Restricted.

In 1976, my sophomore year at USC, I shared an apartment with three girls. Jana was my roommate. Nan, who shared a room with Sherry, had planned on marrying at the end of the school year and had asked Jana to be one of her attendants. She was thrilled and soon they began planning the wedding together. They talked about the usual stuff, dresses, travel plans to northern California, the parties that would ensue. They were both very excited to share this day. I was going to attend too.
 
This excitement abruptly changed one evening as I found Jana sitting on the edge of the bed where she was having a difficult time catching her breath. Little white clumps of tissues surrounded her to catch her emotions. Between the gasps for air and some semblance of control, she was able to voice she could not be in the wedding. I asked why.
 
“The club is restricted.” I questioned her as to what that meant. “They don’t allow blacks in!” As I reached to hold her, her face contorted back into the tissues and I went numb. We sat and cried, both feeling confusion, anger, and hurt. It was my first close up look at racial prejudice and there were no words to describe it. This moment changed everything in our apartment. I was disappointed in Nan that she did not stand up for principle and friendship. Heartbroken that someone I loved suffered so much hurt. 
I did not attend the wedding and never spoke to Nan again.

Comments

  1. How awful! You are right, your friend should’ve stood up and made it so your other friend could be there!

    It doesnt surprise me tho – the 70’s were such a confusing time. Archie Bunker?

  2. Unbelievable!

  3. wow, i had no idea! That sounds so antiquated ~ unreal. Tell he to hold her head high and be proud of who she is. There is still so much ignorance. So sad that the friend wouldn’t have told them to go to bleep when she found that out!

  4. Very sad. T

  5. Amazing. My father wouldn’t let us join the local country club because in those days it didn’t allow Jews or African-Americans in. At the time, we whined. Now I am so grateful to him.

  6. Seriously. I was unaware of such, too, until a friend in college shared with me that her family was forbidden to join certain clubs because they were Jewish. I was stunned. Talk about naiveté. So very hard to comprehend it today though. xoxo

  7. i am sooo glad it is not like that today. even though there is still discrimination, things are way better. i would not know how to even react if i was in that situation. =/