20 September 2007

Racism in the deep south

Reading Radley Balko's account of his visit to Louisiana reminded me of an experience my wife and I had on our honeymoon in 1991. We were driving from Knoxville to Destin Beach on the Florida panhandle. As we were driving south out of Birmingham I noticed that we were low on gas. I planned to stop at the next station, but the two-lane road we were on wasn't exactly bustling with activity and we were getting nervous when we finally stopped at a closed gas station where a couple of guys (good ol' boys) had their heads in the hood of a pickup.
I asked how far to the next gas station and he indicated it was a couple of miles up. Then he said something I never expected to hear:
"It's a colored place, but that'll be alright".
He was right on both counts, but I was stunned at both the statement and the fact of it.

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