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Racism in the South?  RSS feed

 
Jake Gang
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Howdy all!!  This is my first time posting on permies, so I figured, why not start it off with a hot button issue that undoubtedly affects more people here who are trying to do what I'm just setting out to.  As I begin sifting through all of the great info this site has to offer about finding a community of like minded individuals doing organics and permaculture, my curiosity shifts towards this issue more and more.  My relationship status is "mixed race," Asian and white, and we are planning a trip to the south to see how we like it.  Fun fact, we've already started looking for jobs in Nashville and plan on setting up our farming endeavor in the next year between Louisville and Nashville, so the trip might come sooner in the form of permanent relocation.  I realize that racism is alive and well in the south and that rural USA is pocketed with deep seeded views on mixed race couples.  Has anyone on these forums found this to be evident in Tennessee and Kentucky?  Are we moving into trouble?  Or am I overanalyzing?  We look forward to moving to this area, between two major metro areas with growing food scenes and a growing population of educated young urban professionals to hopefully begin selling produce and meat at the farmers markets and great restaurants that abound in these states.  Any info is appreciated.  Especially pertaining to communities in between that would challenge us to learn more and get better at what we do. 
 
William Bronson
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I live in Cincinnati, have worked in northern KY. More than one of my mixed race customers have shared with me their experiences with racism, again their children on particular.
On the other hand, I have had  mostly good experiences working south of the river.
Well there was that time the guy patronized me-as in patted me on the head,AND told me what a good job I had done...
Things might actually be better further south, for all I know.
Besides, if you are old enough to be reading this, you probably know how to deal with this kind of crap when it comes up. Not that it's OK ,just that it's life as a minority.
Good luck,and watch you back!
 
John Saltveit
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I lived in Nashville for about 5 years in the 80's. I felt that people were very friendly on the surface, but that there was definitely a lot of "tradition" that was not very open minded about new views about racism.  Mixed couples were usually seen as highly unusual, as in "why would you want to do that?"  People mostly stayed within their expected racial categories.
john S
PDX OR
 
Dana Jones
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I live in northeast Texas. I am a white female old enough to remember segregation. Yes, there are idiots out there, but they are becoming fewer and hopefully, one day they will all die out. People are people, no matter the color, religion, beliefs and all the other defining descriptions on the list. So what. I hope you make your move and find friendly, welcoming people. If you run into an "idiot" it's their loss, not yours.
 
Sheala Heala
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I would worry more about neighbors being close minded against permaculture best practices than against mixing races.
 
John Saltveit
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I must admit to having some mixed feelings about this topic.  I don't feel that one region is worse than another, but they are different. The OP question was about if I moved to the rural South as a mixed race person, what would the reaction be, but the topic isn't really overall racism in the South.  Many people in my region don't know very many black people, for example, and so they end up asking a lot of weird, uncomfortable questions.  Most people I have known in the South don't do that.
John S
PDX OR
 
William Bronson
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Lisa Powers wrote:I would worry more about neighbors being close minded against permaculture best practices than against mixing races.


My wife has family that are homesteaders. I would have plenty to talk to them about,but the fact is they greeted the death of our cousins child with a remark to the effect of "just as well,like we need another half breed..." .
I had left my children in their care before. Never again.
Being on guard against racism is a matter of safety. I can change or hide my agricultural practices. My skin or my children's skin,not so much.
 
John Saltveit
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I'm sorry that you had to deal with that William.  Sometimes I wonder what people could be thinking when they say such horrible things.  Sometimes I think that they must have terrible self-esteem to say such horrible things to other people.  I often wish I could get people to work on doing something, really anything positive rather than attacking others, but it's not really my job to fix them.  I do try to call it out when I feel like someone is trying to spread the message of racism. I usually feel scared, but it always feels like the right thing to do. I have been beaten up for a few things, but not for calling out racism yet.
John S
PDX OR
 
Sheala Heala
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William Bronson wrote:
Lisa Powers wrote:I would worry more about neighbors being close minded against permaculture best practices than against mixing races.


My wife has family that are homesteaders. I would have plenty to talk to them about,but the fact is they greeted the death of our cousins child with a remark to the effect of "just as well,like we need another half breed..." .
I had left my children in their care before. Never again.
Being on guard against racism is a matter of safety. I can change or hide my agricultural practices. My skin or my children's skin,not so much.


We have both had some very bad experiences. What a shame that progress can attract such hateful resistence. Being the only "progressive" one around, no matter the sort, can be so dangerous, I have learned the hard way. Not being from a super racist area I must be naive, being from a very progressive area, I can't stop being naive...about all kinds of hate. They poured raw gas over my fence and it was not intended for weeds. I had to move.
 
William Bronson
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Great conversation going on here.
A tribute to Paul's vision.
I appreciate the sympathy and support I find here at Permies.
I have had my grape vines sheared from the fence that I built,which was rude, but no where as threatening as an application of toxic accelerant.
Bigotry against a person or their ideals is poisonous.
Being in the minority,of thought or being can be a struggle , but the struggle can strengthen us, and living well in spite of bigotry is just desserts.
 
Jake Gang
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Thank you all for your replies.  I am sorry to those affected by this nonsense.  It's a touchy subject to be sure.  The pat on the head, I would not have dealt with professionally.  I'm confident that we can handle it, however, it is neighbors that I am most concerned about.  Bowling Green, KY will most likely be our home, and with that in mind, it is a college town, so narrow mindedness should be at a minimum.  I just want my partner to be safe, since she is trusting me to uproot our lives to set down roots.  If anyone knows of permies in that area, I'd love to reach out to them. 
 
