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ezy

Time may change me, but you canít trace time

by ezy at 03:11 PM on November 06, 2003

I had a fantastic weekend a couple of weeks ago. I went down to my Dadís house and had forgotten how tranquil and therapeutic that area could be. The weather was nearly perfect and the leaves were beginning to turn. Amy and I went up on the Blue Ridge Parkway and, without a destination, just drove for miles. We stopped at overlooks, when we wanted, and just took in the beauty. I also got to spend some quality time with my Dad, sister, and an old friend. It was a very relaxing weekend and I feel great for having gone though I did notice one thing that bothered me quite a bit.

The area I am from hasnít, collectively, changed much from the racially charged sixties. There are more people and a bit more diversity but some people there still act like it is 1963 instead of 2003. I was in a restaurant and overheard a conversation going on beside us. I must have heard the word nigger ten times during the five minutes they were seated, until they left. I wanted to say something but didnít for some reason. I think the reason is that I am now an outsider. My father and friend, who were with me, have to live there. I donít. The funny thing was that my father and friend never even noticed it was going on. I know I would never hear anything even remotely similar come from either one of their mouths but it seems as though they have become impervious to hearing it. I canít really remember but I may have been the same at some point. I probably was. What I wanted to do is get up and ask those men how many of them had been to another country, in uniform, to protect our ideals. I have. I have also had some really good friends, who just happened to be black, watch my back in some dicey situations. I trusted those guys with my life and was never disappointed. They took care of me and I did the same for them. It makes you wonder if these people even watch TV. As important as patriotism is, where I am from, I canít see how you could miss that there are African Americans fighting and dying for our country every day. Itís on the news every night. Does that not matter at all? That aside itís hard for me to believe that, at this time in history, you could hold on to such an antiquated and thoroughly ignorant way of thinking. Yea, I know that you are a product of your environment but it isnít like you donít get any outside stimulus. They have to see the news and read the newspapers. Well, the literate do in any case. I donít think I was prepared for the anger this caused within me or how I feel about myself for not standing up and saying something. What if I wouldíve been with one of my black friends? Iím sure I wouldíve stood up then. Why would I be prepared to do it then but not in the circumstance I found myself in? Right is right isnít it? In my estimation I am no better than those asswipes. Letting that kind of ignorant thinking go unchallenged is part of what once tore our country apart. Granted, I am being a bit dramatic but it comes down to the same thing. When we let bigots, of both races, spread their poison unchecked and without challenge we arenít any better than they are.

I love where I am from. I like the people there. Itís so much different from where I live now. Back home there is a real sense of community and a kind of honor from stoic people who have endured and prospered in the mountains. Times arenít as tough there now but most of the people who populate that areaís families have been there for several generations. Life was hard there and the people had to rely on their neighbors and friends to make it. A side note for those who donít know, my town was chosen as the home for the national D-Day memorial. We lost more soldiers, per capita, than any other place in the United States. The stories about these men were as courageous as they were patriotic. Most died while rushing machine gun nests and trying to pull friends from harmís way. As proud as I am to be from there, I am also ashamed sometimes when I witness things like that. I am also ashamed at myself for having a voice and not using it. Iíll never let a comment or string of comments like that pass again without standing up for what I know is right. This sucks.

comments (33)

I feel for you, Ezy. But that is a tough situation. Your father and friend do have to live there, and see those people regularly, maybe depend on them to buy groceries or gas, for help, or whatever. But on the other hand, one does have to follow one's conscience, and I'm glad that you made a decision in this case. It might make life a little harder to live for the folks back home, if the next time you visit you ruffle some feathers, but hopefully they'll learn something.

by jean at November 6, 2003 4:58 PM


if it happens again, perhaps tell your dad "either we leave, or i'm turning around and talkin' to some old boys". let the choice be his. then as you're leaving (as he'll surely want to leave, lest a fight ensue), jab a serving fork right into one of the guys' ears. don't even say what for. then when everyone gets up, all incensed. well, then you just run.

and your car...it's fast right?

man i hate bigots. you could even say i was biggoted against them.

