Monday, October 19, 2020

Today's song, and serious talk - Joe South - Walk A Mile In My Shoes (1970)

I happened to hear this song today on a show I've mentioned before The Mop Tops and the King. It was done by Elvis, but I found the original sung by Joe South.

FIFTY years ago, and I swear it feels like we still need to etch things into our brains. I know that I don't write about controversial things here, but today I must. During the time of the virus and the Black Lives Matter movement, Michael has been the victim of racism. As you know we adopted both our kids from South Korea. 

Because the virus was said to come from China, Asians were targeted. Michael has been accused of bringing the virus, and told to go back to where he came from. A friend of his, who is part Chinese was in the store and someone took some soap out of her cart, saying you don't deserve this. Margaret hasn't had any encounters, but early on she was afraid to go into Walmart, fearing the same kind of negative response. 

Throughout the years, there have been episodes in both their lives, far more for Michael than Margaret. Always from men. You will know that this just kills me. 

Yesterday, a few people from his town's Democratic party were standing by the side of the road just holding signs for the various candidates running in this election. A man yelled from across the road - first saying that the Presidential candidate was a word that I will not put in my precious blog. You must have heard it. Apparently there is a group that is putting this forward. And then he targeted Michael and told him to go back to where he came from. My son didn't go across the street and confront him, thank God, but he talked back to the guy. I think the guy finally just walked off. 

This is what people of color face all the time. We white people can choose how we present ourselves to the world. We can color our hair pink, or wear makeup or none. We can have tattoos or piercings, or not. We can shave our heads or wear our hair long. But the thing is - it is our choice. A black or brown person is judged the minute they step out the door. And some of those outside places are scary and dangerous. 

This is an awful time we are going through and it just makes me cry. All this and a virus, too. How much can we take? 

I thought of disabling comments just for this post, but wasn't sure if that would take away all the comments since 2006 so thought I wouldn't touch it. 

41 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, Nan, I'm so sorry! I hate this for him and for you, his mom! I hate that these prejudices and hatreds exist in our country. I hate the discourtesy on both sides, from supporters of both parties and is the main reason I stopped looking at FB for 3 weeks. There seems so little self-control, so little honesty, so little tolerance. I worry about the world my little granddaughters will be growing up in and yet I have hope that young people like their parents will raise children wiser than what we're seeing now all around us. Thinking of you, Nan, and how you are hurting for your children.

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  2. It makes me want to cry too Nan. You are a strong person as are you children. You all will overcome. Prayers and positive thoughts coming your way for you and yours.

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  3. This just makes me livid. How can we still be doing this to each other? What kind of ignorant fool would judge other races and deem themselves somehow superior? Why the need to spew hatred and actually enjoy inflicting hurt? It is beyond belief. We appear to be going backwards?! Growing up in the 50's & 60's there were so many good & positive changes made. I thought we'd have built a beautiful world for all to enjoy by now.
    I'm so sorry your family was hurt - I don't know how we can begin to understand or explain it. It is illogical and insane. I can usually put a positive spin on things & give people the benefit of the doubt - but NOT THIS.
    Praying for you.

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  4. My husband and I adopted our son and daughter from South Korea also. Our kids are both in their thirties now. They were four months and three months old when they were allowed to come home to us.

    I haven't heard from my daughter that any comments have been made to her. She is pregnant with our second grandchild right now, so I don't know if she would talk back to any ignorant insults or not, I hope my 10 year old grandson isn't having things said to him. I haven't heard about it if he has. My son has been in the US Air Force for 17 years now. He is a Staff Sergeant. I haven't heard that he has had anything said to him yet either, and right now he is living in Florida. I feel pretty sure that he would just ignore any kind of trash talk, he has always been slow to anger about that kind of stuff, but when he does get angry, watch out. Now, since he is in the military, he can't ever allow it to get to the watch out point with response to trash talk..

