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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Thursday, March 01, 2018

White people

Leaving the LGBT center I walk the additional mile to the State Street Coffee House – a cute, little bungalow sitting back from the road, converted into a coffee shop. There are no lesbians or at least no one who admits to being a lesbian inside but there are more white people than I’ve seen since I’ve arrived here.

A slight older white womon with a full head of long white hair braided on either side of her ears, smiles shyly and tells me she agrees with “Death to Racism”. We talk a little and when Tina hears that El Paso and Texas are in my travel plans she confesses she hasn’t driven through Texas since she and her best friend took a greyhound from Charleston to San Diego. She starts describing one of the scheduled stops the bus made along the way in Texas. When the passengers disembarked and entered the building, there was a little, very dark, dank and dirty small walled-off porch area to their right with one Black man sitting there, his back to them, hunched over his plate.

The bus driver pointed the passengers through another doorway to the sunny, cheery formica tables with matching chairs perched on top of shiny dark brown wooden floors. Behind the counter, a couple white women in red, white and blue uniform skirts and blouses, broad smiles plastered across red lips, motioned for them to sit.

Tina looks directly into my eyes, anger and resentment filling her face, as she expresses her irritation … at the bus driver. I’m taken back and ask her why would she be angry with the bus driver – and since 1982? She declares that he should have taken them somewhere else, that he knew he’d have to sit in the darkened section while they went to the white side. She resented him exposing this reality of the u.s. to her.

“Where did you expect the bus driver to take you in Texas in 1982?” I ask, curious. I see it dawn on her, for the first time in 35 years, that maybe that’s what all the restaurants in Texas were like. Startled, she asks me if it is still the same in Texas today.

I ask her what did she, her friend, and the other white passengers do? She looks at me blankly. “Did you support racism and sit in the ‘whites only’ part? Or did you think about joining the bus driver and other man sitting on the porch?” 

“Why, no. We weren’t allowed to do that,” she states unequivocally. 

“Really?” I ask skeptically as she blushes slightly. I could see I made my point. I acknowledge her anger and ask her, rhetorically I hoped, why did she think she turned her anger on to the Black person who was the victim of racism and not on the white perpetrators? Why was she willing to comply with and add to racism instead of challenging the white waitresses and owner, the other white passengers, her friend? 

I told her about the sunset or sundown towns, where Black and brown people had to be out of that town by sunset – or be targets of white violence, legal white violence with impunity.


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