I grew up in the deep South and once, when I was going to high school, I went to a friend's party. A couple dozen of us were hanging around downstairs, enjoying ourselves, when we found out that the father of the girl who was throwing the party wouldn't let a kid into his house because he was black. You may be wondering if there was any other motive. Maybe the kid mouthed off, he was dressed like a thug, the two of the them had some kind of run-in before...none of that was true. The father was just a racist who didn't want a black kid in his house.
To me, the interesting part was what happened AFTER he did that. The black kid who came to the party had rolled up with 15 white, country boys from school. The girl's father told them that they could come in if they wanted. They politely refused and said if their friend wasn't welcome, then they weren't going to go in either. Then, they all left together. When the word spread downstairs, the girl who was throwing the party was horrified and incredibly embarrassed that her father had done that and the party broke up and ended within a few minutes time.
As someone who was born in the seventies in North Carolina and grew up admiring people like Muhammad Ali, Satchel Paige, and even Malcolm X (Yes, really) that was a pretty good example of the world I grew up in. Sure, there were a few diehard racists around, but amongst people of my generation, they were few and far between. We didn't grow up with separate water fountains, segregation, or Jim Crow laws. The KKK was considered a joke, even back then, and few people ever dropped the N-bomb in conversation unless they were reciting rap lyrics.
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