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From Yesterday to Today: If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes!

The Way It Works

Grab a spot on the front porch and get comfortable. We’re going to take a trip back in time, a little time travel if you will, and do some reflecting about life. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Let's sit on the porch and talk

Let's sit on the porch and talk

Way Back When

It was about this time, fifty years ago, give or take a sunrise, Summer, 1970.

The country of my birth was in turmoil over the Vietnam War.

The country of my birth was in turmoil over Civil Rights.

It was a profound time of change in the United States and, by extension, in the rest of the world – actual change, imagined change, and hoped-for change. There were injustices to correct. There were inequities to give priority status to.

I was part of the famous, or infamous, Baby Boomer Generation, and I felt a strong pull to become a positive lantern of change. I signed up for a government program called VISTA, Volunteers in Service To America, part of AmeriCorps, designed to fight poverty in the United States. I was sent to New Iberia Parish, Louisiana, part of a small group of college-aged kids who would work with the underprivileged children and help them to read and improve their learning.

It was a foreign world for me.

I loved the man, but my father was a racist

I loved the man, but my father was a racist

BACKGROUND

I had never met a black person prior to college. I know that sounds unbelievable, but it was the way it was. I grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and there were no Blacks in our grade school and only two in our high school. I met neither of them. There were none in the area I lived in, the North End of Tacoma, the South End being where most people of color lived.

My parents were racist. There is no way to sugarcoat that fact. The first time I ever heard the “N” word was from my father, a man I idolized, and he was not apologetic at all for using it. He grew up poor white in St. Louis and later in Charles City, Iowa. He scrambled for any jobs he could find during the Great Depression, and resented the blacks for taking jobs white men should have. He had no time for them in the military, thought they shouldn’t be allowed to fight in World War 2. It’s just the way he was, not pretty but certainly real. My mom, the same!

So college was an eye-opener, a new culture, a chance to actually meet people who were not lily-white, to learn from them, and to gain a better understanding about race. But college could not prepare me for New Iberia Parish, Louisiana.

Welcome to Reality

New Iberia Parish, Louisiana, was a brutally-poor section of the United States in 1970. Rich Whites lived in Antebellum homes, the main streets were clapboard storefronts owned by whites, the Confederate flag flew proudly above most storefronts, and the Blacks lived in shotgun houses held together by duct tape down dirt roads choked by dust and mosquitoes. I had no experience with the type of poverty I saw in that Parish. I had no frame of reference. This could not possibly be the country I grew up in, I thought.

And yet it was!

I had worked with my best buddy, Frank, in college, helping neighborhood black kids to read, a program we set up in the Central District of Seattle, fifth graders reading at first-and-second grade level, but New Iberia Parish was worse. I’m talking fifth graders unable to read a word. It was satisfying work but at the same time totally disheartening, an undercurrent of sadness through it all, a suspicion that it was all a waste of time, the future bleak for those kids, God Almighty I wanted to believe differently but I couldn’t.

We were harassed by the locals while we were there. We were threatened. “Don’t need no outsiders coming into our parish, telling us what’s right, educatin’ them %iggers. Get your asses back north, leave us alone,” that sort of thing, and you can bet your ass none of us ever went anywhere alone during our time there, and how in the hell is this possible, I thought, and no answer came to me.

And then one day, while we were out walking on a steamy evening, we came across a large tree. One of the locals, a sort of sponsor/guide for us, told us we were standing under “The Hanging Tree,” so named because a young black man was hung to death from its branches ten years prior.

It was one of the most profound moments of my life. I was standing on the consecrated ground of hatred. Ten years earlier a man had dangled from the main branch, lifeless. His crime? He was black.

I cried. I could not comprehend how anyone could hate that much. Still, today, I cannot comprehend that kind of hate.

My beautiful stepdaughter

My beautiful stepdaughter

Fast Forward Fifty Years

I have a stepdaughter. Allora is her name, twenty-three years old, as good a person as you are likely to meet. She is half-black, an odd thing to say, half-anything, but her color is dark and she would immediately be identified as black by anyone who sees her. She lives up north, in Bellingham, works for the State in child welfare, a good job, meaningful, doing her part to help those who have no voice, and recently, while all of this George Floyd news was happening, she posted a message on Facebook:

I grew up not wanting to acknowledge my race. I wanted to remain in the background, as to not draw attention to myself. MLK days was one of the worst days for me for that reason even though it should be one of my most celebrated. I knew when the day would come my peers would look towards one of the few black or black mixed race people in my class as see what our reactions were to the subject matter. Because a teacher in elementary school did call me out on that day to get my feelings on it, i was taken back. I know that it may have been an innocent act but I didnt want to have to be a voice for a race when I actively avoided it.

