Gwen's blog

Current Events

May 3, Houston: The big one -- the Inprint reading -- occurs at the Alley Theatre on Monday, May 3. Do not miss it or you'll be sorry. I'm not kidding -- I'm going to say the craziest, most intellectual yet hilarious stuff I can think of, and I'll be sharing the stage with the ultra sexy Oscar Casares, too.

June 24, Houston: I'm one of the peeps scheduled to read at Poison Pen, at Houston's famous Poison Girl bar. Besides me, everyone there will be ultra, *super* sexy. Come see me and drink!

June 26, Washington, DC: I'll be reading at the American Library Association conference. Come on down.

My other blog: Go read my the Houston Chronicle parenting blog (or my ChronMomBlog, as I like to call it) and make sure my kids won't resent me more than other kids resent their own parents.

Buy my new novel, Lone Star Legend. Already did? Well, buy a few more for your friends, then. :)


Thursday, November 06, 2008

I live in a Red State

and therefore envy those of you who don’t. I wanted, on Election Night, to be somewhere full of people. But I couldn’t think of where that place might be, in my part of town. My own little neighborhood is very lackadaisical and quiet, and no one on my street had signs of any kind in their yards. (Shoot, they barely had Halloween decorations.) But our neighboring ‘hoods were peppered with McCain/Palin signs and I couldn’t think of a nearby restaurant or bar where those people wouldn’t be standing around looking sad/mad.

My boyfriend came over to watch the news with us, but I was falling asleep on the sofa by 9:30. It’s the freaking time change, plus the sun. The sun keeps taking off faster, and it makes me fall asleep. The other night I went to bed at 7:45 PM because I thought it was 8:45 and was too tired to be ashamed. I’m not nocturnal. I’m a rabbit or a day-time lizard, even though my boyfriend (fiancé) is a bat or a marmoset or whatever stays up at night with red eyes – you know those ones in that special red room at the zoo. That’s what he is, and that’s what I’m not. So I conked out, planning to celebrate in the morning.

I woke up early in the morning and did my normal commute routine (commutine!). Everyone around me was silent, like usual. I don’t know what I was expecting, but everyone stayed quiet. Downtown, a man passed me carrying several newspapers in one arm. He was holding them in such a way that Barack Obama looked out from the front page. I saw that and smiled a little, then looked up at the man carrying the papers… and he had such a look on his face. Not happy, but kind of defensive. Like daring someone to say something against Obama, the day after Obama had won. I dropped my smile and minded my own business.

All day long, I read Twitter and Gawker talking about people celebrating. Here in Houston, it was silent. There are a lot of people at my work who voted for Obama – I know there are, because they told me they were going to – but now that he had won, everyone was silent. Only one person (a person I love but who is immune to social mood) said anything about it above a whisper. She was immediately engaged in conversation by an unhappy McCain voter, who told us unhappily and earnestly that Obama was working very hard to make abortions “easy” to get.

Day 2, this morning, I didn’t feel like going to work at all (Seasonal Affective Dis-Wanting-to-go-to-Work) but marched myself to the park-n-ride, where I was picked up by a married couple in an SUV.

I don’t like to say ugly things about the strangers who give me rides, because they’re giving me rides for free, but I have to say that the woman drove very poorly and that their SUV smelled bad. They talked amongst themselves, like married people, while I sat in the sour-smelling back seat. I had to wait for a break in their personal married-people conversation to tell them where I was going, and make sure they could drop me off there.

They talked and talked, and I had the impression that they were aware of me as their captive audience. You know – they said some cutesy things in a louder voice for my entertainment. You know what I mean? Me and my boyfriend (fiancé) do that to, sometimes, with the captives we pick up from the park-n-ride. I think it’s a natural human compulsion.

