Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bad stretch for some Black folks (and one similarly identified) lately!

Man! Since I last posted, there's been whole lot of what sister blogger, Cinie, would definitely call - "distractions!" While I agree with her that they are indeed distractions from the pressing issues of health care, the economy, unemployment, homelessness, education, continued Bush-era policies of preventive detention, possibly a new "surge" in Afghanistan if McChrystal's report is taken seriously, troops still in Iraq, etc., etc., IMHO, it is largely those "distractions," dressed up as "Love of country" or some other silly thing, that continue to keep us from making progress on those pressing issues.

Along with all the other Cinie-identified distractions since the Changeling came on the scene, these recent ones speak to THE biggest issue we have yet to seriously address not only in this country - but the world. Now you know which one I'm talking about. Yeah, that pesky, big ole pink elephant we keep wedged in the corner just so we can say it no longer exists that begins with "Rac-" and ends in "-ism."

Since I've been gone for a minute and there are quite a few of those distractions that I'd like to address, I think I'll just catch-up in a few posts rather than one long one. Let's start with this one:

Tuesday, September 8
The Changeling gives his speech to American school kids and the response, leading up to and after, was quite interesting given our "post-racial nation" status and all. An interesting email exchange with my nephew that night pretty much sums up what I think. For some perspective, he is my husband's, sister's 29 year-old son:
Am I the only one who relates the fact that people are pissed off about Barry's speech today to the deeply rooted racism in this country???!!!! I've asked a lot of people (smart people) and nobody thinks that it's cause he's "black"... everyone says it's political (party specific), would people get that pissed if Clinton was speaking to them. This is fucked up, why are people so scared?
I've gotta hear your opinion on this...

Hope all's well,
love you,

I sent this reply:
Hardly. But who – even those “smart people” you’ve asked – will come out and say it? None. I don’t even like the guy, but it’s pretty clear (after listening to it) there’s no political-party-specific nothing for them to have their panties in a knot about. If anything, through my lens anyway, there were other things. Even though plenty of them didn’t like Clinton, they’d be happy to have him speaking to them. There are plenty of reasons people are so scared because whether they own it or not, they know what has gone on in this country, and for whose benefit. But the trip is, they really don’t have to be scared because the supposed, conspiracy-inspired, “Willie Lynch” plan was pretty much successful. There’s no threat of any kind of real “revolution” not like the 60s & 70s.
All’s well, take care
The next day, I got my emailed post-notification from the Friends of Justice (FOJ) which included this: "Arlington School Board shields students from their President." I thought he'd be interested so I forwarded it to him. Here's what I said regarding the speech:

The 2nd post here’s interesting and related to your question about Obama talking to school kids and “Why are people so scared?” They’re afraid because deeply ingrained, systemic foot-on-neck shit like this has been, and despite The Changeling, still is SOP in America. It’s just that now, Klansmen wear Armani suits instead of pointy little hats, and they make laws, and reward systems that maintain those SOPs - disproportionately - to the benefit of others in America who look like them. And those beneficiaries, whether personally involved, or not, are complicit by their silence while enjoying the privilege.

As I said before, not since the 60s & 70s, has white America seen Black America mad as hell and not taking it anymore. It scared them (Watts Riots, DC riots, etc, etc) back then – even though they were tearing up their own damn neighborhoods! They were able to contain them before – with all that Byrne $$$ flowing how could they not? – their fear, is that they might not be able to do it now, should they rise up. Hell, there’s a media-identified Black man in the Big House! Trust me, there are plenty who believe he is the beginning of Black domination (payback). They’re afraid of “The Fire Next Time.” (read it?)...