I have been called the token black. Making me an outlier because of my race.

I was once called porch monkey. I didn't understand it as much when it happened and just thought oh forget them.

I have been told that I'm the whitest black person that someone knows. As if that is suppose to be a compliment.

I have been called exotic where I would smile and say thank you because I have to assume they meant well. Exotic: "originating in or characteristic of a distant foreign country" - As if my hair and skin color make me look like I'm not from around here.

I have worked at a place where our neighbor flew a Confederate flag. I had to pretend like I didn't get nervous about it when I worked at night.

I have a grandfather that pushed my mother out of his life for years for marrying a black man, my father.

I have had a relative that is allegedly a reformed white supremacist. I have to push back my nightmares of that group harming me.

I have been in places where I feel unwanted because of the color of my skin.

I have heard my black grandfather say he doesn't want to go to a restaurant because that's where the white people go. Because segregation lingers.

I have overheard someone at school complaining that someone they knew was using their 25% minority status as a way to get into college easier because "it makes it harder for us normal people to get in", yes they were white. Oh but they were quick to say they didn't mean it like that, but I still heard it.

Many have had these experiences.

I'm sad, tired, but also more empowered.

What is happening in our world is history repeating its self but also history in the making. There are terrible things that are happening. People are rising against the racism and the oppression. We must continue to fight together. Fight so that little girls in the future dont have to be ashamed of their race

I am proud to be half black and I can finally say it confidently.

Fifty years later I’m left to wonder how far we have traveled as a society. It bothers me on so many levels that this beautiful young woman feels these things in 2020. Have we made any progress at all with this issue? I was once so full of hope that we could change the world. Today I wonder if the world really wants to change.

You know, it’s strange. I’ve been pulled over by the police probably six or seven times in my life, for speeding, for a broken taillight, those sorts of things. Not once was I filled with dread when the cop approached my car. Not once did I wonder if this would be the day I would die.

My stepdaughter wonders those things. My stepdaughter has that dread. In the United States of America. In what is considered to be a Liberal state. In the year 2020.

Truths as I Know Them

You cannot legislate hatred. We’ve tried, as a country, in the past and failed miserably, for you cannot legislate emotions and heritage and upbringing.

And I’m not terribly certain that you can change things by marching in the streets in protest, even though I have done it in the past and believed in it at that time.

Real change only happens through dialogue, and it happens slowly. It happens through doggedness, and it happens through education. It happens by working within the system for grassroots change. It happens as generations die off and new ones, less hateful, rise up.

I have faith in my stepdaughter. I have faith in many of the young people who are taking the banner and continuing the march towards equality. They seem determined, as we did many years ago, and that pleases me. This is too important to be ignored and, if you need proof of that, there’s a hanging tree in New Iberia Parish, Louisiana, which is all the proof someone should need.

THANKS

Thank you for joining me on the porch today. Any old time you are passing by, and you see me sitting out here, stop by for a chat. I would love to chit chat with you.

Bill

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping humans to spread their wings and fly.”

H.O.W. (Humanity One World)

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 23, 2020:

Thank you Devika! It's good to have you back among us.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 23, 2020:

It has been a while and have missed my rounds here. Another informative and well written hub thank you

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 15, 2020:

Miebakagh, thank you for your thoughts. I'll leave without making a comment about Trump.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 15, 2020:

Thank you for sharing part of your experience, Dora. Blessings to you always, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 15, 2020:

Thank you Li-Jen! I hope we both live long enough to see racism eradicated. That's a considerable hope, for sure, but life is all about hope.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 14, 2020:

Dora, your comment is vital. I've noted that President Trump has device ways to solve the challenge.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 14, 2020:

Bill, thanks for sharing with such honesty and sensitivity. I lived in Texas in the late 1970s and in Michigan during the second decade of the 2000s. Racism was equally concrete in both times and places. I don't think it will change totally; but I pay tribute to the individuals who make an effort to promote justice and equality, and there will always be many of those.

