Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!"

How I'm feeling today:







I thank Mrs. Alfreda Jenkins, my high school English teacher, for James Baldwin (and many more prolific Black writers).   When I'm really weary of all the double-talking bullshit from the Changeling & his henchmen followers as I'm finding myself increasingly these days, I still find solace and sanity in his words.

It has been 46 years since this interview yet, it all still sounds so very, very current.  Baldwin was so much more of a "man" than the Changeling could ever hope to be...

13 comments:

itsjustmel said...

Thank You for James Baldwin.

We have never confronted the core of human, internal "conditions" that drove us to racial hatred and division. The remnants are everywhere because they are in us.

If we refuse to open our eyes to all that racism represents, embodies, excuses and ignores, I am afraid we will NEVER see how how those same internal conditions are driving everything else... who we elect, what "policies" we tolerate or promote what suffering we participate in as a culture.

My life story that brought me to this present moment, may be confusing and I may not seem to know where I am going, but I am not "lost", anymore, Deb. I know what I am preparing to do, to get my message out, constructively.

I am posting a new post with Baldwin's Picture and linking it to Let's Be Clear, until I get a new post ready.

Baldwin's sincerity and wisdom is deeply inspiring. It is eerie how easy it would be to change some words, here and there, and it could be 2009.

If only we can stop the slid into "nothing will change, it's too much trouble, I've got my own to worry about and that's all I can do."

I'll be posting some videos also, from some who also got it, cared and have stayed committed.

Thanks again.

Deb said...

You are most welcome, Mel. Glad to "see" you're okay.

I knew if anyone would (besides me), you'd appreciate hearing from him!

"We have never confronted the core of human, internal "conditions" that drove us to racial hatred and division. The remnants are everywhere because they are in us."

And he says as much in Pt. 3 of the interview: "What white people have to do is try to find out, in their own hearts, why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place. Because I'm not a nigger, I'm a man. But if you think I'm a nigger, means you need it...If I'm not the nigger here, and though you invented him, you the white people invented him - then you gotta find out why...and the future of the country depends on that...whether or not it is able to ask that question."


When I first started reading you Mel, I was encouraged out of one of my many "nothing will change" funks. And when I saw your "Race Card" for the first time, I said, "Damn! Seems like she gets it! And not only that, Bless her heart, she's trying to do better." ;-)

"If we refuse to open our eyes to all that racism represents, embodies, excuses and ignores,I am afraid we will NEVER see how those same internal conditions are driving everything else......"

That's the point I was making over at your place Mel. While you can't see racism "through my eyes," you can see, if you look - and care, the absolute inhumanity of the racism upon which this country was founded, and continues to operate - then spins-off, like Maude from Archie Bunker's show, to infect the country with all sorts of, as you mentioned, other forms of societal abuse - and quite successfully, Imight add. And why? Because racism, upon which it all was founded,is still damn workin', and well!

That's why I don't do July 4th. We weren't FREE! We were property to be bought, sold and traded when that shit went down. To white folks, we were fa-a-a-r from "Independent." Such an obvious fact that should tip anyone off to some of this trauma shit yet, they keep "acting" as if they can't even grasp that one small fact!

I tell you, it's tiring and enraging - but necessary. And that's the end of that rant. :-)

Often, I just want to shut the hell up about it (because hardly anyone really wants to hear it!), but I just can't. And then I come across someone like you, willing to not only own her shit (out loud!), but commit herself - fully cognizant - to doing better going forward and I'm again rejuvenated!

"Au contraire ma soeur (just had to throw that in there)!" You don't seem confused or lost at all - you sound FULL, to bursting! And trust me, I can relate. In his book, "The Fire Next Time," Baldwin says:

"I do not mean to be sentimental about suffering--enough is certainly as good as a feast--but people who cannot suffer can never grow up, can never discover who they are. That man who is forced each day to snatch his manhood, his identity, out of the fire of human cruelty that rages to destroy it knows, if he survives his effort, and even if he does not survive it, something about himself and human life that no school on earth--and, indeed, no church--can teach. He achieves his own authority, and that is unshakeable."

I've achieved MY OWN authority Mel and sounds like, your well on your way to achieving yours.

itsjustmel said...

Thanks, Deb:

I do "Get It" because I just opened my eyes, Deb - and there it all was!

