Saturday, October 2, 2010

A few ruminations...

While Krauthammer's take on the Democratic strategy of painting the Tea Party as extremists in his, "Visigoths at the gate?" is hardly far-fetched, we already know, or should know by now, that they're no different than the other side of the aisle.  What was more interesting (and typical Krauthammer) was this :
Sweet irony. Fear-over-hope rides again, this time with Democrats in the saddle warning darkly about "the Republican Tea Party" (Joe Biden). Message: Vote Democratic and save the nation from a Visigoth mob with a barely concealed tinge of racism.

First, this is so at variance with reality that it's hard to believe even liberals believe it. The largest Tea Party event yet was the recent Glenn Beck rally on the Mall. The hordes descending turned out to be several hundred thousand cheerful folks in what, by all accounts, had the feel of a church picnic. And they left the place nearly spotless -- the first revolution in recorded history that collected its own trash. (emphasis mine)
Funny how my brain works sometimes - because I see nothing but irony in Chuck's smarmy display of schadenfreude and his mocking of what is so obviously clear (at least to me) in both of the linked pieces. Reading them, my often, auto-pilot mind just began to drift to the many recurring images of some other, "cheerful folks in what, by all accounts, had the feel of a church picnic" - a scant, 80 years ago.  But they got all dressed up in their Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes for their big event!

Then...


Now...
(Click Then... for an excerpt of a first-hand account of the August 17, 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana - from the then, 16 year-old, third-intended victim, James Cameron, who died in 2006).

The Now... photo may have been missing its "Strange Fruit" on that day, (they've even unashamedly co-opted, and twisted that history for monetary gain!), but neither Chuck, nor anybody else can convince me there weren't people in that crowd who were either around, 80 years ago - OR - are descendants of someone who was. Somebody please - DO tell me how that's not relevant to their little, "Restoring Honor" get together!

And seeing as you guys are not bigots or racists or anything - what, pray tell, are you trying to say here Chuck?:

"And they left the place nearly spotless -- the first revolution in recorded history that collected its own trash."

First of all, unless I slept the revolution during which the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy actually fell, I'm confused about the whole "revolution" thing. But I digress.

Given the number of recorded marches that have been held on the National Mall, I doubt very seriously that Chuck has trash stats to support that "first" thing. If he does, I'd like to see them. But he is right about one thing - they've gotten a lot better at leaving their gathering places nearly spotless. Before, they'd just burn what they considered their "trash" and leave it - for all to see:

John Lee - August 13, 1911
William Brown - September 28, 1919

Yes folks, that plume of smoke in the first photo is also the body of a Black man - burning. And according to the Without Sanctuary site:
Another version of this photo postcard was marketed with the negative etched, "Coon Cooking." (emphasis mine).
Trust me Chuck, we all know what you meant by your racist, hiding-in-plain-sight insult about "revolutions" collecting their own trash. But please, DO pat yourselves on the back about your progress in no longer leaving any evidence of your having ever gotten together for that "church picnic," which I suspect, will soon produce the same glee-filled faces as those in the Then... photo above.

Yeah, I know. I should just stop bringing it up all the time and; I should look forward, not back because; like the twenty-something, Black brother in my journalism class on identity (no less!) told me last year during a group critique of our second, graded essay - about ourselves:  "You didn't need to put that in there, we know all about what happened, and that was a long time ago.

People like him are the exact reason why I needed - "to put that in there."  Left to their own devices, the history we already barely know would become non-existent.  That's not an option for me - because my history matters.
 
I took the assignment to write about ourselves seriously, which meant culling together the life experiences that had informed the person I'd become.  What caused most of the class so much dis-ease, was the fact that I'd included a couple of paragraphs about the unexplained, and uninvestigated "drowning" of my cousin, Darryl which was, ironically - just a month and a half shy of his 14th birthday, and my - 21st (No, I don't make a habit of hanging out in cemeteries but, they're such great - and accurate - genealogical tools!  Last name redacted for obvious reasons).

