Jim Crow Museum
1010 Campus Drive
Big Rapids, MI 49307
I don't know which one of you did the walk-through presentation on the TV program, but whoever you were, I found you very condescending and single-minded in your comments throughout the TV presentation. You sounded like a very prejudice person and came off as racist. Since I don't know you, I won't take a cheap shot at your demeanor, but you did appear to be overly undramatic. This slightly stank of you being on a soapbox and a little bit holy.
I am sure you try to portray that your museum is doing a "service" and it is only set up to "educate" people, but I think you gave hints that you had other reasons (wink wink) for the museum's existence. By you listing four classifications of 'buyers' for this memorabilia, you demonstrated the exact opposite of what you are supposedly trying to combat, prejudice. I think being judgmental is a foundation for being prejudice, and your classifications of buyers specifically showed your ability to judge people through ignorance. If you truly believe that these ignorant buyers out there only fall into your four categories, then that explains itself.
On a more simple topic, you claimed to be astounded that people who sell this stuff (all white people of course) do not think it to be racist. That very assumption proves your inability to be nonjudgmental, and it suggests that all these (white) people are, therefore, ignorant. My belief is that if this crap was produced and manufactured in the United States, then it is tangible heritage to all Americans, so besides current production items, I don't see 'Mom and Pop' at the flea market as being racists or ignorant. They are just selling stuff, and if these items do not offend every single African American-Black-Negro (or current PC label), then you are being judgmental in your labeling process.
I have strayed a bit, but I would recommend to you that you point your educational logic in a more philosophical direction and instead of 'telling' people exactly what this crap is and 'defining' exactly who sells it, that you instead call it "it is what it is". I think your motivation is misguided, but that is just my opinion.
Here is some personal history to help define me however you want:
My Great Uncle, who fought in the Pacific, still calls Japanese "dirty Japs". He was a POW and watched friends get tortured and killed for personal pleasure, that was way outside of the bounds of the Geneva Convention, but I don't think he is racist or ignorant, just bitter.
I grew up sheltered with blacks and whites at a Christian school in Kansas City and I never knew until my senior year of high school that there were modern people who even noticed that we were different from one another, because I never once looked at my Black friends and thought once that they were my black friends. Just friends. However, when I went into the military I was shocked out of my innocence. First, I found out that people naturally segregate themselves.
Second, I found out that there were groups of whites who were indifferent to Blacks, judgmental of Blacks, and hostile to Blacks. Third, I observed groups of Blacks who were indifferent to Whites, judgmental to Whites, and hostile to Whites, but for the first time ever, I witnessed Blacks calling each other Niggers.
Blacks calling each other Niggers has been the subject of tons of Black comedians and I have even heard various Blacks try to justify it, but that is something I don't understand and I proudly call myself ignorant on that subject.
-- Nov. 21, 2005