Monday, June 22, 2015

Family Roots

     My father was a selective racist.  He was in the Navy, worked alongside men of all races and creeds, traveled the world experiencing a multitude of cultures, but he was also raised in the South, Kentucky specifically, by a radically religious and conservative mother who did not like blacks.  She taught her son well, and although he could abide in the work place, he refused to at home.  There was no way my mother could stand up to him, in large part due to the way he worked his anger out on her face, so she bit her tongue.
     My siblings and I, thankfully followed her lead and didn't pick up his teachings, probably out of a desire to be nothing like him.  Once when I was eight and we were living in Ohio, he told me that if I ever brought a black boy home, he'd shoot the boy in the face at the door, and then he'd shoot me.  He was completely sober when he told me this, so I immediately grasped how serious he was.  
     My husband brought Tim Parrish's article in the New York Daily News to my attention tonight, and it struck a chord.  It's worth your time to understand how deeply racism can be sown in some families.

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