I began this article several months ago.
I never felt that it was ready for publication and one thing leading to another; it sat in my files untouched.
Today I was perusing my files and came upon it.
Trayvon Martin; they say; has made it Ok to talk about race in America again.
I hope that’s true because; Man have I got something to say.
Now God forbid you should think that I waited for anyone’s permission before publishing a piece on Racism.
But it does seem somehow………………………….tradgically prophetic(?) that I should have written; yet not finished this piece so soon before Trayvon’s horrible death and the subsequent outrage, and I believe, trauma experienced by America because of it.
This is because I perceive a change.
At least; I think I do.
I hope I am not alone.
We have had many young black men gunned down in this country before; many, in the Southern States.
But never before have I such sensed the nationwide “Aura” of disgust, disapproval and…………almost a wishful disbelief; a hesitance to accept what we all suspected was the truth.
That Trayvon was shot down simply because of the color of his skin
This sad and depressing thing happened and for the first time America; the vast multitude of Americans who are not inclined to verbally lash out as I am; was enveloped in a silence.
A dark brooding silence; uncomfortable and yet quietly hopeful that this young man had not been murdered because he was “Black”; “African American”
If I am wrong about this; feel free to let me know.
My only News comes from NPR but I usually find them pretty fair and balanced in their reporting.
If I am right; please let me know.
Either way; this article is done and I believe this needs to be said………………………
………The Premisese and Perspiration:
1.That we; Americans; black and white and red and yellow and whatever multi- millions of shade varients currently exist in our country: have got it all wrong and we have from the very beginning of our history.
2. That the conditions of the poor and the middle class; while not the same for everyone; and while worse for some races than for others; are nevertheless; similar; and; for all races; serious enough to be a threat; in some cases to life itself but in all cases a threat to our rights to “Liberty” and the “Pursuit of Happiness”.
3. That the current state of Racism in America is not, as it was even twenty years ago and not as pervasive as we may be inclined to believe. (Confused yet?) *
*: A complete explanation will take more time but suffice for this reading to say that I believe that most Americans; even those who may rant about other races when stressed or after a bad encounter with a person of another race; in their daily dealings with their neighbors and co-workers; are not inclined to generalize but deal with people one on one; giving the same respect they receive. I did say MOST. Unfortunately; not all.
Perhaps I am too optimistic. Perhaps I don’t understand the level of discrimination that some people are forced to deal with everyday.
I mean; I never have a problem hailing a cab. Anywhere.
I do get followed in stores sometimes due to my facial jewelry and long hair but not to the extent or with the frequency that others do.
And I admit that I am not one to take any unconstitutional crap from a cop. I understand that the option to speak back to a cop when they stop you is not one that all Americans feel they enjoy.
Well; call me Baby. I can’t keep my mouth shut when they begin to harrass someone.
Ask my wife.
She has stories; if you take my meaning.
But even if I am too optimistic; it really doesn’t matter.
We can’t continue to fight racism by just punishing those who act upon such tendencies.
We are at a point where what we need is to get those who are ready together (and I think there will be more than you might believe) and to make it Ok to stand up and speak out against racism.
Make it Ok; Politically Correct to call down people who use race as an exceuse for hatred and violence or even just verbal abuse.
We need to focus on the positive so much that the negative finds no ear; only derision.
There are enough of us now to do this; IF WE WANT.
4. IF WE WANT IT; if we are not afraid; we may be on the other side of the door from the knocking opportunity of our lives. We may be at a moment in time where there is a crack; a slight breach in the invisable wall that divides us by our complextion just big enough for us to slip a note through. Perhaps a note that says that we believe that we should really be in this together. That we are all in pain and all under the heavy thumb of the corporations i.e. the 1%; who; in truth; care far less what color or race you are; and much more about how much money you have and how effective you are at using that money to influence matters to your benefit.
5. That if we want it; if we all work on it; from both sides of our walls; there is an opportunity for more; a break in the walls that allows us to actually explore this idea to our mutual benefit.
6. We all need to WAKE UP. See the truth that will bring us to our knees or graves if we are already on our knees.
7. That “Truth” is that the enemy isn’t the “Black” man (for instance). The enemy that seeks our destruction as a people; that seeks to impoverish the poor and middle class of every race; the enemy that consistantly and resolutely encourages discord between the races and promotes hatred and fear between the races is the corporations i.e. the 1%.
