Free Writing

Segregation in the South in the Twenty-First Century


If you read my post on a regular basis, you must know I am a feminist who believes in the rights of all humans, regardless of race, color, religion or whatever.

Last Friday  I had a situation occur that truly ruffled my feathers. My husband and I were standing in line for dinner at a private club that I shall not name. Not because we are members, but simply do not want to start a P-R war with them. While standing, I listened to the conversations of some of the people ahead of the line. Since I am a writer, I do have the tendency to listen to other conversations. Not necessarily eaves dropping, but when their voices are so loud that they appear to bounce across the room, these conversations do attract my attention.

The line moved slowly. The more I listened to this particular woman, the angrier I became. She was white-haired, actually — one of the silver blue colors of a woman who hasn’t aged gracefully. Slump shouldered, with a road map of a face, heavy makeup and bifocals on her face, her voice was filled with anger and bigotry. Attracted to her voice, due to her attitude and the bigotry, my husband looked at me, knowing I was listening intensely to the conversation.

She spoke to the people she knew. The conversation continued:

“Well now, you know school starts next week and I still can’t believe they let THEM ride on the same bus with my grandchildren. THEY won’t be prepared for anything in school. My daughter called me yesterday to tell me I needed to send some money to the school, to help THEM with all the tools THEY need.”

“What?” I said. “I ain’t helping THEM. That’s why I pay taxes, and if THEY made it possible to attend my grandchildren’s school, then THEY need to pay for things…not my tax dollars.”

The people standing next to her nodded, said “Uh, huh,” agreeing with her.

Her scraggly voice continued:

“And I still can’t believe we’ve got one of THEM in our office as President of these United States. Why it makes me so mad I could spit!”

I confess, when something really gets under my skin, my face reveals it! My husband looked over at me, knowing and expecting me to intercept this conversation.

“Would you like to go find us a table for eight?” He asked.

Relieved, I nodded, and I spoke in a voice I am certain this woman still stuck in the 1950’s heard:

“That is a great idea. I am getting just a bit PERPLEXED with all the conversations in this line.”

I stepped forward. Walking by the group, I smiled my sweetest Southern Belle smile, “Excuse me,” I said, rushing by without allowing them to respond.

You must know, I do not claim to be a Southern Belle…more like a Steel Magnolia who voices her opinion, but sometimes, it is the body language and the demeanor that lets others know how ridiculous bigotry still is in the Twenty-first Century.

Sometimes, the less we say, the better! I recognize I live in the South, in a state that still has citizens who cannot move forward with change. To those people I say, you are missing out on a lot of culture, and friendship.

When my husband joined our table, I asked him about the conversations. He smiled and squeezed my hand. “After you entered, they hushed.”

Sometimes, the less said — the better. “Kill with kindness” has always been my belief. I will not lower my standards, nor will I simply go quiet into the night!

1 thought on “Segregation in the South in the Twenty-First Century”

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