Paleoracism
Prehistoric Times|Fall 2020 # 135
With the nation and much of the western world contending with the fallout of the chronic problem of racism, this is as good a time as any to take a look at the issue within the world of vertebrate paleontology.
Gregory S. Paul
Paleoracism

I do so as a person who has been around long enough to have lived in a nation where outright Jim Crow apartheid segregation was still legal in many states, and often intensely defended, and tacit elsewhere. But in the late 50s and especially the 60s the times they were a changing, with the civil rights movement in full force, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, and a growing portion of the white population strongly interested in assigning minorities the rights that had long been denied. I grew up in Virginia, a key state of the Confederacy that was strongly segregated. But it was in the relatively progressive suburbs across the Potomac River from Washington DC, and I have no memory of ever seeing an example of blatant discrimination, such as a whites/blacks only sign for a facility, such may have not been legal in the immediate area (that our family never traveled south may have been a way of avoiding such territory, our big trips were north and west, including a journey to Utah when we took the opportunity to visit the then new visitor facility at Dinosaur National Monument). The 100th anniversary of the Civil War was underway for some of those years, and I was a staunch pro-Unionist. Although my parents were Cold War conservatives, they were not blatant bigots – my mother was a fan of Sidney Poitier, and I did not even realize there were such people as Jews until around age 9 or 10 when a girl who lived down the street told a shocked me that she did not celebrate the Xmas I adored – the tree, the decorations, the food, all those gifts, the dinosaur books, toys and models -- and why. The television I was addicted to coming out of New York and Hollywood was largely liberal and favorable to minorities, with a number of shows from Bonanza to The Dick Van Dyke Show to Star Trek explicitly, albeit often awkwardly, taking progressive stances on the issue.

This story is from the Fall 2020 # 135 edition of Prehistoric Times.

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This story is from the Fall 2020 # 135 edition of Prehistoric Times.

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