Back in my youth in the Delta, we whites would often note how the blacks in poverty would dress “to the nines” no matter how poor they were, while the well-off whites would just wear regular everyday clothes.

Decades later, while living in the Philippines, I saw that the locals, dirt-poor as they were, did their level best to dress as nicely as they possibly could no matter how hungry they were…but a local saying goes something along the lines of “you might run out of food, but you don’t ever have to run out of pride”. I heard that and couldn’t help but think back to the Delta…and the racist assumptions of every white I knew (including myself at the time) that the blacks somehow didn’t earn their pride and dignity.

Poverty (and being on the wrong end of endemic racism) does indeed teach lessons that are impossible to be learned by those like myself who have never experienced such poverty and injustice firsthand.

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Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

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