I'd been having some interesting conversations about race and racism on another blog, with Mel, a white woman who seemed eager to "own her shit" and move forward better, together. After spending a lot of yesterday commenting back-and-forth on our respective blogs, I decided to leave her last comment to me unanswered until morning, and went to bed.
When I checked my email this morning, I'd gotten this - "Dr. Andrew Manis: “When are we going to get over it?” - from my former, downstairs neighbor in DC when I was going to grad school who once told me, "You like pain, huh?" She was referring to the MANY TIMES I'd bent her damn ear talking about why money is not the most important thing in the world to me, race and racism, white people and Black people and - why The Changeling, with his mask-wearing self was no friend of mine.
Pretty interesting conversations given she's a 57 year-old Black woman, born in New Orleans and raised in Detroit, with a placard on a little chain on the passenger-side dashboard of her little, blue VW Bug that reads, "This car is for Black passengers only!" and - loves The Changeling and his family. As a matter of fact, it was she who gave me the the little sign where I whited-out the "s" on "Daughters" and scanned in that you see in the upper right corner of my blog. She got them both at the same time. But her philosophy was, "We gotta make that money, we don't have time to worry about all that!" So, I was pretty surprised when she sent me the, "SOMETHING TO REALLY PASS ON!" piece about Dr. Manis.
After reading it and thinking - "He sounds just like Mel." - I decided to answer her comment that I'd let sit until morning, but - it was gone, along with several others we'd both made on two of her posts. I thought, "Hm-m-m-m, how odd!" I knew I'd left her with a question that might have required some thought, but I didn't think it was that deep she'd delete our conversations.
Rather than explaining all that transpired, I'll just post it all here and you draw your own conclusions:
Mel, I came over to respond to your comment in response to my "point-to-ponder question - "Why would you think I'd gone to all "White" schools?" - from last night.When I read the first paragraph, I couldn't believe it. I certainly have my own idea why you would automatically assume I'd attended all-"White" schools, but I wanted to hear your "truth." Instead, you said this:
Remember you said, "...What is interesting to me is that I have little recall, Deb, of that "experience", except that I was in my early teens and from the day I started to school, I felt like I was in a strange dream. She finally just withdrew me until we could move. I have no stories to tell from that time - none - they are just a blur.
Was that ever how being in predominantly "White" schools felt, Deb? Like being in a strange and uncertain land at times? Based upon that brief time, I've often wondered."
I told you, "The blur thing is interesting - and a point to ponder, as is this: "Was that ever how being in predominantly "White" schools felt, Deb?"
However, it seems you've deleted ALL the comments not only to this post, but the Baldwin/Baez one as well. Luckily I saved it because I do> want to respond - since we're being real and all. (BTW, jj's "review" comment of the first chapter'll sure look nice on a book jacket huh?)
I told you I hadn't ever gone to an all-white school until grad school- last year, and you replied:
Didn't know your age, Deb, or, if you went to private schools, or if areas you have lived in were divided into "districts" where the majority in certain grade levels was predominately "white".
I don't consider YOU "collateral damage" but that the collateral damage of relating my exposure to the hypocrisy, even today, causes "unnecessary" pain.
The possibility of "unnecessary pain" is the "collateral damage" that I was referring to.
The "privilege/supremacy" delusion was one of the biggest eyeopeners for me. It made no sense whatsoever because that "lack of privilege and supremacy" you mentioned was superimposed by a dominating - not "dominate" - race.
Yet, the power it maintains is oppressive in many forms. It is hard to see that when you have been raised to believe that.
"Suddenly" you awaken to how senseless that whole belief system is and the human struggles it has caused. It is hard to comprehend how you ever believed that, really. Yet the imprint is there and you can't go back and speak up when you were silent or step up to the plate when it was the right thing to do, or go back and get involved now that you recognize the many missed opportunities to do so.
But... maybe, just maybe... Deb, something good will come from making an effort today.
"Didn't know your age, Deb, or, if you went to private schools, or if areas you have lived in were divided into "districts" where the majority in certain grade levels was predominately "white."
Knowing that on several occasions, we've discussed exactly the opposite of what you said, and recently - like when I replied to you on 10/16 at my place about BLM: "It was - in my then predominantly Black, public, high school; by my Black English teacher. (We did move on up, but divorce, and Black mobility ushered in by white flight have a funny way of changing a child's life over time).
