Thursday, April 28, 2005

Am I a Racist? Part II

Busing. Or is it Bussing. Either way, I mean the kind where you get put on a bus and sent far from your neighborhood school to another school in the holy name of diversity. I, thankfully, was never bused.

However, one of my older sisters was. She was in fifth grade and got bused to Glen Oak Elementary. To this day I have no idea where in our town that school is. She was quick to make friends and I'm really glad she got exposed to what the kids at Glen Oak were listening to music-wise. She brought home some 45's that opened my ears to stuff I'd never heard before. Sly and the Family Stone's "Family Affair", Diana Ross' "Stoned Love" and "Touch Me In the Morning", The Stylistics "Betcha By Golly Wow", and some others.

SOUL music? In our house?

My mother listened only to Classical/Opera/Sacred (did I mention this was a Southern Baptist household?), my dad didn't listen to anything but I later found out he was a fan of the big band era. We heard the top 40 station, but it was heavy on Carpenters, Donny Osmond, Cher, and other white-bread drivel. Yeah, you heard Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five and an occasional R&B tune like "Lean On Me" by Bill Withers, but 'really black stuff' didn't cross over too much. My sisters, up until this time, were listening to the Partridge Family (and I remember my oldest sister getting really excited about getting the soundrack to "Oliver!" one Christmas). We also had a copy of "Snoopy and the Royal Guardsmen". So we weren't exactly schooled in soul.

That was the good part. The music, and I suppose some new girlfriends I never met.

The bad part was when my sister and her best friend Sandy were sitting in an outside area after school giggling about whatever it is little girls giggle about, and a young man (in sixth grade but old enough to be in high school) decided that they were giggling about him. He proceeded to beat them both up pretty badly. No hospital, but lots of bruises and a busted lip.

Again, at the time, I didn't think anything about it in racial terms (I was horrified that someone had beaten up my sister) and my folks didn't ever say anything other than express some vehement concern over the safety of their daughter at school. Understand, this was before the days where you sued everyone in sight for the slightest offense, real or imagined. So this experience, retold to by my sister a few times after I was older, was filed away with the others.

And there were others...

1 comment:

jack42 said...

You're still a racist. Just for being white. But so am I, apparently, what with being white and all.

The sooner you recognize this, the sooner you can start saving for reparations.