Dear Ms. Norris: I was listening to you discuss your new book on
Morning Joe today. It brought to mind a critical moment on race in my
own life after my service in WW II. Born and raised in the South,
racism was all I knew. My time in the service did not change that.
Then one day, I was in a movie theater. The movie was right out of
your book of a Black veteran being brutalized. The scene triggered
emotions in me I did not know I had. I began to weep uncontrollably.
My sobs were so loud, I had to flee to the men’s room. Then I felt I
had to do something, anything, to deal with all the cross currents of
emotions I was feeling. There was a black minister I knew about a
block from my house to whom I had never spoken. I rushed to his house.
I just poured out my emotions to him. I remember he was very
compassionate. Over night, my prejudices were erased. Over the years I
did such things as risk my life meeting with the Freedom Riders in
Mississippi. I believe I may have been the one of the first, if not
the first to hire a Black faculty member at an all-segregated Southern
university. He and I even married our wives in a joint ceremony,
serving as each other’s best man. So, it is with great uneasiness that
I now find a form of racism returning in me. The critical metaphorical
moment this time for me was when the Blacks of South Carolina voted in
total lock step for Democrats and Obama. I will put it this way: given
the opportunity to integrate, I realized they had not. Instead, they
are a tribe unto themselves, voting not in the interest of the
country, but in the interest of the tribe. We have what F. Scott
Fitzgerald describes as the “tyranny of the weak.” Expressing one’s
concerns, triggers the fascism of the PC police. So, we are left only
to murmur among ourselves. It is a sad time.
- About Michele
- About the Book