► Have race relations really improved since the 1960s? Print E-mail

Have race relations really improved since the 1960s?


Of course in instances of blatant racism such as White Only Bathrooms and Blacks being forced to ride in the back of the bus, some things have changed.


The Civil Rights Act was signed into Law by President Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) in 1964. That was followed up by LBJ signing into law the Voting Rights Act in 1965. At that time, I was in my early 20s.


My personal experience with overt racism after the aforementioned laws were passed is as follows:


In 1973 my family and I (2 daughters and wife) went on a long road trip that began in Toledo, Ohio, went west to Vancouver, British Columbia and then south to Los Angeles and then home.


Sometime in mid 1980, we were driving in South Dakota when I realized we were nearing the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The girls told me they wanted to visit the reservation, so I stopped at a gas station to ask for directions. I was told to avoid the reservation unless I was heavily armed. I took the advice and continued westward.


As we traveled near Billings, Montana, I noticed that there was a Crow reservation in the area. I then stopped at a BP station off of Interstate 94 to ask for directions. I then told the fellow why we couldn’t visit the Pine Ridge Reservation. The following colloquy then took place.

Attendant: “We don’t have problems with our Indians.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Attendant:  “It isn’t unusual to see an Indian hanging from an overpass every so often.”

Me:  “Were you born and raised here in Montana?”

Attendant:  “No. I just moved here from Dayton, Ohio last year.”

Me:  “How long do you have to live in Montana before you can legally own an Indian?”


Sometime in the summer of 1981, while driving a semi through Louisiana on my way to Los Angeles, I stopped at a diner somewhere west of Lake Charles for breakfast.


I was met by a fellow at the door and seated at a booth. A black lady then came to take my order. Shortly thereafter, a black family made up of a father, mother and two children entered the restaurant. It was obvious they had just attended church because they were well dressed.


The fellow that met me at the door came up to the father of the family and said, “Son, didn’t you notice the picnic tables outside? When the father said, ‘No,” the bigot then said “Well, that’s where you’ll have to go if y’all want something to eat.”


Suffice it to say that I was absolutely astounded by the racist conduct of the morons in Montana and Louisiana. Of course racists don’t limit their bigotry to Native and/or African Americans. They are to say the leas Equal Opportunity Racists in that they discriminate against anyone that isn’t a good ol’ honky.


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