Looking at the photo of the kids on the bus reminded me of when I went to school in the MS Delta back in the 1970’s. Every time I rode a bus to a private school, I was the only White on the bus — all the other kids were Black. But not once was I ever hassled or bullied by the Blacks, even though I was often a target of bullying by my fellow Whites at school (we normally made up no more than five percent of the student body).

It took me a long, long time to realize that the reason only Whites would bully me was because of my white privilege. The Blacks knew that if they bullied Whites, there would be repercussions. Remember, this was back in the day when US Sen. James O. Eastland (a family acquaintance) still wielded unmatched influence in the Delta — he had twice been US president pro tem, and was the nation’s most powerful racist for thirty years.

The Blacks — even the kids riding the bus with me to and from school — knew all this…but I didn’t have a clue, not until I had traveled the world and came home and realized just how deeply racism informed every interaction in the Delta, not just between Whites and Blacks, but even between those of the same race…even down to kids riding the bus to school.

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

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