8. That the most challenging obsticle to our understanding and agreeing to support; rather than inhibit each other in our fight for life; in what is becoming a more and more Authoritarian environment is our seeming…………………………inability to open our hearts to the reality that we are all the same; that we can and must connect at that very basic human level; sharing our feelings and fears and taking the time to identify the real culprit; no matter how imposing and frightening; confronting that culprit may appear to be.
9. That this must happen in order for us to have the weight of numbers behind our efforts to force a positive change to the oppressive system that our Government is quickly becoming. Really has always been. Who am I kidding? But is getting worse rather than better as we hoped it would.
10. Finally; that if we fail to avail ourselves of this opportunity; it may well mean the end of America as we know it; the end of the dream that is the America that we would like it to be; and perhaps the literal end for multiple millions of of our family and friends; children and grandchildren. Death before their time or a long miserable existance as a slave of the 1%.
NOTE: While virtually all groups of immigrants who came to America were subjected to harsh conditions and inferior treatment for years after their arrival; it must be said that of all of the minority groups in America; both currently and in past times; only one of those groups arrived here against there will; in chains; after a journey so degrading and deadly that we (white Americans) would never subject even our livestock to like conditions.
Only the African American population of America was subjected to so long and harsh a period of derision and humiliation.
Still today, the favorite target of racists is “Blacks”.
When we have dialouge about Racism; who do we think of?
The Irish and Germans? The Rednecks and the Vietnamese?
No. Whenever we in America have that conversation it gravitates right back to “Black” and “White”.
We acknowledge the problems of Latinos, Koreans, Vietnamese etc. but we only really want to talk about “Black” and “White”.
I believe that is because we recognize their unique status and as a people uprooted and enslaved.
Although the people alive today are neither the slaves or the slavers; we still feel a certain guilt for the understanding that whatever life these people and their now living ancesters may have been living or be now living in their homeland; it was their life and not ours to take from them.
But it is true that those things are done and can’t be undone.
None of us can be reborn in a place other than that in which we have been born.
None of us can turn back time to redo History, however sad the lives and however wrong the actions of our forbears.
So, we either pick ourselves up and move on to a better way or we drown in a mire of hatred and distrust.
It is our choice. Yours and mine. “Black” and “White”.
It may be that you think it doesn’t matter to you any longer.
You’re sick of the fight and the crap that goes with it.
It matters very much to them and they are counting on you and I giving up and accepting the results of their most insideous manipulations.
The Recitation: (Really more of a Paraphrazation and Exstrapolation to be honest)
I believe it would be instructive and even inspirational if I could provide an appropriate quote from Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
I don’t have one handy but perhaps I could tell you of what I know and believe about Dr. King ; his work; and his vision.
I have written this before but I think it bears repeating in the context of this article.
Dr. King was a tireless worker to bring equality to his people.
But Dr. King was not finished his work when he was murdered.
He said in his last public address that he was not finished; that his intention was to go on to fight for all of the poor people in America.
Dr King helped to raise “Black” people up; get them fair treatment or at least the ability to continue the fight without fear of being trodden under by the ignorant and violent.
He did this work out of a great love for the African American people that were his own but he did it as well; and he knew he did it as well because it was a neccesary first step in his plan.
Dr. King knew that as well as being good for the race then; and better for them today; bringing them to an equal standing had to be done before they could take their place as equals with the rest of the poor and oppressed all over America.
This is important.
Dr. King was planning just the kind of wall busting; heart opening connection and merging of the races that I propose.
Because Dr. King never intended to keep his light under a racial basket.
He intended to shine that light over Americans of all races who were in need and in pain.
He is gone; and the corporate sociopaths who had him gunned down; believe that they won when he died that day.
Just as they gunned down Mohandis Ghandi; because he had brought peace between the Muslims and Hindues and forces similar to those who killed Dr. King; couldn’t allow that to happen.
Perhaps they would kill again.
If we found a leader or leaders to take up Dr Kings torch.
It is a heavy torch.
But perhaps this is the right; or only time to begin the search for harmony and agreement .
Perhaps the time left is so short that they will never get the chance before the people stand together and overwhelm the 1%. (Philosophically speaking of course).
Overwhelm them with brotherhood and non-violence. It is their Bane. It confuses their sad little narrow minds.
I intended to go with a further explanation but in reading it over I now see that anything further would likely be redundant.
Hey Son! Wake up!
I said; Redundant; Redundant.
I say;;; I say;;; I say Son; That’s a joke! A joke Son.
So dumb his head comes to a point on top.
Heh; Heh; Heh; Got a hole in his head too.
I say a hole Son. But that’s beside the point.
I say beside the point Boy.
I say;;; I say;; that’s another joke Son.