The next day, I got another FOJ notification containing this post, "Rapper Corey Miller Case Spotlights Jury Law's Openly Racist Origins," which I also forwarded to him saying:


After I hit send, realized I wanted to add, in addition to what I said...there is also a huge fear of losing the “Supremacy” and the privilege so long enjoyed. Got this post from FOJ this morning. The second part, on C-Murder, is a perfect example of what I meant (the first part is interesting too, but the 2nd goes straight to the heart of your question and should give you some context. Really interesting read.
It was - particularly the included-in-the-body-of-the-post and linked-to-directly, Bowen brief section (i) entitled, "The Use of of Non-Unanimous Juries in Louisiana has an Ignoble Past." Based on the research of transplanted-to-Louisiana Australian lawyer, Richard Bourke, this section begins thusly:

"Louisiana’s majority verdict system was introduced in 1898 by a Constitution explicitly designed to disenfranchise the African-American population and enshrine white power."
If you can read the documented statements of those "lawmakers" of the day and not smell fear of losing supremacy and privilege coupled with the arrogance of knowing they had the power to protect those things - I'll give you a nickel. That, my friends, is what racism really is - fear, and the power to materially affect the lives of those of whom you are afraid. Black people ne-e-ver had it like that in America.

Let's be clear, while I can accept the premise that some of us are, in fact, prejudiced, I totally reject that we are racist because as a people, we lack the "power to materially affect" element - until now. (Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha! Just joshin' ya come on! Based on the Changeling's performance to date, white folks don't have anything to worry about.)

I'd sent him so much stuff, he replied:
"Cool thanks, I got my reading cut out for me, give me a few days to digest."
He's still digesting.

Later, I saw this video in the comments over at The Confluence while perusing blogs. I saved it because I knew I'd use it for something:



Hey Lar, THIS is what they're afraid of though they won't admit it - "Obamaindoctrination!"( I have to admit, I found that whole thing pret-t-t-y damn creepy myself! Not to mention sad.)

By Friday, the Houston Star-Telegram had run this, Arlington superintendent apologizes for not showing Obama's speech. Isn't that how it always goes? Insult, then empty apology; insult, then more empty apologies?

And the beat goes on...

26 comments:

ea said...

Hola, mujer. Been staying away from headlines for a while. Can't comment on the speech or reactions. What I have felt more since returning to the states--almost a year ago now--is misogyny over a ¿backlash? ¿pre-emptive strike? against colored folk. This might be a result of the mental/intellectual/physical/real world space I've inhabited the last couple of years.

I recall a conversation that occurred amongst of small group of people, of whom I was one, travelling together in northern Africa in ¿1986?, after meeting for the first time in southern Spain. I do not recall the origin of the discussion, but it had entered the realm of debate on sexism, feminism, etc. At one point the most openly opinionated male and I were going back-and-forth. I do not remember what I said exactly leading to this man's comment--it was probably about women achieving professionally-- but his retort remains seared in my mind's ear: "because we let you." He was not white, by the way, but Brown. I think that is what we are witnessing from the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy. "They" still see anything that can be defined as success by their value system as something they allow to happen--or in Obama's case, make happen. I suspect that those who identify with one or more of the easy labels of the perceived power structure (white, capitalist, supremacist, patriarch) feel their confidence in their own identities erode when they or their surrogates are not in charge. This is the fear.

Kind of rambling here...but, I used to live in Louisiana and have boycotted it for years because of the oppressive and diffusive racism. I nicknamed it "the hate state" and learned what it was like to physically feel the force of hatred released in words.

Deb said...

**This is a test** ea...I got you! Just need to check and see if there's a problem posting comments. Be right back!

Deb said...

ea...¡Lo siento mi amor! 2 people told me they tried commenting and couldn't. Don't know why, I've been trying to figure it out all day!

" What I have felt more since returning to the states--almost a year ago now--is misogyny over a ¿backlash? ¿pre-emptive strike? against colored folk."

No ea, I think you're right - on both counts. The mysogyny is definitely real and the backlash/pre-emptive strike against colored folks is in high gear. As usual, got a draft sitting about that mounting feeling I'm having that I need to finish!

"-- but his retort remains seared in my mind's ear: "because we let you." He was not white, by the way, but Brown. I think that is what we are witnessing from the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy. "

Yup, that is one of the fears. In your example, Brown guy's retort seems to fall squarely under "patriarchy". Hell, white guys don't have a monopoly on patriarchy!

