A Former Hoosier On Indiana, Then & Now
by POPSIE 1956
I’ll start with a word to my friends and former co workers in the state of Indiana, many of whom I keep in contact with through Social Media.
I have a feeling I’m going to say something that might p*ss you off, if I do, remember, it’s NOTHING to do with you personally.
To my friends all over in the LGBT community, I was wrong. I learned that many years ago, but everybody can change.
Whenever I hear that phrase I keep going back to Rocky IV, but moving on.
As someone nine years into his AARP membership, I was raised with “traditional values.”
Men married women.
People who did marry did so within their own race.
Little boys didn’t learn how to cook, little girls didn’t learn how to fix cars.
I’m not blaming society for what happened back then, but today I just say…that was…that IS…bulls*it.
I’m reminded of a conversation I once had with my mother, when I told her a woman I had dated (and who would eventually become “Ex Wife #2,” married for the first time….to a BLACK MAN!
My mother was beside herself, but, as is usual, was not beside herself because a black man and a white woman married, but rather, and how many of us are familiar with these words, “What about the children?”.
I, myself, once made a terrible mistake in the opposite direction when I was in high school. I was in the Theater Department with a talented young man who is African American.
We seemed to be very good friends, busting each other chops, when one day, with both our defenses down, in pure jest, or so I thought, I used….that word.
My friend came at me, and let’s just say we had a moment.
A regret I carry every day.
My oldest grandson has a good friend a couple of years older than he is, who is also African American.
On one occasion, like myself, I heard my grandson joking with his friend, and I heard him, in pure jest, start to use…that word.
I immediately stopped him, and told the whole group my story, saying words hurt.
Different topic, I have made fun of myself, and have encouraged many others in my life, to make fun of my size.
I even call myself Radio Fat Guy.
However, when I hear another one of my grandkids call me fat, I attempt to correct them and tell them to say big instead.
I remember the fat jokes when I was younger, they hurt, bad.
Today, I’ve turned it around and made it schtick..in other words…yes…I’m a jolly fat man.
While there’s many other hot button words and phrases that get to me, seven years in Human Services also taught me how wrong the word retarded is, too.
Now, onto the Hoosier State.
We lived there from 1998-2002, and honestly, if it weren’t for important family matters that forced us to come back to New York State, perhaps we’d still be there, just don’t know.
That point is, we didn’t leave because of what we saw.
But SOME of what we saw, just wasn’t right.
Here’s just a couple of examples;
And I can also say with a clear mind, I personally never saw discrimination of anyone in the LGBT Community.
The classic example I always point out was one day when my wife and I were out shopping.
We like to stop into little quaint antique shops, you just never know what you’ll see,
What we saw this one day was jaw dropping.
This particular day, the store was selling signs, signs that said things like;
Someone is making money from one of the most horrible times in American, if not Human History?
That’s like selling items from Holocaust Death Camps!
Needless to say, we never went back.
My wife told me stories about job interviews she went on when we first moved there.
On more than one occasion, during the interview, the potential employer asked her (not the exact words but you’ll get it) what her plans for “any additions to the family: were.
In other words, if you’re gonna get knocked up, you ain’t getting the job.
I swear on the lives of my grandkids I am NOT making this up.
Finally, and I could cite many more, and actually was reminded of this by my wife, we saw racism up close.
I was involved with a promotional stunt involving a basketball team that was very similar to The Harlem Globetrotters.
The joint was packed (Indiana does love it’s basketball), nearly a sell out.
One problem, and honestly I don’t know if this was planned or not, in fairness.
About three quarters of the attendees were white, the remainder African American.
The ENTIRE group of African Americans were in their own section, NOT ONE AFRICAN AMERICAN was incorporated with the white crowd.
This was the late 90’s.
If you don’t know, research KKK and Indiana.
Their base was not too far from where I worked.
As the Morning Guy on a Country Station in Indiana, occasionally I would make Klan jokes on the air.
I would add instructions on air to a co worker to go out to the parking lot and start my car for me.
That line was a joke but even still…..
So, let’s just say that Indiana, as a Mid West State, may not be as “progressive” as say the East and West Coasts.
There’s always hope.
Look at the progress of the South from the past.
No argument there’s still problems there, but it ain’t 1965 any more.
Final word for those who condemn Indiana as a whole for what the politicians do.
Fix the few, not the group.
And to those in Indiana appalled by what had been going on, I leave you with four simple words.
Vote the bastards out.