Thursday, November 9, 2017

Missouri: Silver Dollar City: Roller Coasters, the Swamp, and the People I Didn't See

Spring flower, Missouri. April 2007.

October 2017

Roller coasters

On my way to Missouri from El Paso via Big Bend National Park via Louisiana via Arkansas, I had some time to kill, and what better way to kill time than to ride roller coasters at Silver Dollar City?

When I say ride roller coasters, I mean just do that and nothing else. I was by myself, so I could choose to ride only the rides I wanted to ride. All day. ALL.DAY.

And a bag of kettle corn for lunch.

Jesus, it was fine.

The swamp

I noticed there were other solo visitors moving from roller coaster to roller coaster and then making the rounds again. So I guess I was part of a thing.

I chatted with one gentleman doing the coasters, and we exchanged the usual introductory questions, the almost-first of which: Where are you from?

He replied, "Washington."

I said, "Oh, the state of or D.C.?

He sniffed in contempt, "The state - not the swamp!"

I asked, "Oh, have you been to D.C.?"

He said, "No!"

I said, "Oh, it's a great place to visit. Once you get your travel and accommodations squared away, the museums and monuments and parks are free! The history, the art, the culture! It's a wonderful place to visit!"

But, of course, that's not what he was talking about.

Which brings me to:

The people I didn't see

This falls into the peculiar blindness category. Well, for those of us who are white folks, anyway.

The time is over in America when we can be blind to what we don't see. When it comes to Silver Dollar City, here's what I didn't see:
  • Employees of color. Of course, out of 1700+ full-time and part time employees, there are those of color, but I did not observe any measurable presence. 
  • Activities, exhibits, or stations that represent or include African-American participation in history or cultural traditions. Silver Dollar City purports to demonstrate traditional Missouri or Ozarkian - let's say rural Missouri - traditions and values. It needs to step up to share our comprehensive history in Missouri. Some historical stuff Silver Dollar City might look at here and here and here and here

I don't have any stats to support my perception of what I didn't see. .... Maybe Silver Dollar City is more inclusive in its hiring and exhibits than what appeared to be the case on the day I went.

All I've got is what I didn't see.

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