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MY LIFE AS I LIVE IT

I'm a single mom with two great kids living near Dallas, Texas. This is my life; day to day things that are probably only important to me. This is my record of my ups, my downs and the road that I've taken along the way. For whatever reason YOU'RE here, I hope you find something you can enjoy and/or relate to. God bless.

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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I'm Just Me

I've tried several times over the past few days to sit down and post on my blog. Every single time I quit. I just can't get past what I read on Clay_Cane's blog...and on his comment section. I love Clay, I think he's an unbelievably talented author, a thoughtful and considerate human being, and a fair man. So, please, do not assume in any way that I've ever harbored the slightest ill feeling towards Clay. If you do, gotta tell you, you're an idiot, because I completely respect him and all that he is.
Now, when Clay wrote his post on Thanksgiving, I was shocked. I don't know how else to put it. I had no idea, whatsoever, that any of that had occurred. How I didn't know, I've no idea. I don't consider myself ignorant, I've got a pretty decent education, I'm an avid reader and I've always watched and read the news. I asked everyone to read Clay's post and many of you did, and I thank you. I appreciate Clay's writing about this, because I learned something. Something really worth learning. And because I did, my kids (and many others) will learn it too. Clay also recommended a book for me, Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen, which I bought today at Barnes & Noble. I've only read a bit about it, mostly the credentials of the author, and I'm impressed and looking forward to reading it. Instead of repeating Clay's post (which, believe me, I could not in any way do justice to it), I'll just ask that you read it, if you haven't already. Trust me, it's an awesome and enlightening read about the history of Thanksgiving. (hint: the elementary school play's have it all wrong...oh, and so did The Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving television special)
This brings me to the comment part of Clay's blog. Clay is a gorgeous black man, and many of his readers are black. Though none of them know me personally, my picture accompanies my name...and let's face it, I'm unmistakably white. Somehow, through my life, I've rarely been subjected to anyone holding it against me. I've actually had more white people hold my friendships with black people against me than black people holding my being white against me. This is because of where I come from. I went over some of this on Deb's blog. It isn't something I've ever liked talking about, but it's surfaced and I don't think until I deal with it, I'll be able to blog. Y'all know how I like to blog. :)
I'm from a small town just a few miles northeast of Indianapolis, Indiana. My dad was very racist, as was his dad before him and I'm sure it had been passed on down the line. Now, my grandma was a sweet little (4'8") Christian lady that would get onto my grandpa every time he said something racist. I can still hear her saying, "Now Mac..." Yeah, that's all it took for that little lady to rein him in. Anyway, we were living in the heart of KKK country. We (my sister and I) often wondered if my dad was a member, he denied it. Actually, I can't (and won't) speak for my sister, so I correct that to 'I often wondered'.
It should go without saying that I never knew (and rarely saw) a black person while I was growing up. I do remember one time when we were at a swimming pool at a state park for Memorial Day, and my sister and I were swimming when suddenly we hear my dad screaming our names and saying "get away from those n*ggers". (I refuse to ever say that word, and it was hard enough just to to type it). It took us a few minutes to realize what was going on, but then we noticed a couple of young black kids swimming near us. Apparently we didn't move fast enough and he came around the pool, continuing to yell the same sort of stuff and physically pulled us out of the pool. He screamed at us all the way home. We got the same treatment every time he'd catch us watching any t.v. show's with black people in it. Now, I come from a very abusive (physically, verbally and emotionally) home, but it was from my mom, not my dad. We normally stood up to him, and he'd go for days without talking to us.
When I started high school we had a couple of black people enter our school. One was a girl named Betty Butler (anyone know a woman by that name that went to school at Greenfield Central, give her my addy). She and I became great friends, actually she was one of my closest friends. At home, I was ridiculed and forbidden to bring her into our house.
This is just a small example of how I was brought up. I refused to share the prejudices that surrounded me. I believed that people could be 'color blind'. When I went away to college, I was able for the first time to be friends with whomever I wanted. Still, for the next 10 years after I left home, I faced nearly as many prejudices as I did at home. Thankfully, I see times as having changed.
That is, until little things are said that brings it all back home again. This brings me back to Clay's blog...or actually his comments section. One of his readers made a comment about white people in general. Now, I know that they probably didn't mean it toward any individual, and most definitely not at me in particular. It's just that all the old feelings that I'd thought I'd left behind came back in waves. Trust me, I know that bigotry goes both ways. I was dating a black guy in college that was a star player on the basketball team when 4 black girls got me in an elevator. I'd dated a black guy when I lived in Florida and we both got a lot negative treatment from both races. Another time I was hitching through Georgia and got beat up terribly by a couple of black girls for being in 'the wrong part of town'. Yeah, I hitched all over for a couple of years...a long, long time ago. But I've never blamed an entire race for the actions of a few people.
Which, brings me full circle to Clay's blog. I can't believe all the history of Thanksgiving that I didn't know. The native americans were treated so unbelievably unfairly, as were slaves, blacks, jews...how long could this list go on??? But, and yes there is a 'but', that had nothing to do with me, or you. It does have to do with those that still carry that hatred and bigotry around with them. I just wish that we would learn not to generalize.
SableDawn commented: After torment, there are always two paths: one of vengeance and anger, and one of forward thinking.
Leesa commented: Seems like history is written by the victors. Thanks for another eye-opening viewpoint. This is true, and just one of the reasons why I'm grateful for the kind of forums, like Clay's blog, that enlightens many...such as myself.