    If my daughter's husband (who is tall and blond) was present if some ignorant remark was said to my daughter or grandson, I don't know what would happen. Most likely just a dirty look to the name caller. The name callers feel pretty safe, because most of the people they are making their "go back home" remarks to have good jobs, and good sense, and don't feel like making problems for themselves to set the ignorant, low life, name callers straight.

    I worried before our children arrived home to us about them being called names or having hateful things said to them. During their school years there were only a few incidents of that, not with our daughter, but our son. It didn't happen too often, but our son usually got things straightened out. Only one time did my husband and I have to become involved.

    My son hasn't had any problems with that since grade school. Our daughter, as a nurse, used to have a lot of male patients in the hospital making some minor comments to her. I don't think anyone will be making comments to her that she should go home, since she is now working in the cardio cath lab taking care of them.

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    1. Thank you for telling me all this. I haven't been in touch with anyone who adopted from S. Korea in a long time. Our children came in 1982 and 85. Margaret was a day under four months and Michael was four months and twelve days. If you want to email me, we could "talk" some more!!
      Thanks again.

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  5. Like joanie says, it makes me livid. I do not easily lose my temper or get upset, but this sort of thing upsets me VERY MUCH. It just should not be happening in this day and age; you'd think our species have learned something over the past centuries. Racism is going on all the time, everywhere in the world. It is horrible how black people are treated in China or in North Africa (think Lybia and how refugees from other African countries are treated there), how in India people with lighter brown skin look down on those of darker brown skin tone, how in Africa within the same country one ethnic group thinks the other is worthless, and so on.
    I simply can not get my head round how anyone would do something like what you have described happening to your children, and the incident with the soap in the supermarket leaves me speechless.
    I was hurt when, as a little girl and one of the few kids in my class wearing glasses, I was ridiculed by other children. But that does not even closely get near what these people are doing.

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  6. I'm glad you didn't disable comments because now you will see just how much support and care there is for you in this horrible situation. I could hardly believe what I was reading and I'm so very sorry. It's just awful for you all and I wish I could do more to help than send love from many miles away.

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    1. You are so right! All the words here have helped more than I can say.

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  7. I am so sorry to hear this Nan - everybody is entitled to courtesy and fair treatment. If only the perpetrators realised the harm they do, which reverberates back into their lives, as well as yours. Love to all your family.

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  8. How very sad for your son, and your family. You know it comes down to the person occupying the White House and the things he has said or not said that has emboldened the bigots and rascists in this country. We are finding out how many there are now including members of Congress. As a nation we need to rid ourselves of this systemic racism. Education is key!

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    1. "Emboldened" is just the right word. It is always under the surface in some people, but now there is no compulsion to keep quiet.

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  9. Everyone has said it so well - I can only say how sorry and sad this makes me. I do think we are going backwards some days. Our leadership, in name only, has helped this along.
    Sending you all good thoughts,
    Mary

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  10. Nan, like everyone else here, I too am very sorry to hear this. I hope and pray that you and your lovely family never have to endure this again. And I sincerely hope there is good news after November 3, not just for America but for the rest of the world as well. No matter who we are or where we come from, when will people realise that we are all the same under our skins? Nan, you have a friend and a well-wisher some 8,000 miles away!

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    1. Bless your heart! Tom and I talk about how someday we'll make it there, and you can be our tour guide!

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  11. Yes, Nan, I'm so very sorry. It makes my heart hurt to see the way people around this world treat their brothers and sisters, just because of a difference in skin colour. Marcia is right: education is key in ridding the world of this disease. But what education?

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    1. And white people always try and get tan - go figure. Thanks, Debbie.

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  12. How horrible, Nan...I find it so hard to believe there are still so many people out there like that in this day and time. I don't have any answers that will bring this country back together, wish I did, but the least we can do is practice a little daily kindness and understanding. I am so sorry to see this.

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    1. It is hard to believe, but is sure true. I think you're right. I try and avoid the politics of life, and live a personal life. Who knows what will happen after the election - no matter who wins. Makes me nervous, as if I'm not nervous enough about the virus. Geez, enough already.

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  13. So sad to read this. My first husband was Asian and he copped a lot of ill judged comments. He took it with great good humour and understanding, but that was a long time ago...

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    1. He sounds remarkable. Kind of really turning the other cheek.

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  14. Dear Nan, How heartbreaking that this sort of thing happens....My sympathy for you and your family and hopes that some people will become enlightened.

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    1. I've been to your blog a few times, and am glad to hear you are home!
      Thank you.

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  15. Nan, so sorry to read that your family has been hurt by racism. Things have gotten so much worse these last 4 years, it hurts me to see this as we know children are not born racist, it is learned. I may have mentioned this before, I never felt my parents were racist. They were born in (1916 and 1917) but, I know 2 of my mother's sisters were. Our family has been life long democrats and my mothers sisters chose not to vote in the 2008/2012 elections because they said they could not vote for a black person. This hurt me deeply, but no one could change their minds at that point. I just don't understand why some people think because of skin color one race is superior, white people are barely the majority even. I guess that is what frightens some most but, I digress. So sorry Nan.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to tell me this. I think we won't be the majority too much longer, and, in fact, that may be behind this current racism - the knowledge that their days are numbered as the majority race. Hope I live long enough to see a difference in this country. Here is an article I read: https://phys.org/news/2019-04-white-majority.html

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  16. Dear Nan, I can't imagine how this feels for you. I can't believe that our country has walked back over a century into this completely divided morass. My heart goes out to you as a mom (and fellow devoted reader, gardener, anglophile). Sending you a hug from California, Jessica

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  17. I've read through this post twice--started a comment and lost it. I'm pondering whether I unwittingly harbor any racist prejudice. Living most of my life in Vermont, there was then very little contact with individuals of another race or skin color. I think there are 'stereotypes'--and perhaps even some reasonable fears of certain groups, but how can we lump all of one race or color as 'dangerous?' That being said, what an ignorant mindset to taunt anyone on the basis of their perceived ethnicity! Bigotry and insults are not a mark of intelligence or mature thinking--and yet it has become so prevalent in the media--and in high places.
    I'm saddened that your family--any family--has to endure this.

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  18. Nan, I am so sorry for your pain as a mother, not being able to protect your children from such vicious behavior (regardless of their age), and for them to experience it is dreadful. I really don't understand the hatred that lurks in such people. I used to think New England was a more enlightened place than other part of the country. I am sad that is not so. We need better public education so that this type of prejudice is eradicated from most if not all people at a young age.

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    1. Thank you,
      Yes, we do. And sadly that is true about NE. There's been a lot of press about racism in the Red Sox.

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  19. Dear Nan, I have not been able to look at blogs much recently. I came here today and fully expected to see one if your lovely recipes or your gentle take on the world and you have to tell this about this ugliness. I am so sorry. And angry too, I must say. I try not to be because there is so much anger already out there. It is a bit scary to drive just now, the road rage is incredible.It truly hurts terribly to read what happened to your family. They are dear to me yet I have never met them! Just as you are. Please take care and keep hope that those who do these kind of things will one day walk in the light of peace and understanding. Love to you and your family. xx

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    1. Thank you, dear friend.
      I didn't know that about road rage, but I don't travel very much or far or in crowded areas.

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  20. Nan, I left a comment earlier but I meant also to tell you...there is a book called "Black Like Me". Have you ever heard of it? I read it when I was 19. Written by John Griffin, a white reporter who chemically darkened his skin and traveled around the South to see how he would be treated. The book was first published in 1961. I remember that it was the subtle forms of racism that stood out for me. He actually came to Conyers, Georgia! He went to the Monastery here and spent the night. Anyway, the song, Walk A Mile In My Shoes made me think of this book. And the song was written by Joe South! You know I love my songwriters! ❤

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    1. I just responded to yours!
      And yes! I think when I was in high school. It had a very strong effect on me.

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    2. Isn't that something? When you were replying to me, I was typing the above. Good vibrations!!
      I believe in them, I know you do too!
      LOVE to you!!!

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