Friday, November 30, 2012

THE ABCs OF RACISM IN AMERICA



HOW TO GO FROM BEING ONE OF THEM TO BEING ONE OF YOU

Temecula, CA – From just reading about the ‘drama’ between Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Nicki Minaj, plus watching the HBO DVD Joe Louis, America’s Hero…Betrayed, with the election still ringing across the land stirring talk of state (30) secession blowing in the wind like Old Glory, I figured it was time for an equal opportunity husband to put in his two cents. The space my mind and mindset operate in now is my core unique personality and the culture I share is that of an American, a Californian, and the likes/dislikes of PT Rothschild solely. My class is middle but as the son of a teacher and a spy, I’ve always had that sprinkle of adventure and wanderlust.

Though the Memoirs of Mr. Pete & Mary Jane Green origin story concerning The Autobiography of My Alter Ego is of a real-life ‘Billy Batson’, the alter ego of the comic super hero that outsold Superman, the real starting point for the bend in my life’s road started from a quest that my grandfather gave me. He said, “Pete, when I see you on the other side, answer one question for me.”

“Sure,” Granddaddy, “what is it?”

 “Find out for me what it is the white man wants from us (Negroes). They don’t want us around but they wouldn’t let us leave the country (Marquis Garvey). The ones of us they like, they hold up higher than their own people. They like our women (miscegenation) but we can’t even look at theirs, all the while black mothers have nursed white children for a century or more. What do they want of us?”

The next time that I see my grandfather I will have much to say in answer to his original question, but the topic of ‘why’ and ‘racism’ can be tied up to a few factors. The first is cultural identity from history. For the biblical beginnings to racism I did the story, Is God A Redneck? The premise is from Gen 11:9 and indeed, the human narrator says almost as much in Gen 11:4. The reasoning for God’s bequeathing this wrinkle on the young human race is given in Gen 11:6, a foresight that seems to be coming truer by the day given the nature of America and the new ‘global force’ for peace, drones.
Before the modern concept of racism, you had place-ism, where everyone knew their place including women and children ‘who should be seen and not heard’. I remember hearing the ‘children’ one in the early part of my childhood sprouted by ‘older people’ of the day, aka grandparents. Rock ‘n’ roll kicked that old ditty to the curb, and I remember when that happened too.
America, for good or ill, has brought all the people who had a place/country to a central ‘melting pot’ location but people don’t melt together, they form little pockets of culture nests so they feel at home. In fact, America marketed itself as that. But before slavery came to our shoreline, America was starting out in that direction. Then the good Christians who didn’t want any outside blood being mixed in [like they were Jews] went to ministers with Gen 1:11, 12, 21, 24, and 25. Backed by the Bible, separation of whites from non-whites started and became a tradition.

However, from the start Cupid’s arrows were colorblind and this led to turmoil at worse and ostracizing at best [see Kit Carson, western hero and why he had to live on the outskirts of town]. Separation spawned new Christian sects [see origins of the A.M.E. Christian Church]. For a long time white women who were caught fucking a black man were automatically ‘legally raped’ bringing a lynching to the black lover. Black women who got pregnant by white men either had the child and passed them off, or got an illegal abortion in some back alley, unless they knew someone who was legit but underground. In the middle of all this early separation was the Indian [Native American] Question.
Indians, no matter the tribe, knew the value of having fresh blood for the tribe. As ‘savages’ they suffered from no racial/quasi-religious segregation anxiety, killing the men during an attack and sparing the women/children. Modern warfare from Christians and Muslims holds no such honor. All civilians are combatants. Perhaps because of this ethnic feature or perhaps some other more esoteric factor, racism is colorblind, as it is found in almost all groupings, but is not pervasive through all groups. Mix in the actual skin color variations exhibiting distinct ethnic skill sets and physical characteristics, customs, with historical baggage/attitudes; and you have a reality show to entertain a universe because a portion of the various groupings are real people no longer trapped inside their cultural tradition of expected racism, aka peer pressure.

By and large, the people that I have met along my life travels who were the most real and least prejudiced by nature were the ones labeled as ‘black sheep’ by other family members. If ‘black sheep’ are least affected by racism or culture clash, what is it that releases your inner culture identity and turns you from one of them to one of you? This being an empire founded upon Christian/Bible knowledge, there are 3 ways to become a real person in America and escape racism. If you fail to qualify for the ways listed but would still like to be a better person, follow the asterisk(*) to the ‘trap door’ way.
The first way past racism is the arts. The heading can further be subdivided into fame, since successful artists often get famous, with prime examples Oprah, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and to a lesser degree, almost any artist that is recognized for their art beyond the color barrier. For me it happened when the first writing gig I ever had ended. The editor/publisher had hired me for my ‘West End’ input**. I took the gig as a black person trying my hand at writing, ‘a lark’. When the mag folded a year later, I left with the mindset of being a writer, not a ‘black’ writer because I had been assigned a wide range of topics. People of both cultures, black and white since it was in the 80s south, commented positively on pieces that crossed the cultural boundaries.

