What Are We Afraid Of?

I wanted to write a powerful ponder officially marking the Civil Rights Act 50th anniversary, something able to convey optimism, point out accomplishments rather than travesties. Hours of stalling, searching, feeble attempts at levity – still nothing but a headache and decision to re-post myself from last year.


As a little girl I remember chanting “eeny meeny miney mo, catch a n****r by the toe”, it was the early sixties, I was 3 or 4 and hadn’t the slightest concept of what it meant. Somewhere along the way the “N” word became “Tiger” – I can’t recall an explanation, all I knew was we had to decide whose turn it was to go first, so tiger it was. There wasn’t a hateful bone in my body; my family – decent hard working people who never spoke ill of anyone. It wasn’t the deep south, this was rural Canada  in 1963 – parents passing along rhymes  they learned as children – nary a thought to meaning.

I believe that “Tiger” was Martin Luther King Jr. Fifty years ago today, close to a quarter of a million people marched on Washington, D.C. Gathered at the Washington Monument, Martin Luther King…

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One thought on “What Are We Afraid Of?

  1. I sometimes wonder the precise relationship between FEAR and HATRED. I am sure that there are U.S. Citizens that are afraid of racial equality, but I truly fear that fear is not what motivates.
    Like yourself I grew up in a time and in a state of innocence that had no idea that the N word was offensive, there were so many things said and done in those days in white Milwaukee that I never saw or recognized as offensive — they were so common and I was so naive.
    Recently I have thought about things I remembered from that time — The storybook Little Black Sambo — I guess it was offensive but I liked the STORY, not the offense. I haven’t heard of Br’er Rabbit in ages — It been so long I don’t even remember all of the story but I thought the Br’er Rabbit and Uncle Remus were lovely characters. Does that make me racist and hateful or fearful? I dunno… I just don’t understand everyone getting all up in everyone else’s face about offenses. I’m Polish American and I was one who told the most Polish jokes and laughed like an idiot at them all. What’s so wrong about making fun of your own heritage?

    There are so many things being taken offense at I wonder if anyone is ever again going to be able to hold ANY belief … It’s the same reason I can’t get super excited about Hobby Lobby. The 15,000 employees knew it was a business with a core point of view — notice I didn’t say beliefs.

    Do you remember that old expression, “If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck and it swims like a duck it must be…. a duck.” I find it hard to think that 15,000 people might work for a company — Hobby Lobby or any other — and not suppose that if the company made a lot of noise about it’s point of view that there would not be ways in which that point of view was manifest. — and to take action to protect themselves, or to assist, or to endorse. But if you sell yourself for the $$$$ and ignore the nature of what you have involved yourself with…. then you bring some things on yourself.

    I guess I’m turning into an old crochety man. I just don’t understand all the uproar. It seems all people have time to DO is to be upset.

    And that’s MY rant. 🙂

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