Li-Jen Hew on June 14, 2020:

Hi Bill, thanks for enlightening us with your message. It's true what you said, about racism and about change. It is a challenge to live freely without race as an identification. I'm glad your stepdaughter is feeling more confident in her own skin. The fear of dying any second because of race, is the sad truth. Thanks for being one of those who understands. I also hope positive changes will come.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 14, 2020:

Thank you so much for sharing part of your story, Marlene! Powerful words, my friend, from someone who has walked her talk. I appreciate you, and I will share your comment with my stepdaughter.

Hugs from afar

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 14, 2020:

Thank you Miebakagh....your comments, yes, but you in particular, for taking the time to be a part of my community.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on June 13, 2020:

Allora has shared well on the subject of what it means to be black or even half black.

When my father retired from the military, we moved into an all-white neighborhood. The first morning we woke up after moving into our house, we saw the "N" word painted on the lawn. Every day for a while, we woke up to something new... eggs thrown against the front window, dog poo on the porch, etc. The message was loud and clear that our type was not welcomed.

We were called the N word in school. It goes on. But we were fortunate that our parents taught us how to deal with it. For the most part, we ignored the comments. We didn't show anger. It was kind of like that saying, "Never let them see you sweat!" We cleaned the lawn, hosed down the dried eggs and whatnot. We were taught to "be the better person" rather than get angry.

Over time, people began to leave us alone. Over time, people began to get to know us. Over time, my family became respected. My dad, in fact became a pillar of the community, running 39 years in a row, uncontested as the President of the county school board.

I share all of this to say, anger against anger begets more anger. Love against anger wins out the majority of the time. People just need to learn this truth and when they do, maybe this country can be fixed.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 13, 2020:

Bill, you usually appreciated my comments. You're welcomed as always.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 12, 2020:

Thank you always Miebakagh!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 12, 2020:

Thank you Rajan! Change is painfully slow. I wish I could live long enough to see prejudice eradicated, but I doubt I will.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 12, 2020:

Thank you for stopping by, Imogen, and sharing your thoughts.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 12, 2020:

I understand what you are saying, Flourish. I have been torn on this issue of Confederate statues for a long time. On the one hand, I'm not Black, so my perspective isn't terribly important. But, like you said, where does it end?

I don't have an answer, but thank you for raising the question.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 12, 2020:

Rajah, I agreed with you. The challenge is being debated right here in my local community. Thanks and enjoy the weekend.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 12, 2020:

This is a thought-provoking article, Bill. I believe the world over the situation is grim. Whether it is the Blacks in one place, the backward castes in another, the underprivileged somewhere and so on the powers that be are to be held accountable as it is they who fan such emotions and situations in a major way.

Like you mention. the hateful generations have to depart and new tolerant generations step in, a process that is slow and painful no doubt but will come to be eventually.

Imogen French from Southwest England on June 12, 2020:

Thank you for this thought-provoking article. As you say change only happens through dialogue - racism (and every form of prejudice) should be discussed, challenged, and never tolerated.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 11, 2020:

I live in the greater Richmond, Virginia area so you can imagine everything that’s going on around here. Monument Avenue is a mess. They can tear down statues but where does it end? I genuinely don’t know. There are towns, bridges, all types of buildings (schools, courthouses), and highways named after confederate soldiers, citizens and their family members. Some of them are surprising, like the nearby city of Varina named after Jefferson Davis’ wife. There are school mascots that are the “rebels” or the “generals.” How far does this go? A young person I know suggested taking down ANY statue of a person who owned slaves, including other African Americans and George Washington! Should we then also require that they be nonsexist? Many of our leaders have been deeply misogynistic and I hate that there are statues of them.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

Thank you Miebakagh! Easy to be done, for sure. Why do so many find it that difficult?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

Thank you very much, Liz. I appreciate your kind words.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

Great points, Heidi! I have no clue what the solution is, but I do know if we don't vote we are voiceless. Change can happen through elections. We just have to stay committed to the important issues.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

Thank you for sharing all that, Ruby! Great memories for sure. Yes, perhaps one day, color won't matter in this country. I doubt I'll be alive to see that day, but it's worth looking forward to.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

Snack is over, Miebakagh. I'm back. We have those laws, but they are meaningless if they are not enforced, and if they are not embraced by the citizens.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

Thank you Linda! She will rebound, and we will make sure she knows we always support her.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

I'm sorry, Brenda. Thanks for trying. I'm sure it was well-worth reading.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

Thank you Gilbert! It's a mess for sure. Obviously there are many good cops. We just have to find a way to lessen the number of bad ones, and make sure every American has the same opportunities.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

MizB, that is a remarkable story about your father. Thank you for sharing that. I would have liked him.

