Ill Understanding

by PammyMcB

In the heart of Alabama
a world foreign to me
segregated by no law
but choice
ill understanding
An ebon child presented
eyes pierce
boring my skin
searching my soul
ripping sadness to my heart
Words whispered in shadows
whip the air
spreading immorality
innocent ears bleed
permeating one by one
evil left and right
insecurities ensue
abashed urges fought
idled and forsaken
irate but not me
Fears pushed aside
placated we stand alone
loved we thrive
harmonious and steady
I am Southern
but hate is not me
hate is not me

©Pamela N. Brown

Along with my son, two nieces, niece’s best friend, mother, and step-father, I went to Tennessee for a joyous occasion. Throughout the trip, we had a wonderful time, until we headed home. We stopped at a small town in Alabama for lunch and the citizens of the town glared at our family with so much hate that I could feel it boring into my skin. My niece’s best friend sidled up to me, and I to her because she could hear the words being spouted under the breath of every person we passed. I have never seen such a thing as that. As a Texan, I have had to struggle with being considered part of the deep south by many northerners, and this is dedicated to those of you that believe Texans have similar views. I had people up north tell me that they could not be friends with me because, “All people from the south are racists.” Don’t they realize that would include New Mexico, Arizona, and California too?

I am not a racists, nor have I ever been. It would be ridiculous for me to be that way. My great-grandmother on my father’s side was Creole/Cherokee, and we have genetic traits that can only be found in those of African descent. My other great-grandparents were Comanche, Blackfoot/Creek, and Irish. Therefore, in order to be racist, I must hate myself. And, though I argue with my ethnic hair on a daily basis, that does not mean that I hate it. I just really do not know how to take care of it.

Furthermore, for those of you who do not know, Texas is no longer a majority state. It is 1/3 Caucasian/Not Hispanic, 1/3 Caucasian/Hispanic, and 1/3 African American. We are not all hateful rednecks. For that matter, we are not all cowboys, we do not all listen to country music, and we do not all ride horses. More rock music comes from Texas than any other state in the country and less country music than many states in the country. Although they can be found in Texas, we are not all conservative hate-mongers.

Anyway, I was embarrassed for everyone around me, and I have never before found myself surrounded by so much animosity and hate. I was angered for a split second until I realized that giving into that anger would only fuel their ignorance. So, our little group held our heads up and walked with pride. I never believed that in the United States, I would find a place so far behind the times. I believe, and I need to believe, that this is only this one small town in Alabama, and in no way, do I mean to bash the entire state or the people of Alabama. I never will hate a group of people for the actions of one or few.