Seeing Through the eyes of the Oppressed
by Lisa Rambo
Ahhh. Vacation time had arrived. We were going to Shreveport, Louisiana to visit my mother-in-law. I had not met her in person, just talked to her on the phone.
It didn’t seem to bother her that I was white. I was glad that she had welcomed me into the family with open arms.
It was the first time my husband had been there in years. When he was 14, he lied about his age to join the Job Corps. The reason he did was because his white girlfriend was pregnant and the K.K.K. was looking for him.
It was clear to me that this is truly the most prejudiced town I had ever seen. When I entered the city limits, it felt as if someone had cut my oxygen off completely.
As we drove through the city streets of Shreveport, we had turned on Monkhouse Drive. We came to a dead-end at the airport, then made a left and continued on our journey. We stopped at a light to wait as the train came through.
I heard yelling and noticed a white man sitting on the bus stop. As I got a better grip on what he was saying, I reached over with my elbow and locked the door, then rolled up my window.
I had been around prejudiced people before, but this man was clearly not playing with a full deck.
My husband asked me what the man was saying, but I didn’t tell him everything. I just told him he was talking about God, pigs and the devil. I didn’t tell him that the man was calling me everything but a white woman as he slurred profanities.
While we were in town, we stopped to see my sister-in-law.
As we sat on her porch-in an all black neighborhood-people came out of their houses and sat in their yards and stared at me.
I was quite uncomfortable. My sister-in-law told me that while there are a few interracial couples, this was frowned upon in this town.
As we sat on the porch, chatting, a sheriff drove by. He stared at me as he drove slowly down the street. My sister-in-law joked that maybe I should go into the house. We laughed and joked until he drove by a second time.
“Uh…I think I better go in the house now,” I said nervously.
“You don’t have to do that,” she laughed.
When he drove by a third time, she said, “Lisa, get in the house.”
It was pretty clear that this white sheriff had something up his sleeve. I sure didn’t go to Louisiana looking for trouble.
I met more of my husband’s family. They were all extremely nice to me and we all seemed to get along very well.
With me in the neighborhood, people stopped by my sister-in-law’s house just to say hi to her. I felt like I was a big draw for visitors that day.
We stayed the rest of the day, but left there at midnight. We were afraid of trouble with the local sheriff or other law enforcement or even the K.K.K.
I didn’t fess up to my husband until we were on our way back home as to what the man on the bus stop had said. My husband was angry at me for not being truthful with him about it.
“How would I get you out of jail down there?” I asked.
Lisa Rambo resides in Amarillo, Texas. She is a stay at home Mom and is currently writing a fiction manuscript. Lisa is caucasian and her husband is african american. They have been together seventeen years and are currently raising an eight year old son, who is a special needs child.
Copyright © 2003 Lisa Rambo. All rights reserved.