Relocation blues

… so I have been living in Northeast Louisiana for 37 days. You can just call me the Big Jew in the Bayou.

I had little trepidation about coming here. I was offered a pretty good job, and after being out of full-time work for 11 months, I needed something to go to, something to make me feel productive.

About 10 years ago, I was offered a chance to work for The Associated Press primarily as a sportswriter in Jackson, Miss. Looking back, I should have jumped on it, but didn’t – a family-fueled decision. My father, a New York City native, underwent basic training in the Army during World War II at Fort Campbell on the Kentucky-Tennessee border. While he didn’t come right out and say that he subject to racism, he did everything but utter that.

Since I have been in the Deep South, nothing has happened or been said to me that remotely smacks of racism. If anything, just the opposite has occurred. People from the cashiers at Wal-Mart and Target to school administrators have bent over backwards to be friendly.

There have been two things, though, that have me doing the facepalm and that would probably have people from outside the region shaking their heads.  I want to make it clear that neither of these incidents happened where I live.

Several weeks ago, I drove to Baton Rouge to hit the Apple store. Could have easily had anything I needed shipped to me, but I cannot resist the need to get in the car and just go now and then.

Since there is no real direct route to get to I-10 from where I am, state roads and US routes were the way to go to the Gulf Coast. Driving east on one of these roads, I looked at houses that had the Confederate flag – good ol’ Stars and Bars – hanging from poles.

Ooooooooooookay. While hardly an expert on the Civil War, here is what I know – it’s been over for nearly 150 years. There is no cease-fire. REALLY highly doubtful that it’s going to start up again.

Just seeing those flags made me a little uncomfortable. Since I am not black, I cannot imagine what it’s like for a person of color to face that, but I imagine anger is an emotion that’s right up there.

Meanwhile, in Alabama, a news website thought this was – what were we going for here? Clever? Funny? A light-hearted tweak? That’s right, blackface and the dumb-ass ignorant thinking lives in 2012.

Needless to say, there has been the proper outrage and disgust over this and the site issued this statement: “This photo has been removed because of its inappropriate nature. The AL.com staff apologizes for any offense it may have caused, and we thank our readers who took the time to voice their concerns.”

May have? Lukewarm at best.

Keep this in mind – a decision was reached by at least one person to post this, that somehow it was OK in this day and age. Of course this is the same day and age that’s given us this and this.

Talking about diversity is one thing. Accepting it is another. Seems there are a number of people in my industry that don’t.  

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