That's all I did was open my eyes. I did not like what I saw, I did not know what to do. There were few, is any that I could talk to about it and the ones that I tried, came at me with a force I could no longer relate to.

I need to go ahead and post the rest of the chapters.

Again, they are from my view, my walk through with my eyes open. They are not progressive, new or globally changing words.

But those that have read them say "it changed them" - if only one, two or three see things somewhat differently - then it's like the sand dollar story:

There was a man on the beach throwing beached sand dollars back into the ocean when a young boy walked up to him and said, "Mister, there are tens of thousands on the beach, you don't think you can possible make a difference by just throwing back a few?" As the man raised up and looked at the one in his hand, then at the boy, he threw the sand dollar into the surf saying, "Son, I made a difference to that one..."

Deb said...

No problem Mel. I'll be looking out for the chapters. Hey, mind if I break them down when I repost (with your permission of course)? As you said before, the scope is huge, just want to give people time to digest it. Think about it.

itsjustmel said...

Deb said:
"Hey, mind if I break them down when I re-post (with your permission of course)?"

Not at all, Deb, do what you think would make it worthwhile and easier to digest.

I agree - the scope is too large in one post.

I would welcome collaboration with you, Deb, on that.

What do you think about breaking it down into two or three "running" perspectives on excerpts from a chapter?

That is why I originally launched Sue and Mels format in the Depo Masthead style (like Cinies).

(Side-by-side commentaries coming from two life experiences was what I was hoping for. The problem is the reader comments staying consolidated under one topic/subject/excerpt thread following two simultaneous commentaries in posts.

Back and forth responses between the two commentators could work, with the third thread being the reader comments - if I can figure out the format logistics.

What do you think, if you can follow what I am trying to communicate? Think of a two or three woman "play", dialoging on the topic matter.

We got out of Sue's car and tried it in my parking lot one afternoon - and got so lost in the actuality of the dialog, we didn't care who was watching us circling one another speaking our truths! Damned it was powerful!

It was an incredible experience that evolved so easily and was so real, it evoked all of our emotions, from sadness to laughter to embracing and celebrating each other' lives for simply who we were and the risk we were willing to take in that moment!

I wish you could have been there, Deb! My instincts tell me that you would have both loved it and would have brought so much to that experience!

Sue has a lot going on right, now, unfortunately - but understandable.

itsjustmel said...

One more thing, Deb.

In case I am not communicating how much richness you are bringing to my journey, I wish I had known you when I started my essays.

In fact, I have tossed and turned since I have been reading you - and Cinie - on how much perspective you add to the work I tried to do on what I was "seeing".

Thank God, I have been inspired to open my eyes wider; there is so much more to try and see and understand.

When I say that "I do get it", Deb, it is important to make sure you know that I know that what "I get" more than anything, is that defending my narrow, white supremacist perspective has contributed to both of our races' losses along the way.

It is hard to convey, without sounding patronizingly trite or self-servingly enlightened.

But, I regret not "seeing" it all sooner - especially that I so wrongly, innately, believed that I was "so right" simply because "I.was.white".

That's what "I get" the most, Deb, and it's so important for me to not forget that, ever.

Deb said...

Sounds like a great idea, Mel. I'd be happy to offer whatever I can. I think I understand what you're wanting to do, but since I'm no computer wonk as you know, I can't give any advice on the "logistics," though I agree, the reader comments might be a problem if you go with the side-by-side.

The tête-à-tête between you and Sue sounds exhilarating and cleansing! If everyone were able to do that, there'd be a lot less stress (carrying shit around - unsaid) and a whole lot less misunderstanding (since everything is out in the open).

The only down side? People who aren't ready or willing to take the risk.

"I wish you could have been there, Deb!"

Never know Mel, I'm really not that far away from you guys! :-)

Deb said...

Thanks Mel, right back atcha!

Communicating with you, as I said before, has confirmed much that I've believed all my life growing up in this country. It's added balance, and a definite "Okay, I'm not damn crazy" feeling that puts a lot of things in perspective.

"That's what "I get" the most, Deb, and it's so important for me to not forget that, ever."

I don't think you will, - ever.

itsjustmel said...

Deb: If you haven't heard of that therapeutic "model" called "crazy making" it's what you have been experiencing and why, I believe, that much of the issue of racism is so unresolved for Black Americans.