But mostly they talked quietly about all the many, many things they were planning to buy, and how stupid people were for not driving or buying SUVs, now that gas was magically cheap again. I pulled out my brand new, special-ordered Math Puzzle Book and worked on math puzzles (trigons, for those who know). During yesterday’s ride home, I completed a whole trigon (6 digits, for those who know) on the bus ride home, and I was very proud of myself afterwards. But this morning, I couldn’t make any progress at all. That’s how I am on the trigons. Either my brain is working in such a way that I can do them, or else it isn’t.

I put the book away and meditated throughout the rest of the half-hour ride, then. I told myself not to get upset about the smell of the SUV, its horrible suspension system, or the woman’s sloppy driving. Because I had chosen to get into their car, and they were doing me a service, and I should just be silently gracious. Graciously silent. Either. I tried really, really hard not to listen to the couple’s conversation, because it was none of my business, and because I’m trying not to be so judgmental, now that I’m older and more mature and etc. But I couldn’t help but hear them list all the things they were going to buy for Christmas and other occasions. The man’s very important business phone call. His suggestion to his wife that she try a personal trainer that so-and-so had sworn by. “I get it,” I thought. “You guys are rich. You’re completely awesome. Ride’s almost over, ride’s almost over….”

And then, right at the end, the woman switched the radio from Houston’s annoying Top 40 station (Roula and Ryan, for those who know and can commiserate) to a conservative talk station. And the talker said “blah blah blah Barack Obama.” And there was a pause in the couple’s conversation. And I said nothing, but I felt weird, all of a sudden, like there was tension in the air. Like maybe they wanted to lament his winning, but censored themselves because of me. And for the purposes of this story, I now have to tell you now that both of them were Caucasian.

The pause un-paused, and the woman launched into a story about making fun of some young man. She recounts that the young man retaliated by telling her, “Oh, yeah, well I heard you’re pregnant.”

She’s telling this story loud enough for me to hear it, mind you.

And she says, “I told him, ‘Right, I’m pregnant, and the baby’s due in 2015.’” Pause for audience laughter. Her husband obliges with a chuckle. I keep pretending I can’t hear her, even though I can’t avoid hearing her, because I’m polite like that. She continues: “I told him, ‘I’m having sextuplets, and one [is] Obama.’”

Her husband chuckles again. I’m puzzled. One of the sextuplets is Obama, or Obama’s? Or they’re named Obama? I’m not sure what she said, exactly.

She goes on to the final punchline: “And two are Michael Jordan's!”

Long, long pause for audience reaction. Her husband chuckled, but more faintly. I maintain my pretense that I can’t hear them, even though it’s obvious that I can and that she meant for me to hear. I don’t even know why. Was I supposed to laugh? Maybe. They wanted me to prove my solidarity by laughing at the joke, so that they could feel “safe” with me and go on to disparage the president-elect, maybe?

The thing is, her joke was so effing stupid that, even if I were a bigot, I wouldn’t have laughed at it. You know? I like to imagine that, even if I had been born in Vidor, Texas, to the Grand Daddy Dragon of the local KKK, I’d still have a decent sense of humor. Or… well, forget that. I haven’t really considered that scenario, ever. I’m just saying – her joke was racist and lame.

I thought about piping up and saying, “Oh, yeah? My husband’s black, too.” That way I would not only deflate their racism, but emasculate her husband by pretending I'd assumed he wasn’t her husband.

But I didn’t say that. I didn’t say anything. I was scared to. I admit it. I was in their car, and I was relying on their kindness to get me where I needed to go. I said nothing.

They stayed kind of quiet until we got to my stop. I steadily pretended to be interested in what was out the window, but it was obvious that I’d failed their test, and they knew that I knew that they knew that I knew it, and she was emanating the stink of the bully now, who has a victim cornered, and he was radiating the smallest bit of shame, because he seemed to know that her joke was lame and because there was now a specter in the air of his wife being impregnated by at least two men who were not him and not even of his own race.

(Instinct tells me that we’ve reached the climax and I should wind down now for maximum story flow, but I’ve been writing this blog for so long that I can break rules and ignore instinct and go off on a tangent here, and be even MORE candid, because I’m never going to run for office, so I just don’t care, so check this out now….)