When bell hooks wrote "Rock My Soul," she explained what she meant by "White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy" (that's where I got it, and my understanding of it). Take a look back at the first video in this post starting at click 4:28 to see what I mean: http://lets-be-clear.blogspot.com/search?q=bell+hooks

As she says there, "The ideology of White Supremacy allows the COLLUSION of Black people(Brown too!) with the forces of racism" (white people)to maintain the domination. That's how the apparatus of foot-on-neck continues to work. That's why we have people like Brown Guy, or the Black overseer during slavery - or The Changeling.

I get what you feel about Louisiana and I understand, believe me! But a lo-o-ong time ago, I fell in love with that town. I love it still - despite the hate and because I know all the white people there aren't racist. The Black community though, speaks to something deep inside my Black, Southern self!

But I get how you feel. The 1st time I volunteered with Habitat in 2006, the white Chief of Police took 5 of us that shared an open bay on a personal tour of the damage in his P/U. I sat in front asking all kinds of questions.

Everything was just fine until we saw some Latino guys doing road work. He went from nice and helpful to enraged, saying, "Look at those Spicaninnies! If it wasn't for them, New Orleanians would be working!" S-P-I-C-A-N-I-N-N-Y (a combination of Spic & Picaninny, what they called us before they had so many of you at whom they could direct such vitriol)! My head swung left like the Exorcist girl, while everybody else in the truck (all white) got quiet.

I said, "I know you didn't just say that! What?? You thought that was okay because there aren't any Latinos in here???" We shared a few words, had some shrimp po' boys and when he dropped us off, THEN everybody had plenty to say! "I couldn't believe he said that with you sitting right there!" and other various and sundry incredulities - after the fact.

Long-long-story-short, what I love about Louisiana has less to do with her racists and still - growing cotton fields (I saw them with my own eyes! Sent shivers up my spine), and everything to do with the history of the open-armed, love of my people (love it when they call me, "Chere!") AND how, remarkably, even during times like the aftermath of Katrina,it continues to be passed down for generations.

I made friends with people whose houses I helped rebuild. My name's on one family's floor under the carpet. Sandra said, "Whenever I walk across that spot, I'll remember how you came down here to help us." I've visited Sandra twice since then.

You can go here to see the photos if you like: http://pwp.att.net/p/s/community.dll?ep=16&groupid=330300&ck=

(Every time we talk, I end up writing a damn post in the comments! LOL!!)

itsjustmel said...

Deb:

By George, I think I've got it! (I hope)

Can ya hear me now? Testing, 1, 2, 3.

itsjustmel said...

Hey! there it is! Ok! I figured it out! I'm in!

What's happening over at Let's Be Clear?

I need to get up on the comments.

Be right back.

Deb said...

Loud and clear Mel! (Yay!!!) Fire away!! Now if we can just get Cinie back on here, we're in business!

Wonder why your cute little doll head doesn't show up? Never mind! I'm just glad I can hear you!

itsjustmel said...

That's where I've been, Deb! I've lost my doll!

And then got kicked out trying to find her!

itsjustmel said...

"The ideology of White Supremacy allows the COLLUSION of Black people(Brown too!) with the forces of racism" (white people)to maintain the domination. That's how the apparatus of foot-on-neck continues to work. That's why we have people like Brown Guy, or the Black overseer during slavery - or The Changeling."

Yep. We "rationalize" that ideology in order to "deal with it by somehow trying to figure it out.

That's like trying to chew lettuce with no teeth.

It not only goes on and on, it feels like it's getting bigger - when it's the same size as when you put it in your mouth. (or, so I've heard that about chewing lettuce).

itsjustmel said...

There's my doll! I feel so much better, now!

itsjustmel said...

Have you ever heard of Trauma-Bonding" or "Betrayal Bonding" Deb?

Same insidious sh*t goes on - bonding with your abuser... trying to "understand" them... anticipate their requirements in order to not get hurt, rejected, or "..." anymore.