The "undercurrents" of racism are everywhere.

It's the exact focus of my entire book.

The "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" that has kept domestic violence and all abuses so penetratingly damaging.

(We are still so fricking uncomfortable (embarrassed) with the word "incest" and what it represents, it is why it is largely still occurring as we speak. Think about that and its relative "shame" being transferred onto the "victim").

The victims are relegated to bare the shame while society says "shhhh" and "he or she must have participated somehow" (it's their fault for being Black)

(I'm sorry, Deb - I'm am really, really sorry - I don't get some sick pleasure out of saying it. Shame is real, scarring and prolonged - especially when those that cause it absolve themselves completely, without so much as an admission or apology)

The exact same scenario plays itself out in "Racism".

Having to endure the undercurrents of Racism ISN'T the SHAME, and should not be carried as the SHAME of those who have to endure it.

But, that's how our society has re-framed it - adding salt to the harms of our history and unresolved present-day disparities.

It's maddening to me today, Deb. What is so difficult to get?

If we could even get "THAT" we would be taking a giant step toward achieving some kind of resolve.

You are not "crazy" Deb - trust me. You are not "crazy".

I don't care what or how the most "liberal" front is being presented; the attitudes, name calling, anger for perceived "allowances being made for Blacks" are ever present in my WHITE race, at many levels.

Part of the problem, I think, is the fear of what it will "cost" us, if we admit it.

It is one screwed up, embedded denial system surrounding a populace of 16.5 million people.

itsjustmel said...

So Deb: here is are my heartfelt words to you from the last pages in my book. They are what I try and convey to as many as possible. I am sorry that I haven't taken the opportunity on the blog with people I have encountered, until now.

(Each time I utter these words - even now in writing, they are gut wrenching words to say - I wish they were enough.)

“Deb,

There is something I would like to share with you. I have been a racist; I have thought racist thoughts; spoken racist words; committed racist acts; and ignored racist acts of others.

I have believed that I had a right to judge my life as more valuable than yours, based only upon my race. I now know that I was wrong. I want to ask your forgiveness for these harms. I have harmed you by not only ignoring the fact that there is racism within my own heart, but my own racism has contributed to the racism remaining throughout our nation.

In righting these wrongs, I will become a part of the solution – speaking out for the equality of our respective lives in my home, my job, my neighborhood, our schools, and our community as a whole – by being a voice for the truth that we are One Nation.

...Mel"

Deb said...

Apology accepted, Mel. Let me just be clear here. I understand and agree with you that the undercurrents of racism today definitely tries to shame Blacks, however I am not one of them, because as I said, I've believed it and its undercurrents have existed all of my life in this country.

The "crazy-making" is sucessful in that it produces an ongoing and increasing frustration in me when I keep hearing it being denied by whites - AND Blacks. And you're right, THAT is the shame.

"Part of the problem, I think, is the fear of what it will "cost" us, if we admit it.

Think you hit the nail on the head there!

Deb said...

Mel, again, apology accepted - that was beautifully heartfelt. Keep being that voice for truth.

itsjustmel said...

Deb:

I in no way think that you are "a shame-bound woman". Far from it.

What I was referring to was the "crazy-making shame" - (i.e., "is there something wrong with me that I can't let this go, overlook it, pretend that I am not experiencing what I am experiencing? They keep telling me this shit's over and done with, why do I keep saying, "Really!""

That's what I am talking about, Deb, It's that "You're crazy!" shame.

It's an altogether different kind of "shame", but born out of the same damned lie - which compounds that lie completely, ad infinitum.

Yes?

And yes - I call it the "first fruits" position in the book -

"Don't be thinking that you will ever be "deserving" of what I have the right to... "First Fruits", baby, and don't you ever forget it!"

That's the undercurrent, in a nut shell, Deb, and why it's so hard to get to. It's a "privileged syndrome, based solely upon race."

What price to pay? Hell, Deb, giving up that iddy, biddy ONE privilege of being "White" in this country - or any country - that all else falls underneath.

That's why the arguments can go all over the place - you are fucking with "God-given privilege" and the "supreme ability to harvest "First Fruits" prove it!"

It's very backward-thinking cultural thinking, Deb - and once you SEE that - it changes things. You can't think in the same terms you once did when in certain situations. It trips you up every time you try to go there.

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