“I’m no racist, but THEY all…..”

Lyn M. Anton
Buffalo, NY

Born in 1954, I grew up in a very small, very white town in the North. Obviously, these were turbulent times in many ways. I believe it was 1959 when the NYS Board of Education sent a young, Black woman to our school district as a speech therapist. Now, amongst the children, I heard no racial slurs, though there had to be some. As this woman began to make a life for herself in town, she joined one of the local churches. Time passed and she joined the choir. I distinctly remember my parents and their friends being appalled when half the congregation of the church stopped attending. This woman had already become a family friend, so her isolation was not complete.

I have never forgotten this woman who was so kind to me. She would often make a day of it and take me with her into the nearest large city. Another way for her improve what had to be a trying time. There are so many smaller stories regarding her stay in our village, but being 5 or 6, I’m certain I was only aware of the tip of the iceberg. In due course, she decided to head to the West Coast where things were no doubt more liberal. I’m almost 60, and I still miss her. She was just a person to me. A special one for how she treated me, of course.

Now, of course things are supposedly so much different! Thing is, I’d be a wealthy woman if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard my six words. Another six words are: “You mad? It’s JUST a joke!” None of it’s funny.


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