The South is More Racist? Is That True?!?


Welcome back, My Dear Readers, to an article from the heart. This might be the shortest, but it means so much to me I am willing to chance offending the people I love… in order to save them from themselves. My name is Daniel Hanning I was born in Texas while Ike was still President and the U.S. just had 48 states. I was born to wear braces, on my little tiny legs, till I was two. I didn’t really speak till I was two and didn’t walk until three or four.

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Family and friends thought I might be ‘retarded’. That was until I did speak. My mother (when I did finally speak) said this of me; “I guess he was just waiting till something important he had to say.” I ‘failed’ the third grade, and for forth I was put in a ‘Special Needs’ class. Where I stayed until one day, that teacher, did notice I was helping her teach the other children. I was taken to the principal, and then to the school counselor. Draw pictures of your family… does any one hurt you, or touch you down there?

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No, and NO! Then suddenly I realized, I was the only one that could right a wrong that had been done to my classroom of children. It was one of the single most difficult decisions I had ever made (at six), but I told the counselor and later the principal what I saw on my last day of the third grade. My last day of the third grade Mrs. Coon lined us up in the classroom. She was showing us who would move on to the forth grade, and who would be left behind. On the left side of the room, there were only white girls. On the right side of the room were; all the boys and one African American girl. Seems Mrs. Coon had gone off her rocker, in the year I was third grade. And I had the misfortune of being in her class that year.

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Mrs. Coon suddenly retired, no one would say Why. Yet reading this today, I am sure you all understand why. Mrs. Coon was a racist (and a closet lesbian I fear), and being a life long teacher (at Madding Elementary) I guess she thought she could get away. Away with institutionalized racism and if it had not been for little ol’me, she might have succeeded at least that one time more. This is the single reason I did graduate in 77’, and not with the Bicentennial class of 1976. Honest, it really doesn’t bother me all that much, I am just imparting this story as a relevant segway.

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Just one more story, and then I will move on, this one happened just months after I entered the third grade, for the second time. I was in a Madding Dugan Drug Store, just down the street from my boyhood home. My mother was in the back part of the store, and I was where I always was… at the ‘tube tester’ near the front door. I was playing with the machine, even though I had been told not too, when suddenly I hear behind me:

“Turn around slowly… and move to the back of the store.”

Now, I thought that I had been busted, for playing where I was not supposed to be, but when I turned around I realized I had a different problem, indeed. I turned around and the first thing I saw? Was a gun, pointed at me. However, my point and my realization was what was behind the gun. It was the very first African American man I had ever really met. He looked no different than I, except he was sweating horribly and the gun was shaking. I had seen enough movie, so I did what was right, I held my hands up really high and said:

“I am sorry for playing with the tube testing machine!” (I knew that was not the problem, but his hand shaking had scared me… so I said something I thought might be funny.. or at least disarming… and I did). This man he did laugh, and slightly lowered the gun. He then addressed me and said (in a rather calm voice):

“I am not hear to punish you, I am here to steal money, do you have any?”

I was glad that he thought it funny, what I had said, and it obviously made him calmer and realized I was certainly no threat. With my hands still held high, he mentioned to the back of the store. Telling me not to look around at him and

“Get on the floor!”

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We were back by the soda counter (Gosh, HOW I MISS those), and on the floor was ten or twelve women that had been shopping in the store. All the women looked and saw I was a child and started to scream.

“Don’t hurt him, don’t hurt him he is just a child!”

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This made him a little nervous, so I (laying with my face on the cold floor) said:

I’m OK, he didn’t hurt me… but my Mom is in the back. Is she alright? I am just scared; I don’t want to get hurt.”

The African American robber then said:

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“Nobody’s gonna get hurt, if you do what your told. Now shut up your crying and screaming so I can talk to my girl.”

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Evidently he had an accomplice in the back of the store, yes they were robbing the pharmacy for pills, money and more. So, next he did yell and quite loudly, too.

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Hey, can you hear me? Is this boy’s Mom with you?”

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Right then and there I heard my mother’s voice scream:

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“Danny, be quiet and good and don’t say a word (even at that time… I had a bit of a mouth on me. I am sure my mother thought I might mouth off and make matters worse) I am fine and not hurt!”

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The rest of the story I will save for another day. However, the crux and the reason of this story should be clear. My first impression of an African American man? Was of one holding a gun to my tiny boy head. Now, if any one on this planet has reason to be afraid, of people of color… why it simply must be me.

