Sundown Towns Epiphany: Job Preserves for The Quality?

       This just hit me: call me an idiot, but trying to explain to someone who grew up in a Sundown Town that this still affects us today was frustrating, partly because he refused to ack the fact that this not only deprived folks like me of another place to stay, but also, more pertinently to his ability to get a bank teller job while in high school, his ability to stay overnight in that town meant that he alone, and other white people alone, could work that evening shift in the bank to finish high school.  Forget the other factors involved, and there are many, the mere fact of living there and shutting out an entire and larger class of people from being there after dark meant that only whites would have those jobs.  Makes it a lot easier when you have so much less competition, huh?

  Not to mention that the lack of public transit means that only The Better Classes, as they used to say, and those with cars, to boot, would have access to these jobs.  Multiply that by a lot of towns, and you get a lot of places shutting out PoC, and keeping lots of jobs for themselves.  That kept, and still keeps, opportunity to themselves too, since changing a law does not magically change circumstances, and excuses abound not to give a job to someone who doesn’t look right to you, especially if you think you are above any sort of prejudice.  Clearly, ignorance is still bliss.

  Oh, I’m sorry, I’ve made a mistake:  these aren’t preserves for The Quality.  The most elite don’t need jobs.  But they do need people who are dependent upon them for their own jobs.  And they need people, whole groups of people, who feel that the way things are now is the way things ought to be, because this racism and segregation is gone, and now there is unlimited opportunity for all.  Except that a quick look at the people sleeping “in their comfort zones” on the streets will show that all may not be well in the Land of the Free.  But then again, maybe that’s what Prozac is for?

  Enjoy, Jill!

   We can really Do Better!

Action Prompts:

1.)  Share your thoughts on how we Human Beings might start to build a more fully inclusive society for all of us, and how knowing our history could help that process.

2.) Write a book, story, post or tweet that uses these thoughts.

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Shira

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Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.



 

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10 thoughts on “Sundown Towns Epiphany: Job Preserves for The Quality?

  1. Interesting: it seems that some are insisting that a certain town was never a Sundown Town, but my landlord grew up there, and told me that her father had to drive their housekeeper home at nights if she stayed late because she was not allowed to be in town after dark.

    Sounds like the definition of a Sundown Town, to me, and from the mouth of an elderly person who now insists that racism is no more, in the USA.

    So it’s not as if she’s a Lefty…

    Liked by 4 people

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