“Racism probably had something to do with it, but I think the kid was crazy,” Kyndel Payne of Beaufort says. “I don’t think it has anything to do with the confederate flag.”
And there it is. The way this issue will be rationalized away… no racial issues here in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, this happened because of mental illness.
This is just one man’s opinion, but it represents everything, maybe the only thing, that I hated about living in the South.
We had been warned. It was an incident that lasted only minutes, but it was so very telling.
My husband had accepted a job assignment in rural South Carolina, well north of Charleston. He went ahead of us to scout the area for housing. We had done this often before.
As he visited the construction site, he stopped at a local mini-mart, a small store in a “good ole’ boy” neighborhood.
There was a black gentleman, maybe in his 50’s, that was waiting in line to check out his purchases when my husband walked in.
The shop owner, a middle-aged white man, looked directly at the black man in line and said, “Move aside, boy” and waved Jim to the front of the line.
He moved aside.
More shocked than surprised, Jim had trouble finding the right words. It was clear that the owner was not going to wait on the “boy”. He paid for his item, apologized to the man in line, and quickly moved on.
What the hell ? This was the 1990’s. And what was he dragging his family into for the next few years ?
The decision was quickly made. We were moving closer to civilization. We were going to seek housing in a 20th century world, even if it meant he would have to drive an hour each way to work. And so we did.
Another sad note… the shrimp and grits photo is from a site promoting tourism in Charleston.
I intended to use it in a food post, praising its glory and documenting the first time I’d experienced the dish in a restaurant not far from the site of the Emanuel AME Church.
What has transpired in the last week has left me heartbroken and mostly speechless.
This is my attempt to begin that important conversation. More to come.