A couple of commenters I'll leave anonymous said: I watched this History Channel program about Thanksgiving. It was great. I could just hear the white people groaning and the collective flipping of many channels. You know they hate to relive any of their history of slaughter and sacrifice to its truth.
And I always hated the history books. Why should I listen to his story, the white, abled body, rich, christian man that is.

But my favorite comment was from dugla: I feel enlightened by this and the previous post/comments but I also feel burdened by the way we have seemed to divide, classify and further segregate ourselves into racial, ethnic, religious groups ETC ETC ETC. I will never forget that despite our many, many differences, WE ARE ALL HUMAN Thank you, dugla.

Couple of quotes from the book (by Loewen) that I mentioned earlier that Clay had recommended to me:

The black-white rift stands at the very center of American history. It is the great challenge to which all our deepest aspirations to freedom must rise. If we forget that - if we forget the great stain of slavery that stands at the heart of our country, our history, our experiment - we forget who we are, and we make the great rift deeper and wider. ~ Ken Burns

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage, need not be lived again. ~ Maya Angelou


Thanks for reading.

26 Comments:

Blogger ~Deb said...

Kathi, sorry you had to go through that as a child. I remember you once telling me about this. Let me just say this…In my opinion, “if” your father was in the KKK, this has no reflection on you whatsoever. You’re a good person, with an open heart. You show love and respect---just by your personality online. You have shown “me” that you are not discriminative. I thank you for that. You’ve shown a lot of us how genuine you are, by your words and by your experiences. Thank you.

Clay’s post was powerful. People are going to say what they want. That’s ‘the blog world’ –if you will. You can’t escape from opposing views. Blogging opens up a world of ‘unknown’ people who are free to say whatever is on their hearts and minds. “That’s okay”. Just take it all with a grain of salt. There are a lot of close-minded people, and we have to just realize that it’s always going to be that way. People will always disappoint us, but God will never. People will judge us, criticize us, but we have to just rely on God’s judgments, not anyone else’s.

My father never allowed me to date or even be friends with anyone of another race. He’s a spitting clone of Archie Bunker. I swear. Now look at me…A lesbian who is dating a Latina woman. My dad loves her. Sometimes we’re afraid of the unknown. My dad was afraid. Now, he has opened up his world to many friends of different cultures and races. He’s a total different man, due to his ‘coming out of his shell’. I believe that’s why so many people living ‘too much’ in the country or within only limits of their racial boundaries are blind to other cultures.

Thank you for sharing such intimate details of your life, and what you went through. You’re a beautiful person, Kathi---and I am so glad that I got to meet you!

Love you girl!

9:32 PM  
Blogger bbsgirl said...

wow...not that i feel i have to, but there is no way I can top what Deb just said....that is so amazing and so true.

I can't stand any form of prejudice and racism...it all makes me sick. People are people to me..I'll decide by your personality as to whether I like you or not. But I will never judge you.(you being anyone) I was always taught to treat everyone the same. it was drummed into me. Yet when my sister & I became old enough to date and started dating black guys from school..my dad turned into this ranting and raving lunatic and called my sister a n****lover...Oh how I detest that word!!!! Our grand mother disowned the family because my sister married a black man and had 2 kids by him. This is my Mother's mother and my Mother is an only child. It's a shame that over something like that I find myself scanning the obits daily looking to see my grandmother in there so my mom will know whether or not she's passed away. All over being prejudice.

