This is what I grew up with. No wonder my family did not want anyone to know we are Native. My dad’s family wouldn’t talk about it. My grandmother would just say, “We must protect the children”. In the case of my sister and I, this meant setting us adrift between cultures. So we would be singled out as Native by the nice people and told we are not Native by some Indians. The final picture shows all my father hinted at, and brought the shock of recognition. So painful. My heart is filled with gratitude for this post.
Nice Folks are a problem: usually because their greatest aspiration is to be nice.
To be “nice”, they are specialists in “going along to get along” – or is that “getting along to go along”? They’ll literally join any crowd; go in any parade; accept anything that’s going on around them to – well, to simply make sure they don’t stand out. They just run their lives based on something called “Common Sense”; which they think means the same thing as “Reality”, and practice like a religion. The fact that their common sense is simply a mix of myths and legends that they learned in school – or the movies – or on TV – doesn’t seem to intrude on them. Common sense is easier that Google, and serves them to get through their lives; walking with the herd; not getting into any kind of trouble.
The picture above is…
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11 thoughts on “Nice Folks”
Michael…This is so familiar across this wide country – do not tell anyone – I understand why
Yes. It was necessary to remain invisible. But the cost was so great.
I have spoken about this with friends in the south who repeat the same. The fear of identifying any Native ancestry was necessary… what tragedy.
Lara, it is indeed tragic, and painful. It is also a face of the racism you were so impacted by.I often wonder why, at this time in our collective history and our personal lives, it is still so hard to be safe and seen.
I’m glad I followed this to the end. The final picture. Wow. So incredibly, astonishingly sad. I really can’t understand how hatred and abuse becomes entertainment, but I guess that just proves my good fortune and privilege. (Thanks, Mom & Dad!)
And maybe luck? So much of our collective history is invisible except to those who suffered it.
This was really some of a post, Michael. I do understand, that you shared this one.
Some people never learn to think and act for themselves, only for the masses.
Irene, I ink my family’s history is caught up in this post, especially my elders fear of being found out as Native.Indiana was a scary place, even 70 years ago.
I feel sadness, when I think about living in such a way, without being able to just be proud of, whom we are born among in this life. I have never visited US at all, so my knowledge are limited this way, even a visit don’t show all the important stories. I feel with Natives this way.
Michael, the world is full of these people. To pay them any mind is futile. As individuals they are harmless. Like any fervent group (regardless of race or religious leaning) they can become a problem, but most of the time they are all talk. Let them espouse their mindless drivel to each other over the net. But they don’t deserve the toll it takes on us to show them fear or hatred. Fight them when they are at the door. Several years ago I started a new job. At first the boss seemed like a good guy. He was a retired Pentecostal Minister minister (that should have been a tip off). He came across as a grandfatherly type. After awhile of riding around with him, he showed his true colours. He was a white supremacist and somewhat of a leader. Every year he organized a bunch of them from throughout Western Canada. They would get together up one of the local creeks and fire off guns and plan for the fucking apocalypse or whatever these morons call it. I didn’t stay long at the job, I couldn’t stomach being around the guy. But this I learned: if these are the ignorant dipshits leading the march against society, then society has nothing to worry about. Even blaming these idiots for anything is giving them too much credit. Take care. Bob
Bob, the trolls disturb me, but that last photo of the lynchings somehow made family stories come real in a proudly disturbing way. I guess it is the old difference between knowing and knowing.