Thursday, February 10, 2011

Off In The Morning

Our original plan was to move to Mobile, AL for a week before heading to FL. The weather there is virtually the same as it is here in Biloxi, MS. Chilly! We have been getting two or three cold days in a row followed by one nice day. Our neighbor from Illinois promises us it will start getting warm soon and we want to believe him but we also want to warm up before we have to head home. We have to be home in time to mail our taxes by April 30 so that means heading slowly north by the first week in April. We will skip Mobile and head straight for Southern FL! Temperatures there are in the mid 70’s. Just what we need for a few weeks.

We spoke to an older black gentleman ahead of us in line at the grocery store. Norma remarked to him how friendly people are in Mississippi. With an obvious glance at his black skin he said, “Are now, weren’t always”! We told him we were from Canada and thought we were coming down here for some warm weather. He told us to come back in the summer and we would get enough warm to last us through the next winter.

Now an observation

This is our first time in the Southern States. We have known many black people but all of them either in Canada, Mexico or the Western USA. We have spent lots of time interacting and talking to them. Here in the “South” things seem different in everyday interaction between the races. I am most comfortable in situations where there is no apparent or perceived differences between people. I talk to and treat everyone the same; black, white, brown, red, yellow, gay or straight and I expect to be treated the same back. This is my comfort zone and I feel very uneasy stepping out of it. Here, white people appear to be treated differently. Black people seldom or never seem to initiate contact. They will return a smile or nod but they do not come over to talk. If I initiate conversation they are friendly but let me lead the conversation. They always address us as “sir” and “ma'am” which always makes me uncomfortable, I don’t want to be called “sir”. I don’t know if I am creating all this in my head or not. Are they simply taught much better manners than the rest of us or is this a remnant of their life back a few (too few) years? Also, I do not recall seeing a mixed race couple since we left Arizona or New Mexico. I even feel uncomfortable talking about the subject here and I hope all I have said here is just my imagination.


  1. Well, the Sir or Maam is probably related to your mature age (sorry!), as I remember everyone was taught to use those titles with anyone older than they are. I used to find it funny when as a child we would go south to visit my parent's families and all their adult nieces and nephews would use Sir or Maam to them.

    The rest... I rather doubt that less than 50 years has changed that much. I've had several black friends in Calif who were originally from the south tell me that they were more comfortable with the open distinctions in the south vs the more hidden racism of the west. Not really a great choice in my mind but I can see how knowing where you stand would be easier to deal with.

  2. Hi Croft,
    I've seen and felt the same way about this for years. We were at a campsite in Burlington Washington, there were many Hispanic people living in the "back". While walking my dog past the area one of the little girls wanted to pet my Eskimo dog (white & fluffy) and her parents were afraid to let her, even though I was motioning that it was okay and in my broken Spanish saying bien perro. She sat and pat my dog and we all spoke but it really hit a nerve with me, I felt sorry for her and her family and went and bought ice cream cones for them! Can't we all just get along.
    I also think, if I'm reading things right, you & Norma are missing Mexico and I'm really missing your Mexico stories.
    Stay safe and find some sunshine.

  3. Yes Kelly, we are missing Mexico! Norma has wanted to do this trip to FL for years so it is good we are doing it but the wet and cold was unexpected and unwelcome!

    Extraño a mis amigos Mexicanos! (I miss my Mexican friends)

  4. Well, welcome to the south. Some people say it hasn't changed much except for the laws. Not to be negative, I noticed it too on our trip last year. Very sad. Not a very good example for the rest of the world.

  5. Wait till you get to Tennessee and everybody calls you 'Honey'.

  6. Croft the south is the south and change would seem extermely slow smile when in ROME do as the Romans do.

    Al retierd telus Kelowna

  7. We have had a bit if that already, Judy. It is kind of nice. Far better than "sir".

    Al in Kelowna, Sorry Al, it is just not in my nature. Another windmill to tilt. So far it is Windmills 683 and Croft 14. Better than nothing......