Growing up, I was clueless about segregation

Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 05:35 PM.

I’ve lived through a lot of history. That doesn’t make me special — just old.

I’m fortunate my years haven’t yet gotten too heavy to comfortably carry. So far I can pack them up and trundle off to about anywhere.

Why I’ve been so blessed is a mystery to me. It must be genetics and blind luck because I can assure you it isn’t something I especially deserve.

What germinated this train of thought about the passing of history was last week’s celebration of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. At the time it simply came over news outlets as an impressive moment.

I was born in 1941 so grew through my teens and into young adulthood during the desegregation battles. My television and I lived through the events as they flowed.

I’d be lying if I said I took positions or participated in any manner from any perspective. Looking back I’m amazed I was as totally clueless about the import of what was going on around me in those times.

I was just a passive, disinterested white kid ambling through the segregated world, which was all I had ever known so it seemed perfectly normal. But it was far from “normal,” and had I actually thought about people being excluded from restaurants, hotels, schools and even bathrooms, perhaps I would’ve figured a few things out.

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