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September 02, 2005

Black and white text

Interesting, this AP photo, captioned by the BBC "A woman calls for someone to help the elderly lady she cares for."

It's a moving, compelling photo, and yet unremarkable in the avalanche of such images I've seen over the last few days.

Until I realized it was the first photo I'd seen of Black and white refugees together, advocating for one another. Not white EMTs rescuing Blacks, not white soldiers confining Blacks, not a couple lonely whites in a dark-skinned crowd, but just a base-level caring relationship among people, like the kind of relationships I had with neighbors before we moved to the stultifyingly white City of Pinole.

If you have ever lived in a mixed neighborhood you know that relationships form across racial divides. Some are pure friendship or even familial. Some are employer-employee. (I suspect this photo might portray one such relationship.) People tend to get to know their neighbors, unless they live in rich neighborhoods. Even in the most segregated of cities - my old hometown of Buffalo comes to mind - people of good will look out for one another regardless of race. I don't mean to say resentment isn't common, or even usual. But love does triumph often enough.

Why then do I need to look at the foreign press to see a picture like that?

Added: My pal Kim pointed me at this relevant and very sad essay.

Posted by Chris Clarke at September 2, 2005 02:32 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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You're right; this happens all the time. When we lived in white Wisconsin, our neighbors were black, (from below New Orleans, too) and the grandparents became surrogate grandparents for my girls.

I often felt like I had more in common with them than my uptight white neighbors.

Posted by: KathyF at September 3, 2005 01:28 AM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs