OK…. I’ll admit it….. I was around in the 60’s. But I don’t think being a pre-teen/ teenager really qualifies for being ‘around’ if you know what I mean. Unless teenagers have changed since then….. we pretty much weren’t into what was going on in the world. Especially in Junior High. I think I remember my focus being on boys, fashion, friends and boys. Oh…. did I mention boys? Yep…. that’s pretty much all I remember caring about back then. Oh, I did OK in school and all…. but I certainly wasn’t all that focused on grades, even though I made the Honor Roll most semesters.
Anyway….. my point is….. there was a LOT going on around me in the 60’s…. (not quite as evident in the humble state of Utah…) but nonetheless….. it was going on around me! Funny thing is…. I have very vague memories of my brother being in the Vietnam war. Kind of sad, huh?
Maybe it was just me…. maybe I wasn’t as focused as I should have been. Honestly, when I see movies about the civil rights movements and all the turmoil that was happening back then, I often wonder…. was I living in another world? In reality, I probably was. Utah is a different species. Especially back then. I don’t even think there was one black family that lived in Bountiful. If there was, I didn’t know them. I think that’s probably why I wasn’t aware of all that was going on. It didn’t seem to apply to me, so why should I care, right?
Now, as I look back at history and see what I naively missed….. in many ways I’m not sure I regret it. Perhaps that’s one reason why I have a pretty good outlook on life. I never had to face the challenges of racism.
What would I have been like if I did? I’m not sure…. hopefully the same as I am today about that. There wasn’t a whole lot of talk in my house against blacks because we didn’t need to talk about it. Even though I heard an occasional racist remark come from my parents…. I don’t think they tried to instill in me a hate for anyone. By the time I actually met my first black person…. I pretty much felt like they deserved to be treated like anyone else. Again…. I can’t say that I regret that. As a matter of fact…. to show how naive I was…. I remember a bus ride back from Logan to Bountiful. I’d been up to visit my cousin. Well…. I naively sat in the back of the bus. When we stopped in Ogden…. some black boys got on the bus and looked at me rather strangely as they came to sit in the back. However, all I remember was having a nice conversation with them on the way home. It wasn’t until I go off the bus that I was told ‘that’s where the blacks sit’. I had no clue. And I’m glad I didn’t.
Yesterday, we saw the movie The Help. I’ve seen lots of movies about the struggles of civil rights. Remember the Titans is one of my favorites. But, I think the movie The Help made you look at things a little differently…. from a different perspective. Not that I didn’t see a movie and not wonder how hard it must have been on them…. but for some reason, hearing how hard it was coming out of these women’s mouths made it a different story. More personal I guess.
How can we treat others like that? I’ve never understood it. The interesting part of the movie is the side story of how even one white woman was left out of being welcome. I guess it doesn’t take a different skin color for people to be mean!
I’m grateful that I grew up in little old protected Utah and lived a ‘sheltered life’. I’m grateful that there was never any hate instilled in me for anyone. I’m grateful that most people nowadays treat people of all color with respect. Oh…. there’s still some out there that think they are better than everyone else….. But I’m pretty sure they aren’t the kind of people I want to hang out with anyway. Like attracts like….. and that’s not my ‘like’!
How about you? Did you face the civil rights era in an area where you learned to think you were better than “them”?
I am Grateful! How are you?