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I was raised in a ‘Whites Only’ neighborhood and when that did change. My father moved our family to Pearland, and when I asked he only said:

“It’s dark night and day here, and we simply must leave.”

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My freshman year in high school I befriend (the?) an African American girl that was in a class of mine. I walked to classes with her, for a time. Until I started to hear over my shoulder; ‘N___er lover!’ and worse. I hate to admit it, I hate that it is now in print. But I could not stand up to that racism… not on top of all the bullying I already endured for just being me.

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Last, in 1977 I left for Alvin, to go to college and make my father proud. Driving from Pearland into Alvin, I did see something that shocked me to the core. Right under the city limits sign was posted for all to see. A sign that just said this, and nothing more:

‘Ni___r, don’t let the sun set on your ass in this town.’

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Four decades have passed, since I saw that sign. Yet yesterday I did read something that brought it all back to me. This Study Said the South Is More Racist Than the North[1]

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Later I will provide a link to the PDF of the study for anyone to read. Why am I writing this? Why am I taking a real chance of alienating many people I love. People, who until Facebook, I have not seen or talked to for decades, but mean the world to me!

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Aye, there’s the rub. That is why I am writing this article today. Because I do care. I care about my friends and family still living in the south. I care about the people who reached out to help me in my time of need. I am writing, also, because I do not live still in the south and I can write without fear. Nobody is going to drive 2,000 miles to show me how this piece made them feel.

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Now, I just might loose some Facebook friends. That I do not want! I treasure each and every one of you, and believe it or not? 99% of you, I remember… and fondly. I will be something I am constantly accused of, out here, I will be “brutally honest”. One of the reasons I left Pearland, when I did? I was afraid someone would find out I was gay.

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I lived in terror, I lived in fear. I just knew that if my friends and family knew this about me, I would be all alone. However, it did not (mostly) turn out that way. I did loose people I loved dearly… one that matters more than all others. Nevertheless, I could no longer live a lie, nor can I willing lie to people I love. See, I may have acted in my youth, but even on that stage I never said a word I didn’t believe in… I felt was the truth.

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I have never been good at lying, or even telling half-truths. As a boy my father could see right through me, and I could never hide anything from him… except that I was gay. The reason I left Pearland, and have not returned to stay, is because of prejudice.

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Prejudice is everywhere. Here in Orange county California the most prejudice there is? Is based on money and wealth. I saw that in Beverly Hills, too. But it is still judging another by some outside affect. Something non-indicative of who or what you are. Financial prejudice still stings, but at least they do not knock me for loving another man. Baby steps.

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I am not going to point fingers or make accusations. I do not know of anyone I call a friend that is prejudice. I am not asserting that all southerners are racially prejudice. However, I will say that several state Legislatures are passing legislation that is directed at lowering the voting of people of color. Instead of a conservative party trying to make inroads and change, instead they are passing laws trying to force elections to turn out they way they think they should.

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They are working to diminish the power of the vote, depending on the color of your skin. The conservative party knows; they only received 23% of the Hispanic vote (in 2012 for President) and only 7%-12% of the African American vote. I fear that they think that they will loose their base, if out reach they do to Hispanics and African Americans. All of the mainstream media, after the Presidential Conventions, did show; footage of the supporters on the convention floor.

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If you saw this footage on one of the mainstream sources, you would have seen a stark difference in the mixture of white Americans and Americans of color. This is not spin, it was obvious to see so that any open-minded American could clearly see. I found these stories very hard to watch, as they brought up old wounds and old fears.

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I am NOT here to judge, I love too much for that (and I really hope someday I can go back… and spend some of what time I do have left… with these people I love and miss so much). I am… I am here… as a warning. I am here just to tell. Kind of like a canary in a coal mine, I just want to warn. Warn the people I love and care for so deeply to be aware. Aware of just how the country they love so much… might be seeing them.

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I do not want people to be defensive, or post how I am dumb. I am not judging anyone I know or love. I hope that this article does not have a negative effect. I love all my friends dearly, and do NOT mean to offend. I just wanted to share, and tell a little story of my past. Please, do not judge each other. Please do not ‘Unfriend’ me or The Other Shoe. I did not write this article out of hate or out of judgment. I wrote it out of fear.

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Thank you for coming to The Other Shoe. I know that you have hundreds of sources of content and news, and I am honored that you come here. “Thank You!”

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P.S. Here is the link to the PDF of the Study: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Delivery.cfm/SSRN_ID2262954_code1220854.pdf?abstractid=2262954&mirid=2

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About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

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