Jim Crow Museum
1010 Campus Drive
Big Rapids, MI 49307
I stumbled upon your site while looking for information that I could use to combat certain racist terms that are being tossed around this election cycle. It has become increasingly depressing to hear the things being said about Barack Obama ... and Hillary Clinton, as well. As a child in the 70's, I was not taught racism or bigotry. My schools were integrated. My neighborhood, though predominately White, was much more diverse than other areas of town. My mother told me stories of the 50's and growing up being raised by a Black woman and the inequality the woman faced. I can remember being horrified. The woman who raised my mother was a very special woman. To think that someone would have treated her unjustly and with prejudice was more than a child's mind could grasp. "Why?" was the unanswerable question. There was NO justification. There was NO good answer.
Over the years, I had begun to believe that things were improving, race-wise, gender-wise, etc. Sadly, I've come to believe I've been suffering a horrible case of self-delusion. It never actually went away, it just went further underground, I think? Though admittedly, the effects of generations of it will be felt for many years to come. And as if the recent anti-immigrant hate wasn't enough, we're now hearing the most awful things said about a Presidential candidate ... not because of his policies, but because of his skin color. And I still have no answer to that question - "Why?". And while the things being said are bad enough on their own, I find it even more offensive that they are said to me, because I am white, as if that has created some bond that will find me accepting of their hate speech.
So, as I said, I came to your site, hoping I could find something to aid me in fighting back ... and what I found was so much more. Your essays are ~incredibly~ touching. (I've read each one and cried through most of them.) They are clearly heartfelt and come from what I suspect is a very kind man. Someone who has spent a lot of time devoted to these matters. And I can't thank you enough. They offer hope, inspiration, and more wisdom than I have seen in recent years. I suspect that racism against Barack Obama is going to get much worse ... (more visible?) ... as the election cycle moves onward and, while I find it increasingly depressing, it is comforting to know that there ARE compassionate individuals such as yourself in the world and I thank you for sharing yourself with us.
I'm not even sure that adequately expressed how much I loved your essays. I truly hope it has.
Thank you again,
-- June 13, 2008