I don't know about you, but to me - if a person you know and love, is found dead - washed up on a beach he knew like the inside of a shrimp trap; with blunt,  force  trauma to his head and no water  in his lungs; after having been reported missing to the police, who did little more than take a report the day before - that's a life experience which informs who one becomes. 

Let me be real clear here:  If it's your cup of tea, to pay "The Price of the Ticket" - as if one's beginnings had no bearing on one's becoming - that's your journey. Mine involves, not denying truth for fantasy in order to be accepted into this - as they say in the Keys - "One Human Family." First of all, I was human all along. Second of all, who died and made them humanity's arbiters, deciding who is human enough, or "civilized" enough - and who is not?

All I can say is, the fact - that privileged, white supremacists, need to make Black folk savages in order to make themselves feel superior - is, and will forever be, their cross of inhumanity to bear.  And those who cosign their fantasy - will be right there with them, lugging that load around until they reap what they've sown.

As I continue my own journey of reexamining everything (defined by Baldwin as,"doing your first work over"), I have found many of my "realities" mightily challenged on more than one occasion. But the one, immovable rock upon which I stand, the one reality that cannot be challenged - by anyone - is who I am, and what that means to me.

Which brings me to the question Brother Malcolm asked more than 40 years ago:




Can somebody please just "Make it Plain" for me?  Who ARE these - Blacks, in Blue in Philly?:




Lawd ha' mercy!  Look at how far we've not come! {smdh}

On a lighter and happier note - Y'all can laugh at 'Toine if you damn want to!

When some poor excuse for a man crawled in through the second floor window of their Lincoln Park, Alabama home in the projects trying to rape his sister, 24 year-old Antoine Dodson reacted exactly like I'd want my brother to act - Chase that mofo down! And if you can't catch him - go on the news and raise Holy-damn-hell until somebody pays attention!  I ain't mad at him - that's Leonidas behavior! (No fan of war, for war's sake - I am a '300' fan!).

And neither am I ashamed of his, described-by-many, "ghetto" behavior. I've always hated the way "white" folks, and now many of us - conflate Black, with ghetto (Oh, don't act like you don't know what I mean!).

Not long ago, while my sons were still living with us, the youngest invited a white friend of his over for dinner. The son had on some shorts that were saggin', showing his underwear (a whole 'nother conversation for another day!). Everything was going fine until the visitor said something about that being "ghetto."

Everything stopped, for what seemed like an eternity, as the son looked at the friend and shook his head saying, "Man, you MUST not know where you are!" - just as I launched into my, "Do you even know what "ghetto is??" rant. Long story, short - what I said to him, was basically what Judge Lynn Toler said - (What?? TV is one of those challenges I'm still workin' on! After a steady diet of TV before, and after - there were color TVs,it's an ongoing battle!) - to this young,Black guy when he said, regarding how his white wife had yanked his ass out of another woman's car - "If I wanted ghetto, I woulda married a Black woman!"  My sister DREW that little body up real tall on that bench - and - let-him-have-it!:

"Black is who you are, what you were and what you have survived. Ghetto is a state of being, something thrust upon you, something that happens to you."
If we could - at a minimum - just stop using their labelling-to-demean techniques, we'd be on our way to a new understanding of who we are and what that means. Just sayin'.

Anyway...

Stepping and standing up for his sister, without hesitation, has proven to be doubly beneficial for 'Toine - and his sister. According to this piece - "Bed Intruder" YouTube Song Earns Antoine Dodson A House - they won't have to deal with that, "something thrust upon you" anymore:
Antoine Dodson and his sister have earned a whopping fifty percent of all the profits made from online sales of the Gregory Brother’s ‘Bed Intruder Song’. The song hit the Top 50 iTunes list in terms of sales so you can only imagine how much money the family must have made. Dodson told Us, “We made enough to move and get a house.” In addition to the house, Dodson plans to use the money to go back to school and move forward with his life. He says, “I signed up to finish my Associate’s Degree in business. That way I can take everything to the next level and be on a more professional level.” His ultimate goal is to open either a salon or a hotel. (emphasis mine)
Go 'head 'Toine! If nobody else understands that where you live, informs who you've become, but does not define who you will later be as you grow - I do.  Hell, I'll make sure to click that link - every time I think about it, just so 'Toine can get his Bachelor's, and Masters too (their real educational value being debatable - having them, at least begins to thwart that, "qualifications" hurdle)!