Some enlightened religious folks would call it the "Pharaoh Mentality"

It's an insidious and impossible situation.

Deb said...

Glad the doll's back!

No I haven't, but it sounds pretty close to Stockholm Syndrome. Haven't been reading much outside news lately but I heard that Elizabeth Smart was to testify about her experience yesterday or today. I'm sure she's experienced the "Trauma Bonding" - poor thing.

Enlightened religious folks? Not touchin' that! :-)

itsjustmel said...

What's the solution?

First, recognizing one's own part in the script being played out.

Two, change the language, with which I am defining the relationship.
(that the other is omnipotent "all powerful") reality is made up of an object and an admirer - "a receiver and a perceiver".

Three, change my habitual thinking that supports my identification with the other.

Four, do nothing else - in a relatively short period of time, "suddenly," you'll find you have new options because you're no longer interacting on the same level of thinking as the other -

(You were both on the same stage just different scripts being acted out.)

And, the sad truth is, you were both there by "agreement", one more unaware of that than the other, maybe, but still by "agreement", nonetheless.

That part would take a lot more dialog.

itsjustmel said...

Yes, Stockholm Syndrome is on the same order.

The problem, even for an Elizabeth Smart, Deb, is that the bondage becomes one's "reality" - even when we can escape. We find ways to accommodate the bondage, in order to live within it - that's the "Agreement" part.

Deb: You are not going to believe this - a child was just abducted from my building!

Just went out and I can hear the mother screaming and the police and helicopter have just arrived.

Be back in a few!

Deb said...

"The problem, even for an Elizabeth Smart, Deb, is that the bondage becomes one's "reality" - even when we can escape. We find ways to accommodate the bondage, in order to live within it - that's the "Agreement" part."

Seems you've put your finger square on the problem of racism here, there and everywhere, Mel! Even the most highly educated, over-paid psychiatrists, psychologist, psycho-analysts have acted like they don't see the correlation between say, an Elizabeth Smart, a Patti Hearst, a battered woman, a PTSD sufferer - and slavery.

Pain is pain and the results are all the same - except, if you're Black in America specifically AND in the World in general.

Check it out Mel, in most corners of the WORLD, the darker you are, the more you are shat upon! India? Australia? all of Europe? The Phillipines? Latin America? Man!

Again, pain is damn pain and, oppression is oppression. NOBODY has the right to inflict either upon another damn human being!! See, that's the problem here in the good ole USA. We were chattel - things to be bought, sold and numbers manipulated for tax purposes (3/5 of a man) - before we were human beings to white people. They're still having a hard time making that transition.

That same kind of "bondage" created what is now, OUR "reality" in America - even though we can "escape!" We've made those "Agreements" of which you speak so that we can live within it! And you're right, it's merely accommodation and compromise - no real living happening - unless you REFUSE TO DO IT ANOTHER FURTHER (as my uncle used to say)! I, Refuse.

I agree with your numbers 1-3 absolutely. My #4 is I Refuse. Then your number "Four, do nothing else - in a relatively short period of time, "suddenly," you'll find you have new options because you're no longer interacting on the same level of thinking as the other." I've found though, it's not, quite "suddenly." It takes a long time

Whew-w-w! I needed that! Had to click on #2 and #3 in the player to first, ratchet back the anger and re-focus - then breathe! (It is some of these kids' words today that give me a kernel of real "hope and change" - not that shit The Changeling's peddling!)

Did they find the Baby?????

itsjustmel said...

Whew! False alarm on that one but another "abduction" unfolded not far from here.

itsjustmel said...

First Deb - in no uncertain terms do I think, believe or feel that Elizabeth Smart participated in her own "abduction" or "bondage".

Were there opportunities for her to "escape"? Apparently many. But a lot of psychological and emotional damage had already been done to that girl and she wasn't old enough to grasp who "SHE" was in relationship to what had happened, to even consider "escape".