And on the "Race Card" post, which I can't seem to find right now, I told you about being 53 and going to an all-Black, Catholic school with all-Black nuns!
On your “What happened to the Real Movement? (Baldwin/Baez post where you also deleted all comments)”, you aid:
Re-post from below
Deb. Ok. Call me on it, if I’m failing somewhat on here on “trying to make my journey about getting there, whole with as little collateral damage as possible.”
Am I simply creating "harm" or leaving "inhumanity" in my wake, in your book, Deb?
I would like to have that feedback from you."
I'm calling you on it Mel. And in response to the rest of your comment in the beginning where you said:
"I don't consider YOU "collateral damage" but that the collateral damage of relating my exposure to the hypocrisy, even today, causes "unnecessary" pain.
As I told you in the comment to which you were responding, I say again, don't consider me collateral damage. I meant what you meant in your response. Relating your "exposure to the hypocrisy" doesn't cause me any "unnecessary" pain whatsoever. Like I said in the comment you deleted, I come from one of the "original 13s" where whites abashedly assert their privilege/supremacy (and our lack thereof) - I prefer you call it what it is. I'm familiar with the games and I recognize them when I see them. Which does not mean I will play them."
I see since last night, you've decided to stop asking "why" and see no need to continue to discuss "IT"> anymore. Your blog, your choice.
The above is in reference to Mel's new post, wherein she asks some rather poignant questions, one to which I thought I'd reply today at 2:55 p.m.:
"What would happen if I found out that “Why?” wasn’t worth another second of my time.”I started doing something else here in the house and as I piddled around, it hit me - I knew nothing about this man Andrew M. Manis!!! Preconceived notions about him being one of "those guys" was hardly where I wanted to be on this journey!
Today, in our supposed “post-racial” nation? There’ll just be another white person whose known all along that what they were doing was wrong, but NOW, after having benefitted a lifetime from doing so, decides to shower us all with mea culpas all while, of course, framing the racism narrative and telling us (like we don’t already know) what racism has done to us like this guy:
Kind of like all the commercials on TV now with Black folks all over – when just last year, there were hardly any. And the beat goes on….
So I sat back down and wrote this comment back at Mel's at 3:39 p.m.:
Got to do some reading up on Andrew M. Manis. He may well have been on the right side of right all along so I shouldn’t say, “like this guy” – at least until I know more about him.After quickly perusing the net, I left this comment at Mel's at 4:55 p.m.:
…and now I do. And he HAS been “on the right side of right all along” it seems:Let's be clear, racism and its co-pilot prejudice are, and always have been a part of the very fabric of this country from its founding until today. But as anyone who's read me knows, I believe there's a difference between the two. My "Prejudicial thought" about Dr. Manis carries with it "NO POWER" whatsoever, to economically, psychologically, socially, environmentally, institutionally affect his way of life, unlike the decidedly different, and ongoing "Racism" in this country with its power to do all those things and so much more (as evidenced, the "selection" of the Changeling!).
See Mel, that’s what “checking yourself” and “owning your shit” is all about. It’s easy – because I’m committed to making this journey be about being the best “Me” I can be – nothing else.
Because when that is your only goal, your only purpose? “Real humanity” can’t help but follow. For me, doing anything other than that is just “tilting at windmills.”
Racism and prejudice are in us, as Mel once said. How could they not be? Now, there may be a white person whose not had a single racist thought, did a racist deed or not benefitted by their complicity with those who have - regarding Black folk (and other minorities), but I've never met one. And I can't speak for all Black folks, but I'd have to say, I've never met one of us whose not had a single prejudicial thought, did a prejudicial deed or benefitted by their complicity with those who have regarding white folk (and other minorities) either! These are givens - for me - when talking about such a hot-button topic because I know that, in order for us (or any one else for that matter), to truly become a "post-racial nation" and stop lyin' about it, we all have to constantly "check ourselves" and "own our shit." As I told Mel, anything else, is "simply and sadly - tilting at windmills." After our flurry of converations of the past week or so, I've yet to hear from Mel.
I'm just sayin' - I am an intelligent, willing-to-honestly-work-on-this-shit, Black woman with no malice in my heart (but more than a little Natalie Turner in my soul) whose been on that journey for at least 29 years. All I ask is that when you visit me here, treat me and fellow commenters that way - or I will call you on it and keep right on truckin' along my journey of "Me."