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Posts Tagged ‘Real Clear Politics’

Martin Luther King used the term “UpSouth” to characterize his thoughts of the State of Indiana whenever he traveled to it.  Essentially, he was inferring that unlike other non-southern states north of the Mason-Dixon line, the fervor of the racist climate was as negative in Indiana as it was in, say,  Alabama.

Having grown up in Gary , Indiana, I understand those sentiments all too well. It is not surprising to see that Indiana, though being viewed as a potential “swing state”, is polling in the favor of John McCain.

The term “isolation breeds ignorance” identifies with, in my opinion, the back roads of Indiana.

Essentially, outside of Gary, Indiana and Indianapolis, you won’t find too many Black Americans living amongst back roads the great John Cougar Mellencamp sings about in his songs. While this is also true in places like the back roads of Iowa, white citizens of the State of Indiana have carried a prepackaged 20th Century anti-black vantage point of blacks into the 21st Century, while citizens of the back roads of Iowa have not entirely, evidenced by Obama’s win there in the Iowa Caucus during the primaries.

Why did Iowans not display the same type of behavior towards Obama as Hoosiers did during its primary as well as in today’s polls, I cannot answer. I have a limited knowledge of Iowa, so I have to take a pass on that. But I do have a take on the behavior of Hoosiers then (during the primaries) and now, pre-Nov. 4th election day.

To put it bluntly, white lower class and middle class citizens of the State of Indiana have had to compete with black citizens for industrial jobs since the industrial revolution brought hundreds of thousands of them to the State of Indiana via textile mills and steel mills. I truly feel that this “factor” has had a great deal to do with a lot of the animosity that White Hoosiers have towards Black Hoosiers (trying calling a black person from Indiana a “Hoosier” and watch the odd look on their faces).

Though agriculture has remained a large part of the makeup of Indiana, quite a number of Hoosiers who grew up on farms and in small towns throughout Indiana, migrated to places like Gary, Hobart, East Chicago, Fort Wayne, Hammond, Crown Point and Portage to snag good paying jobs in the steel mills of the then second largest steel producing area of the United States (to Pittsburgh).

In my opinion, it’s the City of Gary itself that fuels most of the animosity towards blacks in the entire State of Indiana. Iowa has no “Gary, Indiana”. To be honest with you, I don’t think there is another Gary, Indiana in the entire United States of America. It is a unique place that’s full of civil rights history that, to me, has never really had it’s story told as it should be told. The quintessential misunderstood city.

It’s my home. I take it with the good and the bad. It’s painful to see what it’s become. This of course, is exactly what most Whites who either previously lived in Gary or nearby points to whenever they want to provide an example of “how blacks really are”. This sentiment has “trickled down” throughout the State of Indiana and most White Hoosiers are resolute in their belief that blacks are dangerous, “Just look at Gary”…

I will one day break down my critique of that vantage point, but now is not the time. In fact, I’d probably have to pay for extra space in WordPress to provide such a vantage point. Maybe in a book. Who knows.

For the sake of the upcoming election, I’m calling the State of Indiana for McCain. I have no confidence that the White citizens of the State of Indiana, collectively, CAN set aside their animosity towards Blacks and vote a Black man into the White House.

If I’m wrong, which I hope I am, it would be a great day for that State. Racial polarization, especially in Northwest Indiana, is a cancer to the State. I fear that it will never be able to move ahead collectively until the issue of race is put to rest.

I believe this is true for the entire country. If we can EVER put aside the issue of race collectively, we will see that this country is still the best in the world. THERE IS NO OTHER PLACE LIKE IT.

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