Please spare me the usual emails calling me a “racist.” The white-guilt card will not work on me. I will not cower in the corner, I will not bow and lick your boots, and I will not take responsibility for anything my ancestors did. The Bible teaches us that.
Ezekiel 18:20— “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”
My father grew up poor. He was one of seven children raised in the hills of southern Ohio in what is now known as Appalachia. Because his father could not find employment in his hometown he was forced to travel nearly 100 miles to work each week and spend the time away from the family. My grandmother was essentially a single mother to seven kids while Grandpa Ed worked away from home. My great-grandfather George was a German immigrant who was born in 1863.
My mother’s family wasn’t much better. She was one of eight children and was also raised by a single mother because her husband left the family. Divorce was nearly unheard of in the 1930’s so we were all taught that Mom and Dad Fisher, my grandparents, were separated. Neither one remarried. My Grandpa Fisher paid no child support. There was no welfare.
My mother often told the story of being “farmed out” during the summers. It seems things were so tight that my Mom’s mom actually hired the kids out to local farmers as free labor in exchange for free room and board and a small weekly stipend to Mom Fisher. I guess you wouldn’t technically call it slavery…but child labor laws would not permit it today.
My parents raised five children during the turbulent sixties. Mom was a housekeeper and my Dad was a factory worker. He worked double shifts at Kaiser Aluminum (16 hours) most of his life as he struggle to provide for the family. Mom drove him to work in the mornings so that she would have access to our only family car during the day. They put four of their five children through college; one brother chose not to go, without any help from the government.
I wore a lot of hand-me-downs from my brothers. I think we were lower middle class but we never knew it. Dad taught all of us to work hard and expect no special favors. Food stamps were not available back then but our father would never have taken a handout. They raised us in church. We knew right from wrong, although we often decided not to follow our consciences.
Mom and Dad fought a societal tsunami during the sixties. The culture was doing everything it could to undermine our upbringing. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll took a toll on some of my siblings. It was not an easy time to be a parent. They had a challenging time raising their own children.
Did I mention that my family had to overcome persecution as well? My father’s mother was part of a little known group of Appalachian-Americans known as Melungons which was a group of mixed-blood hybrids. In addition, my father had the double-whammy of being raised Catholic when religious persecution against Catholics was real.
We grew up in a small town in Ohio. There were no Negroes in our town or in our school. Everything we learned about black people we learned from Television. Nothing did more to foster stereotypes of Negroes than the images that played out on the boob tube. NO ONE I knew hated blacks.
The sixties was a time of great upheaval. Every vestige of Christian morality was under assault. From Little Richard, to Elvis, the Beatles to Richard Pryor the MEDIA programmed black stereotypes into American minds. I loved the Four Tops, The Supremes, The Temptations, and Marvin Gaye. I bought their records and sang their songs.
Racism is a made-up thing. I get sick of others impugning my motives simply because of the color of my skin. I’m proud of my heritage and proud of my parents. They had it rough. They stayed married. They took us to church and demanded we respect others. I rooted for blackmen like Jimmy Brown, Elston Howard, Willie Mays, and Oscar Robertson. The thought of hating someone for the color of their skin was unheard of in my little town.
I wonder what my Mom and Dad would say about America today. They surely would shake their heads at the thought of white privilege and “institutional racism.” I remember my Mom sobbing at the death of Dr. King and the government slaughter at Kent State. No one wanted to live in an America like that.
I write this today because I know this is how most Americans feel. The thought of white Americans being racist is bunk. Our government is corrupt. Our churches are sheepish and divided. Our nation is morally bankrupt. The media drives the racist narrative as a means to divide and conquer. Satan is alive and well.
America is not a racist country. They use it as a weapon. I’m proud to be white. I’m proud of my heritage. I am proud of what my parents overcame. No amount of revisionist history will change the fact that life is a struggle for everyone. Poverty has no color. Neither do fidelity, honesty, compassion, and forgiveness. My parents stayed married for 60 years. They taught us the 10 Commandments. They expected us to follow them.
I had great parents who just happened to be white. Who you become is more determined by nurture than nature. Red or yellow black or white all are precious in His sight. Blacks aren’t the only ones who have had to struggle.
I miss my parents. I wish I had the chance to tell them. I’m proud of who they were. I’m proud of what they overcame. They taught us to build things not tear them down. I’m sick of watching what they did be drug through the mud.
I’m proud to be white. I’ll never feel guilty for that.
© 2020 Dave Daubenmire – All Rights Reserved
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