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Racism issues in small towns

Updated on September 28, 2010

To start this hub I want to let anyone who reads it know that I am in no way racist. I see people beyond gender orientation, color etc. It's how I was raised. So please no one take this to offense in anyway. I'm simply using this hub to point out some facts that I've noticed in the small mountain town that I live in.

I live in the North Georgia Mountains. Originally I'm from Ohio. I'm use to diverse cultures, races, gender orientations, gay and lesbians. So nothing really shocks me. But last year when I moved to this small mountain town I was surprised to learn that we had no African American people that live here. And if they do, you rarely ever see them. I'm sure this is true in many small southern states. But I don't know about them. All I know is what I see here.

The town I live in is deeply rooted in people who have literally lived here all their lives. African Americans are not part of this deeply rooted community. When an African American or even a Mexican or Guatemalan walks into any place people literally stop and stare. Some even shout insults. It shocks me beyond belief. This is something I'm not use to nor am I happy with. But I know that living in this town all I can do is bite my tongue. I am never going to change the way the older generation thinks or acts nor am I going to change the way the kids my age see these other people as well. To hate another race or a gay or lesbian is what they were taught and what they know. And to myself it is just depressing.

One case in point : I dated a young man when I first moved here last year. He lived a town over so I spent a lot of time at this place and with his family. (Which are very backwoods kinda people) One day in particular I went with his step-mother to the store. Just an everyday outing to get some things. We pull up and there is a van full of African Americans. Her first words were to the effect "Where did they come from." and "I think they took a wrong turn" It was all I could do to keep the shock showing all over my face. I simply asked "What do you mean?" She turns and looks at me like I just asked the ultimate wrong question. And simply stated that "They don't belong here and they need to go back to where they came from." I about died right where I stood! I couldn't believe that someone could be so closed minded about a family that they didn't even know! Judging them soley on the color of their skin instead of who they were as people.

One more case in point : Just this past Friday night actually, The police were called to the local bar here in town. A 911 call was dispatched of a "black man standing in the parking lot" I kid you not, someone called the cops because a "black" man was standing outside the bar that he had been in all night talking on his cell phone. And yes the police did respond to the call. What happened I don't know. But I do know that they "man" they were called about did come into my place of work later that night to eat. Though he didn't mention it, the cops that come in EVERY night to eat were all talking about it! Like they have never seen a "black man" before! Again SHOCK!

I'm in awe and in bafflement in this small town and all the closed mindedness. How can people judge when they don't know the facts? It's bothersome to say the least. But all I can do is make the people who come into where I work as comfortable as possible and let them know that I'm not like the others in this small town. It's hard to do I know. Espically when they expect the people in this small town to act they way they do.

What are your thoughts and opinions on this matter? Please be respectful in your comments as others are going to differ in their opinions. Thanks


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    • SpaceShanty profile image


      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      It is a fact that everyone has prejudices, whether they like to admit it or not!

      When I encounter it I always try to change their opinion and open their mind, just calling them a racist pig only makes then defensive and reinforces their ideas.

    • Funom Makama 3 profile image

      Funom Theophilus Makama 

      6 years ago from Europe

      Really a great Hub and I particularly love the way everyone is expressing their own experiences here. As some have earlier said, racism is everywhere and may not seem to end anytime soon. I live in Ukraine and the western part of the country where exposure is quite limited when compared to the eastern part and we face racism in different forms.

    • prettynutjob30 profile image


      6 years ago from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet.

      Great hub,I lived in Cocke County last year I was shocked at how ignorant some of the people where about diversity,I mean just look at the name of the county need I say more.

    • lawdoctorlee profile image

      Liza Treadwell Esq aka Liza Lugo JD 

      6 years ago from New York, NY

      I realize that it is shocking to some people...usually because these issues are not discussed when growing up. I am a product of that. I think we as parents do a disservice when we don't tell them that this exists in the world. I started talking to my kids about it when my daughter, who was 5 year old at the time, came home and asked me "What's a nigger Momma, 'cause someone called me that at school today." (I was in an interracial marriage for more than 20 years - married to a Black man.) I explained it to her and then said there are people in the world who hate others for the color of their skin. Her answer: "Well that's dumb 'cause I can't help it that I'm brown." Momma's answer: "You're right and you are so smart." I can't even begin to tell you all the "shocking" statements I've heard.

