When I was a young boy growing up in the Deep South, of course I was full of energy and somewhat mischievous. We used to take the bus downtown on Saturday to go to the theater (or rather--try to sneak in).
One day I ran down the aisle to the back of the bus because I wanted to look out the rear window. But, as soon as I got back there, not only did the bus driver yell at me to "Git back up front young'un!", the elderly Black woman who was our neighbor's maid looked at me with her big milky eyes and said, "You'd best do as you're told or you'll get the whole load of us in trouble.", and winked at me and smiled, as if chuckling to herself. A tough-muscled, middle-aged Black man sitting across from her, chuckled and whispered, "Best git on now young sir."
These were the people who did our chores--from mowing our yards to washing our clothes to sweeping our streets to cleaning our septic tanks, and I knew many of them, at least by sight. I remember one of them was a giant of a man with only one eye who was always bowing and apologizing for himself, who was known simply as 'Big Man'--a man so humbled by life that he had become nearly characterless and self-deprecatingly insignificant.
I went back up to the front, feeling both admonished and a little puzzled, and when I took a seat, the driver pointed to a sign hung up above his seat that said "Coloreds Seating Rear Only." I looked down in embarrassment and then slowly turned toward the back to see if *they* were all laughing at me. They weren't. But one man sitting in the back next to a Mexican or Cuban woman, who I later realized was not Black, but merely a dark-skinned man from India who worked at the 'Nite & Day' store, was staring at me intently with a look that could have sliced through raw steel--as if he passionately despised little me.
We didn't have any Yellow people (Chinese or other Asians) in our town, but I reckon they'd have been sent to the back of the bus as well. After all, "Coloreds" means 'non-white'. Obviously, finer distinctions were too much trouble for a bus driver to ponder--if you weren't white, you sat in the back. Period.
That day has stuck in my mind ever since. It was 'an awakening'. Around that time, Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks, respectively, were arrested and charged for refusing to give up their seats to a white person, and bus segregation began to come into question nationally.
Of course, from then on, I began to notice things like the 'third bathroom' in gas stations and restaurants, and when we all went as a family to vote--with my mom and dad gathering up with the neighbors and yapping and gossiping and postulating and posturing and predicting the future--there were no "Coloreds" there at all except the maids and janitors that kept City Hall clean and held the doors open for those of us arriving. I supposed that if they had shown up to vote, there would be blood--and they knew it. Even though it was supposedly legal for them to do so, the intimidation must have been terrible to the point of fearing to try. Even then, however, I could sense something terrible building up--like too much pressure in a bicycle innertube or a pressure cooker full of ham and cabbage turned up too high and about to explode.
Some years later, that 'Yankee court up in Washington' decided to force the bussing of high school students upon the South, and the anger, the rage and the sheer, unmitigated hate was so strong it was literally tangible. Whole neighborhoods of Whites kept their kids out of school for a week in protest, while my high school lost it's national accreditation (which essentially meant that you were better off dropping out and getting your G.E.D. if you had any intention of attending college).
During the local Shriners-Masons Parade, the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan would ride their big, brass-buckled horses behind the Shriners--hundreds of them--all hooded and appallingly serious, with the butts of their polished and silver accoutered Winchester rifles and shotguns sticking out from their saddles, with their generals and commanders in front carrying a long pole with a large brass cross and another carrying a similarly long pole with the Confederate battle flag (a very different flag from what you see these days, called the 'Stars and Bars'--a flag with a small blue square in the upper corner with eight stars on a background of three stripes--red, white, red).
I grinned, ate cotton candy and plotted harmless mischief with my brothers and sisters and our friends. What the hell did we know?
This was the Segregated South--as staunchly Southern White Baptist Conservative as you could ever possibly get. Good old fashioned Dixiecrats--virtually all of who are now 'Republicans'.
Now, I see that Newsvine has a Segregated Nation--a group of conservatives that have created an "Invitation Only" vine.
Their New Nation Announcement is accompanied by a picture that depicts a White drill sergeant berating a kowtowed President Obama and once again I am reminded of a sad chapter in our history.
Segregation in the South, I learned later in my life as a Northern-state college student, stemmed largely from a fear and nearly complete ignorance of the cultural differences between the predominantly White community and those of the Black and Hispanic/Latino--ironically exacerbated by segregation itself. And, as fear tends to do, it bred hatred. Amplified by systemic encouragement of core racist doctrine from a variety of sources--sources whose motives are clearly of self-interest and otherwise suspect--it only spreads like a virulent disease, albeit largely through those who allow themselves to be susceptible to it. Literally walling yourselves off from any opposing viewpoint is completely illogical and damaging--it smacks of arrogance, of anti-social elitism, and of intentionally-aimed disparagement and malignment of others.
I have seen comments from within the group stating that one reason for their segregation is that they cannot find anyone to rationally debate them--even though they tend to intentionally block those who have attempted to do so. So, here is a New Nation of people who claim that they cannot find anyone to debate, so they have walled themselves off from any debate--an insensible idea that only tends to emphasize their segregationist ideology, as well as being profoundly ironic and contrary.
I must put this to question: How does one debate racism and segregationist ideology in any intelligent, constructive way, other than to point out in as many ways as possible that it is inherently wrong-headed and un-American? But that is where any rational debate must begin.
As soon as we begin to accept segregation based upon ideology, fear, superstition, or other human-contrived malady, any chance for constructive debate dead-ends right then and there.
Have a care--think about it.