Wednesday, March 02, 2005
ANOTHER HOOSIER EMBARRASSMENT
The black clerk, Trina, sighed and related this story; in the early sixties Marian Anderson was scheduled to appear at Goshen College. The locals, incensed that the "nigger rabble-rouser" was to appear in their town, tried to have her banned from entering the county. There were a lot of tense moments, a riot threatened, but in the end, the college prevailed and the appearance went off as scheduled. Forty years later, and many of the locals still hold the grudge.
Trina has worked at the Goshen PO for over twenty years. She still has customers who make her put their change on the counter so she won't touch them. Still has customers who will wait for another clerk to come available rather than have her wait on them. Recently, she grabbed one woman's hand, placed her change in it, and said "see, it doesn't rub off!"
Trina is a kind, sweet, extremely nice human being. A devout evangelical Christian, she should fit in Mennonite dominated Elkhart county like a hand in a driving glove. That she doesn't says volumes about Hoosiers.
tell the clerk not to be surprised if some colorful woman visits her post office and actually waits in line until she is available to wait on her..
As for her comment about the color not rubbing off, that may be true, but other things do. Put a black person and a white person in a room for a couple of hours, and guess which one will pick up the other's mannerisms and speech patterns. It's only natural. Those things are more likely to be "colorful," expressive, and creatively illustrative of what one wishes to communicate.
Yo, dawg, dig?
While it's true that Indiana doesn't have a monopoly on ignorance and prejudice, it also seems to have larger pockets of ignorance than the surrounding states. Perhaps this is due to the rural nature of the state, I'm not sure. But you, as much as anyone, know the ignorance factor here.
I walk away from people a lot.