by lajoie at November 6, 2003 5:59 PM


shit. outside, i just heard a man and his daughter. the daughter was whining over somethng. but not very much. the guy just said "shhhyuut uup!! yeeer always cryin'!". and in kind of a loud, pissy way. i've spoken up once or twice to parents who were publicly treating their kids like shit, and the response you get is amazingly hostile. try telling someone they're doing a bad job parenting, even if they'd admit it to themselves, and you've got a war. similarly, the easiest way to start a fight with a grown man is to make fun of his kid.

i also usually can't help myself from making a comment when i see a kid on a leash. it'll probably get me killed one day.

by lajoie at November 6, 2003 6:05 PM


For a long time I have wanted to post about this subject but now you've saved me the trouble. I have a coworker who'll sidle up to me with this conspiratory look on his face. Then he'll launch into some speech about something he heard on talk radio that always ends in some racist or anti-immigrant innuendo. I feel sullied just listening to it but like you, I don't say a word.

by anna at November 6, 2003 8:47 PM


When someone is obnoxious in public I think it's ok to tell them - because they're in public they're making it your business. Of course it's a tricky business, because it can escalate, but basically you want them to get the idea that their behavior is offensive to others. They may not care, or rather they may not admit to caring, but unless they're sociopaths just a simple message that their actions affect others may erode a tiny hole in their veil of ignorance and let some light in over time. A quick wit, a laugh, a sense of compassion rather than jumping straight in to the offensive may work, but it can be a commited decision as some people just want to get down to fisticuffs. Though I know some people who seem to express themselves and always avoid that (mostly women) - I think of it as an art.

by chris at November 7, 2003 1:17 AM


Chris!! Fisticuffs aren't always a bad thing, especially if you win handily or lose and garner the sympathy of the gal you're scuffling over. But I totally agree with you as usual.

by anna at November 7, 2003 7:43 AM


Chris!! Fisticuffs aren't always a bad thing, especially if you win handily or lose and garner the sympathy of the gal you're scuffling over. But I totally agree with you as usual.

by anna at November 7, 2003 7:43 AM


Anna, it seems we're always thinking about the same topics. At least we're not double posting as of yet. We need to hang out.

I totally agree with you all. If you act an ass in public then someone should let you know. Usually it's fear that keeps us from saying anything. Resorting to fisticuffs is what most people, where I am from, do. It's how most situations are settled between rednecks and hillbillies. If you're going to say something to someone there, about their public behavoir, you'd better be able to back it up with your fists. Not one of them at that table scared me and I would've probably done ok. What did scare me though was my 70 year old father who had a quad bypass not long ago. My father would stand beside me and walk through hell, no questions asked. If I started something with those assholes he would be with me and if one of them touched my Dad I would either kill them or put them in the hospital for a good while. I know you're probably thinking I am just saying that out of bravado or whatnot, because this is the internet, but that is something I am dead serious about. I would give my life for my Dad and take someone elses if necessary. Maybe I'm just scared of myself and what I might do in that situation. I don't know. I do feel that I let all of my friends down that endured all of the bullshit we had to put up with in hostile countries though. I'm not sure how to shake this feeling.

by Ezy at November 7, 2003 9:32 AM


Ezy, you gotta stop punishing yourself for what you did or didn't do. That's a tough decision to make, and you needed to think it through, and I think your decision was a good one. Considering repercussions for your father is a valid concern. If it was just you, in some other town, we all know you woulda thrown down. Bigots fucking suck, and it hurts to know they are still out there.

by Linz at November 7, 2003 10:17 AM


Another entry in Linz's "Ezy Self Help" book ;-) I know Linz. I can run it over in my mind and, logically, I think my concern and love for my father should come before anything but I just can't shake the feeling that I need to call and apologise to every friend of mine that this behavior would've offended. I have to be hard on myself. If I don't then who will?

by Ezy at November 7, 2003 10:38 AM


Being your own worst critic/judge is fine as long as you don't torture yourself more than you should. I agree with everyone who said that what you did was the right thing to do given the situation. I also agree with you when you say that if you don't make yourself live up to your own standards no one else will but if we were to feel eternally guilty over everytime we wished we'd acted different, then there would be no time to feel anything else. Overtime this guilt you are going through will morph and reinforce your determination to stand up for your beliefs.