I don't have any answers, my friend, but I'm damned tired of it, and I'm white. Can you imagine how the blacks feel?

Blessings to you always, MizB! Thanks for being one of the good guys.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

All true, Shannon. Change happens so slowly in this country. Can I see improvement over the last fifty years? Of courses! But my God, how long will it take until this isn't an issue?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

Meg, I'm out of answers! I simply don't understand racism and never will. Still, I have hope, as obviously you do. Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

I love your thoughts, McKenna! Let's hope this country finally wakes up to a most basic truth: that all men are created equal. Thank you my friend!

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 11, 2020:

Bill, it is easy to be done. We must learn to accomodate one another. Greetings to your step daughter.

Liz Westwood from UK on June 11, 2020:

Thanks for sharing your experiences and those of your step daughter. You have given a real insight into the issues in this article. Congratulations on tackling a difficult subject in such a sensitive way.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on June 11, 2020:

I'm a later Boomer, but was in grade school at the time you were doing your work in LA. In Chicago, they were experimenting with busing black students from other parts of town to our school. Some of the parents were boycotting and keeping kids home in protest of the program. My parents just kept sending me to school.

I remember that those bused in students were so tired during the school day. The girl who sat behind me was always falling asleep. Probably because they had hours of prep and travel to get to a "better" school. Was the program successful? I don't know. I think the bad meta message was that mostly white schools are better, even though the intent was to improve their learning opportunities.

Do I know what the solution is? Absolutely not. Am I going to be inclusive in my daily dealings? Absolutely. I'm also going to use the one tool that I have to effect change: Vote. This upcoming election could be a pivotal one in our nation's future. They all are, of course. But this one even more. People, you need to vote!

Thanks for giving us a forum to discuss this in peace!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on June 11, 2020:

Bill, this piece tugged at my heart strings. It is so reminiscent of my childhood. My mother's best friend was a black woman who lived next door to us. There were only two black people in our town, one was N John and the other our friend N ford. She was a cook at the Elks Club and N John lived in a shack down by the Wabash River. He went around town pushing a wheel barrel, picking up bottles, etc. N Ford was my baby sitter when my mother worked, in fact, I remember her pulling my first loose tooth. I remember she was the best cook, her food was out of this world delicious. What I remember the most is that I loved her. She was so kind and gentle. The worst part is I do not know either of their first names, they were just called N's. Your stepdaughter is beautiful. My grandson Chad married a beautiful brown girl and they have three beautiful children. Perhaps someday we won't see colors, just the beauty of each person, Red, yellow, black or white. Blessings my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

Thank you for your thoughts, Nikhil! Appreciate the truth! I love that line.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

Thank you Mmiebakagh! I agree, changes are good for society. We need to grow as a people. We need to learn to be inclusive of all. We need to just learn how to get along with each other. Surely it isn't that hard to do, is it?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2020:

I'm with you all the way, Peggy! It shouldn't be this way and yet it is. The Road of Struggle is long, but it is worth the journey if Justice prevails.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 11, 2020:

Bill, many comments are pouring in. And it seems you're not on the porch? I though you can eat your snacks there? Okay when you return. I've gone through the comments on your file and visitors to your read all have one thing in common-blacks and whites should live together in peace. A law for that is a must. Thank you and enjoy the day.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 10, 2020:

This is an important article, Bill. Thank you for creating it. I'm so sorry about Allora's experiences. I hope that the situation improves soon.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on June 10, 2020:

Bill,

I did comment on this one earlier.

I don't see it. Maybe it was a bit much.

Thanks for sharing this piece with us.

