Thursday, September 22, 2005

Broken Bags in New Orleans

In my August 25 post to this blog, I talked about how my mother a white woman, reflexively helped a black woman in 1939 whose grocery bag broke, causing many small items to spread over the sidewalk in front of our house. As a curious seven year-old,I asked Mother why she bothered to help somebody's servant. Mother summed up a huge amount of Southern Baptist theology with the statement, "Her bag broke." That day I learned a broken bag trumped all sorts of social systems.

As I wrote the post, I had no idea that a huge bag was to break in the Gulf Coast in a couple days. But it did and places like New Orleans were heavily ruined by a hurricane. Sixty-six years after my mother's demonstration of concern, millions of people heard about the problems of folks on the Gulf Coast and went to work, helping them with their "broken bag." Some took in the homeless, fed them and gave them clothing. Others, living far away, contributed what they had, from food to clothing to money. Sometimes all three. Especially all three.

Contributors did not ask recipients what their skin color was, they just gave what they could. This of course, was bad for those who make their money from racism because it put to the lie many things they had been saying. Bags of racists may be broken, but frankly, I don't care.


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