by Lucy at November 7, 2003 12:28 PM


I think while Lucy was gone she became enlightened.

by Linz at November 7, 2003 1:15 PM


You're right Lucy. It helps to hear it from so many other people. I guess I was always so slack with myself when I was younger that I made quite a few horrible decisions as a result. About five years ago I did some soul searching and decided to become the person I am now. It was always there but I just wasn't critical enough of myself and I plain didn't care about anything when I was younger. I am probably a little over critical of myself now because of it.

I agree Linz.

by Ezy at November 7, 2003 2:00 PM


Lajoie, I hear you about the parent thing. I haven't witnessed anything that made me mad enough to say anything though. I did stand up for a woman, at the airport in Denver, when I was in the Army and about 23 years old. I was in uniform and about ten feet from me this guy and woman were arguing. This asshole hauled off and slapped her so hard that her head jerked around. He was going to slap her again but I got to him before he could. I slammed him up against the wall and told if he wanted a fight why not me. Get this, the woman jumped on my back and started screaming at me to leave her husband alone. I was like "You're fucking kidding me, right." She wasn't. Security came and I told them the story and they asked if she wanted to do anything about it and she said no. Tripped me out.

by Ezy at November 7, 2003 2:07 PM


Yeah sometimes it's almost uncanny. Shoot me an email we'll work out details. And no, Tom, we aren't menstruating in unison....Yet.

by anna at November 7, 2003 7:13 PM


When in doubt, do what I do. Ask yourself, "What would Gravely do??"

by DUTCHWHISKEY at November 10, 2003 4:15 PM


Dutchy, you're a fuck-head. Gravley would've pulled some Matrix shit and kicked the whole diner's ass. You know that kid was the proof. He probably would've started throwing twenties at all of the women calling them his girlfriend. Oh yea, that's right, only if they were strippers ;-) Oh another thing, I apologise for not standing up for your race jigga.

by Ezy at November 11, 2003 10:31 AM


i am a misanthrope.i do not like negroes any less than i appreciate derogatory woolyboogers.i try to live in the moment and not look back on what i should have done.this is difficult.fisticuffs makes me think of scrappy and ragamuffin.

by erectmonkey at November 11, 2003 10:59 AM


Scrappy and ragamuffin? Just the words or is there some obscure TV show that you're referencing? If you're saying that all three words sound like they are from the same era I totally agree.

"The two scrappy ragamuffins couldn't settle their issues as true gentlemen thus they had to resort to fisticuffs." Something like that?

by Ezy at November 11, 2003 12:11 PM


My race??? that's messed up.

by DUTCHWHISKEY at November 11, 2003 2:47 PM


You know what I'm saying yo. You ever gonna call a brotha?

by Ezy at November 11, 2003 4:22 PM


The use of the word "nigger" has turned into a controversial issue over the years. Your black friends in the service defended the biggot's right to use that term however they see fit. There is no law against using the term "nigger" and any physical attempt to deny the biggot's right to use the term "nigger" would be against the law, so why bother? The silver lining in this circumstance is, that our laws not only defend the biggot's rights to use what ever language they see fit, they alienate those who get their feelings hurt and force them to be more tolerant. Showing your tolerance is a step above biggot. In the future, I would suggest more of the same. Sincerly MAC...

by MAC... at November 12, 2003 5:13 AM


I spelled "biggot" wrong. --bigot-- wink

by MAC... at November 12, 2003 5:16 AM


MAC, the word nigger has turned into an issue because it is a derogatory term used to describe black people. I don't wash with the"Look it up in the dictionary. It means an ignorant person. It's not race specific" reasoning. We all know what the term had come to represent so you can't hide behind that. While there is no law against saying nigger that still doesn't make it right to do it. I am a firm believer in tolerance but there has to be a line where you cross and tolerance no longer applies. While these guys did fight for our freedom of speech, among other things, I don't think they would be happy about coming home and being called a nigger. It just isn't right.

