In the history books, the expression “As Maine Goes, So Goes The Nation” rings true.
In the case of prejudice, I think Maine’s low population and spread out plenty of elbow room nature help people get along. To be sensitive to other people’s thoughts, opinions, values and beliefs. In an area of close to 96% white population, prejudice is not present. You need lots of diverse backgrounds and cultures to be a feeding ground condusive to starting the prejudice petri dish to grow, multiply, disease an area. If Northern Maine was jammed say a thousand to the mile rather than the spacious eleven per mile, maybe tension, friction would result in our day to day here. But it would be congested traffic, delays, crime from all those people and just the ills of too many folks sardined in the area that could cause tempers to flare. Not the skin color, religious affilation or sexual orientation of the folks in traffic grid lock.
On visits to Miami Florida, the tight population and diverse make up of that local populace may play a factor on dissension, lack of harmony blamed on cultural differences. People are so different and at the same time not so very distant from their values, what they want to get out of life in this melting pot called America, the United States. World wide we want family, peace, to go to bed fed, not hungry and the same for our children. Wasn’t it this diversity in Anerica that made us great? That attracted folks from every world country to migrate to our shores anyway they could in groves. Just the statement “I’m American” conjores up images of a crowd of every color under the rainbow doesn’t it?
When my dad was training as a tail gunner in a world war two B-24, he was stationed in Florida and Brownsville Texas on his way to Italy to fly bomb runs over Germany’s industrial sections. And what struck him as so foreign, odd and out of place was taking a bus in to town on the weekend to see a show, carousing with his army air force buddies on the town. And on that bus a sign up front for all to see, to remind that said “Coloreds to the rear”.
And if the bus was full when it stopped to pick them up at a stop, any blacks on board had to get off to create a seat for whites.
That bothered my dad who brought it up at different times while he was alive over his 80 plus years. He grew up in Aroostook County, taught to respect everyone. Working hard for everything he had on a Maine family dairy / potato farm. Taught to be respectful of other human being’s feelings. To do unto others as you would want to be done to you. He said the blacks just seemed to accept it when the driver barked “out” or filed out on their own without altercation. No hollering, pushing, shoving. Just leaving the bus while a group of white 18 and 19 years olds looked on in amazement. More than willing to wait for another bus if this one was full. But the blacks did want to make waves. Or did they dare to based on past experience. My dad never forgot that treatment. And just wanted to walk back to base rather than be the cause of someone losing a seat. Someone that secured it before him by waiting in line, climbing on the bus earlier than him. Needing to get home or to work on that same bus.
In Houlton Maine, the census figures show about 3 to 4% local Native Americans, and a small percentage of what is labeled “other”. Members of the Maliseet, Micmac tribes were here long before the rest of us. They were the first folks local white settlers like Joseph Houlton met on his way north in the early 1800’s. They were the ones he asked for directions, traded with, had Thanksgiving dinner with to count his blessings on the trek from Salem Massachusetts. Probably heading here to get away from the Salem witch trials. The fear of being accused and having rock after rock piled on him to purify or squeeze the evil spirit he was accused of harboring out of him. And of course his ultimate death in the process.
Maine. We all get along, worked hard together in the potato fields, went thru school together. In the Bangor Maine area, Passamaquoddies, Penobscots are a distinct, important part of the local population, history of the area. The local Old Town school teams my kids played in soccer, basketball, hockey were the Indians. We skied at Squa Mountain, went camping on Squa Pan Lake in the Asland, Masardis Maine area. Prejudice was not something I was taught, saw growing up in Northern Maine. We were so far from the civil war where it was fought. Remnants of that hatred, upheaval in the plantation way of life missed us, avoided us all together. Although I read somewhere that Sherman Maine was a town per capita sending more soldiers to the civil war battle fields..the effort that back in 1865 lost a slug of young men in the struggle, the freeing of the slaves.
Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers 207.532.6573