Not my heritage
That day in homeroom, my teacher cried and seemed to loose her composure.
"Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional."
It was May of 1954 and I was in ninth grade, and in a racially segregated high school of the deepest racist and intolerant American south. I had never had a Black friend and the only contact I had with 'different' people during my youth was the Austrian exchange student who had lived in my home for a few months.
The schools were suppose to end racial segregation "with all deliberate speed". And so it began, and in Alabama, where my parents had moved, George Wallace was standing in the school house door.
That was the time when I was embarrassed to let my friends know where I went, when I 'went home' on days such as Thanksgiving.
Because of university, work in Florida, New York City, and The Hague, Netherlands, I mainly missed my family's South Alabama years. And when I came out as gay, my life endured the religion-based bigotry, as the racist and homophobic American culture targeted not just the negros but also the gays.
They eventually got me, on a dark street two blocks from my Florida home. And after two brain operations, and after having seen the 'light at the end of the tunnel', the activist in me was born.
Growing up a southerner who despises southern culture has not been easy. My relatives and high school friends were rednecks who trapped and killed poor forest animals and marched and trained in the piny woods of South Georgia and the swamps of North Florida, proud of the Old Confederacy and its flag. In the words of my favorite uncle: "That's the way we wuz raised."
In the South Georgia county where I was born, the citizens just voted 70% for hate and Republican/Trump values.
Today in Mexico, my home for the past thirty-six years -- I will not celebrate American Thanksgiving.
I'm embarrassed -- and see nothing to celebrate this Thanksgiving Day. I've erased the email addresses of my racist Georgia friends and family. The expat American woman who invited me to join a group at her groaning board, also keeps Fox News lit on an adjacent table.
I'll eat tacos, instead.