Depending in which area of the state you’re in, if you belly up at a small-town Maine bar long enough, you’ll still be able to hear echoes of racism, undisturbed in their clarity from an earlier time. Be it a “black joke” or an outright racist statement including the “n-word,” it shows that our beautiful state is not immune to the ugliness of racism. These instances seem to multiply while a football or basketball game is being broadcast on the bar TV, where the athletes are predominantly African-American.

Views on race may be borne out of a family history or culture — an unbroken cycle of miseducation, misunderstanding, fear or hate.

While our great state has become home to immigrants from many countries and cultures the past several generations, we have also historically been one of the very whitest states in the nation. It could be ventured that in many parts of Maine, folks employing the “you leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone” attitude have never really interacted with minorities, their culture, or the many things we all have in common.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to guess that there are racists in every Maine town and city, from A to Z — Abbot to York Beach.

Mainers don’t have to change the ways of life that we cherish, but there are a great many who may need to change their mindset. Ask yourself: “Am I kind?”

Chuck Leary

Manchester


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