For our fifth installment, Tempo talks with Bill Whaley, Horse Fly founder and editor.
Whaley, back in 1966, moved to Taos so he could ski. Enlisting with the New Mexico National Guard kept him in Taos, and what a life it's been for the valle's most notorious gringo.
Loved and admired by many, hated by some, the rest of us who know Whaley know he is a formidable character with charisma to match the town he now calls home. He's taken his licks like a true Taos guy, and it is evident in our conversation.
Through his service with the National Guard, Whaley got to know our community and became part of it. "I found the people here exceedingly tolerant," said Whaley. He credits Taos with saving his life. Whaley does not think systemic racism exists in Taos. It's something else. "There is historic hostility on both sides of the cattle guard, you might say," said Whaley. "I don't think it's systemic - for it to be systemic there has to be a dominant culture." He alludes to what other folks in our conversation have stated: "No matter how liberal, or how generous people are, there are micro aggressions," said Whaley.
When it comes to Black Lives Matter, Whaley said, "I'm happy for it. It feels like we're going through the '60s again." Whaley breaks down the difference in Taos and the rest of the country. When asked about the ancestral trauma in our country, Whaley's response was succinct. "You're not gonna cure anything in one generation, but obviously the younger generation is more tolerant, more open-minded. They don't even think about it," said Whaley.
View the interview and see the full disclosure - Whaley's thoughts on President Trump included. And that's just the first 15 minutes.
From the writer: I never liked this guy. I remember the first time I met him, he and my father were at odds and I didn't like him. He wrote a piece about my dad and a certain retired judge; it didn't sit well with my teenage self.
Then 20 years later, Bill Whaley is my English professor. He knew it was me the moment I submitted my first assignment. Now, he is a trusted adviser of mine.
• Support In the Valle: Prejudice and reconciliation series
• Part 1: Interview with John Nichols
• Part 2: Interview with Larry Torres
• Part 3: Two Taos Natives have one crazy conversation in the Couse House
• Part 4: Anita Rodriguez talks systemic racism in Taos
• Part 5: Writer Bill Whaley goes full disclosure
• Part 6: Interview with Nikesha Breeze
• Part 7: Anne MacNaughton gives a thorough schooling
• Part 8: Iris Keltz expounds on our multicultural bonds
• Part 9: David Fernandez de Taos speaks of blending faith ways