Jake Gang
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To be clear, my lovely partner is in the process of transferring to Brentwood, TN.  From here, we will be able to travel and check out houses, communities, neighbors, and land.  We are in the process of looking for apartments or a farm to stay on while we transition into the southern life.  Thanks again!
 
Della Miller
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I was raised in the Great State of Texas and then moved to the Northeast.  I married a Delawarean and then we moved down to Mississippi.  I really worried about this because I saw the movie MS burning too!  LOL. I and My son are Hispanic, my husband is 6ft German. I worried and worried.  But it was all for nothing.  What we had to get used to was the buckle of the bible belt passively aggressively judging drinking habits, but it was a mild interaction with good intentions.  You will see what you are looking for, so I say don't look or assume.  Just be happy.  We moved here and I work in TN, because my husband is a disabled combat veteran, and I support the "homestead" it was MORE difficult for people to understand that there are some injuries you cannot outwardly see. 

Be happy, don't worry so much. There are good and bad people everywhere.  Gravitate towards the good, be forgiving of those that accidently ask inappropriate questions, and make lots of friends.  Moving him and us back south was the best thing we ever did. 
 
Lynn Garcia
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From what I have seen of the South the most overt racism is aimed at African Americans. The views I have heard expressed towards Hispanic/Latinos (like me) and Asians, were more subtle. Hispanics seem to have more respect among the southern whites, because they "actually work." I put that in quotes because I heard it so often while I was down there. That said most of the people I met at least made the attempt to not be rude. Most of my time was spent in cities in the South though and diversity in cities tend to push back against the overtly ugly racism. No experience with rural areas in the South but plenty of it up in the Northwest. Rural areas up here are definitely tipping the scales toward overtly racist, especially towards indigenous communities, but also towards other POC. After the civil war many Southerners moved to the Northwest to get away from the changes in the South. Their stamp is still all over the Northwest in rural communities and somewhat in the larger cities too. The American Nazi party is alive and well in this region.

I guess I am trying to say that it is everywhere in this country and there is no where that you won't see racist crap flying. Best bet is just to live your life and vocally call it out when you see it. Shame is a powerful tool so keep it sharp and be quick to put it to use.
 
Bart Wallace
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I live in the deep south and it is a rural area. There is some latent racism and it is mainly found in older people but even among the older population East Asians are seen as pretty much white in their eyes, unless you happen to run into a WWII vet and then all is ok as long as you are not a Japanese
 
Casie Becker
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I've been exposed to more people being racist around me just recently that I'm used to. The worst part of it is that I think people are being open in it because they feel it's perfectly normal. The only way I could be more of the favored majority would be if I were male, so I've been a horrified bystander, but its definitely still very apparent.
 
Della Miller
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Location: Hernando, MS Zone 7b clay soil
fish food preservation hugelkultur
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Lynn Garcia wrote:From what I have seen of the South the most overt racism is aimed at African Americans. The views I have heard expressed towards Hispanic/Latinos (like me) and Asians, were more subtle. Hispanics seem to have more respect among the southern whites, because they "actually work." I put that in quotes because I heard it so often while I was down there. That said most of the people I met at least made the attempt to not be rude. Most of my time was spent in cities in the South though and diversity in cities tend to push back against the overtly ugly racism. No experience with rural areas in the South but plenty of it up in the Northwest. Rural areas up here are definitely tipping the scales toward overtly racist, especially towards indigenous communities, but also towards other POC. After the civil war many Southerners moved to the Northwest to get away from the changes in the South. Their stamp is still all over the Northwest in rural communities and somewhat in the larger cities too. The American Nazi party is alive and well in this region.

I guess I am trying to say that it is everywhere in this country and there is no where that you won't see racist crap flying. Best bet is just to live your life and vocally call it out when you see it. Shame is a powerful tool so keep it sharp and be quick to put it to use.


Alot of people think that I am Asian, and not hispanic.  That may be it.  Me and my family live pretty deep in the south and have even gone deeper in some instances in the woods back here in MS, but we are always met with the same welcoming and warm greetings and interactions.  There are terrible people out there for sure, and if i ran into them I might feel sorry for them. Being a mixed couple we did consider our options if this didnt work out.  But I meet more people that are trying so hard to leave that behind and move progressively forward than those that lavish the days of the civil war.
 
Casie Becker
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I'm glad that you're having good experiences. I keep reminding myself that things happen in cycles. It's only been the last six months or so that I've been seeing things that make me cringe, so I'm hopeful that it's coincidence making it seem more common than it really is. Only thing I can think of to do is point out that my experience doesn't support their stereotype.
 
Tyler Ludens
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It's kind of fad right now because of current politics.
 
Lynn Garcia
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My sister lives in Alabama, and she says that the last year or so has shown her who amongst her friends were just pretending not to be racist. With the Trump win they have started to be vocal and not worry about the backlash. In the long run thought I think the backlash will shut them up again. Sadly up here in the Northwest the Nazis have been coming out of the woodwork.

I never heard much of anything against Asians in the South in my time there. It was almost all against blacks. It seems that Southern hospitality is still alive there though and that does tend to lessen the spewing of hate. People get more pushback over not being hospitable than anything else. I imagine it is an even stronger tradition in the rural areas.
 
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