In 1959, a white journalist traveled the Deep South posing as a black man. The conditions horrified him

They are also sociopaths. Let’s not use the lowest common denominator as any sort of baseline.


I disagree–I’d say it’s a good thing to break those old notions so you can be the family member, friend, acquaintance who can then better inform those still clinging to their outdated [or use any similar word you care for] beliefs.

Having the self awareness to question our inner authoritarian is an important and damned difficult skill that, as you say, brings challenges every day, and I think we’re all better off cultivating that skill.


That story is beautiful. Thanks for that.

Phillips was taken to a place where the local women were washing oil from the survivors, and when they realized they could not scrub his skin white he was afraid their kind treatment would end. Instead a local woman, Violet Pike, insisted that he come home to her house where she nursed him with soup and put him to bed with blankets and rocks she'd warmed in her stove... ...Phillips went on to become the Navy's first black sonar technician and vowed to do everything in his power to repay the kindness he had experienced, eventually donating enough money to St. Lawrence for them to build a children's playground.

It’s people like Phillips who set the bar for the rest of us.


Griffin’s story was made into a movie in 1964 with James Whitmore as Griffin.

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The FC podcast gives me at least one reliable half-commute a week I can smile about and learn something new. Congrats on making the Patreon goal!

Yup, I’ve known people from that town, come to the mainland to work in the big city (Montreal). This story doesn’t surprise me in the least.

Racism, even just fear of strangers, is a learned response, learned even at extremely young ages. Where the attitudes don’t exist, kids (and the adults they become) don’t act according to those assumptions.

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Um… time magazine? that’s your source? Just, no.


I would counter that you may have quickly read over the more salient points of the book, those moments when he speaks to and interacts with people.

Our high school juniors read this book in their English classes, which coincides with their Civil Rights unit in U.S. History (one of four cross-curricular projects for the year for non-AP students). Then the students write a paper, which focuses upon social-historical implications of this time period. Since our school has a very small minority of African Americans, the context of the Civil Rights Movement is somewhat lost until they read this book.

Griffin’s account is more about the people he meets and their biases. And I can tell you that each time I’ve taught this book, students are very surprised and appalled by these biases. It also gives them an understanding of today’s biases and prejudices facing the African American community.


I hope a book or two by an actually black writer is also included?


I would hope so, but I those studies agree with my personal experience of being comfortable with white people and Native Americans but uncomfortable around unfamiliar races. I remember being pretty scared of other races on those rare occasions I would see them, it was like finding an alien creature and I didn’t know how to react to it. Definitely could also be because I’m a weirdo.

No, that’s it! :wink:

Actually, they read a bit of Malcolm X and MLK, Jr., and some poets between the two subjects (also some primary sources in the form of case law).

African American writers are represented in the Californian English standards throughout the literary periods, but the two time periods most represented would have to be the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Era.

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I can’t really speak to the reasons behind that because I don’t have much personal experience with it. Probably we won’t hear much about that here either, because people who are that sort of racist usually have some pretty un-PC opinions, as opposed to openly saying they didn’t know any better and have changed their reactions now like I did, which is a pretty safe thing to do.

I don’t have a lot of kids, but my experience is that we all come from the womb with our own unique personalities, and pretty much everybody has a few quirks that parents need to train them out of if they’re going to function happily in modern society. My son, for example, was far too generous - he would give away anything to anybody, including giving away other people’s stuff as well as his own.

One of my nephews was an anxious and clingy baby, and he was easily frightened by anyone who didn’t look like his parents (including people of color, men without mustaches, dogs, cats, etc.). This was a little odd until we trained him out of it, because he himself is not white; he was adopted at birth.


Yeah people seem to have their core personalty either hard wired at birth, or very shortly afterwards. I have seen siblings who are like night and day as to how they act.

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Your naturalistic fallacy is showing.

Even if babies and very small children have a tendency to categorize people by obvious physical differences (which is why well-meaning attempts by progressive white parents to raise their children to be ‘color-blind’ by never acknowledging race backfire), that doesn’t necessarily mean that lack of empathy for people of different races is “built into human nature,” and even if it were the case that racism is congenital that in no way excuses it as acceptable. Lots of behaviors are universally practiced by babies and small children that are not socially acceptable, like pooping one’s pants, being sociopathically self-absorbed, or unthinkingly resorting to violence/aggression as a way to solve interpersonal problems.

To paraphrase Werner Herzog, the ‘natural’ world is a howling vortex of murder, rape, and half-bored interest in food. Saying that a behavior is ‘natural,’ even in the small chance that that statement IS true or meaningful, does in no way excuse or justify that behavior.


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