There were so many long, long seconds between the end of her joke and the few blocks to my stop. And I’m so observant or intuitive or hypersensitive or overly imaginative that I was able to draw long threads of story out of each of those seconds. I’d already noted, upon entering their car, that while he looked and sounded like a run-of-the-mill son of a bootstrap Republican, she was lower class who’d married up. God forgive me for saying this – some of you are going to comment or email me and tell me I’m just as racist/hateful as them – but I could tell by her eyeliner that she’d grown up poorer than him (black inside the lower lid with sparkly color underneath) and I could tell by her voice that she was so, so proud of that fact. So there was that. But then, when she made the joke about her multiracial sextuplets, while he might have enjoyed her crude racism, just as he enjoyed her looking up to him as her financial savior, I could tell that the Michael Jordan reference had gone too far for her husband.

“Why Michael Jordan?” he was probably thinking. “I get the Obama part, but Michael Jordan hasn’t been in the news for years. Why didn’t she say Tiger Woods or T-Mac or Tracy Morgan? Does my wife have a secret crush on Michael Jordan? Does my wife wish Michael Jordan would get her pregnant?”

There was just starting to be that level of silent awkwardness when we got to the corner where they’d agreed to let me off.

“This is the end of the ride,” I told myself. “Now you can safely say something against them. Do it right before you get out of the car.” I thought up what I would say. I would look at her and say, “Thanks. Congratulations on your pregnancy!”

“But,” I told myself, “isn’t that kind of chickenshit, to say something right at the end like that? Isn’t that every bit as chickenshit as making racist remarks in front of a stranger while she’s trapped in your car and you’re not alone?”

I was going, with 70% certainty, to say it. But right before I got off the car, the woman turned to me and, in a voice as sweet as small-town-Texas honey, her best Southern hospitality voice, she said, “Have a good day, okay? Be safe!”

I muttered thanks and got out of the car and walked away without looking at them. I’m sure that, after I was gone, they told each other that I was rude.

I swear to God…

Some of you want to think I’m making that up, but I’m not.

Some of you think, “Well, Gwen lives in Texas, and the South is full of racists, so I’m sure that happens every day.” But it doesn’t.

Usually, I have to know racists for at least a few days before they’ll make those kind of jokes to me. And then I’ll say, “Yeah, my dad’s Mexican.” And they’ll say, “Oh, well, I didn’t mean you,” and then they’ll get quiet and hate me, but at least they’ll have learned not to assume everyone around them wants to hear racist shit.

But it’s very rare that complete strangers say those things around me. I was kind of shocked.

That makes me think that the racists in Houston are very uncomfortable and are seeking comfort from the herd, just like I was when I wanted to be in public on Election Night. No succor for anyone, then.

After I got off the racist SUV, I plugged my ipod securely into my ears, to soothe myself. After that, I got on the bus, which had riders of many ethnicities. Everyone looked uncomfortable. I wondered why but didn’t wonder hard enough to unplug my ipod. I was tired of uncomfortable people.

There were several black gentlemen sitting in the back of the very small bus. One of them was talking very loudly, throughout the short ride to the complex where most of us work. Despite my earplugs, I heard him say the words Texas, McCain, and racist. I saw the other riders, of all colors, glance at him and look even more uncomfortable. I left my ipod in, as did the woman sitting next to me. I’m not a Texas McCain racist, so he wasn’t talking to me. He was only talking loud enough that I was his captive audience. But he wasn’t driving, and I had my ipod.

I thought he was a rude and hateful person. But, at the same time, I tried to imagine him undergoing what I’d undergone in the strangers’ SUV, times 5000, for his whole life, and especially since the election. And I couldn’t imagine it.

So I said nothing.

sometimes

Sometimes I wish I lived in a blue state. Usually, I wish it around election time. But in general, I do still love Houston. Because, ironically, it’s diverse. And it’s warm, and we have good food, and the people are usually friendly.