      Recently, I made a Hub entitled "The Current Status of Black America," you might want to read it. If you're shocked about these kinds of comments, you will be bowled over by what laws have been recently passed in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. I include my personal experiences as well.

      One piece of advice, be very careful about who you have in your life for you will be judged by that alone. In Spanish we say, "Dime con quien tu andes and te dijo quien to eres." Translation: Tell me who you walk with and I'll tell you who you are. This does not mean I am saying you are a racist. You made it clear you are not. But be careful when you marry, because your children will be taught the values of his family members.

      And PS: you're not doing nothing about it....You're making a Hub about it!

      Voted up!

    • profile image

      David in MS 

      7 years ago

      My apologizes.... but there is something almost unbelievable in your story. Especially what the step mother said about "going back where they came from"

      Recism exists... but I'm an out gay male from VERY small town Mississippi... so there is PLENTY to "hate" on me about... and I've NEVER heard anything quite like that... then I've lived New York City, Boston, Las Vegas, and Lisbon, Portugal... but moved back. I can say that the VAST MAJORITY of overt racism (shouting insults like you described)is something I've ONLY witnessed in the larger place. This came as a shock to me. I'm not saying it doesn't happen... I've just never seen it. I'm my experience, people that are unfamiliar with small towns put walls up.... see things that aren't there... and because of stereotypes tend to be prepared to expect "backwoodsness" as you say and as a result that's ALL they see... so in a sense its sorta like racism too.

    • richardyeo profile image


      7 years ago from malaysia

      No mattter the american are trying to politcally correct and humanly correct, but racism is the basis in certain moslem countries. For examples in indonesia and malaysia, racism has been deeply entrenched and will stay here for good until the end times. In country like malaysia and indonesia, they even have a racist constitutions that divides the muslim malay fromm other malay. One of it is the malay special rights, their special positions in the government, their economics rights to almost everything they grab that will be denied to others. That policy is what they call the (nep) new economic policy. They were using religions of islam as tools to unite the malay against any other non malay.

      Even hitler will turn envy, even p.w botha of the previous Aparthied south africa president, even kkk, even supremacist racist group will have turn in their graves , and say how come the malay were so successful in inventing the laws of racism, where all others racist group failed.

      Did god turn a blind eye to certain exceptions of racism or certain racist groups.The malays of south east asia and to a lesser extent moslem of middle east are the most successful racist the world has even know since hitler. They have triumped in this land what others had failed miserably in europe and america. Perhaps america and europe are god chosen people for they are christian, wherelse the moslem represent the satanic race of people that sows hatred, violence ,terrorism, and unabated racism. So america and western european enacted laws to ban racism and have a constitution to effect and to deal with it arbitrarily and judiciary in a fair manner. But the moslem of south east asia turn away from this righeousness of god,and instead even encourage racism and fan racial violence that amount to political murder and ethnics massacre.

      If not for emergence of north east asian and japan as a world economic powers and military built up, these south east asian moslem malay racist are dangerously racist,but they dont have the creativeness of hitler or europeans who are far in advanced of weapon technology to pose a threat to the world.

      We must learn from history in order to understand racism. The europeans and american had gave up on racism, because they knew how to be a civilised people ands they knew how to honour god. Much is not the same for moslem and racist element in islam thst will not hesitate to defaced the bioble, and commit rape against other races.

      So they are sometimes things, that simply cannot be resolved with human understanding of other people rights and respect of other people cultures. It is easy for certain moral gurus or teachers to preach about the abhorence of being racist towards the blacks or so and so. When it comes to countries , like the malay of south east asia and moslem of the middle the east, they realised it and yet they even encouraged racism to maintain their politcal and ethnics supremacy. That is why most muslim ine world adored hitler and admired his violence against the jews. They malays of south east asia admired hitler,or the german state for the exterminations of jews, and that is what they intend to imitate it like a monkey. Ony things they do not have the industrial capacity to do it and neither the means to finance it and even if they had, they cannot even fight the industrial giants of even tiny island of singapore.

