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Category Archives: Racism

Knowing the Klan

Ku_Klux_Klan_Virgina_1922_Parade
Three Ku Klux Klan members standing at a 1922 parade.
Picture credit: Public Domain, Library of Congress

 

Yesterday on our news was the story of a person who had been run out of office in one small town near us, only to show up in another.

He left and moved to a place just down the road a bit.

The causation for this furor was over his association and/or membership in the Ku Klux Klan.

This same group has made the news here repeatedly in the past few years.

We came here in 2004 and had a friend who unknown at first to us, was the son of a former Grand  Dragon of the Florida Klan.

This man was gentle, kind and sweet and had many friends.

It was hard to learn about his father.

We both have very strong feelings about the Klan, who even today still throw flyers into yard’s in mostly Black neighborhoods here in Central Florida, encouraging people to join them.

The papers are put into plastic bags with rocks in them.

Years ago in a College class about silent films, my instructor showed a film, The Birth of a Nation and implied that the Klan was, in the beginning, not just about hate, murders and hangings.

It was more about doing good for those in the South who had been ravaged by the Civil War.

As I read about it now, I can see that this is not the case, at all.

When it began in the 1860’s, it may indeed  have had more altruistic ideas, but as the years went on, these quickly faded and were replaced with those closer to what we now know as the Klan today.

On another personal note, years ago my best friend in California moved to Mississippi.

We were both pretty unhappy about this.

It was not her choice, her husband was from there and wanted to go back home.

To say that she was upset about the radical cultural changes in her life, was an understatement.

She was from California and the difference between the two states in so far as racism and race relations was/is huge, actually, it was more like a chasm.

On my first trip there to see her years later, I was shocked, dismayed and appalled at what I saw.

It was like the Civil War had never happened.

Too many of the local people looked as if all of their hope had been taken away and they were simply trying to just get through life, day by day.

There is one film that for me, best defines what it is like for many African-Americans living there,  or what the state has been like for entirely too many years: Mississippi Burning.

Think you know the Klan?

Think it is gone?

Think again.

As long as there is hate and fear of the differences between color and race, they will always be here, in fact they will flourish.

Those who belong to the Klan are cowards and their hate is what binds them together.

Only education, understanding and acceptance can change this.

These are the things that the Klan are most afraid of, and it is how we can change and defeat them forever.

 

Places to learn more:

Ku Klux Klan

Former Florida cop fired for KKK ties got a new job working in a Florida elementary school

Police in Fla.’s “Friendly City” were KKK members

The Legacy of Harry T. Moore

Ku Klux Klan in Florida

 

 

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Not Working

Wattsriots-burning
The Watts Riots in LA in 1965
Picture credit: Wikipedia

 

I have been watching the News for the past week with a very heavy heart,  as each day, as the events unfold in Ferguson, painful, ugly and difficult memories are brought back.

What is happening there,  is in many ways quite similar to what we in LA and the surrounding areas experienced with Rodney King, in the 1990’s.

And both of these are entirely too much like the LA Riots in Watts in the 1960’s.

Then there was the Trayvon Martin murder, here in Orlando and the Trial and the verdict that once again met with violent public reaction and out cries everywhere.

All of these tragic events, these sad places,  have touched my life, none in a good way.

That  week in  August of 1965 during the Watts Riots,  was a time of total violence and great turmoil and no one liked what was happening.

Few were sure, including the law enforcement, as to how to find a solution before the City was left in ashes.

In time, it did stop, but not before the deep scars were in place and bitter memories that would last for many, a lifetime.

Next came Rodney King, only this time it was brought right to my own front yard.

The Trial for those who brutalized King was held in my town of Simi Valley.

It was all such an ugly time for a tiny peaceful place.

It seemed to drag on forever and then the verdict came, that no one was prepared to handle, especially the Police.

I left West LA that day and drove towards home, wondering what may lie ahead.

I could not have been prepared for what came next.

As I tried to get off of the Freeway at my Exit, which was for the time of day that it was, unusually backed up onto the Freeway.

When I finally got to the bottom of the ramp, I saw why.

Every single car there was being stopped and examined by a uniformed patrolman, who asked to see ID proving that the person driving did indeed, live in this particular neighborhood.

This was a disturbing, frightening and very unpleasant experience.

My house was about a mile from the freeway and the troubled exit, but only two blocks from the hysterical scene that was happening at the Court House.

It looked like a war zone, or a movie set.

There were huge crowds of onlookers, countless TV crews, Police cars, SWAT crews, my God it was all just terrifying.

But our small town’s terror was about to be unleashed on all of the City, as the turmoil that day in Simi, quickly spread to all of LA and once again, as in the 60’s with Watts, the violence, looting, shootings and arrests, were soon out of control.