Or did she? Did there come a time when Elizabeth Smart did become "aware"? Did elizabeth Smart have even a subtle change in conciousness prior to her being "freed" or "finding an escape" by whatever means - however it would ultimately unfold?

(Did she consciously, unknowingly change the agreement from "there is nothing that I can do" to "someday, I will...".

Someday we'll know, I hope. I hope she will tell her story.

My point? There is inevitably a "moment of clarity" that sets something else in motion that leads to "freedom" from "bondage".

Sometimes, it may not come until the final hour of our own life or that of someone we love or know - but we let go of the "struggle" and open ourselves to the next possibilty.

# 4 awwwh, Deb, I completely understand; it is the most difficult to comprehend, this very difficult, agonizing exercise in doing "nothing else".

# 4 is the "listening period". It may last an hour, a day, a week or longer.

May I continue?

ea said...

Revisé el video de la Sra. Brooks y disfruté con las fotos. Estoy acuerdo con la idea de las enlaces complejas de los componentes de la White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy. Pienso que hay gente quien (que) se puede disculpar a sí mismo cualquiera parte que tiene en el patriarcado si no se tiene todas partes.

I think people excuse themselves of having a part in maintaining the patriarchy if they don´t see themselves as fully fledged members, as it were.

p.d. : No me dijiste que eres una bella físicamente tambien, hermana.

Deb said...

Absolutely! Then I'll comment.
(But you may want to go do some housecleaning on the "Embossed.." post! I just got an email notification update and it looks like this post+ was posted in the comments by JJ. I'm flattered Mel! But I'm sure it's taken up a lot of space! Why not delete the body and just direct them to the link you so graciously put on your page? I don't think JJ knows it's me - I'll tell her.)

itsjustmel said...

"Suddenly" is when I find myself doing something, or moving into a new situation that I had not exactly planned, thought of, or had an exact framework ready and waiting to "move" myself into.

In fact, although looking back, I can see that I had many of the "ingredients" required, I had been unable to organize them in such a way that would even recognize, much less make such a different, opportunity happen.

Looking back, I see that every time that has happened in my life, it evolved out of a prior moment of clarity.

Racism: I knew, and all of my ancestors before me knew, that the abuses and oppression of Blacks were wrong!

Many wanted to stop it, give it up, change the way things were to a better way.

Why has it taken so long, then?

I have a very strong position on this that I already can see that you and I largely agree on.

How does one communicate it to those who just refuse to hear?

Invite them to the last place that anyone wants to go on the racial issue.

I hope we can continue this... one of my new posters has come over here and, apparently, either didn't realize that I had been reading and referring to your blog, (or didn't know how to copy and paste only a section, posted the whole thread column into her post! lol!

(She meant well, I can see.)

I'll be back!

Deb said...

ea...¡Si, Sra. (H)ooks es una mujer negra que respeto grandemente!

Now you know how bad my Spanish is, ea! Glad you're back so I can practice! :-)

Estoy de acuerdo contigo sobre todo. Eso es probablemente porqué no podemos terminar esto.

"No me dijiste que eres una bella físicamente tambien, hermana."

Muchas, muchas gracias mi amor! No lo sabía durante mucho tiempo (a VERY long time!). Pero ahora??? Me quiero muchisimo!!! Whether anybody else does or not! :-)

Deb said...

"How does one communicate it to those who just refuse to hear?

Invite them to the last place that anyone wants to go on the racial issue.


That's it Mel...to the very heart of the matter. At the end of the day, that's all we can do.

(Yeah, I went over and told JJ that it was me and that you'd linked to me on your blog.)

Deb said...

No, Mel! I didn't mean that she participated in her own abduction or bondage. I was comparing the trauma of having been abducted/held hostage/beaten up - repeatedly or dropped smack dab into a damn war and captured or injured or just down-right scared and forbidden to get the hell out.

It's all the same trauma of someone else exercising their "power" (real or perceived to inflict pain and dominion over another - just like slavery.

Yet, many in America, including our esteemed professionals, tell "US" to get the hell over it, while everyone else in the traumatic situations I described - gets treatment!