I never lie. Sometimes I exaggerate for a better story, but I never lie.

I told a friend that story, this morning – about the racist white people and then the angry black man. And I don’t think she (a liberal white woman married to a black/Mexican man) believed me. She said, “God, why does stuff like that happen to you?” I think she wanted to believe I’d somehow caused it, that it wouldn’t have happened on its own.

But I said, “Because I’m out among people. You live nearby, and you get in your car and drive straight to work. I’m out with strangers every day.”

She had to admit that it made sense. She was sad. Yeah, so was I, because that shit is sad. Hopefully it’ll stop happening soon. Some day in the future, before my children grow old and die.

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7:35 AM #

Comments:

Best thing I've read in a long time, Gwen.


# posted by Blogger Marigoldie : 10:54 AM  

I understand your red state feelings. As a Hoosier who not only voted for Obama but proudly saw her red state turn blue for the first time since I've been voting, I've got lots of Republicans around me (and some in my own family). I don't want to gloat because I know some of them feel as strongly about their red stuff as I do about my blue stuff, and I know they might be as devastated as I would be had their candidate won instead. I don't want them to hate me, or anything. We are all in the same boating of waiting to see if/how things improve.


# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 11:50 AM  

Gwen, as a life-long blue-stater, I'm curious how you found Republicans acting in previous elections, when the Democratic candidate was a white man. Do you think that, given the economic conditions, more people in red states would have voted for a white Democratic candidate?


# posted by Blogger Michael Histen : 1:05 PM  

MG: Thank you!

Anon: Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm trying to imagine McCain voters feeling as bad as I felt when Bush won the last presidential elections (and our state gov elections before that). They must be very sad. But I console myself by thinking that they have, in actuality, less to fear. :)

Michael: Excellent question, but it's very hard for me to say. *Most* of the Republicans I know here are upper-mid-class or rich fiscal conservatives. Until now, I've never known them to shy away from expressing their opinions around liberal peeps of any color. And I've always respected the fiscal conservative viewpoint.

After considering your question, I have to say that it almost feels like the people who voted Repub *want* to talk about it, but feel like they can't because they'll "seem" racist. But you could argue that their fear means that they have guilty consciences to begin with, right?

I think there's more fear/defensiveness of other people being racist than there is actual racism, honestly. But that's prejudice, isn't it? The certainty that other races will be prejudiced against yours?

I know non-white, not-rich racists who put their prejudice aside and voted for Obama, because of the economic issues. But they were younger. I also know non-white, not-rich old people bigots who remained true to their bigotry.

I don't know. It's a lot of stuff to untangle. It's certainly more than just one issue.


# posted by Blogger D. Lam and Gwen Z. : 1:59 PM  

This post has been removed by the author.


# posted by Blogger Gwen : 2:08 PM  

Sorry about the sig on my comment above, y'all. Blogger is being disingeneous with me. A zillion years ago I set up another blog, meaning for it to be cowritten by my bf and I, and Blogger can't seem to imagine that I might have two different Blogger blogs with different staff on each. And it can't seem to remain consistent with the settings, either.

My boyfriend's real name is D. Lam, as you can see. Enquiring minds probably already know that his name is Dat. Guess there's no use trying to hide it anymore, if we're going to get married and all. But I'm still going to call him Tad on the blog, I think, because that way I have plausible deniability and can exaggerate when necessary. :)


# posted by Blogger Gwen : 2:11 PM  

I don't know where to start, so I'll begin by saying something that sounds potentially jerky, but I didn't want this post to end. It was really interesting and multi-layered.

Toronto has had fabulous weather this week so people in public are generally happier but yesterday, all anyone could talk about on the streets was Obama and how happy they were. Maybe that's because I spend much of my day in a neighbourhood that's very culturally and ethnicly diverse with a big old university campus in the middle of it and people are generally politically engaged. Sorry I, as a non-voter/non-American had the communal public celebratory vibe and you didn't.

