Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Twice I have

 recently run into educated blacks that said they preferred living in the South as opposed to northern cities and probably for good reason.

It has been said that in the South they hated blacks collectively but loved them individually. Whereas in the North blacks were loved collectively but hated individually.

Personally I'd take my chances in the South as an individual.

Interesting point. Both of these men were educated and were likely respected for it and given a fair shot in places like Atlanta, Norfolk or Charleston. One was an attorney that was doing well. I don't recall what the other man was.

Incidentally, both said that they thought that Boston would be a fun town for whites. I was surprised. I'd never given it much thought. One of them asked me why Boston was that way and I told them that it was likely because of the Irish population.

Right after the Civil War many blacks moved north and into the cities. They were willing to work for less money than the Irish were and wound up taking jobs from them.

I pointed out that the Irish have a 'best friend, worst enemy' attitude and that they never forget and that many of them flocked toward government jobs. For generations there were a lot of Irish cops and firemen in Boston and likely are today.

It created an Irish power block of sorts. Hence while it was not open, there was and likely remains a lot of predjudice.

He nodded. His wife said that it wasn't right. I pointed out that I wasn't talking about right or wrong but just telling it like it is.

He nodded. He knew where I was coming from. I was simply telling the truth.

I'll tell you a little story of my misspent youth.

Scituate, MA was and to a certain extent was known as the Irish Riviera. Back in the 20s when an Irish family became successful they bought a cottage along the beach. When school got out, day would drop off the kids and go home to Southie in his Model T and come down weekends, returning to work Sunday night. Come September they would pack up and come home in time for school.

Most of the cottages on Cedar Point still have Irish surnames on them.

Just before the Boston Busing attempt at desegregating the Boston public schools took place a number of people saw the writing on the wall and left Boston for the suburbs. A number of these were Irish from Southie. 

One family were the Sheas (name changes here). There was a pretty girl named Theresa Ann and  on a impulse I asked her out to a lecture by some street priest. (He is currently in the joint after being busted as a pedo.) I figured it was safe and mother approved. I just wanted to check her out.

Of course, had I known what kind of third degree I was going to get from her mother when i picked her up I wouldn't have bothered. Still, being the old smoothie I am I passed with flying colors.

I went out with her and left her at home afterwards and drove off with a "Yeah, so" attitude. She was nice but there was nothing too interesting about her. I never went out with her again.

Later I heard her mother was always asking about me. I knew that a big part of why the mther asked about me was that I was both Irish and a Catholic.

A few years later I think I was a GI on leave and was downtown in Scituate Harbor when I saw her mother and said hello and asked her how Theresa Ann was doing. I think she knew I was married to my first wife at the time.

"How's Theresa-Ann?" I asked. 

The mother's face turned rock hard.

"She married a colored," she said. "We don't do that kind of thing."

I shrugged. "I always figured you married who you want," I replied. "I hope he's a decent guy that treats her well and I wish her happiness."

She scowled. "You'd marry one of them?"

"I suppose that if my wife were black it wouldn't really have made much of a difference," I said. "However, she's peaches and cream which cost me a fortune in sun screen when I take her to the beach" I chuckled. "Too bad she wasn't at least Italian or maybe Spanish."

"You're married?" she asked.

I told her I was.

"Well, it's too bad she didn't marry you instead of marrying a colored," she said and walked off.

I thought for a minute. I really believed she would have rather had her daughter marry a drunken Irishman that beat her weekly instead of a black that probably treated her like a well.

I walked away feeling sad for both Theresa-Ann and her mother. It must be sad being married to a man that is not welcome into the family and it's sad seeing an older woman consumed with that much hate.

I never gave it much thought until several decades later. I realized the family had moved to Scituate to escape Southie and the oncoming school desegregation and predicted trouble that was sure to come with it.

When the desegregation order to bus students to other schools came down I really didn't think much of it. I still don't today.

One of the reasons people move to certain places is for the quality of education their kids receive as well as their safety. I sure wouldn't want to bust my ass to pay higher school (property) taxes just to have the city bus my kids across town to a school of questionable quality and in an area that was likely to be unsafer than the neighborhood I had moved to.

It isn't a matter of color, but of what is best for my kids. We want what's best for them. It's really that simple. Being dragged across town to fill some government quota isn't my idea of something that is good for them.

I mentioned this to the black attorney and asked him how he felt about it. He agreed and pointed out that a big part of the reason they moved to the suburb they lived in was the school system. He wouldn't want his kids bussed, either.

For what it's worth I never found out what happened to Theresa-Ann. Last I heard she and her husband were living in Vermont. I still wish her happiness.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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