“What Colors Do the Darkies Use For Kiwanis?” — A Valley Story9 December, 2008
Many years ago, (((Wife))) and I were involved in the PTA/PTO down at the local elementary school (oddly enough, the same school (((Boy))) and (((Girl))) went to). The PTA had their own bulletin board in the lobby and, every month, the officers decorated said board with appropriate images.
For December, a woman who was a perfect example of how bad the valley can get was decorating the bulletin board. A narrow-minded Valley People woman. Don’t get me wrong, folks. This is a fun valley in which to live. However, there are valley people, and then there are Valley People. Valley People are the ones with more tattoos than teeth (including women); the ones for whom Atlantic City is exotic, and Disney is a once-in-a-lifetime event; the ones for whom the mechanics of church are more important than any teachings.
She decided that a multicultural ‘holiday’ board would be appropriate. Of course, for many around here, multicultural means Catholic and Protestant. Never mind the Muslims, Animists, Jews, Santeria, and myriad other religions present in our schools (when the art class does ‘holiday’ ornaments, kids who do not wish to participate are given blue paper (no, I’m not kidding)). Seeing herself as very broad-minded, she actually thought beyond the dominant paradigm.
(((Wife))) found herself nearby as Valley People Woman decorated the board. VPW had a menorah, a Christmas Tree (or pagan Yule Tree (though I doubt that would entered her mind)), and an outline of the continent of Africa. VPW was running around like a squirrel on crack. As she raced past (((Wife))), she said, “I have to go down the art room and get paper. What color do the darkies use for Kiwanis? I gotta find out what colors they use for Kiwanis.”
(((Wife)))’s eyelids fluttered. Her mouth did the fish-out-of-water thing. None of the other PTA/PTO people were phased by the use of the word ‘darkies.’ Of course, (((Wife))) was blown away by ‘Kiwanis.’
When the end of the world comes, (((Wife))) and I want to be here in the valley. Everything seems to be at least 30 years behind. Of course, we’d spend the thirty years stuck in the valley, so . . . .