Thirdly, I will be forever jealous of you being able to use the phrase, "my boyfriend Tad." No offense to anyone really named Tad, but it sounds like the name of a boyfriend from the Gidget show.

Finally, as a very white person I am constantly shocked by other whities assuming they can talk their racist BS to me/in my presence, without fear of reprisal. Does my appearance really make people believe I am tolerant of blatant racism? It's baffling.

- maggie


# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 3:17 PM  

Gwen, I thought of you when I saw the stats on Harris county. I don't know if you live within its limits, but still. An area that's historically been deep crimson turned bright, bold, royal NY Giants blue this year.

Texas in general is a little purpler this year, as are a lot of other red states. It gives me hope, even though I spend my days surrounded by people would laugh at that lady's joke and could outspend her without blinking.


# posted by Blogger Maria : 7:01 PM  

I have found that the least racist place I have ever been has been is a small town in rural Texas. Everyone is in the same socioeconomic status (poor), so no one is really better than anyone else. And even though everyone was poor, things seemed happy.

When I lived in New York City, it was shocking because it was one of the most segregated places I've ever lived. There are lots of different people there, but, mostly, people stick to their own kind of people. Which really sucks for multi-racial people like me.


# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 8:54 PM  

"Why does stuff like that happen to you?" I have a friend who loves to say that to me after i tell an observational story about race. For some reason it makes me feel very small after she says it. I'm half white/half Asian and I feel like I'm more aware of racism than a lot of white people I'm around on a consistent basis. A lot of people choose to ignore the subtle racism in our society, but that's why I always come back to this blog, I can count on someone else noticing it, too.

Carole


# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 9:36 PM  

As a fellow Houstonian, I feel compelled to chime in with a "me too" on your Election Night alienation.
My joy on Tuesday was tempered by the fact that none of my nearest and dearest really shared the feeling. Most of them actually voted for Obama but in a better-than-the-alternative way.
No jumping in joy and full-body glee tackles for me. How envious I felt watching that wonderful Grant Park scene.
I've had a lot of elevator moments that remind me of your awkward carpool experience. People seem to be testing the waters, hoping for someone to take the indignation bait. They seem more hesitant than in years past. Maybe it's a by-product of defeat.

Anyway, I really enjoy your blog and this post was great.
(ps- Roula and Ryan are inescapable in the commute shuffle. How I loathe "Roses" day.)
-kt


# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 11:47 PM  

Thank you, Maggie. I totally feel for you, as I know how white racists like to assume that all fellow white people are racist. And, when they're in groups and talking casually, it's difficult to speak against them without "making a scene." Total bully/mob dynamics....

Maria: Thanks for thinking of me. :) Yeah, I'm on the edge of Harris Co. We were, like, 50% to 49% for Obama. And I keep telling myself that 45% of Texas for Obama is more than all the citizens in Rhode Island. Probably. (I not know geographys too gud.)

Anon 8:54: You're describing the usual case, I believe. I do truly believe that it's more classism than racism. And you've also described why I'm secretly afraid to move to a blue state. I always think it's not *really* better up there. Right now, I work for a big co where a lot of the VPs are black, latino, and/or openly gay. Most of my friends are multi-ethnic. But I can't imagine that being the case in Boston, somehow.

Carole: Thank you so much for posting that! Sometimes I think I'm crazy or oversensitive, but your comment makes me feel like *of course* bi-racial/bi-ethnic people can't help but be attuned to racism.

Can I just tell you that, all along, when people have said "first black president," I've been thinking "No, first *mixed* president, which means he'll be even *more* sensitive to *everyone's* issues." That story about his grandmother saying iffy/racial things sometimes, and the GOP hating on Obama for pointing that out... that made me identify with him more than anything before. Did you read about that stuff?

