From the documentary FREEDOM RIDERS

August 10, 2011 § 2 Comments

This will sound familiar to many of us.   From John Seigenthaler, Birmingham, Alabama resident and Assistant to Robert F. Kennedy in FREEDOM RIDERS          

“I grew up in the South—a child of good and decent parents.  We had women who worked in our household, sometimes as surrogate mothers.   They were invisible women to me.  I can’t believe I couldn’t see them.  I don’t know where my head or heart was.  I don’t know where my parents’ head and heart were, or my teachers’.  We were blind to the reality of racism and afraid, I guess, of change.”   The reference to “invisible women” reminds me of the compelling work of artist Rodney Grainger  (mentioned in previous posts–see photographs) who creates images of domestic workers fading away or faceless behind their white charges.

§ 2 Responses to From the documentary FREEDOM RIDERS

  • Cara H says:

    I enjoyed reading your postt

  • Where were our hearts and minds? Good question! The Black women who worked in my mother’s household were good people and were kind to me. And I identified with them—not my white family. My mother told me Black people were intellectually inferior to whites. I knew that wasn’t true. I knew that the women working for my mother had not had much schooling. Some couldn’t read and write. I always wondered what my mother would find out about me that would make me inferior in her mind. Why was skin color the determinant? The white people who settled “America,” like my slave owning ancestors, demonized people with dark skin. How else could they treat human beings with such brutality, such distain, such inhumanity if they were considered “equally human.” And here we are today. George Floyd! The misconception of inferiority still drives our country.

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