Wednesday, March 02, 2005



God, sometimes it is SO f...king embarrassing to live in Indiana. I was sitting in the lunchroom at the Goshen IN post office when a young, white window clerk asked the office's only black clerk if anyone had given her any problems over the new 23 cent stamp. The stamp commemorates Marian Anderson, famous singer and civil rights activist. Apparently, several customers had refused to purchase the stamp, opting for a 20 cent stamp and three one cent stamps. Not only would they not purchase the stamp, they recoiled from touching it.

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.

hate to be the one to break this to you gwb, but indiana residents dont have the market on ignorance, or even prejudice.. it would actually be somewhat nice if it was confined to one state and not an entire world, even if we do live in the state..
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..
This is SO Mississippi 40 years ago...No, on second thought, she wouldn't have been able to work in the Post Office.

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.
Oh, it's not just Indiana. I know an awful lot of supposedly "educated" people here in Flint who are amazingly ignorant crackers, and they don't make any effort to be discreet when they start spouting their half-assed cracker shit.

I walk away from people a lot.
My parents and their parents came from Elkhart and to their credit the bigotry stopped with them, however, my grandparents were in the KKK. But as they say it's not the only place that this goes on but it is still embarrassing. I think people that don't know IN think it is more tolerant than it really is. Especially with the older generations.
There are a lot of places like that. Most of Illinois is like that I think, but I live in Chicago where it's not as common, so I forget what the rest of the state is like. It's weird. Well, you would fit in great here :)
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