Here's a black-and-white rhetorical question for you: How many people of the opposite race do you socialize with regularly? Schoolmates, co-workers, your kids' friends and fellow church members you see on Sunday don't count.
We suspect that it's not many. And we don't say this meanly, since the same is true of us. Decades after the death of Jim Crow, America has done much to make a more equal society. But are we that much less separate?
On Wednesday, the PBS series P.O.V. premieres Two Towns of Jasper, a grim, fascinating documentary about the aftermath of the murder of James Byrd Jr., a black man who was chained to a truck by three white supremacists and dragged to his death in 1998. Byrd was beheaded during the lynching, which shocked the world and left many wondering exactly what sort of people lived in the East Texas town.
Filmmakers Whitney Dow, who is white, and Marco Williams, who is black, traveled to Jasper to find out. The two friends segregated their camera crews, with Dow interviewing the whites and Williams the blacks. What they found is a town that is fairly well integrated in its public life--the mayor of Jasper is black--but split by race by almost any other measure. Despite calls for unity after the Byrd murder, attitudes toward the crime varied widely by race. For blacks, the lynching was horrible, but not too surprising given the region's history. For whites, it was a horrible anomaly that unfairly tainted their community. Two worlds living side by side in the same town. Mostly civil to one another, but separate.
Get the Things to Do Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly guide to events in Dallas, and never be bored again. With suggestions for every day of the week, our recommendations will keep you busy on any budget.
More Calendar News
- History Happy Hour
Fri., Nov. 27, 11:30am
Fri., Nov. 27, 2:00pm
Fri., Nov. 27, 2:30pm
Fri., Nov. 27, 5:30pm
- Put the Fun in Funimation
- All My Sons