Hey, kt. Thank you for chiming in. It's good to feel less alone. And you've characterized the feeling very well. Don't be mad when I steal "elevator moments" from you in a future entry, okay? :)

(True story: Once I called the Roula and Ryan show and demanded that the producer admit to me that War of the Roses was fake. Because I couldn't take it anymore. It's such a horrible, irresponsible bit.
The producer would neither confirm nor deny. Since then, I've decided they're *mostly* fake. You can recognize the one guy's voice in almost every call....)

God, I'm talky today, y'all. Slow week at work, for once. :) Glad to be able to catch up here.


# posted by Blogger Gwen : 10:09 AM  

They talked and talked, and I had the impression that they were aware of me as their captive audience. You know – they said some cutesy things in a louder voice for my entertainment. You know what I mean? Me and my boyfriend (fiancé) do that to, sometimes, with the captives we pick up from the park-n-ride. I think it’s a natural human compulsion.

The spouse and I do this. I'm not always aware of it at the time I'm doing it either, and then I feel ashamed after, because it's so look-at-me.

Also, I feel your pain. I live in Collin County which is the equivalent of living in Williamson County, and there was nowhere to go, no one with whom to celebrate. Nothing else witty to add, just to say that I'm hearing you.


# posted by Anonymous Tracy : 12:38 PM  

Gwen, I live in a very blue Northeast state and I can't believe the nasty racist things I have been hearing from people; some whom I have known for more than 20 years even! This has really brought out the hate and fear. My husband is cop, burly white guy and doesn't look like a "typical" Obama voter. He gets it worse than do. I am finding it hard, but my commitment is not to put up with such crappy comments and reply in a nice civil way that I voted for Obama and don't appreciate their comments. Maybe they don't know how ugly they sound? I can't understand it.


# posted by Anonymous Maire : 4:07 PM  

As another fellow Houstonian, you guys were in the wrong place! On the north side the party is still going on. I work in the resturant biz though, and people are much more leaning Democrat. We were so giddy that morning it was insane. Hell, we are all still happy and talking about it.
I don't even get the bad joke. You took the high road Gwen. Good for you.
Tracey


# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 1:20 AM  

Your story is so sad and so funny all at the same time. That poor clueless lady. I feel so sorry for people like this. You totally handled it the right way. You would have just wasted your great wit and snarkiness on people who wouldn't have even gotten it.


# posted by Blogger ShoeGirl : 2:57 PM  

Even though you have to put up with depressing garbage like the crazy racist carpoolers, just think of all the great stories you get from being out with people all the time. I think it's cool that you are the kind of person who gets out in the world and interacts with random people. I'm sure that helps your writing, too.

I'm in VA and we're traditionally Red, but went Blue this year. Still when I see the map of individual counties, we have a lot of Red still. It looks like 50/50 to me, just based on area. I feel pretty sad that even though Obama won (which I am happy about) people are still being so stupid and calling him black, when he's multi-racial, and thinking he's a terrorist who's going to take away everyone's guns and make everyone get forced abortions.


# posted by Anonymous CarlyM : 7:51 PM  

I have to chime in, as the whitest white person who ever whited, to talk about other whites who think it's okay to talk nasty, racist trash in front of me. Most recently it happened when we moved into our current house, and my stepkids' mother was trying to soothe them about the move and the new school - by commenting that it would all be okay, "and besides, there'll be less black people here." In front of me. In my HOUSE. Standing not 10 feet from our wedding pictures, featuring my whole family, including my sister-in-law. Who, only clarified for purposes of this story, is black.

I turned to her as quick as you can imagine and said "We don't talk like that in this house." It was the only thing I could think of to say that wasn't downright rude, but got my point across. In front of the kids and in that situation, I just couldn't call her a racist bitch and say everything I wanted to, but I had to say something.

I don't understand it and I don't stand for it. We all have our private, judgmental thoughts and perhaps we all have our prejudices. But those of us who have a brain in our heads realize that our prejudices are learned and baseless, and we unlearn them and refuse to tolerate them in others. Call that my prejudice.