I don't know anything about these Gregory Brothers besides what I've read here:
Evan: On the financial angle, Antoine is participating in all of the revenue from the sale of anything we do [with the song], 50-50.
Michael: We’re really breaking “unintentional singing” ground, so we’re trying to set precedents by making it so that Antoine, or whoever that artist might be in the future, has a stake not only as an artist but as a co-author of the song. It’s like you said: He wrote the lyrics, he’s the one who put it out there. What we’re doing on iTunes and on any other sales, we’re splitting the revenue after it gets through Apple down the middle. And that [also applies] if we ever license the song for TV or a movie. Whatever happens to the song, he has a 50 percent writing credit.
Based on what they're saying (if they're for real, for real, that is), those crooked, greedy-assed record companies better watch out!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

You know Deb; I wish the Civil Rights Movement were called the African-American Rights Movement, because the name alone has just opened it up for everyone “lighter” than African-Americans to enjoy the fruits from that movement. I am thinking of this because of the black/ghetto distinction. You are so damn right, how dare white people equate ghetto with Black. Assholes. Here is the deal, all non-white people in America other than African-Americans get to have their culture upheld and respected, as in left alone to have their define their own culture and be protected by civil rights and not be isolated as a sell out when they go and play the game with whitey 9-5 and make the cheddar, but, AA have to play the game of either/or because that is the rules white folks have sold.

This is Kitty. I cannot sign in for some reason.

Deb said...

PART I (cuz I've been trying to really understand a lot of this shit for a very long time AND, because I'm long-winded). :-)

Hey Miss Kitty, good to "see" you! I don't know what's going on with Blogger. When I write a post and publish it, it kicks me out and I have to sign in again if I want to edit it. I'm no computer wonk - at all - so I'm going to the Help section to see if anybody else is having the same problem or report that I am.

I understand how you feel Kitty, and I pretty much agree with your observation but, I have to say that my problem is not that it has been opened up for everyone, as you say, "lighter," but that it has been opened up at the expense of Black folk!

I think if the "white" folk who run shit (who weren't "white" til they got here)want to keep touting how equal and fair and exceptional these "united" states are - EVERYBODY'S civil rights should be upheld and respected.

But that isn't, and I'd say - never was - their intention. That whole Statue of Liberty, "give me your tired, your poor, your yearning to be free" bullshit was simply a way to get free and/or cheap labor which they could use to build this country and line their damned pockets!

Every ethnicity that came through Ellis Island went through their own kind of "foot on neck" shit - hence the lovely slurs like kike, spic, dago, wop, etc. They were ALL relegated to "ghettos" until they figured out that they could, as Baldwin says, pay "the price of the ticket" and become "white" as long as they denied their own beginnings and fell in lock-step with the other Europeans who founded the country - in public. But in private, amongst themselves, they still hold onto who they were. But! Once they moved into their own brand of "whiteness," as soon as another group came, those here, did the same damned thing to the new group that was done to them! And the beat goes on...

I think their culture is only respected and accepted - to a point though. When any of them cross that point, really believing they're accepted - "white" folks (which includes the "new" ones)will put their ass in check - hence the Sanchez firing.

Deb said...

PART II:

"Here is the deal, all non-white people in America other than African-Americans get to have their culture upheld and respected, as in left alone to have their define their own culture and be protected by civil rights and not be isolated as a sell out when they go and play the game with whitey 9-5 and make the cheddar, but, AA have to play the game of either/or because that is the rules white folks have sold."

As I said above, I think they're left alone as long as they own, and subscribe to the "whiteness" in public (remember all the shit Sotomayor got for that "wise Latina" comment?) But I also think, because they came here in groups, by choice, fully-formed, with their own languages and customs intact - their culture was already clearly defined and not susceptible to "whites" totally erasing it.

We, on the other hand - and I mean us Black Americans of African descent - were brought here, IN the boat, against our will, from many different tribes in the diaspora and ALL lumped together as 1) "black" - because of the color of our skin, though we couldn't all even talk to one another because of the different languages! - and 2) "savage," because their ignorant asses assumed that's what all of Africa was!

