Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 229 - My Only Hero - Stetson Kennedy, 1916 - 2011


I called Stetson to discuss some common experiences such as separating from your family as a result of racial convictions. He answered the phone and I asked if I could have a moment of his time.  He replied, "BJ I was just sitting here waiting for you to call."  At that time, I had felt like I finally had someone who really understood my convictions as a white mother of biracial children. A mother who was disowned by her family after being taught about Christian brotherly love. I didn't believe that we couldn't get along with other races and I didn't understand the illogical explanations of my own family
for disowning me for marrying a man that was black and having children that were not "all white."  Stetson went on to explain that he too had been separated from his parents but it was by his own choosing.  He explained the scene at Thanksgiving Dinner in which his father clearly disapproving of Stetson's talk of racial equality was told that if he didn't like what his father was saying that
he could leave the table and go eat with some colored family for Thanksgiving if he liked them better than him. Stetson told his father, "Dad, You are right.  I do think I would rather be with any black folk than to continue to sit here and listen to this nonsense."   As he promptly got up from the table of thirteen and left, never to return. In Stetson's case he had chosen to leave his family for his own beliefs. 

He also told me of having to teach guests when they first arrived where the loaded rifles were, how to be able to hit the floor in the event of a drive by and how to use these rifles as many times his house was filled with bullet holes by men of the Klan who drove by and emptied rounds of bullets into his house.

I believe that Stetson did the right thing by living his daily life filled with moments of doing the right thing. He has been, is and will always be an inspiration to me. He risked his life to tell the ugly truth about the white men who were cowardly hidden behind white masks. In my case I didn't chose to leave my family, they disowned me.  With the recent death of my Grandmother and the rest of the family not telling me so that I wouldn't show up to the funeral with some "colored" person, I am reminded that the cause for which Mr. Kennedy has stood, continues to be valid and the pain seeping from our wounds will continue unless more people are as courageous as Stetson.


God be with you Stetson, and be sure to tell my Grandmother in heaven that God doesn't like Ugly.

3 comments:

  1. So this blog was posted online in the Florida Times Union in Jacksonville, The VERY FIRST POST proved why we still need to do the right thing and follow the courage that Stetson has blazed by his footsteps:

    Comments (3)
    Otis
    By Otis | 09/04/11 - 07:49 pm

    I don't think we need more Stetson's. We need some black Stetson's. The problem as I see it with race relations today is a huge percentage of blacks don't buy into the American way. They prefer to live on handouts and stay ignorant and wreck havoc on their neighbors.
    This fact is totally ignored. Yet we continue to pay children to breed, waste money on schools, and act as if some unseen (white no doubt) force is holding them down.
    Experience and common sense tells me different than what the media and mr. Stetson and Ms. Winchester want me to believe.
    Ms. Winchester evidently has a fine and loving husband. That's a good thing. But it doesn't mean it's common. It doesn't mean we all believe in education, hard work and responsibility.

    People like Ms. Winchester are quick to jump the gun about white racism but don't mention the huge area's of town a white person is not welcome in and risks their life to be in after dark. How come? White racism?

    Democracy is 2 wolves and 1 sheep voting on what's for dinner. We are not a democracy.

    Read more at Jacksonville.com: http://jacksonville.com/opinion/letters-readers/2011-09-03/story/guest-column-stetson-kennedy-touched-family#comment-466437#ixzz1XCI6M9Kh

    ReplyDelete
  2. So I posted my response:
    Otis,
    My first thought was to flag this as offensive, but then I thought better. Unfortunately the mentality that comes through in these words are EXACTLY why Stetson fought until his death as will I to educate and break down these stereotypes. Here are the false statements in your post:

    1) Nobody gets paid to breed and I personally find this particular comment offensive. MLK jr stated that silence constitutes consent, so I must tell you this is incorrect, ignorant (meaning lack of knowledge) and racist. I do not and will not sit back and let you post this “spewing of the mouth” in silence.
    2) These type of comments are exactly what breaks down race relations, now the false “fear scare tactics” listed in your post
    3) African Americans make up only 12% of the population. If ALL African Americans were on welfare, this still would not total the entire welfare recipient demographics. So this statement is filled with stereotypes and does not fit with the logic of the math.
    4) There can not be “black Stetson” as blacks do not have the majority. This is why racism exists. Black people do not have the power even in 100% total unification. We as white people must examine our own prejudices, entitlements and white privilege (google white privilege) and be the change agents.

    Otis, I wonder if you heard, “They came for the Jews, I sat in silence. They came for the Catholics, I sat in silence. They came for the Blacks, I sat in silence. They came for the Hispanics, I sat in silence. Then they came for me…there was nobody left to help me.
    I know these words are useless to you, but I pray that someone else who reads this will use critical thinking skills and listen.
    Stetson’s work needs to live on….as evidenced by your post.
    BJ

    ReplyDelete
  3. Otis is Another useful idiot...The implication is that though the person in question naïvely thinks themselves an ally [ ] or other ideologies, they are actually held in contempt by the [allies] and were being cynically used.

    ReplyDelete