Largen reminds that not all were mean and cruel

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Amen, Gerald! I seldom read more than one or two paragraphs of Mr. Largen’s column since, by then, my stomach has turned, and I can’t continue.

Yes, I am a Republican of long standing. The column in the July 5 paper caught my attention, and I read it through to the end.

I am 74 years old, and I grew up in the time Mr. Largen wrote about. I never, and none of my family, would have deliberately hurt or offended anyone black or white.

My mother grew up in south Alabama. They had several black neighbors and treated them with the same respect and kindness as their white neighbors. My father was from rural northwest Alabama and, although I never visited as often there as I did my mother’s homeplace, to the best of my memory, they did not have any black neighbors. At least I never saw any.

I was raised in Birmingham in a white neighborhood and went to a white high school. Across the street from my high school was a black neighborhood. It never occurred to me how wrong it was, because that was just the way it was.

Since my mother was 45 when I was born (you do the math), she was getting up in age when the n-word was acknowledged as being offensive. When we would visit her after I was married, she often talked about how things had changed, how she never knew she was saying something so bad. If she had, she would never have said anything so hateful and now regretted it.

I feel the same way. As a child, teen and young adult in the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s and later, that word was a common everyday word you never used in a bad way, or at least not by anyone I knew. I’m sure there were those who did. Hopefully, they were in the minority.

So, Mr. Largen, thank you for reminding us we weren’t all mean, cruel people, only unknowing ones.

Becky Frederick