Being on the right side of history.

It's going to be a busy week. My sister is coming home from rehab from her stroke this Friday. She was ready to come home four weeks ago. I am busting my butt to get things ready for her to come.

It's one of those things where I'm doing what I should have done long ago. So when it is done, it will be wonderful. Meantime, I'm miserable. So I'm getting this blog post written early. Although today is the magical day where I can unload the rest of the garage and it will happen; the morning is mine until 11 am. Then I get busy. 

I've always enjoyed Sunday morning television. I also love Saturday morning but not as much as Sunday. I used to like the televised church service. But the new preacher spends way too much time talking politics instead giving an inspirational homily. I know the congregants probably enjoy it otherwise they would choose another pastor. With my vow to not discuss politics, I know how much it permeates our thought processes. 

I don't give up on my blog in that it is my commitment to continue writing. When your life becomes heavy with responsibility and taking care of people, it is hard to think of good topics to write about. There is not much time to think. Care giving is not the most cheerful topic either. It is also not that kind to overshare about your family. No one chooses to be incapacitated. No one chooses to be the caregiver. 

With my two easiest topics out, what do I write about? 

I guess I'll be busy looking at prompts offered or write what I learned new.

This week I have been reading about Hazel Bryan. She was the 15 year old captured in an iconic photograph shouting at Elizabeth Eckfort attempting to go to Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Many people would have tried to minimize or excuse their conduct as being part of what was going on. Hazel felt guilt and apologized to Elizabeth. She has spent a great deal of her adult life trying to help people regardless of race or creed. Later, she helped Elizabeth who has had a difficult life. They became friends and then fell out with one another. It was too big of a divide.

I related to Hazel in that I think we have all been hateful. Hers was a predecessor to the modern day public shaming on social media. Her face has been memorialized as the epitomy of the hatred. Her parents moved to a rural area after the picture. The shame was recognized by her parents then.

I'm glad the civil right's movement has progressed as far as it has. I remember those days before integration. We had several small private Christian schools created in response. As a public school teacher, I question the quality of these schools. I don't think it helps a child to shelter them from outside views. When they learn the truth might not be what they were taught, it creates doubt.

But when I look at the pictures of the protestors, I recognise them. They are for the most part decent people who were just wrong. They also stood on the wrong side of history and I could have been one of them if I were of that era.

My dad always quoted the phrase "Except by the grace of God, there goes I".

One of the ironies is that Hazel and her fellow students dealt with the discrimination of being poor whites which probably help fuel their outrage.

I feel shame for the people in the photograph. I also see their humanity. We all wrestle with. I'm not being an apologist. They were just wrong. They weren't the first and they certainly will not be the last.

Little Rock integration protest
By John T. Bledsoe [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Comments

  1. I was a teen watching this and had a hard time perceiving the frustration. Sad we feel that this was right I already knew.I shared a prayer I had written 50 years ago with my pastor in his 30's today.Funny how some of it is still going on.

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    1. This is why I feel some fear. There has always been an undercurrent and I have seen progress halted by regression. Being a science teacher, the air and water is cleaner today than when the clean air and water acts were created by Congress. Now we have educated people denying climate change.

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  2. What gets into people's heads sometimes isn't the best of things to say the least. Real life sure can make writing a challenge indeed some days

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    1. Some old times are best forgotten for sure.

      I would have to work hard to catch up with you. You are prolific.

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  3. Hubby's parents, who were "good" "hard working" people all their lives, living productive lives, providing well for their families, etc., still had a mindset of the 1950's/1960's with segregation etc., to their dying days (both in 2011). I never got it, but I guess for them it might have been hard to break through the way they were raised (though hubby and brother did break through that in so many other ways too).

    How exciting for your sister to be getting out of rehab. A new adventure for her to adapt to this new season in her life!

    betty

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    1. I will be glad to have my sister home. It's been heart wrenching. But her mind is there and we hopefully will many more years to spend together. Life is a journey.

      Some race problems will clear when our generation dies out. Then a new one will come along.

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  4. They were just ignorant. Won't be the last time for that either.
    Glad your sister is coming home!

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    1. I am so happy my sister is coming home. Thanks for the good wishes.

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  5. It is hard to believe, that our generation actually grew up during those times. I am ashamed, as well.

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    1. I couldn't agree more. Thanks for visiting Debby.

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  6. This is a beautiful post, Ann. Indeed, it's not about apologies or justifications; I read a commentary by a friend earlier today on empathy vs. sympathy where she made a case for empathy being of utmost importance—developing the ability and imagination to put yourself in the shoes of the "other". But being empathic, she qualified, isn't the same as being sympathetic. With enough effort you can imagine what it must be like to be a white supremacist, but that doesn't mean you sympathize with their views. I think it's an exercise we all need to practice much more often.
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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    1. Thank you Guilie. We are like minded in many ways.

      The ramifications of guilt is the theme of one of my stories.

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  7. What you say is sad but true. People don't take the time to know each other and see each other as humans. And suffering people strike out, sharing their pain by causing it to others.

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    1. A meme that has been floating around is the James Baldwin quote, "I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain."

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  8. Your sister will appreciate all that you're doing for her.

    Race mixing is communism? I guess I have some commie friends then.

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    1. Cute, I've got a few commie friends to think about it too.

      I'll be glad to have my sister home. It will be frustrating but we will get a routine. I wouldn't wish a stroke on anyone. It is awful. But not as bad as it could have been.

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  9. Just when I felt that the 'race issue' had finally died away,society seems bent on digging it up. I can't fathom why, but perhaps like a sickness (that it is), it will eventually pass - again.
    You're such a dear sister. Will she be living with you now?
    Isn't it rare to mix religion and politics? I don't blame you for tiring of that one.

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    1. It is painful about race. However, I think there has been a problem and Zimmerman brought it to the forefront. I really think he should have gone to jail. His stupidity killed an innocent kid and ignited a lot of racial problems.
      My sister will live with me. Life is a journey.

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  10. hope you and your sister will enjoy time together .my brother is coming after many years with his family and preparation to well them is taking most of my energy these days .
    i am agree that being responsible for so many tasks at a time make one empty headed sometime and tiring to think of lofty ideas hanging in our imagination .
    i don't like politics actually i hate it and all shows about it .

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    1. My sister and I will have some good years together. My heart is broken over her disabilities. But life is what it is and we will enjoy what is in front of us.

      Americans have always been nuts about politics. Some of it is our English heritage, some of it is the many of us are descended from religious fanatics. It's in our blood. I guess everyone else goes crazy by association. But I am with you about politics. I keep up with what's in the newspaper to be aware otherwise I avoid it.

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