Monday, April 6, 2015

I Take Mine Black

It is how I drink my coffee.  And at Starbucks at some point, briefly, it was an opportunity to discuss the issue of Race.

Now the issue of race is a rather broad sweeping topic that of course we can take a narrow brush and sweep a picture that is just black and white.  Ah remember those days before technicolor?

The reality is that race is as vast and diverse as the cornucopia that once adorned the Thanksgiving Pilgrims table.

We have no idea how to talk about race in America that is for the Professors, the Scholars, the Talking Heads on TV shows and a few people who shout varying expletives when driving or in the privacy of their KKK headquarters.

I see many races and within those races many diverse languages and people and cultures and beliefs. To say African American opens the door to what that means depending on to whom you are speaking.

Much ado about nothing was made of the new host of the Daily Show and his South African descent and of course his comedy which actually mocks the distinction between African and American.  Well of course the ## and histrionic abounded demanding his termination before he ever took to the desk.

To that I say grow up.  Africa is a diaspora of a Continent and within it a myriad of peoples, cultures, tribes, beliefs and languages.  I would not presume to say an Ethiopian is Somalian as I would say a Scot is a Brit. Trust me they have very distinguishing beliefs outside of the color of their skin in both cases.

We don't want to talk about race because it opens the door to what that means.  We have systemically tried to rid ourselves of the races in varying ways, the Chinese Exclusionary Act, the Japanese Internment, the Civil War and the Post Civil War, the Spanish American War, the War against Terror, the War against Drugs, pick a war be it an official or unofficial one.

To assume that all people who speak Spanish are illegals and to assume they all share similar qualities is of course typical and absurd.  As once discussed Puerto Rico not immigrants. Or how about America Samoa, the America part should be a tip off.

And then we have Asia and "Asians".  Or Indians - the tommy hawk ban that team name kind or the dot wearing kind.  Ah remember when we thought Sikhs were Muslim?  And then we have the Middle East.  I am just avoiding that all together.

Talk about race, talk about it among yourselves.  It is not black or white as Michael Jackson came to sing but not actually be either, but it is multi national, multi racial and complex.  Our own Kenyan, no wait Hawaiian, no wait not Hawaiian either but in fact truly African and American that earns that title, as his father was African, his mother American.    His half sister is Indonesian American, he really is a man of many colors which really confuses white people. The only thing we have to distinguish us is our political colors - red or blue.  I'm green I must be alien.

I don't think talking about race will solve anything. Like always likes someone like themselves.  We feel easy to relate, to identify and to shorthand communication and experiences.  I have no connections to actually anyone born of American parents then as my parents were either child of an immigrant or was one.  My white skin and my gender have apparently allowed me to be white but of privilege I have no idea.. uh quick inventory on that and given my job and my status big no there on the second part.

I am yelled at a lot by black people and by white people. By both genders. When I say "they" hate women like in one way or another "they" do. They cannot relate to me by race and or by gender and cannot control my behavior and so they hate. They is the operative pronoun as it refers to the proverbial individual that stands before me, black, white, brown, male, female, it is that one that represents 'they'. But "they" share one quality that many poor people share - hate. Rich hate but they do is so differently. They can commit murder and no one cares to prosecute them. Must be nice.

And I am friendly with a lot of people of many colors. It is what it is and it depends on the people and the circumstances. I quit trying to give a shit a long time ago.

So you want to have a real discussion talk about hate. What makes you hate people and why you hate them.

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