Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jena, LA

Armadillo Season, my MG that is out with editors right now, is largely about race and how people react when the object of the racism is one of their own. It is set in a small Texas town that was all white until recently, when a black family moved in. The "N" word makes an appearance, and it is necessary when it does, as it flows from the mouth of a very racist grandfather. Colored is what he says when he is being nice.The local sheriff acts differently when the same infraction is committed by a white kid and a not-so-white kid.

I've had one editor comment that it felt like a period piece set in the 1950s, because racism like that doesn't happen in this day and age. I've spent a lot of time in a little town much like the one in the book, and I had to disagree - it does.

Enter Jena, Louisiana. It is all over the news today because of a racial divide in this southern town, complete with nooses hanging from trees and civil rights marches. I just heard a radio interview with a pastor in Jena, who didn't understand what the fuss was about - she loved all those nice colored people in town. Yes, she used the word colored. Repeatedly. In 2007.

I hate to say it, but I told you so.

On this date: In 1975, David Bowie hit number one with "Fame."

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