I was born and reared in Southern Illinois. That region of Illinois then a part of the Segregated South. The schools I attended were not as functional as those the white kids enjoyed. Appreciating movies at the local Roxy Theatre required a lonely climb upstairs to the balcony. I've sipped water from fountains designated 'Negro Only, ' and well remember the 'Colored' signs at the rear of the 'Tri-City' bus. At an advanced age, in the center of one of the World's most renowned regions, where least expected, I've heard the disparaging word 'nigger' directed my way on separate occasions.
As an activated USMC Reservist during the Korean Conflict, I was deployed to Parris Island, South Carolina. Arriving in Beaufort soon after daybreak, famished, amid thoughts centered on an uncertain future, I was oblivious to the cultural mores around me. Dressed in full military regalia, toting a fully packed sea-bag, I entered the nearest restaurant seeking a mere breakfast meal. I was met at the door with words I shall never forget, 'We don't serve Colored People here.' My Country had just ordered me to submit my life to protect it, with death if necessary, yet found it convenient to deny me a decent meal in a comfortable setting.
Racial insensitivity, once experienced, remains indelibly ingrained, precisely defining bigotry whenever and wherever it appears. I've seen its presence in proliferated acts of political expediency. Known it denied in spite of the critical obvious. Have witnessed those who claim to abhor the practice, sit silently in tacit approval. Folks who observe, yet fail to condemn are as culpable, I'm convinced, as any committing the overt act.
Racism - Just Another Word..'Til Once Experienced
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.I would like to translate this poem