I think we share that life experience with First Nation people as well - they are 1) "red" because of the color of their skin, and 2) "savage" simply because they were defending THEIR shit from the lying, manipulative thieves they'd at first, befriended and tried to help! Imperialism and colonization have always proven pernicious for the indigenous everywhere it occurs I think.

"Whites" have decimated the Native American population, relegating them to the confines of reservations (their "ghettos") as the only places in this country - that was once all theirs! - where they can maintain their cultural heritage. The only difference is, they were relegated by tribe, so they could at least communicate with another! Reservation life is pretty damned bleak - rampant alcoholism and domestic violence born, I suspect out of depression and repression, poor living conditions, poor schools, etc., etc. - and they have "whites" who rounded them up and put them there to thank for it all.

But, having been the first victims of the "white" man's greed and terror (yeah I said it! TERROR), they knew what made them tick - money, money and more money! So in some small way (because it certainly isn't in any way comparable to what was stolen from them) modern-day tribes have figured out how to get some of their shit back - Casinos! I know the Seminoles in FL are doing pretty well!

Deb said...

PART III:
Speaking of the Seminoles, I am the descendant of African slaves brought to the Sea Islands of SC to grow rice (mainly)from West Africa. Some of those slaves escaped to Florida and joined with the Seminole tribe. It is said that some were “bought” by Indians, some were “gifts” to Indian chiefs from the British who acquired FL from the Spanish in the 1700s and some were free, runaway slaves. Either way, they lived independently within the tribe and were later, wholly integrated – inter-marrying, working together, sharing seats on tribal councils – AND REVOLTING TOGETHER -with the “white” man as their common enemy. Black Seminoles are direct descendants of those slaves first brought to SC and GA:
http://www.yale.edu/glc/gullah/07.htm

But with “Mr. Charlie’s” long and successful experiences "buying" the loyalties of “Others,” and his expertise in “divide and conquer,” he was able to drive a wedge between the two groups, infecting the Indians with that “money, money, money - treat the new, other "colored" group (meaning us) like they were treated mentality: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/07/01/60II/main513944.shtml
http://www.cherokeebyblood.com/blackindians.htm

So once again - the "people" they brought here and "owned," come up short. But you know "chattel" ain't supposed to have feelings, or rights, or respect, it seems – from anyone.

It’s a long and interesting story about which I don’t know everything - but I’ve been researching it (An interesting aside: when I was small, my grandmother used to say that my mother had “marked” my sister in the womb after “dem Indians.” Why? Because though very dark, she has that “good hair.”) I’m working on a post now about “Gullah vs Ebonics” (another characterization that pisses me off to no end!) and I hope to share some of the history we, as Blacks, have already forgotten or disowned.

It just seems to me that no matter where you go in the world, being a Black American (because Blacks don't exist anywhere else but here) means you will be shat upon and I'm tired of it - but not so tired that I'm willing to pay the "price of the ticket," like many others here - including some of us! - have. I prefer to keep pluggin' away at those who fail to see the games being played on all of us in the hopes that one day, they'll realize that together, there are way more of us than them and we CAN put a stop to this bullshit and make a better country. But not by doing what they've done.

And I'm not saying that "white" folk can't be included in that "together" thing - but they can't step to me with that inherent, privileged, manipulative bullshit and expect me to believe that's really what they want. Oh, some get over on me - but not for long - and certainly not forever.

Anonymous said...

" have to say that my problem is not that it has been opened up for everyone, as you say, "lighter," but that it has been opened up at the expense of Black folk!"

Okay, before I read any further. I'm not hating on "lighter" people. If I said it that way, I said it wrong. I too have a problem that it is at the expense of black folks.

Deb said...

Hey! I was just lurkin' over at AROOO :-)

I'm not hating on "lighter" people. If I said it that way, I said it wrong."

No you said it right and I knew exactly what you meant. I was just reiterating your point. :-)

Keep reading, I'm going to finish reading the comments on Margie's post!

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