Having said all that - I don't think there's much you could have done in that situation. You weren't going to change their minds by having an earnest, serious conversation, and since you were riding with them, saying something snotty during the ride would have been stupid and saying it as you exited the car would have been cowardice. For my part, I'm glad you thought it all over and posted your thoughts here; you never know who's reading.


# posted by Blogger Jennaratrix : 3:32 PM  

Gwen, I work in radio (not in Houston) and those War of the Roses calls are totally faked.

Many radio bits are recycled in different markets and there is actually a service you can subscribe to which produces a new bit for programs to air every week. If they actually called and did this to people, they'd be sued.

I guess I should feel bad about spilling the beans, but at this point it's about as shocking as finding out that "reality tv" is not real, right?


# posted by Blogger Jamie : 6:45 PM  

I still don't get the joke-- I mean, why she thought that would be funny to anyone? I get that she was trying her best to be racist and all, but I still don't even get it. Maybe I'm too tired.

Well anyway, I'm one of those evil white Republicans and didn't vote for Obama, but even I can appreciate the significance of his presidency. I live in the deep south and live in an area of mixed politics and races. My neighbors on one side are white and the neighbors on the other are black. In fact, we live around a lot of black folks, and on our road, when I see white folks driving by, I say suspiciously, "what are those white people doing driving down our road?"
We had a McCain/Palin sign out front... our black neighbors had an Obama sign. We still all smile and wave and all is good. I can't say I was happy when Obama won, but I know that it's time to move on-- nothing good comes of dwelling on it now. Now it's prayer for our leaders to do what's right for our country...and prayer for people like the lady you had to ride to work with that day...

hmmm. Here's to a happier ride next time :)


# posted by Anonymous keri : 9:16 PM  

Gwen - I'll echo the comment about the best thing I've read in a long time. Thanks for caring enough to spend all the time to put it down.

Having lived all my life in Illinois, and having had the pleasure of voting in Senator Obama a few years ago, I realize how much I take for granted. But my husband and I sat on the couch watching him give his victory speech and I had tears streaming down my face the whole time. My co-worker/buddy was at the rally in Grant Park and shared the excitement. Unbelieveable.

But, I received an Obama button from a friend but was too chicken/nervous/worried to wear it in public. Meanwhile, my 12-year-old has been sporting multiple Obama buttons on her school ID lanyard for weeks. She's collecting everything Obama and was thrilled when I woke her up to tell her the news.

Not sure what I'm saying here. Just, sorry you had to go through that, but thanks for sharing, as always.

Moira


# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 3:45 PM  

Like Tracy, I'm up here in red-reddy-reddest Collin County, and while there were no celebrations, someone stole my Obama sign...but it was election night, so I don't know if it was destined for burning or eBay.

Anyhoo, I did live in NYC for a few years, and the difference depended on class. More-educated people didn't say that stuff (whatever they thought) but others did. Here, I think more college educated types feel free to still be racist, though that's changing too.

Lady at my work still makes occasional "those people" remarks, but it makes everyone uncomfortable, and she's kind of..pitiful and sad about it. It makes her look dumb, I'm more embarrassed than angry.


# posted by Blogger emjaybee : 9:49 PM  

I am a little late to the party, but thank you for saying what I could never really articulate. I live in the progressive epicenter of TX, supposedly, and I had such a horrible set of interactions with white Republican racists after Katrina and during the election that I am taking my Texan husband back to a blue state near the one in which I was raised. I tried to make it work, I tried to appreciate the foliage despite the scary, red-faced bigots hiding behind it, but after the election, I said to myself that I can never raise kids here, never establish a life here, even though we bought a house and will suffer relative hardship in our move to a more expensive state. There are many lovely, thoughtful, open-minded people in Texas (incl. the husband I met here), but the bullies are overwhelming at times, and destroy everything that is beautiful with their hateful ugliness.


# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 2:05 PM  

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