope) there is. Everything gets described in terms of whatever trait she is trying to highlight (i.e., the "lezzie" landlords trying to screw over my cousin, the ni**er workers at her assisted living facility (who I can't believe haven't slipped her a mickey yet)). The Jews control all the media and financial institutions, of course, plus Hollywood.

The absolute worst was when the beautiful promising 16-year old biracial daughter of my mom's best friend was killed in an ATV accident. My mom was devastated, as we all were. I still can't think about it without crying. My great aunt pooh-poohed my mom's reaction, explaining that Jennifer was "just a ni**er." Unfathomable.

I try to focus on the positive--in our family she is the last of her line. My parents were activists for peace and justice from early on (worked to elect the first black mayor of a large US city). There was nothing in their backgrounds that would have predicted it; they just saw through the BS and moved on.

It still makes me sad and mad, though.

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Old 08-17-2005, 02:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Nurturing Mama
My grandma thinks that different races are different species , and we all know different species shouldn't breed together!
OMG! I unfortunately have met so many people who think the same They go as far as to say that if God wanted the different races to blend, He would not have created them so far from each other

My sister was treated like trash in a religious school because of hers and her boyfriend's "immoral" behavior. Mind you, they never "misbehaved" (making out in public or anything like that) but people were outraged even when they looked in love at each other. Why? My sister is bi-racial and her boyfriend is caucasian...

My family has a long history of just falling in love and not given rats about the race of the partner . For example, in the end of the last century, my dad's great (not sure if there is another great here) grandmother and an ex-slave at her family's farm fell in love and married. Bi-racial relationships were almost unheard of at the time. Their daughter married to someone from another race, and so on...

People sometimes say "what an unusual couple" about DH and I : Can't some people understand that unlike them, DH and I fell in love with what the other was like inside - could not care less about race??
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:20 AM
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That's a sweet story, Polli, but the end of the last century was 1999 (or more correctly 2000.)

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Old 08-17-2005, 10:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by polihaupt
They go as far as to say that if God wanted the different races to blend, He would not have created them so far from each other
I had an acquaintance (I wouldn't call her a friend) sit in my living room and say the same thing. That people of different races shouldn't inter-marry and should not have kids, that the kids were weird and would never fit in. My house is filled with pictures of me and my hubby, who is half-Asian, and I was holding my 1/4 Asian son on my lap. : I was in shock, I had never met anyone my age who held those beliefs. That was the last time I invited that lady over to my house. Now I wish I had called her on it, but at the time I was just in shock.

I saw the same lady about 2 months ago at a gathering. She was holding my DS and tickling him, he was laughing and giggling. She yelled out across the room "Hey, LB, when he laughs he almost looks like one of them Chinese babies!" I just said "Korean, actually" took my DS and walked away.

The thought never crossed my mind to question someone about their child's heritage. I can't count the number of times I've been asked "what IS he?", most recently by a sheriff's deputy at a mall safety display. Umm, last time I checked he was my DS.

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Old 08-17-2005, 11:16 AM
 
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I get asked that all the time..."What are you."
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Old 08-17-2005, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Moss's Mommy
I get asked that all the time..."What are you."

Human
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Old 08-17-2005, 11:33 AM
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People would ask me that when I was preggos. "What are you having?" and I would say, "Hu-man" like a Ferengi on Star Trek.

BTW: if G-d didn't want the "races" "mixing" he wouldn't make biracial children so beautiful (and I have noticed the most stunningly beautiful children are of mixed heritage.) I welcome the prospect of having sons and daughters in law who don't look like me and I look forward to having diverse grandchildren someday....sigh.

Race itself is a social construct. I heard that Japanese people have the same attitude about blood type as we have about race. It's a social construct. If you looked at people genetically race does not exist. There is as much diversity within "races" as there is between "races" If its a social construct instead of inherent we can eradicate racism because it is *taught* not inherent.

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Old 08-17-2005, 11:43 AM
 
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I am encouraged that the good ol' days are gone and many of those bad ol' ways are not popular anymore.
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Old 08-17-2005, 02:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DebraBaker
That's a sweet story, Polli, but the end of the last century was 1999 (or more correctly 2000.)

db
:LOL That's true!! I meant the 1890's
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:19 PM
 
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Well, one of my grandpas hates "Japs" so much that he won't eat rice.

My other grandpa hated whites.

I grew up personally believing that there are many physical differences in people, but only one race.

If you are a Christian or a Jew, don't you have to believe that? If you believe that in the beginning, God created Adam and Eve, then you must believe that we are all family. Right?
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Old 08-17-2005, 05:29 PM
 
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An unabashedly redneck friend of my Dad's made a comment the other day about how the different races (Black, White, and Hispanic) couldn't get along because one was smarter than the other two.

To which I replied, "Oh, you mean Hispanic people are smarter. Yeah, I see your point."

I chose Hispanic because my Dad is of Spanish and Portuguese descent, a fact Mac very well knows. Dad of course picked up on the irony/sarcasm, but Mac just said, "That's not what I mean." Sadly, he's not of the really older generation, he's a baby boomer.

Of the three people in the conversation (my dad, myself, and Mac), the latter was decidedly both the least intelligent and the most ignorant. Oy.

I know what you mean about grandparents, though. One of my dad's (Spanish side of the family) cousins married a Mexican, and it was a big scandal at the time. (Though I daresay the Mexican cousins are good at livening up the party at family reunions, with decent music at least!)

On my mom's side, her Arkansas-born father was unabashedly racist. He refused to eat at certain restaurants because he percieved them as "black". Most notably, Dairy Queen. His favorite restaurant on the road was Denny's. This was a man who grew up dirt poor during the Depression, yet he associated poverty with black people.

Then there's my grandma, who showed her colors when I sent her my senior prom picture, with my black date. She hid it in the back bedroom while she had my picture from the prom I attended my Sophomore year w/ a goofy Norwegian exchange student (who was a senior and a member of my "clique" and therefore my official date since I had to have one to get in that year). I switched the pictures out and told her not to switch them back!

Of course, it was that prom date that opened my eyes to how racist my peers in school were. Ugh. Stupid small town.

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Old 08-17-2005, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ravin,

My younger cousin "M"'s date for her senior prom was black, of course she didn't tell anyone on this side of the family (my mom's side) because she knew what would happen. You should have seen how red my aunts face was when she was taking pictures before they left it was :LOL
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Old 08-18-2005, 10:22 AM
 
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I grew up personally believing that there are many physical differences in people, but only one race.

If you are a Christian or a Jew, don't you have to believe that? If you believe that in the beginning, God created Adam and Eve, then you must believe that we are all family. Right?

:

My 5 year old dd's dad is bi-racial (half black, half white). You should have seen what my mother put me through when she found out, even calling my child a n***er baby when she was born (she didn't come to the hospital...obviously). On this great happy day of the birth of our child she was calling saying that. Anyway, now she dd, but my ex still holds a grudge against her, because she still has not apologized. Sometimes she complains to me "He won't let me see her (when she is in his custody)" and tries to get me on her side. Um...maybe you should apologize? "He should apologize to me for not letting me see [my dd] for her first year." I do love my mom, but she just does not get it. She did grow up in a mostly black neighborhood and was teased a lot for being the white kid, but I do feel we need to grow past those things...I hope my dd never finds out about the things she has said in the past!

Tracey, mama of 5 beloved children here with me on Earth and one precious son I will meet again in Heaven 6/17/09 - 9/6/09.

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