Gilbert Arevalo from Hacienda Heights, California on June 10, 2020:

Bill, I understand how you feel about growing up in a white community. I'm Hispanic, but didn't engage in any relationships with black people until junior college. Participating in theatrical ventures in Los Angeles, I started associating more often with black people. I thought your stepdaughter's comments interesting. I honestly felt, Bill, before the death of George Floyd, positive relationships with black people had been good, they've always done well in sports, I've seen many of them in television shows, movies, and news programs. It seems black people suffer every time a police officer loses control. Another black, Ambler, lost his life because of police abuse, too, only last year. I hear you, everyone should show black people more compassion, but I thought many of them had been treated well. I feel each time a police officer abuses blacks, we take a major step backwards.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on June 10, 2020:

Bill, as a Southerner, I probably could write a book on racism, but I don't see the point. I attended segregated schools and did not know a black person until I was grown either. I grew up in the Ozarks, not the Delta, so I didn't experience the extreme racism of the flat-landers. My mother played with black children as a child and she was not a racist, but my father talked like one. I think it was all an act because it was expected of a white male then. When push came to shove, my father stood up for the first black family to move into the housing subdivision where he and mom had lived for a couple of years. This family moved in next door to them. They and my parents couldn't have been better neighbors to each other. My dad was kind of the patriarch of the neighborhood. When the other neighbors saw their relationship, then it was "okay" to be friends with the new black family on the block.

I'm not sure what dad's reaction would have been if I had married a black man, but he fully accepted a Jewish man that I dated for three years. Oh, yes, he talked like he had a prejudice against Jews, too. I think that it is what is in each individual person's soul that makes them racist or not. My dad was an atheist, but he was a good man and would have given the shirt off his back to his black neighbor.

I am so sorry that your stepdaughter has had to go through this not knowing where she stands. She is a beautiful, intelligent woman. I pray that we will all find a way to meet in the middle for the sake of our children and their children's relationships just like my father and his black neighbor did. I can proudly say that there never was any dissension between them the 30 years they lived side-by-side.

Shannon Henry from Texas on June 10, 2020:

Reading her words makes me sad. When I was a teen, I was told "I hope you never marry a black man." It wasn't for racist reasons. It was said because the person dreaded the thought of children being in the middle and facing things like racism but also feeling like they don't completely fit in with either culture. I'd like to think that 20 odd years later things have improved, and they have. But not enough. Not when people have to fear death or being unfairly targetedas a result of racial profiling.

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on June 10, 2020:

It's terrible that these things happen. I want to see change and I also want us to be able to review our history and see what has changed, how it changed and why things were "like that, then". We can't change what has happened in the past. We CAN make a difference to what will happen in the future, if we learn from the past and that does not mean destroying it. If we don't learn our history, we are doomed to repeat it, as someone once said.

McKenna Meyers on June 10, 2020:

Bill, your stepdaughter stating that she’s tired is something I’m hearing again and again from black people. Her saying that makes me especially sad since she’s only 23. Yet, I understand now because I’ve grown so weary during the past 3 1/2 years, exhausted from all the hate that comes from the White House and drained by those who pretend not to hear it. That’s why it’s so critical that we become allies of the BLM movement now because those who’ve been fighting so long and so hard for equality and justice are running out of steam. Our support can give them the extra boost that they need to continue.

Nikhil Sharma from India on June 10, 2020:

I believe in the simple yet powerful quote by someone in the film industry. He says, "if you change nothing, nothing will change." And this aptly implies to how we should take on to our life. We must raise our voices against falsity and appreciate the truth. Thanks for sharing this article, Bill.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 10, 2020:

Bill, are you on the porch? Okay, here we go. Changes are a good thing. Dr. King jr. Protest or advocate for change. He protestest marching on the street, and making America to sit up. I know they were many good white men that have the interest of the blacks specific at heart. Lord Mansfield was such a white man. He believes in the liberty of every black man. That is the modern day best history. Months ago a white doctor died who gave medical attention to any black man when his fellow white doctors refused. Bill, my opinion is that blacks and whites should live in peace under God. A legislation should be made for that under the first amendment. But remember this. I am a Nigerian residing in Nigeria. Many thanks indeed.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 10, 2020:

Your beautiful granddaughter's letter was heartbreaking. She should not have had to grow up with feelings like that, and yet, she did. It would appear that racism is alive and thriving in 2020, which is an indictment on our humanity.

What happened to George Floyd should not have happened to anyone! People of all colors are marching in the streets, most of them peaceably. Let us all vote, and pray, hoping that the days and years ahead serve to put racism in the rearview and shelve it for good. We still have much work to do in our democracy. Freedom and justice for all are sadly not yet assured. Our constitution is still a work in progress.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2020:

Jo, that means a great deal to me. Thank you!