When it thankfully began to calm down many days later, we all wondered how and why this could just keep happening.

Why was it always black and white, white police, black victims?

Now once again, in Ferguson, this Country is experiencing another Racially inspired reaction, to what is now being called a racially motivated murder and the results are, as before, violent, dangerous, out of control crowds, venting their frustrations and setting the stage once again, for probably another ugly Trial.

God help us, why can’t we stop this pattern?

Why don’t we learn?

What will it take for this Country to mend our Racial wounds, to stop the Violence and to stop the Hate?

Why are so many, who should know better, doing all of the wrong things?

Governors, Police Chiefs, Judges, Lawyers,  everyone who should and could be using their years of wisdom and experience to calm things, seem to only be pouring fuel onto the already out of control fires.

For the lack of a better explanation, it seems that too often, these people care more about their political careers and futures, than doing what is right, or best, for what is happening right now.

Perhaps it is time for an uninvolved neutral, or third-party, to get involved in these kinds of tragedies because those who should know better and behave better, really could use some better ideas.

The ones they are using now, are just not working.

 

Places to learn more:

Watts Riot

Rodney King trial verdict announced

Shooting of Trayvon Martin

Governor Nixon orders National Guard to Ferguson

 

 

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Racism Hurts

LAMemorialColiseum_
The LA Coliseum, home to many memories~
Picture credit : InSapphoWeTrust

 

After living in LA for more than 30 years and going with my family to every conceivable sport venue repeatedly, this story about the racist owner of the Clippers,  hurt in so many ways.

It made LA look bad,  and LA  Sports look bad,  it was/is just plain ugly.

We are speaking of a huge sports loving family here: Hockey, Football, Baseball and of course,  Basketball games.

And, LA has a team for everyone!

We loved it all and it was a huge part of my family’s lives there for many, many years.

Going to any of these games was a joy for us all and if racism was part of it back then, we were not aware of it.

So, seeing all of the sad, vicious,  ugly words running amuck on the News all week,  leaves me questioning and wondering about the future of our species and of sports in general.

Yes, agreed,  this man has serious mental issues that only  he and his God can solve, but in my opinion, what the press and so many experts seem to be missing is, it isn’t just in sports, it is NOT  just an NBA Issue, racism and the evil it brings are still very much alive, not only in America, but all over the world.

Try to find a place without it.

LA has,  to be sure,  seen its fair share of racism exposed for the world to witness.

The riots in Watts in the 60’s,  the beating of and then the trial and its mess surrounding Rodney Allen King in 1991.

I can tell you that living in Simi Valley on the day that those policemen were found not guilty was terrifying.

I had to show my ID to the Police standing on the off ramp that day just to get home.

The riots that followed were just another mess that we had to deal with.

But, somehow,  we survived and I can speak only for me on this, I have been in every part of Southern California over my 30 years there and never felt that racism was going to do us in.

It seemed to me like we saw the problem and reacted to it,  then resolved to try to get it  right, when it was exposed.

Yet, here we are, so many years after all of this and racism still unbelievably,  exists in so many parts of this country.

I have seen its ugly face and know it how it works.

My best friend lives in Mississippi and every time that I go to see her,  there it sadly is,  still alive and well.

Blacks there are still treated badly and are still living with this ugly word.

It is still in existence here in Florida, in Orlando several times recently, KKK propaganda has been put into plastic bags,  tied to a rock and thrown into yards in all black neighborhoods.

So, now what about this sad man who has been slapped down by the NBA Commissioner for the ugliness and evil that lives in his heart?

I do not know him, so I can only speak to what is in the Press.

He has made generous donations to many groups all over LA for years, some now want to,  or have already, given his money back.

His reputation in LA is split.

Some hate him, some don’t.

But if you take his money, can you still call him names?

A bit two-faced I think?

But this much I do know.

LA is not a place where this will EVER be allowed to exist without a response to this kind of evil.

And now that the Commissioner has responded with his punishment, perhaps it may be time for all of us to look into our own hearts and say,   ” Am I a racist? “

” Do I secretly harbor ill  feelings toward those of color?”

If the answer on any level is yes, perhaps this nightmare could be cathartic for us all.

Maybe the surfacing of all of this hate of color,  could help us to be more tolerant,  to openly accept and care for each other, with no regard for color or race.

Hating,  takes so much energy, so much more than acceptance, loving and kindness.

We Humans, as a species,  have been here long enough to have settled this already.

So, why haven’t we?

The answers are not on TV,  in the News, in a book,  or even in our Religious facilities, the answers are in our hearts.

So I will only ask this in conclusion, what is in our hearts?

 

 

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