03 June 2013

"All in the Family" and me

The recent death of actress Jean Stapleton brought back memories of my childhood, when she starred in the hit TV sitcom "All in the Family". Stapleton played Edith, the long-suffering wife of the bigoted Archie Bunker.

The Archie Bunker character was intended to satirize racism and other forms of bigotry. Sadly, in the rural redneck town where I grew up, and in the racist family environment that I was trapped in back then, Archie wasn't recognized as a satirical character. Rather, he was seen as the normal guy whom all of them could relate to.

I, on the other hand, had read enough that I was able to recognize the satire. And I was punished for it. In fact, after I escaped to college and word got out that I had dated a black guy, I was yanked out of school and grounded.

I haven't been back to my hometown in 25 years, and I don't ever plan to.

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