I was born in Elizabethton, TN. I lived there until I was 8. We moved to Orlando, Florida shortly after my aunt and uncle moved here. My parents, 2 siblings and I lived in a small high low camper for almost a year while my parents saved and found a place to live. At least that was what I was told. I was a cute little girl. One who had already been through more than any 8 year old should have to go through.
To say my parents were/are racist is probably an understatement. I know they had a couple of friends of different races who they seemed to really like but their words and actions outside of that, did not support those “friendships”.
Imagine an 8th grade young girl, getting asked to a 9th graders prom. It would be my first real dance. I was extremely afraid to even ask my parents if I could go. I was basically never allowed to go anywhere or do anything. I was cook, housekeeper, and babysitter. I was not allowed even to play in my own yard. School and home was my life. Afraid, abused and defeated. It took lots of courage to ask. My father asked who he was. I told him his name and he said, what is he. I honestly did not know what he was saying at this point. My dad said is he white. I said his father is and his mother is Vietnamese. That is all it took. Besides the beating that followed, it happened to be around D day and my father made me sit and watch D day shows. I think they felt bad for what they did to me and my ignorance and allowed me to go to the dance but thinking I was going alone. I did meet the young man there and I told him what had happened. Understandably we could no longer be “boyfriend and girlfriend”. My parents would never allow it. Besides hearing derogatory names and jokes, this was my first time really realizing what racism was. This was not the first time I realized I was different from my parents and it was (and still is) not the last. My parents have since divorced and I have not had a relationship with my father in 20+ years. My mom, I tried. I tried hard. There was a time while my daughter was in high school, my mom was visiting. We went to watch one of the drama performances. We went to grab burgers after with my daughter, her friends and her boyfriend. One of her friends, I loved, his name was Shy. Not sure if it was his given name or a nickname. I am not sure what his nationality is but his complexion was dark. After dinner we left and my mom asked which young man was her boyfriend. He was a tall young man, white in complexion. She said how relieved she was. I was like why?. And she said I thought it was the other boy. We had a fight about it. I made it clear that was not her problem. I now have not had a relationship with my mom for over 5 years. My parents see nothing wrong with their thinking or behavior. Racism is not the reason I don’t have a relationship with them, it is just a contributing factor. My whole life I have been trying to escape their thoughts and ways.
With all of that being said, let me get to what I am trying to convey. I married a southern boy, he married a southern girl. What I mean about that is we love the south. We love living in the south, we love country music, southern rock, bluegrass, we love country cooking, we love the mountains, and we love the country! Although we have not participated in Living History events in a couple of years, we are Living Historians. My husband has portrayed both the Union and Confederate soldier. We love history! Especially history that pertains to our heritage. I have a substantial amount of Cherokee Indian in me. I can not get enough of the Cherokee History! I love the Victorian time period, including the civil war. I love the beautiful gowns, the homes, the food and the manners. I have empathy for the suffering. I have portrayed a Southern Woman on many occasions teaching manners, teas, a widow in mourning and costuming to various groups. Are there people who love what we do that are racist? YES! Are there people in our family that are racist? YES! Are there people we encounter on a daily basis racist? YES! What I am trying to say is there are stupid, ignorant people in this world. We need to deal with those people and not lump everyone else into those groups. I have a confederate flag. I don’t fly it above my home and I don’t use it to promote white supremacy, which I do not believe in. Does that flag represent hurt to some, absolutely! I am sure it is a reminder of what our ancestors have gone through. Has it been used in an ugly way, of course!! The confederate flag is still a representation of Southern Heritage to some also. Like I said I am a southern girl, I have never thought of using that to hurt anyone. I have also never thought that there would come a day were being a southerner would not be a part of who I am in a positive light. Taking away the flag and monuments and landmarks will not stop what is happening our country. We have to deal with the people who perpetrate the hate and crimes. More than anything I personally think we need God. We need to remember why we are here now, together. God put us at this place and this time.
God created us each divinely. Each to have free will, each to come to their own understanding, yet society wants us all to believe and act the same. We are not the same. Many of us make horrible decisions that affect and hurt others. Let’s hold those people accountable instead of lumping everyone and everything in one big basket.
I am not sure if I really have a point here. I just know that God tells us to love. He tells us that His Word and Will is sacred. Let’s teach that. Let’s teach the true meaning of His Words and not our “own understanding”. Let’s stand up for His Word.
Afterall, He created you in His image.
Take a sweet look in the mirror.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Peace, Love and EnJoy