Ronar2 saidvarious kind of responses.
though I remember some southern older man saying this as his justification of using the word ni**er.
"not all blacks are 'ni**ers', only the criminal, the lazys on welfare, and the loudmouthed ones'. "I have lots of balck people working for me, but they're not 'ni**ers'.
After he said that, I just said nothing, and tried to change subject, and then I left. He seemed at ease with it and I don't think anything that I'd say about it would be nice.
In Alabama I was dating a 26-year-old local girl.
And she spent a lot of time at her very elderly grandmother's house, with me along. This woman was in her late 80s, born in the 1890s.
And I loved to talk with this grandmother, who gave me a kind of "oral history" of the early days of rural Alabama. A time before electrification, and automobiles, of kerosene lamps and horse-drawn carriages.
But one time she told me about a fox hunt she had just attended in neighboring Georgia. She could no longer ride a horse herself, but they provided jitneys to transport the elderly and infirm to viewing vantage points.
And she said to me that she knew that people like me from the "Noth" thought all Southerners were prejudiced against Black people. But that wasn't true at all.
"After the hunt we had these Black boys in a chorus come and sing to us. And they sang so well we applauded them. We did! So you see we're not prejudiced at all."
Afterwards her granddaughter apologized to me, saying she was embarrassed by her grandmother's remarks. And I replied I wasn't upset, I understood it was her era, another insight into how people thought many decades ago.
So that I wouldn't challenge or confront the old lady on these issues. It was unlikely her mind would be changed at this late point in life. And her influence on others was minimal. Certainly her own granddaughter rejected these outdated and racist notions. While I continued to "mine" her for information and experiences about a long-past time that I could never know or imagine on my own.