by Ezy at November 12, 2003 9:56 AM


MAC, the word nigger has turned into an issue because it is a derogatory term used to describe black people. I don't wash with the"Look it up in the dictionary. It means an ignorant person. It's not race specific" reasoning. We all know what the term had come to represent so you can't hide behind that. While there is no law against saying nigger that still doesn't make it right to do it. I am a firm believer in tolerance but there has to be a line where you cross and tolerance no longer applies. While these guys did fight for our freedom of speech, among other things, I don't think they would be happy about coming home and being called a nigger. It just isn't right.

by Ezy at November 12, 2003 9:58 AM


MAC, the word nigger has turned into an issue because it is a derogatory term used to describe black people. I don't wash with the"Look it up in the dictionary. It means an ignorant person. It's not race specific" reasoning. We all know what the term had come to represent so you can't hide behind that. While there is no law against saying nigger that still doesn't make it right to do it. I am a firm believer in tolerance but there has to be a line where you cross and tolerance no longer applies. While these guys did fight for our freedom of speech, among other things, I don't think they would be happy about coming home and being called a nigger. It just isn't right.

by Ezy at November 12, 2003 10:03 AM


Sorry for the triple post. I'm just trying to up my comments to keep up with Linz. Nah, I have no idea what happened. Also, before Tom gets to it, I meant "We all know what the term has come to represent so you can't hide behind that." There, that should do it. Yaaaaaa! One more comment.

by Ezy at November 12, 2003 11:41 AM


Aiight Aiight, I'll call your Cracka Azz! Chill whitey!
I mean, my Caucasian freedom fighter.

by DUTCHWHISKEY at November 12, 2003 12:15 PM


Dutchy! That's me baby! Fight the power! Down with whitey! Wait, that's me. Fight the power!

I will tell you this, it's getting kind of hard to be your freedom fighter when I get no calls. I know you can find out what's going on with me through this site but I have no idea what's up with you. It's a little one sided and unfair don't you think? I'm just sayin.

by Ezy at November 12, 2003 12:22 PM


I would also like to make the point... The new minority in America, is a rebel flag totin' billy bob thortin' worshipin' hillbilly who sits around cozy cafe's in small towns using the word "nigger" as a word to discribe dark skinned hard working fellow americans. This even after the disasters that we have recently experienced within the last three years in both the Bush administration, and loss of life in our great nation. We have come a long way, but obviously there are straglers and exclusion from society is enevitable. My point will become even more expressive after the migration of people who are fed up with "city life" evens out. The diversity of this nation will increase ten fold.

by MAC... at November 13, 2003 1:56 AM


MAC, I agree. I find it, sometimes, hard to believe that, with all of the people in the world who hate us because we're Americans, we can still hate each other. It just doesn't make much sense to me.

by Ezy at November 14, 2003 5:42 PM


Ezy, I just happened by your blog, while looking for "Gravley" so please forgive my intrusion. You sound like such a great guy and I've had this type of incident before too. I think that we all have.

Because you live there, you know that this IS going to happen again. It is inevitable. In my humble opinion, I very much admire you and your values, but rather than letting it take control of you when history repeats itself, it might be nice to be the one in control. I don't know the area but here is a thought. Would it work if you were to wait until you were leaving and then turned to the fellows and say something to the effect of: "We sure do live in a great area with that D-Day memorial and all, don't we? You got kids? Grandkids? Any of 'em going in the service? I served this great country. Went through some pretty rough stuff. Those "niggers" (Better called "Blacks") you been talkin about saved my behind more than once in the service. Thank God for them. I pray they do the same for your families too, they were the best. Sumpthin to gnaw on a bit!

Then just turn and walk out.

Would it work? Sometimes teaching works, sometimes not. Either way, I would work out a plan ahead of time so that I was in control. You sound like a GREAT guy! I wish you the very best of luck!

by Barb at January 22, 2006 2:34 PM


Sorry, I didn't mean to say that you live there, I meant that since your dad lives there and that you will be visiting him, and you enjoy the area.

by Barb at January 22, 2006 2:41 PM



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