I have always thought the way the indians were treated was horrible and inhuman. Just to call them savages is a disgrace. There were times in my life I was ashamed to be the race I am. When I here people still today screaming racial stuff I want to just beat the crap out of them...yet like Deb says...there are alot of closed minded people and we just have to realize it's always going to be that way...but does it really have to always be that way???

I think we as a human race must make God cry alot.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Shawn said...

Wow! I didn't expect to read anything like this this evening. I never know how to react when I hear/read/listen to things like what you shared. There are a million things running through my head at the moment. I'm glad you didn't allow your father's views to shape your opinions about race. I respect the fact that you always seem open to learning about other cultures and open to hearing other points of view. I've been looking for something of substance to read recently and "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James W. Loewen just might be the thing I need in my life right now.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Clay said...

incredible post Kathi and i praise you for your honest ... i read some of the comments on the post before and i really want to stress that acknowledging the truth is not venting anger or causing anger. however, everyone has their own preception. many of the things i learned was from a white female teacher who taught Black Philosphy in the U.S. -- mentioning the hells that the ruling class put people thru i do not think is a negative. the post that you quoted saying this part: "Why should I listen to his story, the white, abled body, rich, christian man that is." -- i do deeply agree with this ... not because he said WHITE -- but because he said rich and Christian .. class is a huge issue. your story is incredible and I'm glad you were moved by my entry. if you havent already make sure you read Horror Day: Part II, where i respond to some of the comments. http://claycane.blogspot.com/2005/11/horror-day-part-ii.html you are truly my sister in blog land!!!! peace!

10:29 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Clay's post was certainly eye opening for me as well.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Clay said...

sorry - you already responded!!!! thanks again for taking this topic seriously!

10:36 PM  
Blogger Bill Jones, Jr said...

Kathi,

Yours was a wonderful post. I wish I could say I had as positve a reaction to all of this as you did. Sadly, that is not true. I wish any of the horror stories (Proven and unproven) were new to me. Sadly they weren't.

We are wrapped in a dark cloak of ignorance and racism. We people who are darker than blue wear our cloaks proudly at times. But ignorance and hatred serves but one master.

I wrote a brief history of genocide on my blog. I didn't attempt to document all of them, just the ones that come to mind (a dozen or so). Holocausts have come at the hands of every race of man. It is taught, as I learned it. But trust me, you may wish you hadn't.

This, all of this, has made blogging no longer pleasurable to me. This is a voyage I wish I had not stumbled upon. I lived in the dark underbelly of racism. I dealt with the Klan. And it is clearly time to let this all go.

11:17 PM  
Blogger DZER said...

this was a strong and powerful post, kathi. I agree with others here when I say I'm amazed that you were able to come out of your childhood as the wonderful woman you are after being subjugated to that upbringing; it says a lot about your character.

History is not only written by the victors, but it is subject to translation, whim and the social morés and viewpoints of later times.

The Chamorro race was almost annihilated in the name of spreading Catholicism/Christianity, and we aren't the only people this has happened to. Incas, Aztecs, Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa.

The problem is, people don't want to know the truth. They want things to be the way they've always thought them to be. they don't want to learn and change and grow and become informed. That's the truly sad thing.

1:30 AM  
Blogger Rose said...

Thank you so much for this open diagolue. I too read Clay's post and learned much about thanksgiving that I too did not know...I never blame a race because of something that another's done. I respect you for being so open and honest...happily times in race relations seems to be improving.

1:52 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

I remember reading Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" after hearing a reference to it in a movie. Trite, I know, but I wanted to read it from that.

An interesting read - sort of gives one a different perspective. Thanks for the entry today - though I am not really feeling better after reading it.

8:06 AM  
Blogger BigBill said...

I can't and won't try to make any profound comment here after all these heartfelt deep comments I have read I am totally stymied and awestruck.
I was raised around a little bit of bigotry if there is such a thing as a little bit. It was not tolarated in our home but here and ther it would manifest its ugly head!!
I have had and still have friends of all races, religions, and any other type of backgrounds or beliefs that would seperate
or be considered and inifference or reason to be subject to segragation. I think in this day and age for the most part we as society have grown out of bigotry.
Or at least I would like to think this way.
Recently at work I have been accused of making decisions based on race etc. It felt like a kick in the gut and has been hard for me to get over. The person who did this has other issues that need to be addressed and they have been documented but that kind of accusation is very damaging. So I guess it's like a reverse bigotry or what have you..
Just though I would share this with you..

9:17 AM  
Blogger Brea said...

