August 29, 2003

Remembering a Great Man and changing times

I had really wanted to post something about Dr. Martin Luther King yesterday, it being the 40th anniversary of his famous "I have a Dream" speech, but was distracted. CG Hill was not so distracted and gives us his glimpse into memories of that time.

I do remember 1963, just barely. I was 8. Some time around that year, we had a black family that moved into the neighborhood, right around the corner from where I lived. They had a little girl that was one year younger than I who went to our school. It was less than a block away from both of our houses. I do not remember there being any hooplah by anyone when they moved into the neighborhood or when she began classes at Johnston Elementary in Abilene, Texas. I do not remember anyone treating her any differently than any other kid in school. I have always believed that until they become prodded, cajoled and controlled by adults into forming certain biases and prejudices, children are about as race neutral as anyone. Oh, I know we kids did have problems being around disabled people, usually having to stare at them because they were, indeed, different. Some of them we actually laughed at. Was it cruel? Probably, but children seldom intend to be cruel in such cases. They are just so innocent and truthful that they laugh when something amuses them.

As for my relation with that little girl, I treated her like I did all other little girls at the time. I basically avoided all girls because they were icky and had cooties. I did change my opinion of girls a few years later, but I have tried to never change my opinion that skin color is not a factor I use when choosing my friends and associates.

Posted by Tiger at August 29, 2003 09:06 AM