Today people hear the word ‘racist’ a lot. It seems as though anything you say can be turned into a racist comment. For example, “ please pass the black crayon.” You could possibly hear “that’s racist!” and so on.
Getting serious, America seems to think that after the civil rights movement, everything was resolved and our country became an all inclusive, non-racist place where everyone was treated with equal rights, pay, and justices. The truth is that America is very far from that and more people are beginning to notice that as time progresses, certain events occur such as the happenings of Michael Brown and the changing of the redskins name. Those events come up in the news and are made big so that people can see some of what’s going on. However, some things are not as obvious because they have been going on for years.
In the small town of East Jackson, Ohio, races really matter. Clarice Shreck and two daughters, Carlotta and Ally, used to live there and identify strongly with the African race. If you ask Ally, however, says she’s white. The entire family has white skin and blonde hair and yet they cling to one race so fiercely and looks very white. In fact Clarice is judged as ‘white’ so frequently she carries a birth certificate in her purse to prove she is black. Clarice is barely a sixteenth black and her daughters even less so but Ally strongly denied any connection with her being black. To understand why this family is so intent on their race you have to look at their surroundings.
About five miles from East Jackson is another very small town called Waverly. Waverly was founded before the Civil War by Anglo Americans with the intent that it should be a white-only town. To achieve this a sign was put up on the outside of town saying all black people need to stay out of Waverly after dark. Still to this day Waverly is 96% white according to the U.S. census. In east Jackson it was a different story. There you had Irish men, runaway slaves and and Germans and Native who were running from the trail of tears and all of these cultures inter married and had children and East Jackson became the opposite of Waverly. Because the people in Waverly were built on the idea of Black and white, All races became… all black. It really didn’t matter if your skin wasn’t black! If you were not white, you were still black… and that was that. What it came down to was this: If you live in east jackson you are black.
This Racial gap became very relevant when the school in East jackson closed and the people began to attend schools in Waverly. The problem: every Martin Luther King Day Kids from east jackson were harassed, and bullied. That is when the Waverly School board decided there would be no school on that day. All this took place in the late 80s.
When Ally went to school in the 90s, the racism was still as prominent and Ally was harassed by nearly everyone in the school. She was harshly discriminated against. When she went to High School Ally decided she would become white. Over summer she transformed her look just so she could hang with other kids and not be bullied. Ally began to pick on her sister with her “friends”. They would throw things and call her the N word and really made her sister’s life a living hell. She did this to just fit in to this racist community and to this day it has split their family in half. This happened in Late 90s and is still going on in this town.
This story just goes to show how far America has to go before we reach the place we think we’re at. It is obvious that as long as people feel they have to change races to fit in and as long a racist communities like Waverly still exist. The ongoing issue of racism still stands.