I find it ironic that I found out about the true history of the U.S. as one of the only black students in a wealthy, cathloic, suburban, high school from a white teacher.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Bigotry certainly does go both ways. The actions of white people a hundred or more years ago (i.e. slavery) should not be held against today's generation. But by the same token, there are too many white folk that need to learn that this isn't the nineteenth century anymore. We are all human, to be sure. If only we were all more humane.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Kellie said...

wow... what a powerful post...

I (also) grew up in Indiana when my mother moved me to America, and consider myself lucky to have been able to have a semi- multicultural childhood in Indianapolis.

thank you for sharing...

12:03 PM  
Blogger Georgiapeach said...

Yes, powerful indeed. I am reading it over one more time. We never celebrated Holidays in my family. So I never felt the need to find out about it. I will learn more, because now I realize that I had know idea what America celebrated Thanksgiving for. Wow. Thanks Kathi.

6:29 PM  
Blogger lady in satin said...

I love this post Kathi! And I can identify with you. I look beyond race and I see people. Thats how I live my life and I love it that way.

7:04 PM  
Blogger KyuBall said...

Wow...between the two blogs, there are some powerful messages.(not to overuse that word) I live in Indianapolis as well, and I've gone through many of the same experiences that you have. I've lost or cut-off friendships because of the ignorance that some people have and I just don't know how to re-educate these dolts.

Maybe that's a blog story for another day.

This is definately a very serious topic that moves people deeply. Thanks to you and Clay for sharing your moving stories/facts.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Twisted Chick said...

Two very thought provoking posts.

Being raised in the military I never really experienced racism on any side until I moved to Kansas City. It horrified me that people could treat each other so. I never knew the origin of Thanksgiving and I'm greatful for your link to Clays post, I'll definately be reading more information on many things now. Love you, girl.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Stacy-Deanne said...

Kathi,

Let me just say that even though I've never met you personally I think you are a very kind person and that's more than I can say for a lot of people no matter their color. I of course understand the hostilities my people feel about history, etc. A lot of us are still pissed off and will always be but I think how we treat each other is up to the individual. If someone is still going around blaming white people for mistakes just because the people are white, it isn't fair. It's like black people saying we don't want to be blamed for the wrong other blacks do. Well how can we say that then go on and blame a white person, just because they are white, etc. See? It's all just mess that I don't get into. Kathi, I hope you don't ever think you have to feel you need to defend yourself because as long as you know the kind of person you are it doesn't matter what anyone else, black or white thinks. And with the way you felt about that post, I would have felt the same way if I got on a white person's blog and they were talking mess about other races. It's the same. The fact is we should treat people with respect regardless. No one has the right to outwardly hurt or offend. Some people believe that just because a person is white, they can say whatever the hell they want to them but that's not right. I can feel you were upset by all this and girl, please! You know you don't have to be. You are a very kind person and I feel more comfortable on your blog then I do on a lot of other people's and your race, this and that has never come into the picture with me when I come to your blog. I see who you are inside and that is enough for me. And you know me, The Voice I speak my mind and I don't care what others think. I will defend a good white person and not look twice at a black person doing wrong. See, it doesn't always have to be about race. The point is that it's up to the individual and how you look at things and how that fits into YOUR life. Some people black, white will always see race before the person no matter what. That's the world! We can't change it and if someone thinks they can then more power to them. That's why you deal with who you are. A person has to shape their own mind. I treat people with kindness and respect regardless. So stop talking about this and move on, LOL!

11:26 AM  
Blogger Johnny Newt said...

Kathi, i see from this post that the goodness of your heart is not betrayed by your words. I've heard Sotoshi Roshi say that "A yesterday does not create today, anymore than
then the darkness creates the moon." You know this already,
it's obvious that seeing things in perspective is a great skill of yours:)

P.S.
Sent ya an E-Mail

2:27 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

Y'all are such a blessing to me. Thank y'all so much...but especially for just taking the time to read my post and the time to comment.
I mostly needed to write this because I've buried this for so long and when something brought it back to the surface, I guess I needed to exorcise it from deep within. Y'all understand that?
Anyway, thanks again. I can't believe how blessed I am to have met (found) each one of you.

leesa ~ I apologize for making you feel worse for reading my blog. I hope that doesn't happen again. I'm so crazy about you.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous prince alexander said...

Yep, racism goes both ways. In this 21st century it still amazes me when, I go out with my white sister-in-law and the three children she bore for my brother, the stares we receive from everyone, white, black, whatever. People still fail to realize we are all human first.

8:28 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

prince ~ thank you for reading and obviously understanding completely. Thank you.

8:52 AM  
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7:58 PM  

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