My son goes to the same schools hubby and I attended in the 80's. Now, I am going to make some statements that are not meant to be derogatory, but really more an observation of the times. When we were in these schools, we had a handful of black kids in our class, maybe 30. I think I had maybe 5 black friends a year. Same could be said over overweight kids. There were only a handful in each grade. In high school, I had 500 kids in my grade.
Now, my son still has 500 kids in his class. However, minorities are about 40-45%. It's just more commonplace than when I was a kid. And the "minority" are mainly mixed race kids. Even in my neighborhood, the minorities are mixed race. My neighbors on the left, he is white, she is black. My neighbors on the right, she is white, he is black. Both families have kids. I don't think it's unusual anymore. No one's shocked if they bring a friend home who is "black" (can't say this for the 80's.) Just like no one is shocked by the amount of obese kids anymore, it's commonplace. Truthfully, my son would have no idea if someone is Jewish or not. He has no idea how to identify anyone by last name indicating heritage, other than Hispanic names, at least. Now I'm in the city, but rural Iowa could be totally different, and probably is.
I have no doubt that racism is still taught in families. By lower middle class whites who need someone to blame for their problems. My dad is old school, ad I have no doubt he was raised this way. I would say lower middle class white man. He was 20 during the civil rights movement. Growing up, he said, "N-----" all the time. It was embarrassing. If I brought a black friend home, he'd be like, "WTH is she doing here?" He's mortified me more than once growing up. Dad also loves his fucking guns. But my brother and I did not follow in his footsteps. So it doesn't have to run in the family.
I don't know how I would have handled the Birmingham situation. My big mouth probably would have attempted a spout off, because I would be enraged, while hubby would be whispering in my ear, "They are going to kill us as we sleep," and desperately get out of the situation.