And unlike the others (and this is not a, my pain is worse than your pain thing, just an observation), Blacks have been "going through it" for HUNDREDS OF YEARS while whites still think the only reason Blacks are where they are is because they're just some lazy niggers - kinda like the battered woman (at least they're gettingmore attention than they used to,thank the Lord!)- "If he was beatin' her ass, why didn't SHE leave!"

As my friend ea said in her last comment in English: "I think people excuse themselves of having a part in maintaining the patriarchy if they don´t see themselves as fully fledged members, as it were."

For example, while the institutionalized policies of the top 1% in power certainly keeps shit going, those whites in the other 99% who have no active part in the "Capitalist" part of the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy still help to maintain the supremacy and the patriarchy by their thoughts, words and deeds. And those who do, don't own that - and the beat goes on...

As for Ms. Smart, I get the psychologica/emotional damage - that was my point as it relates to Blacks. I believe she did have opportunities (isn't that how they found her? She was seen out - with them). But then, as you say - the "agreement."

"My point? There is inevitably a "moment of clarity" that sets something else in motion that leads to "freedom" from "bondage".

So true Mel. I had several "moments of clarity" along the way, but the big one, the one that made me say "Not another fuhther," was not until my mother's death.

Oh I'm with your #4 and totally understand it, but for me, my I Refuse must come first. :-)

And when I peeled the scales away from my eyes and got it, and saw that others didn't/wouldn't/couldn't get it too, I realized that, as in both our 4s, I was in for a long, often solitary haul.

itsjustmel said...

Hello Deb!

Well, this crappy, wan-a-be-writer just took a leap.

Here's the short version. In 1997, I started a work that I had wanted to do for eleven years.

I completed it in 2001 and had interest in publishing.

I was afraid.

In fact, it has been said that I am one of the most fear-based people you will ever meet. For many reasons, Deb, too many to share.

Earlier this year I made some minor edits to bring a few events current.

But, still too afraid to put it out there.

I have also had the "conflict" of not wanting to "exploit" (for profit) the deep and personal resolve that I developed the work upon.

Again, I am not an educated woman thus not an academic "expert".

I am not ignorant, but I have hidden behind "not good enough" and been hurt by it more than I can any longer stand.

I hope you will take a look.

I am considering posting it, chapter by chapter, on Sue & Mel's.

Sue and others want me put to put it in print. I want to give it away, but am not that position.

Thanks! I'll be back - someone's at the door.

itsjustmel said...

"but am not in that that position to self print."

So Deb, I've been working for the last couple of months on putting the book on for listening or download. Almost through the final chapters, now.

Finally, "the wan-a-be, crappy writer" is not true. It is what I named my blind spot on the subject of my writing.

I wanted to be a writer most all of my life.

The truth is, I was one. I've done a lot of it in various forms and genres - but for the "wan-a-be crappy writer".

Labels. How many of us have been in bondage to labels?

itsjustmel said...

the book on [audio].

I'll be spending some time here tonight.

All's quiet and I finally have a chance to just read before Sue gets in (she's on the plane, now).

Goodnight.

Deb said...

"Well, this crappy, wan-a-be-writer just took a leap."

I'm so happy for you Mel! Sister, I have to tell you, we have more in common than you know!

"In fact, it has been said that I am one of the most fear-based people you will ever meet.

Would Sue, be one that said that? For some reason, I can see that! And is that what it is? Fear? I've not thought of it that way. (No shit - I am in somewhat the same situation, but I thought, I just didn't know enough about the publishing business and that was what's kept me stagnant!)

And hell Mel! What kind of experts are those academic experts any-damn-way??!!

Is the resolve, your resolve? If it is, isn't it your decision to make? Considered the consequences?

And Oh! I'm with Sue and others about what you whould do with "it." But that's of course, up to you.

"I wanted to be a writer most all of my life."

You and me both! And I guess you're right - about being one - for that "wan-a-be crappy writer" blind spot. And the answer to your question is - lots.

Enjoy! Nite.

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