I'm as confused today as I was back in 1960. I simply don't understand racism. It does not register logically to me. It is hatred of the unknown, pure and simple, and it seems to be so ingrained in people that they don't even realize it as anything other than normal. How can that be?

I hate crowds, but that strikes me as logical on many levels. But to hate a human being because of skin color? What possible explanation can there be for that.

Anyway, thank you for this. I appreciate you. Stay safe and healthy.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on June 10, 2020:

Hi Bill, this was well worth the wait. Some of the rhetoric I've heard lately has led me to believe that as a species, we are regressing. I once thought that the world would change for the better by the time my nieces and nephews had all grown up with children of their own. Instead, it is now a darker, more intolerant place.

Allora's message drove me to tears, and I'm not someone who cries easily. She is a beautiful, articulate young lady. She should be out there living her best life. Dammed! They all should. I'm beginning to feel that there is no hope for humanity. I hope I'm wrong. This generation should not be fighting this battle in 2020, shame on us all.

I was waiting for your thoughts on this madness, and you didn't disappoint. Heartfelt and powerful. Proud to call you friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2020:

It's always been a mystery to me, Linda, and always will be. Racism is so illogical I can't even wrap my brain around a portion of it. I hate heavy rains. That seems logical to me. But to hate a human being because of the color of their skin? What justification can be made for that?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2020:

Mike, that was beautiful, and thank you for writing from your heart. You are a good man, and good men have a responsibility, I believe, to speak the truth as we known it. "All men are created equal" is a truth, and the time has come for us all to live it.

Blessings to you and your family, my friend.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on June 10, 2020:

Bill, this breaks my heart in so many ways. First, your daughter should never have had to endure such brutal treatment. What's even worse is that she is not an isolated case. It happens time and time again all over this country. In 60 years we have learned absolutely NOTHING.

I don't understand the hatred. Maybe it isn't even hatred. Hate implies that you can. It's an indifference that says "you aren't real to me. You are worthless and don't matter at all."

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2020:

Thank you for your words, Manatita, and true words they are. I am highly respected on HP, but I am a sinner, and to judge me on my sins of the past is to judge me on a small portion of my life. And I'm afraid the majority of people do that.

We have work to do, my friend.

Love and blessings always

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2020:

I'm envious, Eric! I wish I would have had more contact with people of color growing up.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2020:

Sha, I admit, I was pretty much clueless about Allora's feelings, and I'm ashamed of that.

My parents? That would have been a problem. No way my dad would have "adjusted" to a black grandchild. No way! Their love for me wasn't that strong, I'm afraid. Good thing we don't have to experience that. They died at the right time. :)

Love you, dear friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2020:

I have hope as well, Pamela. I wish it would happen while I'm alive. I would love to see racism relegated to history books and not real life.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2020:

Thank you John! I'm afraid we have a way to go before racism is eradicated.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2020:

Rosina, I don't think racism ever went away. I think it just hid in the shadows so it wouldn't be so obvious. :( Thank you for your thoughts.

Mr Archer from Missouri on June 10, 2020:

Oh, Bill, thank you! Thank you for baring your soul, for sharing your beautiful daughter's (I hate the stepchild term, to me they ARE my children!!!) story! God help her and be with her.

When you described her hearing the term "porch monkey", Bill I cried. Literally, I cried. That is a term from my childhood, one I heard a few times but haven't heard in forty years. I hoped it was gone; naive me.

I have a son in law of mixed race, his father being of mixed race also. I have said time and again I see no color in him, to me he is my son in law and I love him as if he was my own son. He is a good person, one who treats my daughter and family with respect and love.

I believe we are no closer to true equality than we were a half century ago. But, I also believe there is work to be done on both sides. Whites need to be educated to not see color, Blacks need to be educated to take advantage of the advantages given them in regards to affirmative action.

One big one is the culture needs to change form within, the inner city actions by a relative few numbers creates a thought that everyone is like that; they most definitely are not! Not all cops are racist; not all blacks are thugs; not all whites are biased. Each is an individual, and each has the power to initiate change within ourselves and our neighbors.

