Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Afraid of the dark

This article describes something I first researched heavily from my third Oregon historical, Going Home. The book dealt with the aftermath of the Civil War in Oregon. I knew a lot about the racial bigotry that was being practiced in a state that claimed to hate the South all the time while it blocked blacks from entering it. 

To write about it here seems especially apropos since last night we watched a documentary on Nat King Cole, who I knew little about his life other than I loved his music and remembered his television show in the mid 1950s. The documentary seemed a little disjointed for how it was put together but it drove hard on the problem of how blacks were mistreated and put down even during Cole's era. A man as talented as he was couldn't stay in some of the hotels where he was performing unless someone like Frank Sinatra said he wouldn't stay there either if that was the case.

The program was good but also depressing especially in a time where we have seen our American President treated poorly by those who say it's not bigotry but... Come on, do we really believe another President would have been told by the leader of the Senate-- you should not do your duty because you only have a year left in your term! The hate that some feel for Obama often is very thinly veiled, sometimes not at all, as racism of the sort that infected Oregon and attacked Nat King Cole, causing his popular TV show to be dropped because sponsors were afraid to back it.

In more recent history, we have read story after story where blacks were killed by police who may not have reacted the same if it had been a white. How much comes back to this fear of the dark? For someone like me, who has grown up when I did, a lot of this is hard to comprehend. We had black neighbors out here, who were the best neighbors we ever had, but it was rare as since they left, no blacks.

My mother, a professional musician in the '30s, described how she traveled on a train through the South, where the most lowlife white was considered superior to any black. 

Recently, there have been polls showing how 21% of Trump supporters either believe the white race is superior to the black or they aren't sure. Seriously, in this day and age, how can this be???

Anyway read the article about Oregon's past. It wasn't just Oregon with these laws but as the article said, Oregon wrote it down. Then if you get a chance, see the documentary on what Nat King Cole went through. 

Think long and hard on how Obama has been treated as our President-- then what should we be doing about it. This country cannot call itself exceptional when bigotry and ignorance are still calling too many shots.


Tabor said...

Prejudice. I am sure I have it, but it is buried somewhere and I refuse to let it talk to me.

joared said...

Bigotry is everywhere and I could relate many stories about it from personal first hand experience -- from years ago and in the present. You are quite correct that bigotry has been an underlying factor in a lot of what has occurred politically during Pres. Obama's terms -- disrespect in many ways.

I'm quite familiar with Nat King Cole's story and will look forward to viewing this latest documentary about him. The jazz musicians during his day all have similar stories of discrimination, especially when they toured the South. There are numerous stories of name white band leaders or other performers with professional clout who were in such demand they could demand equal treatment for blacks with them. Some of the black performers became quite bitter, some left the country -- singers Nina Simone, Lena Horne and Eartha Kitt immediately come to mind. What some of them experienced was heartbreaking to think one human being could treat another like they did -- and some still do.

Interesting to learn about Oregon -- hypocritical positions are still prevalent in so many areas of our lives and denial is strong.

Rain Trueax said...

I agree. We think this kind of thing is past because we live where we don't experience it regularly. Then we see it explode all across the country. And where Obama is concerned, they blame him for those who are bigoted against him. Amazing is all I can say! It's not like I think everything he does is wonderful but it's the lack of respect in basic ways that make a person disappointed.