Bump Clubs

This one is good for when Others start chanting about how united the people were in World War 2, and everybody did his part for the War Effort, Bravely and Nobly, sacrificing all without complaint For The Duration.

In Detroit, where there were suddenly lots of jobs because of two factors: the men were getting drafted and the Military were buying up supplies, machines were the focus in MoTown at the hour.

People often wonder, (and this comes in to the thread of thought a little later) if things were so very bad in the South for blacks, why didn’t they just leave? The promised land up Nawth wasn’t as bad as the Southroners now was it?

The answer: no really available jobs. Escaping the Jim Crow south was not really an option, because what do you do when you get there? Starve?

But with the war, things changed on one front, there were suddenly not enough people to fill the jobs.
So an exodus of sorts, to the factories and foundries of the Promised Land.

Funny thing about a war, the government has to maintain xenophobia at a fever pitch, in order to keep the people hating the Enemy (wish I could write sound effects like crashing thunder, and a basso reverberation on the end of the Enemyeeeeee……) they had to be made to hate anybody different. Which isn’t so hard to do.

There is a distinct shade of Katrina in all of this.

The Government put up posters, everywhere, Why We Fight, Know The Enemy, Loose Lips Sink Ships, Lucky Strikes Green has Gone To War! (the last was kind of a stupid advertising exaggeration. The red dye they used in making the little target on the front of a pack of Lucky’s was strangely, a chemical which was used in making Olive Drab green paint. So the Army hogged the supply, Lucky Strikes parent corporation changed the color For The Duration, and the cigarette manufactures also hogged in with giving away in every box of C and K rations, a box of five cigarettes. Which they had lost their Far East and European market for anyway. Capitalism at it’s best)

There were posters the writers of which cynically called Know Your Gooks, telling the differences in facial structure and speech patterns between Chinese (good Gook) and dirty filthy sinister Japanese. MIND YOU the phrases in the past sentence WERE NOT MINE.

So, naturally, assisted much by the unnatural provocation of warmongering, there was resentment amongst the Good People of Detroit, directed against these people coming up with a strange accent, almost a different language, a radically different appearance, strange customs and who had a trained distrust of Whites.

And a lot of Southern Whites, who had shared the poverty of the south with the Blacks, just on the other side of the tracks. Sharing in a separate Apartheid kind of way.
And many had been told all their lives that the blacks were the reason for the poverty of the South.
Like so many now tell the story that Mexicans are the reason for the economy being so poor nowadays.

Which culminated in Race Riots. When people speak of the Detroit Ghetto Riots they usually mean the ones in the sixties. These were like 20 years earlier.

One of the myths spread around was that Blacks were deliberately and in an organized manner provoking whites by bumping them. You know, like when you get on a bus or train or trolley, and actually physically contact another human. You get 50 people jammed onto a bus made for 30 and somebody is going to be touching.
There were even whispers that the Blacks had formed Bump Clubs, and were keeping score on how many whiteys they bumped.

Kind of like now when you ride the bus and a couple of Spanish people will be talking to each other IN SPANISH and somebody will glare at them and say “They’re talking about us, you know they are”.
If you try to speak logically to this, by saying “Oh, you speak spanish, then, What exactly are they saying?”

“well, I don’t have to learn Spanish, they need to learn English, they come up here and live free and refuse to learn the language”

And it was that type of thing, the creation of the rumor of Bump Clubs, which was a spark to ignite a smoking smoldering pit of hatred.

So much for the myth of Unity. Shot down by the Myth of The Bump Club.

So when somebody mourns for the Everybody Rally Round the Flag days of world war 2, look him straight in his beady little eyes and say “Bump Clubs”.

It might not serve to educate him, but it will keep you from losing your mind. Sometimes it helps to focus.

Brother Jonah

About Brother Jonah

Recovering Texan. Christian while and at the same time Anarchist. (like Tolstoy only without the beard, for now) Constantly on the lookout for things which have relevance to things I already know. Autistic. Proud to be Ex- air force. Out of the killing machine for 27 years 4 months and 5 days woohoo!
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