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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Little Apples

“Racism isn't born, folks, it's taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list.” ~Dennis Leary

I was watching CNN’s round the clock coverage on New Orleans and Mardi Gras. There’s nothing else going on, but bring on the masks and the beads and the boobies! I’ve always wanted to go to Mardi Gras, but have yet to make it down there, but I am determined.

Anyway, during the round the clock coverage, they did a segment on what children are thinking about Katrina, after being displaced and having to start over in a new city, etc.
Now, these children must have been about 7 or 8 years old, so maybe they didn’t know better. But alas, when I heard the following from the mouths of mere (white) babes:

“I never spent much time with coloreds before this”

And (my personal favorite)

“I used to think that black people were mean. But…but…now I think that they’re nice”

Of course my first thoughts upon seeing this were something like “Holy motherfucker” and then it came to my attention that these are young children and no 7 or 8 year old popped out of the womb using the phrase “colored”. Therefore, they had to have heard it first from somewhere, which is quite sad frankly, but I suppose not all that shocking. All I’m going to say on the matter-aside from the obligatory “what the fuck?”-is that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I’m sure their parents are quite proud that their little whippersnappers have gotten over the shock of the “coloreds” being just as normal as they are. Or not.

Oh and also, in case you didn’t know, it’s 1956.

This post brought to you by a 'scary colored'. Cause you know, I'm evil. Boo.


Blogger RoarSavage said...

Good post. Still: if the parents taught their kids the word "colored" to begin with, do you think they were actually "proud" when their kids decided black people were just like them?

These little (presumeably) white children- they were where? Being interviewed by whom?

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Angela said...

Good lord in heaven... where were these children from?? This is particularly interesting since I always found New Orleans at Mardi Gras to be overrun with very white, very drunk people from the midwest who would probably never cross the Mason Dixon line for any reason aside from Mardi Gras.

What I find much more disconcerting about Mardi Gras is the unabashed sex in the streets and crazy people shooting up in dark corners and trying to grab your boob when you walk by. God, I miss home.

12:30 PM  
Blogger LisaBinDaCity said...

I hope you get to Mardi Gras sometime and more importantly New Orleans. It's truly a city like no other...

12:48 PM  
Blogger Larissa said...

love me some Denis Leary :-)

1:02 PM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

Roar: duh. I should've said that, yes they are little white children being interviewed by some CNN reporter. And you're right, I doubt their parents are proud.

Angela: so true, especially since most would never dare enter the deep south, unless it involved booze or boobs.

LisaB: I know I need to get down there. We have a house two hours away in Alabama and I figure now that I'm older, I'll try to head down there. Hopefully next year.

1:05 PM  
Blogger wunelle said...

I'd go down south for boobs, even if I'd have to brave children who say things like this. How sad. Reminds you that hatred, like anything else, must be learned.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

That turns my stomach.

On a lighter note, I was enjoying some Yellow Tail last night and I actually thought of Heather B. ;)

2:45 PM  
Blogger RoarSavage said...

Isn't New Orleans well within the Mason Dixon line?

3:18 PM  
Blogger Audra said...

Its more like the redneck doesn't fall far from the mud covered truck. I lived in Florida for a bit and was amazed at the open racisim I would hear. I just didn't grow up hearing that sort of thing and was astonished that there were actually people like that outside of the Springer Show. Funny thing about what parents teach is my mom always taught me that everyone is the same inside and what is on the outside is just a shell. When I was 14 I started to date a black guy. I brought him over to meet my parents and when he left my mom asked why I never mentioned he was black. I had no answer other then it hadn't occured to me. My mom told me she had never been so proud and it was one time she realized I actually listen to what she says. I hope that I can teach my children the same thing and hope that it never occurs to them to mention a friends race when talking about them

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Angela said...

Yes, it is, which is why one must cross it in order to reach New Orleans ;)

3:48 PM  
Anonymous stephanie said...

When I was about 7 or 8, I read one of my mom's books from when she was a kid. In the story, there two girls, one of whom was "colored," who were friends and they had to keep it a secret because their friendship was frowned upon. I thought, how cool would it be to have a friend who was red and blue and purple and green and all the "colors" of the rainbow.

Ahhh... blissful ignorance.

4:05 PM  
Blogger RoarSavage said...

Misread. Thought you were talking about Southerners crossing the Mason Dixon line. Sorry.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Diet Coke of Evil said...