      So race and poliics are here to stay for good, no matter how we argued, because that is what satans created them as an evil force for their authorities on earth.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Sometimes I forget just how racist America still is. Articles like this bring me back to reality. I wholly agree with what Liss said: a large part of the reason blacks don't travel is because it is too taxing to try to find out in which places you will be safe.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am growing up in a small town in western carolina u wouldn't believe the racial tension evey time a group of black people come across a white person there's conflict and it's the other way around also we have 3 black kids at our school and if anything happens they immediately ask the black kid it just angers me

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is why I am weary of small towns. As a black girl living in the midwest, I am already on edge when it comes to police. I remember the first time they singled me out, long before I thought about race, they just gave me this disturbing feeling as if they would shoot me dead if I did one wrong thing.

      I've always maintained a "stay in the cities" kind of belief. Yes, cities have a good big share of racism, corrupt cops, and every possible bad thing, but cities also have more safe spots and options and its not in the middle of nowhere like a small town is.

      I know its wrong to label all small towns as danger zones for minorities, but its just too risky to even assume its safe.

      Its one of the many reasons we blacks don't travel, its just too tiresome trying to figure out if we'd be safe where ever it is we are going.

    • ibnujusup1985 profile image


      7 years ago from Holy earth

      racism can bring us to a disastrous state... say no to being equal is really hard???hmmm

    • Mark Monroe profile image

      Mark Monroe 

      8 years ago from Dover De

      Very good hub, it is an important message for anyone who thinks that racism is dead in America

    • earnestshub profile image


      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Racism in a very lazy way to think. :) Even a modicum of thought about the nature of a modern world should dispel it. The problem being many people have closed minds.

    • whatsmyageagain profile image


      8 years ago from Southern California

      I feel the bewilderment in your writing and I am right there with you. I used to live in MD, which was fine, normal. Then I visit some southern and surrounding states and the culture (or lack there of) was eye opening. I like how you did say that the older generations and the roots of a town...because like it or not some town just have not progressed. It will come. But, in what time period, I do not know.

    • katiem2 profile image


      8 years ago from I'm outta here

      It's amazing color and the fact that it may always be an issue as dealing with Racism in a Small Town is a reflection of the reality of it all, thanks for sharing this powerful account of true details. Peace :)

    • samboiam profile image


      8 years ago from Texas

      I was raised in a very prejudice area. The early years of my life was greatly influenced by racism. As I grew older I began to understand I was responsible for my own belief system. Just because those around me held to certain beliefs and thought processes did not make them right. I eventually had to become a man and decide things on my own.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      I, too, find that shocking, gqgirl. I married a guy (big mistake in many ways!) who was an Air Force cadet stationed near Houston where I was working after I graduated from college. He seemed OK and it never really occurred to me that he and his background were very much like you described people near your present living quarters. Only his were in Southern Indiana! And the prejudice and close-mindedness were every bit are strong and unrelenting as what you describe! Imagine my shock after we married to go there and find out!

      Then he decided to leave the AF and we had to move up there, where I was a minority of one amongst all his many relatives for the next 18 miserable years, plunged into all that.

      The town was proud to proclaim that the last black man (and they didn't use that term) who stopped there for gas didn't leave alive!!!!! It still chills my blood to think about it. And yet these folks were truly "white trash", much as I hate to admit it. How they got off believing that the color of their skin made them any better is more than I can ever fathom.

      When we married - and it was a sweet small military wedding at the chapel on the base - he chose an AF buddy to sing - a black fellow with a music degree from Julliard. I guess somehow my fiancé had become color blind where Cecil was concerned. Well, even my beloved Dad who was totally without racial bias, suggested that it might be a little risky, that some of the guests at the wedding would probably be offended at this choice of a singer! If anyone was, I never knew it, and we didn't change the plan. But it was probably the Indiana folks rather than the 'deep-south' Texans who were, if anyone was, though possibly some of the "east Texan" in-law relatives whose predecessors had owned slaves, may have been a little miffed. I never knew. I didn't ask and at least they had the class not to volunteer the information.

      Again - whatever the "differences" - to me, there is simply no excuse or reason to judge a person on those. It is the character, the personality and all the other wonderful human qualities we all have in different ways and manifest in our preferences and cultures which make it such a fascinating, interesting, - and constructive world! If everyone were alike - it would not only be boring - but think of all the different works that would not be done because everyone would only know and want to do one kind of thing!

      Good hub, my friend. Learning to look beyond differences is what may be able to preserve civilization, I believe.

      You get my vote!


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