I pray this time, change takes, it sticks and we can really move ahead together as one nation. If we don't then we are witnessing the end of our great experiment, an end which will literally go up in flames. All because we can't allow one another the same equality that was sought in the Declaration of Independence:

"All Men Are Created Equal"

Thank you Bill, and God Bless you for authoring this hub. Blessings on you, Bev and your entire family.

manatita44 from london on June 10, 2020:

I admire you for taking a stand for decency and honour. I have tried to do so in a couple of my Hubs. It is important that you do because so many won't share your views.

I saw a white Theologeon speaking on Islam recently. He said that he needed to read the Koran in order to understand, only then he realised that it was also talking about God and preaching Love.

A black man made an appointment with a KKK leader and visited him in a neutral place. They talked and disagreed for an hour, but they kept meeting. The black man invited him to his home a few times, than the white reciprocated and gradually invited him to rallies.

Now the Klan leader has left his organization. The key here is that understanding is important. There is a hubber here who felt that it was necessary to highlight the sins of George LLoyd. Well, I have been serving in a spiritual way for 38 years, but I have sins too.

To identify with the sins and see it as a one man problem, is to lack vision, to miss the boat. There is a wave of energy going around the world of which George Floyd was just one of the many silent catalysts. Much Love, Bro. Hugs to Allora. She's very beautiful!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2020:

Very well-stated, Mary! Very well-stated indeed!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2020:

Thank you Ann! I was actually unaware of how Allora felt for many years. My bad, I'm afraid. I just didn't realize it was that way for her. White ignorance on my part, but no longer.

I appreciate you!

bill

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 10, 2020:

Good to read this Bill. Brought back many a memory. I guess I have many face book friends that are brown, red, black, yellow and white about even from young childhood. Thanks

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 10, 2020:

There is so much heartbreak in this conversation, Bill. It seems we didn't do a bit of good fighting prejudice and segregation back in the day. Prejudice is still alive and unwell.

Reading your stepdaughter's words pierced my heart as a mother. Were you aware of Allora's feelings and injustice she's had to endure all her life? Or has she kept it to herself?

I can't help but think of your parents and how they would have reacted to you marrying Bev. She's such a beautiful, loving person. Would they have shunned you because of her bi-racial daughter?

The Hanging Tree is haunting. I can only imagine your shock to see proof that hanging trees really were a thing. What the hell have we been doing to each other? Why do we persist? When it comes down to it, all of humanity's blood is blue until pierced from the safety of it's veins. Once spilled we all bleed in red.

I just don't get it. I think the only hope we have is for people like Allora to keep speaking until they're heard and crotchety old racists give up the fight and choose peace. Will it happen in our lifetime? Ever?

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 10, 2020:

I sure have hope that things improve. I am in a woman's club and we have people of every race. Some of the nicest people I know are black but I also grew up like you did with no black people in my high school in Ohio.

Your step-daughters letter is truly heart breaking. We must change as a nation to accept all races. Your article articulates the race problem very well with that letter and with your comments. Nice job, Bill!

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on June 10, 2020:

Bill it was my pleasure to take a seat on your porch. You step-daughter’s letter was heartbreaking. No one should have those concerns and fears in this day and age. It seems we have come so far, but racism is still rife among us. New Iberia Parish was a real eye opener for you. This is so sad, but thank you for sharing.

Rosina S Khan on June 10, 2020:

It's true, Bill, after all these years racism is back. Maybe it was there all along with a lesser intensity. The recent tragic event has caused an uproar among the Blacks, which should not have happened. What with the C-virus and the uproar, everything seems bewildered. Hope the world will realize and come to terms with equality and banish racism.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 10, 2020:

I wish I am on your porch now thinking about these things. I agree that it is a slow process. I have marched in my time even when the older folks told me I was just hitting my head on the wall. I did work in slum areas and developed programs to help the less advantaged but in the end, I can only make a difference when I reach out to people I usually avoid and work on my own prejudice each day.

Ann Carr from SW England on June 10, 2020:

Well said, bill! You are so right about the 'dialogue'. That's the only way. To listen, understand and try to make it better in whatever way is possible. It's such difficult ground to walk on, as so many pre-judge without a thought. Black, white, all colours, are all people and that's the bottom line. People matter, and they matter equally. Education is no good without the conversation and the listening, really listening.

Your stepdaughter deserves the same as any other, a good life without fear and prejudice. When the threat comes from those who are supposed to protect us, that's even worse!

Have a wonderful Wednesday and a peaceful one, bill.

Ann