The second way is heritage and researching your family tree. Everybody is ‘kin’ to everybody, and in the south peculiarly so. My mother’s father was fine featured, smooth complexioned, dark skinned, perhaps British West Indian, or Jamaican/Haitian in heritage, though in manner, I’d lean toward the former not the latter. My mother’s mother was Jewish by bloodline having a traveling French Jewish salesman for a father and an octoroon mother whose father had also been a traveling Jewish person, possibly a merchant. In pictures, she looked like an unsmiling Creole girl.
My father’s father was a mystery except that he was from Arabia and had been sold into slavery. The ship bringing him to America mutinied and the slaves, now free, settled in Saint Croix. There they lived approximately ten years until 1863 when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation migrating to America which was just starting to boom after the war. Settling in Georgia, my father’s father came over to America a free man and married a Georgia Cherokee Native American woman. She seemed a stout woman from the pictures that I remember and my father reached a height of 6’1”. Both she and my father shared a dark reddish brown smooth skin over strong manly facial features.

Growing up in a household with a dark-skinned grandfather, a German-Jewish looking grandmother [they had to carry their marriage license when they were younger so they sheriff would know they weren’t a ‘mixed’ couple], a mother who was medium tan, an aunt who was light tan, my immediate extended family went from mulatto (barely tan, slightly full features), to a couple of very dark, sharp featured Haitian-like relatives was a colored Happy Days (pun intended). Since no one in my family or in my family’s circle of friends ‘looked or talked like Amos ‘n’ Andy’ and I grew up listening to the cowboy movie/TV tagline, “The only good Injun is a dead Injun” my cap gun cultural identity was racially ambiguous.
This mental ambiguity was not helped by a dominant stay-at-home grandmother who had an outside rep/street cred for taking no shit, and despite going to segregated white only hair salons [by passing for white], she still chased white salesmen off the front porch and got that ‘I’ll get my broom’ look in her eye when I once joked about asking a ‘white girl’ to the prom. Knowing that I had Jewish blood came when I angrily called Granny ‘an old Jewish wash woman’ once as a very young child, a comment that prompted a hushed family meeting that night when my mother and her sister, my aunt, got home from teaching school. Finding out that I am considered Jewish came just a few years ago when a Jewish neighbor explained how the ‘Jewish’ bloodline is passed down through the female/mother’s side, and not the father’s side.

The third way past racism/cultural ethnic identity is the metaphysics way. Religious dogma is the least metaphysical and Divine Intervention is the most, with ‘magical’ people falling in the middle. Tricky Dick was a Quaker and Quakers are not racist to people in need. Nixon saw improving race relations not as a waste of time, but as a waste of HIS time since no numbers that mattered were ever going to vote for him. The racist spin was put into the subject matter by the 20-year Ag Secretary, Earl Butz, who infamously said that ‘all black men care about is tight pussy, loose shoes, and a warm place to shit.’ (Des Moines Register)
Two weeks later Earl Butz was history from karma but sometimes divine intervention takes a more direct approach. There was a Klansman’s wife on Oprah once, maybe a couple of times. She was full of bigotry and believed all the false claims of racial/bloodline superiority. She and Oprah had a much more intense stare down than the first Obama/Romney debate and fought to a standstill on logic. This woman was no ignorant redneck; she was an intellectual redneck.
After her second visit, flying back to her home state, she ‘was struck by the truth’ and her heart changed. She could put the change under no other heading than ‘from God’. She flew back and reappeared on Oprah’s show a week or maybe a month later. I had seen the second show and clips of the first. To see this woman who looked so defiant and yes, valiant since she wholly believed her point of view, now humbled but not broken, her former life in tatters and shifting to the positive members of the families brought tears to our eyes when I watched daytime TV with my former wife, a Wiccan. Which brings me to the last avenue past your cultural identity, ‘magical’ people, be they witches, pagans, gypsies, and other ‘strange people’ of that ilk.
Long before I met the witch, my cultural skin had been shed like a snake’s, by my association and acceptance into a circle of ‘magical’ social acquaintances, all artistic, hipster-ish, and witchy. When I left that association, coupled with my new found status as a writer, I realized a change had occurred as I now existed outside my old group cultural identity, aware of it but not trapped inside it anymore. Some people who know my marriage history may think my mindset comes from ‘switching it up’ in wives or from having ‘white friends.’ It doesn’t.

So what if you don’t have the fame, art, magic, or ever find out your heritage, what is a person to do who comes from dissimilar circumstances? The trap door*?

Just 3 little words: Marijuana* Cures Racism; ooo, ooo, yeah!

For explanation on that thesis see, Memoirs of Mr. Pete & Mary Jane Green, dropping DoomsDay 2012.

(** - refers to the section of Louisville, KY which was (is) primarily populated by a black [afro-Americans] demographic, serviced by WLOU, an R&B station from the 40s - ?)

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