I have to tell you, Pat Conroy is one of my favorite authors. And it is not because he has such gripping, traumatic storylines, it is because the water always plays such an important part in his stories. If you are a water person you will understand this. I have lived next to the water almost all my life. My moods and emotions are tied into the tide (hee hee). Seriously. There is a slower pace of life amongst those of us who live by the ocean, or the river, or a harbor. The southern accents are different here and people live by a code of life that is fast disappearing elsewhere.
But the other reason I like Pat Conroy is he gives a realistic portrayal of racial issues in the south. If you have never read "The Water is Wide" I highly recommend you read it. If you think we have come a long way in racial issues, you don't live where I live.
Now I know several of you called me out on the flamboyant southern man whom I felt was racist. I concede that point. His comment was in bad taste, but maybe not racist. But still, I always try to look at things from a non-white person's perspective. There's a history there that can't be denied.
I knew moving to our new town that we were going to be in the minority. Our town is 57% black. The thing that is different in our town is that our town, way back when, fell on the side of the Underground Railroad and abolitionist supporters. How can that affect today, you ask? Ask the black and white families of Pop 259 who share the same last name and the same plantation owner as a great-grandfather. It matters. Our town appeared to have a great balance and good relations between black and white people. That's what I thought...until E went back to school.
Apparently a lot of the white parents hand-picked their teachers for their kids. The principal said that he wasn't going to honor those requests, but he did. So what we have in E's grade are three classes of 98% white students and 2 classes of 98% black students. E is in an almost all black class. I really don't care except for the fact that I am afraid it might make it a little harder for her to make friends since she already has to cross the "new to town" barrier and now has to cross the race barrier, too.
But what disturbs me is that the parents created this situation. And the other white parents keep telling me I need to do something and get E into a white class. They seem to think I am crazy for holding my ground. I have met E's teacher, I have read her letters home, I have seen her give my daughter extra attention to make her feel comfortable. To me the teacher is more important than the class. We're staying put. But shame on these parents and this principal for allowing segregation to exist. How are we ever going to move forward?
Anyway, my rant for the day is done. I did want to let you all know that Dionne was released from prison and all but "accessory after the fact" charges were dropped. He will be on probation for two years and must attend school or maintain a full-time job, but he has been released. Thank the Universe!