'Our Blacks'

More

It's always mildly irritating to see week of conversation around race and national politics boiled down to "Is Rick Perry racist?"


Much more interesting than the politicians are the people they represent:

Jan Gannaway, a Haskell native who is white, said integration took time. 

"We weren't integrated nearly as rapidly as the North," she said. "But we've always had a different relationship with our blacks than the North has, too. It's often been said, and I think it's true, we love them individually and kind of distrust them as a group, whereas in the North, they don't want to get too close to them individually but they embrace them as a group."

I guess. I tend to think that in a town where "our blacks" is an actual phrase, integration will tend to go slow. 

I've heard many variations on the love them as individual theme. It does get at a deeper truth -- that white and black Southerners generally come from the same seed, and are entwined in a way, the black and white Northerners are not.

My wife is taking a class on racism and intellectual thought. She's amazed that many of the early scientists arguing that black people are a separate species aren't slave owners, whereas many of the people arguing for the humanity of black people, are slave-owners. It makes a strange kind of sense. The slave-owners were surrounded by blacks. They weren't just sitting around examining skulls. 
Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Saving Central: One High School's Struggle After Resegregation

Meet the students and staff at Tuscaloosa’s all-black Central High School in a short documentary film by Maisie Crow. 


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In