Saturday, May 22, 2010
When I was younger, I never really understood the whole meaning behind political things like Civil Rights and maybe other stuff. I could never understand what was so wrong about sitting at the back of the bus; I mean that was where all the cool people sat. I’ve forgotten what the actual bus number was from Newark ‘s Penn Station to South Orange, but I remember you could smoke at that back and since it was the late 70’s and early 80’s most people were smoking something different from Marlboros or Kool cigarettes. Sure the bus driver would shout out, “Stop smoking that shit or I’m stopping the bus,” but nobody ever took any notice of him. Even if you didn’t smoke you could get a slight but nice buzz if someone was smoking the good stuff or perhaps a pleasant odor that would linger in your clothes long after you had left the bus that would make it all worthwhile.
I remember also that I didn’t really understand what the big deal was about sitting at the lunch counter at Woolworths. In fact I thought that if anyone had seen me sitting at the lunch counter at Woolworths sitting next to Mr. and Mrs. Birnbaum arguing over the price of linen or chocolate covered pretzels, I would probably die of shame. I figured that if I was going to eat out, it had better be someplace decent. As Susan Green had taught me, I needed to go somewhere where a girl wouldn’t regret being seen with me.
When I grew older I began to understand why it was wrong for private businesses to discriminate against people because of their color, their religion, their gender or sexual orientation. I began to understand that even though people would call their businesses private, they would still accept deliveries for their businesses on roads that were built with public funds from all people. They would still accept the services from the police and firemen whose salaries was paid for by the same people that they would have had beaten up and or had the hoses turned on against. They would still accept protection from foreign invasion by troops that consisted of people, who they would refuse service to while allowing their businesses to grow and flourish and I knew why I had been wrong but I wonder why doesn't anyone else feel that way.
It’s a funny thing this era of a Post-Racial America. I never thought that there would be people who think that this was a good time to bring up the 1964 Civil Rights Act. What’s next, an attack against the Americans with Disabilities Act or the repeal of the 13th Amendment and a reintroduction of slavery?
Those Tea Party people scare me.