Monday, April 02, 2007
Riding through Alabama was an intense experience. While I was surprised by the wild beauty of the woods and pastoral rolling hills of this beautiful land I felt heavy with the tension of race relations. I don't want to go too in depth of this yet I realize this is perhaps what people expect to hear about this state. The black and white relations down here have improved greatly over the last 40 years, but the time of peaceful coexistance hasn't come about with pleasure and smiles. The people seem to live down here in a state of social and conversational segregation of their own choosing. It is a strange and loaded experience to be at a small town gas station (perhaps the only functioning establishment besides the churches in town to meet and socialize) and see two white people and three black people all standing around talking amongst themselves yet completely ignoring the other group. The black people seemed on the whole slightly hesitant or uninterested in engaging us in conversation and conversed in a more formal way then they did when talking amongst themselves. The white people seemed to live in slight fear, and perhaps guilty disgust of the black community. We would occasionaly be given veiled hints and warnings to be careful in certain areas because of the "people who lived there" wink wink. The tension was felt by both of us and we both were releaved to cross the Georgia border where we knew we would be heading into a more urban and enlightened environment.
However, as I said above, Alabama is a beautiful state. Here are some quick pics to demonstrate, although they don't fully capture the open rolling beauty or the pure clean feel of the air as it slid past our skin.
Posted by Andrea at 5:37 PM