Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hate and stupidity know no boundaries

I am sure you have had one of these people in your lives. For me it was in my freshman year in college, Humanities 101. Dr. Elizabeth Ashe Douglas was one of the instructors. She was this amazingly regal, dramatic, gracious women who was there to teach us about art. Specifically, art history. She began talking and I was all "WHAT is she talking about?" Byzantine this, chiaroscuro that. She talked like we all knew exactly what she was talking about.

We had to take four semesters, two years, of Humanities. By the time I was a senior I had finally figured things out a bit and I was a teaching assistant for the Humanities 101 classes. Betty was one of those instructors who quietly got into your head and before you realized what was happening she had opened your mind and you found you actually LEARNED something.

Recently Dr. Douglas found her way to Facebook and she and I have reconnected. She has retired from teaching, but is an artist and is living in and has a gallery in Rochester, PA. On FB this morning her status update read: Yesterday, the township road foreman came to my door, saying "I'm sorry, we'll get it removed as quickly as possible." I discovered the "it" was a huge KKK spray painted on the street in front of my home. On Sunday morning a huge phallus had been painted on the street in front of Douglas Gallery. It was removed Monday morning. I am the only African American in the immediate vicinity. Why is this happening?

It is beyond sad that this type of thing still happens. We live in a day and age where we have an African American president. We have progressed so far beyond the days of slavery, of segregation, of DEsegregation, and yet hatred and stupidity is out there, being spray painted on the road in front of private homes and places of business.

This is a woman of extraordinary grace and spirit. She has a joy about life that transcends time and space and age and race. No one deserves to have this kind of hatred in their life, but that goes quadruple for Betty. I hope that the perpetrator(s) are identified and apprehended sooner rather than later, and that she is not in any actual danger.


witchypoo said...

My heart hurts for your friend, and for all those who have hatred directed at them. When will people get that we need to treasure our diversity?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the people that are targeted are the only ones that are accessible for the putrid agony in others souls. How sad we are even having this discourse. I remember her as a special being that challenged her students.