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Creek Running North
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
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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