Come Let Us Reason Together ~ Early Evening Thoughts ….

Often, for me anyway, I get somewhat random thoughts as very random times.  Unfortunately, it’s often when I either can’t pursue the thought (just drifting off to sleep) or where writing the idea down is either impossible or unfeasible (inside a very noisy club or … well … you get the idea!)

One of the reasons I enjoy the TED talks and TEDEducation videos, is so often they manage to hit one something I’ve had a stray thought about and never thought about again.

I also have decided that if my teachers had presented concepts this way, my grades would certainly have been better.  I can only hope, that when I was teaching in India ~ some of my students felt I had reached out this way ….

This video tackles invisibility … what, where, when and quite a bit of why … bear with the beginning – it will pay off shortly after the video starts.

And We Got Here How? (Part 3) ~

As I continue this ramble through time, I stopped last just at the Birmingham riots.  As I said, these riots and other events that followed showed us that we were not living the quaint life we all thought we were.  As I said, we knew that the “Leave It To Beaver” shows were far from reality, but it was a “reality” that we seemed to cling to as what could be and, more importantly, what SHOULD be.  The race changes knock a deep hole in that belief.  As I was growing up during that time, a lot of “get back to where they belong” and “they don’t know their place” seemed to crop up in a lot of conversations.  No, those exact words weren’t the ones that were used but the intent was the same.  “Uppity” was also a word I was introduced to …

This whole upset I don’t think has ever really gone away.  Because what seemed to come on the heels of all that was, of course, the Kent State demonstrations and the photograph that still haunts today …. (BTW this photo was taken by John Filo)

Now, the second hit arrives.  This wasn’t a death by a terrorist, by a criminal or an accident.  This was by someone who was a part of a group that we all believed were there to protect us, help us and get us through the tough times.  Now, we had new terms “dirty hippy”, “radical” “peacenik”, idiot sponger” and such.  Also remember, during much of this time Dr. Carl McItire and others like him were causing everyone (including myself) to be frightened of communists everywhere – but especially where you least expected them.  This was actually a “whistle” to be afraid of anyone that didn’t look like/sound like/act like/marry like/eat like/smell like whatever the standard was at that time.

So, this allows folks to easily move back and forth from “not like us” and “not white like us”.  . And this also cemented even further the cynicism and distrust that had bubbled onto the surface of so many lives.

Sunday is the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the events that would (in my mind) show how we got here ….

And We Got Here How? (Part 2) ~

Over these next few posts, please keep in mind that much of this occurred while growing up in Montana.  Some things seemed very far away, but it didn’t mean I wasn’t deeply aware of what was happening – especially as a university student.  Of course, Montana didn’t have a large population of ANY Ethnic group….as Dick Gregory once said at the University of Montana – Missoula: “If someone wanted to hold a race-riot in Montana, they could use the high school Gymnasium…”

We, in Montana, were not the only ones with a quaint view of life.  Even my Mother knew that “Leave it to Beaver”, “Ozzie and Harriet”, “Father Knows Best” were not exactly the reality of all time.  That didn’t mean, however, that this didn’t color how we wanted our world to be/look.  Also be aware, that I grew up in a “peace at any cost” household, so a son who was sticking a toe in the waters of activism – let alone some of the OTHER choices I was making in my life – probably caused no end of consternation.

Probably nothing hit our lives more than the one photo that I posted … the fire hoses being turned on school kids.


Now, this part of the story is a little muddled in memory, so bear with me.  I even contacted my sister – she’s “slightly” older than I am to try and clear up some confusion.  I think we really confused each other even more …

In the late 50’s, my Father’s Rotary Club wanted to sponsor a foreign exchange student – from Africa.  At that time, in our town of Kalispell – there were one family of blacks and one single guy who’d been a shoeshine guy for as long as I can remember ….

There was concern about what – if any – problems there might be.  (Remember our quaint view here folks).  At that time, one of the more popular cafe places in town STILL had a sign in the window that said: “No Coloreds Allowed”.  My Dad took it upon himself to visit every business in town and find out if he would be able to shop there, eat there, go there, etc.  According to my Mom, the results somewhat shocked him….and he went on a campaign to change that.  Sadly, the sign in the cafe stayed – but everything else seemed to work out.

Problem solved, you say … and I’m sure in many minds it was.  But you know the drill – as long as everyone knows their place.

Birmingham not only challenged that, but showed that there was a lot more going on then people were willing to admit or even face.   At that time, there were more blacks in town.  I have no idea what they thought, but I do know that what out neighbors and friends thought pretty much mirrored what was being said/thought elsewhere.

More on that next post … which WILL be sooner, I promise!!!!