Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wright and Wrong

I'm reading and teaching "The Ethics of Jim Crow" for the first time this semester, and already I want to make it a more regular part of the syllabus.  There nothing new here exactly--the stories of Southern racism are the ones that we grew up with--but to have such a cavalcade of stories all belonging to one young man makes it alive and fresh again.

It's startling how familiar these feel as well.  The policemen bumping his bike into the curb because he was in a white neighborhood reminds me of stories my own friends have recounted.  From the time I was nine until I turned sixteen, I lived in Riverside, CA--a long way from the racially segregated South--but even in 1980s SoCal we knew that when black men were pulled over, they were made to get out of the car with their hands showing, whereas white drivers never suffered the same humiliation.

I'm tempted to tie this into "The Man Who Was Almost a Man" here, but I think I'll wait until class for that.

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