Sunday, December 8, 2013

Grandma and Race Relations

I only heard my Grandmother say anything about race one time.

My Grandma was not a typical Grandma.  She was very invested in life long education and her reading list is not what would automatically spring to mind.


For example, Dante's Inferno,  the Kinsey report on Sexual Behavior, Hitler's Mein Kampf, Darwin's Evolution of a Species, Marx's The Communist Manifesto, Machiavelli The Prince and Plato's The Republic were all on the list. These were supplemented with The New Yorker and National Geographic.  

She was a very talented artist and she loved everything about theater. She would paint backgrounds, sew costumes and make large paper Mache heads for the characters to wear.  The Mormon Church used to have a road show once a year.  Each congregation made up an original play and then competed.  Themes were usually lighthearted attempts at comedy leading up to a spiritual lesson.


Not my Grandma.  The year she was in charge of the Road Show she chose the Freudian themes of Id, Ego and Super Ego.  Pretty far out there for a local church production.  I'm not sure what all this entailed but I can't imagine that the Oral, Anal and Phallic stages of development received enthusiastic acceptance.  

During my first year in college, I stopped by my Grandma’s house. The TV was on, which in and of itself was odd, but the show she was watching wasn’t news or even the public broadcast system.  She was watching Michael Jackson.  What!?! She didn't even listen to pop music from here era.

She asked if I knew who that was so I told her a little about the Jackson 5. Then she announces that he is a very talented young man.  I agree and so do millions of others.

But next she reported that she felt so sorry for him.  Really? Why? He's making an enormous amount of money doing what he loves. (This is around the time when he started changing his appearance.)

Well look at him. He is trying to change how he looks. You know that is our fault. We make it too hard on people who aren’t white, even when they are talented and make a lot of money.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

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