Where I grew up in the MS Delta, we considered Texas as being way the heck somewhere out west, and surely not part of the South. Maybe you grew up in a place as rural as I did - I attended high school in the next county over, and even then the graduation class was only 42 kids.

Some years before then, I attended a "segregation academy", a system of private schools that was started by US Senator James O. Eastland in protest to Brown v. Board of Education. Only White kids could attend those schools, and that is mostly true in the segregation academies still in operation today. The one I attended has a handful of Black students today...in a town that's 82% Black.

Senator Eastland lived about five miles down the road from us. My grandmother used to sell moonshine (yes, moonshine) out of his plantation commissary back in the 1930's, and we were always on good terms with him.

He was twice president pro tem, and was for a generation the most powerful racist in America. He was also a Democrat and - like every other Democratic politician in the Deep South at the time - *very* strongly conservative. Anyone who called him a liberal would have stood a very real chance of not-so-gentle retaliation.

In the town where I graduated high school, there was one doctor's office. It had two entrances, and above each entrance was a marble plaque. One said "whites", and the other said "coloreds". This was in 1984 - 20 years after passage of the Civil Rights Act - and having grown up in the Delta, I didn't think anything of it. It was *normal*, just the way it was, the way it had always been.

The above experiences aren't politically-correct "wokeness" - they're f**king reality, guy. My one-time racist attitude changed thanks to my experiences around the world during my 20 years in the Navy.

Have you ever lived in a third-world nation, away from the touristy places, where you're the only White guy for miles in any direction. If not, then try that sometime, and get to know the people personally, even the squatters, like I did. Become a citizen not just of America, but of the world. Broaden your mind. As Mark Twain quipped, travel is indeed fatal to bigotry.

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

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