Heather, if you're evil, it's not because of the color of your skin! Reading things like this is just so upsetting because it shows us that we haven't come that far. You're totally right, kids have to learn these things (read: racism and complete ignorance), and they probably learned them from their parents. Ugh!

5:41 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

Learning about the extreme poverty in the area during Katrina took some of the steam out of Mardi Gras for me. The whole Bourbon Street thing became to seem more like a Disneyland facade to a poorly-run city.

6:59 PM  
Blogger mysterygirl! said...

Denis Leary rules. That's a perfect quote for this post. I can't believe people still teach their kids stuff like that. (I mean, I can't believe they EVER did, but that's another issue)

I also can't even imagine Mardi Gras happening this year. Hey, you know when Britney Spears is passing out beads that an event is totally beat.

7:11 PM  
Blogger rebecca_knox said...

no words. great post.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

Wunelle: funny. I'd still go down to the south for booze, even if it means facing stupid children. Although I feel kind of bad calling children stupid, but whatever.

Liz: Awww! Thanks! Glad you think of me sporadically even if it is over some of The Tail.

Roar/Angela: NoLa is in the DEEEEP south. Scary place it is.

Audra: is this the same black guy that your brother made fun of you about?

Stephanie: Ignorance is bliss. Cute story.

DCOE: Thanks for thinking I'm not evil. It's amazing what parents say around their children, I mean duh! they can hear and Hello! Monkey see, monkey do.

Neil: Great way to put it and so true.

MG!: Ahhh equating Britney with Mardi Gras? Things have officially gone down hill. So sad.

Rebecca: Thanks so much!

8:49 PM  
Blogger Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Racist beliefs are as bad as ever, but the racism is just more covert than it was in the racism hey-day. For example, watch a white person giving change at a store and see how they are more likely to avoid touching the hand of a black person.

11:47 PM  
Blogger wunelle said...

I'm only now dimly realizing that I never read your opening Dennis Leary quote, and so I wrote a much stupider version of it.

Sorry. If I were smart, I wouldn't be a machinery operator.

12:38 AM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

I'm not sure how I got here, but I'm glad I found you. I, seriously, honest-to-god, did not know about racism until I was in college back in the mid 80's. I was home between classes and Phil Donahue was on and he had KKK members from some God-awful place -- doesn't matter where -- and not only were they so unbelievably stupid and unsophisticated, they had taught their toddlers to say horrendous things about people with dark skin pigment. I freaked. I called my mom at work hysterical and she was taken aback because she didn't realize that I had no earthly clue that people are actually so ignorant as to think skin pigment is an issue. I had never been exposed to that kind of ignorance -- I was lucky -- my parents are intelligent, wonderful people with many intelligent friends. I just never realized the extent of ignorance in the world. I presume that people looked at me and Steve strangely back in 1983, but I guess I never noticed. His skin pigment just sort of never crossed my mind as something that would be an issue. It still makes absolutely no sense to me. And years later -- about 5 years ago, my friend Kevin and I went out for dinner and to a movie, and people seriously stared us down, even here in Northern Cali in Sacramento. I don't get it. Maybe it's because he was impeccably dressed and we drove up in a $100,000 vehicle, or that he's clearly well educated (Harvard), because other than that, I don't get it.

The only way I can make it make sense to me now is to realize that about 95 - 98% of the population has an IQ of 100 or below, so in general we're not dealing with a society of rocket scientists. Plus, hatred breeds hatred, especially in non-intelligent people. They are like parrots -- they keep repeating the same thing over and over, and then their children catch on, and so on and so on. And all the while, they truly do not understand the import of their actions and words, because they don't have the intellectual capacity to do so. And so goes the unending cycle.

I have a loose understanding of how it all started, but people, come on. Apparently the gene pool needs to be cleansed. (Unless you think I'm a gene pool scab, in which case you are wrong! Hee!)

4:24 AM  
Blogger Isabel said...

This surprises me. And I'm not sure why. I guess because I was raised in a home where we never discussed racism. To us, it just didn't exist. My parents taught up to treat everyone the same. Which may be odd, since I was raised in a small town, which was made up entirely of white people (except for a few exchange students from Mexico).

It wasn't until I grew up and moved to the Big City that I realized people were extra horrible to ther people.

It's sick.

And scary.

1:19 PM  

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