Thursday, June 6, 2013

Slow Merck News Day: So, O/T We Go -- "The Story Behind Gordon Parks' 1956 Mobile, Ala. Photo"

When Joanne Wilson stepped out to enjoy a balmy summer afternoon with her niece in 1956, she stepped into history. The two stood in front of a movie theater in downtown Mobile, Ala., dressed in their Sunday best. But the neon sign that loomed overhead — “Colored Entrance” — cast a despairing shadow. . . .

“I wasn’t going in,” Mrs. Wilson recalled. “I didn’t want to take my niece through the back entrance. She smelled popcorn and wanted some. All I could think was where I could go to get her popcorn. . . .”

Do go read -- and see -- it all, courtesy this morning's New York Times | "Lens" blog.

Namaste, one and all. More on-topic, tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing this out, Condor. Being a white female in my early 40s who grew up in the NY Metro area, mostly in urban settings, I find it impossible to identify with anyone who would view another person as less than themselves. Reading stories like this, as well as knowing history in general, I am thankful each and every day for lacking the ability to empathize with hate and prejudice.

Condor said...

Thanks so much for your heart-felt commentary, Anon.

I hear you.

I actually think many white people in Alabama at the time -- likely including the owner of the above movie theatre -- simply thought "this is the way things are" -- have been, and will likely always be.

I suspect they all went to church, and counted themselves as adherents to Christ's teachings.

In short, I think very few people are able to see their own prejudices. They think of it as a logical societal construct -- for preserving order (or so they think).

In this vein, I think now of all the Christians who claim to follow Christ's teachings -- yet feel only they (not even Christ -- in his own words) gets to say who is allowed to love who. [Or is that whom? No matter.]

In many parts of our country, even this afternoon, there are people who count themselves as perfectly respectable, who cannot see that it is decidedly not for them (under our Constitution, at least) to tell other people who they can love -- and marry.

It doesn't take white-sheet wearing nut-jobs to keep an unjust system in place -- it only takes otherwise sensible, good people "stayin' home" -- and not speaking up -- when the time arrives.

That is one of the central challenges for our generation -- just as civil rights was the challenge of our parents' time. These rights to freely associate are central to our system of ordered liberty.

I'll hush now, but thanks for noticing.

I did very much enjoy the Times magazine piece on the "reuniting" of various Gordon Parks' photo subjects -- I too love history. Especially 20th Century US History.

Namaste -- and well-met!

Anonymous said...

My request-don't hush.

There are too many people that 'hush' and say it is someone else's job to speak up.

I find it interesting on how very similar biases are used today to deny 'others' of their liberties and rights. Often in the name of religion.

You have a knack for the blogging thing. Keep up the good work, even when off topic of S/PMerck.

Condor said...

THanks again, Anon. -- you are too kind.

I'll promise not to hush -- only if you'll make the very same promise!

Travel well; enjoy all you encounter, and stop back soon!