I don’t mean to go on a rant here, but I too had a dream, blacks and whites were living together in peace and harmony. The fact that they were in concentration camps run by extremist North Koreans radicals who had bombed the Eastern Coast of the USA, and balkanized the rest of the country didn’t taint the little hope that I had left that a remake of Red Dawn remake might one day be worth the ever-increasing movie ticket prices.
Living in a Dream
I like dreams, without them how would I pass my time sleeping? Last Friday on the train to work I thought I was in a dream. I looked up from my reading and saw an older Caucasian man in his 50 reading The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness. You may not appreciate how significant this is for me so I will elaborate:
As the train was going through an affluent part of NYC, it was pretty clear that this Caucasian man was in his natural environment. He was unafraid to read the aforementioned book in front of his peers. While this may not seem a big deal keep in mind as reported earlier this year: nearly 40 percent of white people are lying about having a black friend. So I approached him, and we talked. He made eye contact, and talked to me like I was a human being. He didn’t grab his wallet. We talked about the mountain of evidence Ms Williams presented , the wide-reaching scope of her thesis. I was amazed shocked beyond words. You really care, well some of you really care!!!
This was the first time I talked about race with someone who wasn’t a co-worker or a fellow student; what I mean to say was that he didn’t have a year or two of observing me to realize that despite the skin tone and muscles I am not threat to him, his 501 K, or his daughter. Granted I was wearing dockers and Old Navy performance fleece from Old Navy- the hallmark of docility (as one has given up on life), but still this was epic for me.
My point is that I do not think we are aware of how cut off we are from each other along the lines of class. That’s what hit me after our conversation ended. Research has shown that high crime rates are related to poverty. Check this out
A study of Columbus neighbourhoods found that violent crime rates in extremely disadvantaged white neighbourhoods were very similar to rates in comparable Black neighbourhoods. The violent crime rate in highly disadvantaged Black areas was 22 per 1,000 residents, not much different from the 20 per 1,000 rate in similar white communities.
Nadine Gordimer in her novel “July’s People” has this very poignant line: People in delirium rise and sink, rise and sink into an out of lucidity. Let me tell you about the book: Now all over South Africa the cities are battlegrounds. The members of the Smales family—liberal whites—are rescued from the terror by their servant, July, who leads them to refuge in his village. What happens to the Smaleses and to July—the shifts in character and relationships—gives us an unforgettable look into the terrifying, tacit understandings and misunderstandings between blacks and whites.
We are a culture in delirium. Our moments of lucidity often lose their shine being that they are followed by amazing levels of insanity like moving towards affordable healthcare for everyone on the one hand and on the other using drones internationally to inculcate fear and destroy a generation or two of people while domestically moving more and more towards a police state where thinking independently is a crime.
If you need more proof that we are sinking into and out of lucidity, keep in mind that Miley Cyrus could in fact be Time Magazine person of the year, over Edward Snowden, the Pope, the guy from Amazon ( who does nothing for you unless you have an Amazon Prime account)
I think coming together is going to temper the delirium. I don’t mean coming together and holding hands while we sing songs, and pretending to have a discussion where everyone secretly walks away curing under their breaths. I mean a coming together where we can like in July’s People get a real look at our relationships with each other.
One proviso though, to those of you and you know who you are, you may have to put the gun down when being approach by ‘other’ people looking for help or to talk. In the word of Ice Cube, if we are to come together you need to:
Chickity-check yo self before you wreck yo self
Cause shotgun bullets are bad for your health
Because at the end of the day bitches like you is bad for the health of our society .
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