Places you won’t go

Are there places you won’t go?

There are many lovely parts of the country that I would visit, if it were not for their overwhelming whiteness. I tend to think that a town or a state being all white isn’t just an accident. And there are lots of ways people of color can be made to feel uncomfortable. When everybody turns to stare when you walk into a restaurant. Or being refused service. When somebody mutters under his breath when you walk by. When people in cars roll down the windows to scream at you. When you see the Confederate flag proudly displayed at the souvenir stand. And when people yell racial slurs and threaten violence. Let alone when you encounter violence itself.

At times those all-white areas just don’t feel safe. And I think this is something that white people just don’t understand. (Otherwise why would I be invited to visit South Carolina?)

I used to read a website for people of color that rated various vacation destinations. And certainly I’ve had this discussion with other people. So it isn’t just me. But we got a link through to our blog from somebody in Maine, who made a comment in reference to this post about those of us who resist racism picking our vacation spots by race.

It just made me sigh, because I realized that white people sometimes just don’t get it. But rather than bore the regular readers with something that might be totally obvious, it seemed like time to implement the RR Shorthand Method of Addressing Tedious Racismâ„¢. Please refer to WHIB #3, R101 #2. Thank you.

6 thoughts on “Places you won’t go

  1. I agree with the general issue you raise here, but strongly disagree that the South can be encapsulated by a) whiteness b) Confederate flags. There are actually more all-white areas outside the South. In the South, the traditional model was close but highly segregated living space within towns; the North had the sundown towns where there was no living space whatsoever for black people. Segregation was enforced more off the books, but it was every bit as harsh.

    In the last decade there’s been a huge movement of African-Americans back to the South, as well as many new Latino and Asian immigrants. The face of the South shouldn’t be represented as automatically white. Personally, I feel more much more comfortable living in the South than I did for a brief period in upstate New York, where many white people were just as racist, without Confederate flags, and were also less friendly. I am not going to move up to SC anytime soon, but I wouldn’t write it off for a visit by any means.

  2. Living in SC, I can speak to the fact that, while there are plenty of black people, there is certainly no accident in the placement of any confederate flags I come across. I’m somewhat grateful for them, actually, since they’re like big warning beacons about the homes and businesses where they are displayed.

    SC is a good example of a bastion of racism, because it’s been historically vocal in racist declarations. But I never felt more out of place/uncomfortable than my trip to Nebraska. I felt like the folks had never seen black people before. And weren’t too happy about seeing me.

    I suppose that may be why I associate more sundown town activity with the midwest and west.

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