the corner soda fountain
now a starbucks
they spell "milky way"
MLK jr Way
Martin Luther King Junior is a saint in Berkeley, both for his dream of racial
harmony and his use of nonviolence. Berkeley was one
of the earliest school districts to practice busing for the
purposes of racial integration. Most of us went into
integration with high ideals, which were tested by the
reality of trying to mix two cultures by force.
king junior high
hiding my telltale face
Race relations weren't always amicable in the first years
after integration, but most of us tried. Most kids were nice,
and wanted to be friendly, but we were also scared, and knew
that you couldn't rub the color off your face.
the nice black girl
tells my japanese friend
they won't attack the chinese
When I was in the Berkeley schools, the population was 45% white, 40%
black, and 15% Asian. In that time, in the 70s, there were uneasy relations
between Asians and blacks. Asians were a minority, so there was some fellow
feeling, but they emulated white customs, so they were often called "bananas"
(yellow on the outside, white on the inside) by people to whom "oreo" was
the worst insult in their vocabulary.
a rainbow of faces
on the streets
Going back to Berkeley, I feel like I'm home because there are people of
every color on the streets. I don't realize until I go back how much I miss
living in a diverse multi-cultural community.
25 January 2003