Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This is for you G!

Okay, there has been a call to conversation sounded by my fellow sister in Vodka*, WNG. So, I feel that I should discuss my views and opinions and whatever on the Obama New Yorker cover. On Monday I didn’t want to talk about it because the type of layering and depth of conversation that needs to happen rarely happens on my blog. You know I like to save all the deep philosophical waxing for the comment sections of blogs like Raving Black Lunatic, Field Negro, Aries Rule, Go Zack, so on and so forth You know I’m OG I don’t bang I rock the dope rhymes. No, I actually do bang on the comment sections of many blogs.

Anyway G, did I mention she is whole and new, posted about the New Yorker cover and in our great exchange (either at her spot or Big Man's I can't remember now) she urged that I should discuss it here in my neck of the woods. So it is with that urging, that I will discuss the New Yorker cover, my feelings about it, and race in America. Feel free to get in where you fit in and weigh in on WHATEVER you want. I mean I realize that as far as this topic is concerned I’m on 6 second delay; however I think putting out what I feel about it couldn’t hurt. Just call me FCC OG!

So in this post I am going to talk about the cover, but really I want to touch on when do we move from conversation to action.

So the cover doesn’t work for me, because while the New Yorker is satirical the problem is this is not a JOKE to many Americans. I don’t at all believe the New Yorker or the Cartoonist who penned it to be racist. However the image is unsettling maybe because it is racist as far as Muslims are concerned, but what’s new. I know I said that flippantly on purpose, because 911 is an excuse American hate mongerers will always have to be racist against those of that faith. The fact that Obama has to work hard to prove he isn’t is unsettling. The fact you can send e-mails around town that picture him in Kenyan dress or with his African family and this be negative is GREATLY perturbing. The fact that these things, that should not be negative, have to be addressed as negatives – well that’s why I didn’t want to get into this on a Monday!

The complexity of race and religion in this country are not a Monday morning topic for me, especially on a limited amount of Sunday night Z’s that I had. I didn’t want to discuss this on Monday because the level of thought and conversation it takes to discuss something like this is no where near the kind of brain power I want to kick out on a Monday. Mondays are for transitioning and wishing I was independently wealthy or at the least on vacation somewhere tropical.

Anyway today I will talk about it. Because the problem is as I see it, America is not ready to face its good, bad, and slutty history. I guess the issue for me is that America just does not act …is not poised to be … READY to move here. I agree with WNG when she says if not NOW then when. She is right, America has never been ready. Not ready to fre slaves. Not ready to stop Jim Crowe. Not ready to talk about gay marriage. Not ready… Not ready …Not ready. So G, I see your point when will those that are the victims be ready to push, like Malcolm and Martin and Rosa.

I see lots of positive conversation about this cover from those who are offended, not offended, and like me unsettled by it. I like Deacon Blue ( regular on Big Man’s RBL blog) can not put my finger on it but something about this cover bothers me, other than it not being a funny joke to me. Like Big Man, I don’t find the cover a boycottable offense (I’ll save that for the gazillion corporations advertising on Fox, that I am trying to boycott) but I do think if, just like him, you have to explain it, it kinda loses the point and its not that funny. I guess if I could really think about it and put my finger on it, I would say the things these neo-cons are peddling are not AT ALL a laughing matter. The propaganda they are pushing is dare I say it, NOT COOL. It’s like saying isn’t it ok to make fun of the Nazi’s by doing a cartoon that Jewish folks are the center of.

I’m mean sure there are some things racially that I can take the joke and see the humor past the offense, I mean how else would I know SO MANY Chris Rock punch lines. However the fact that they use the fear and scare tactics to get America to at the least to not vote for Obama, is sickening and just not something I would make light of by using the very targets. Mel Brooks’s movies make fun of Hitler, not Anne Frank. I don’t know maybe it doesn’t make sense. I mean after all this blog is on 6 second delay the topic has pretty much BEEN discussed to DEATH by now.

I’d rather talk about the how. How does America move to the conversation about race? Who should make this call; I mean I think Obama’s speech on race was a great way to really open it up. I think person’s of mixed lineage are great people to take the lead in the conversation because we know kindablacks (black and white mixed) often see the best and the worst of being black and white in America. This is what I see as the biggest problem we have with us moving past. I said this on Big Man’s blog and I will retype it here for those of you who don’t read him.

The problem is two fold, white America is uncomfortable facing the fact that they are racially insensitive, at best, and black America is uncomfortable with the fact that we do a have some holes in our drawers [underwear], metaphorically speaking, even though we weren’t the ones who put the moths in our lingerie drawers.

Can I just say I LOVE quoting myself? It really is fun! I can. I LOVE quoting myself.

I think that it is a mix of calling out racism, but having some personal responsibility too. Sure I have issues with America, but I can not think of any other place I would want to be a woman. I think America is a land of opportunity, but that land is also filled with land mines on that road.

So do you think that is what this race conversation comes down to? I’m not talking about the cover of the New Yorker or even the Presidential Campaign. I am talking about in your everyday. I think in my everyday I have been blessed enough to have white friends that get it or at least are open to getting it. They don’t dismiss when people are racially offended, but at the same time I call out black folks who cry racism and it isn’t. I think because of that while I hate and abhor the things that happen in the world, my world is actually not filled with too many bad racial moments. Even when they are I make them teaching moments.

I try to find the positive spin on things. I remember talking to some black alums about interviewing potential high school students for admissions. The complaint was, no black ones to interview. My charge to them was YOU don’t need black ones to interview. Sure we all want more diverse colleges and universities, but think of the impact YOU have as a black alumni interviewing a white male high school kid, YOU FOREVER change his view of the school and who goes there.

Yeah, I’m so about the salad bowl and not the melting pot. Or maybe I should say more like soup, where the flavors of some things meld together and other flavors still stand out and are distinctive. Is that a bad analogy? I guess I was thinking more of soup because there are plenty of things that have blended together here, but at the same time there are plenty of things that are different and will always be different. I don’t want to melt into goo, but I also don’t want a culture that isn’t cohesive to a degree.

Ok I’m out too much thinking for today. Let me know what you think.

Be EZ,

*Sister in vodka- someone who enjoys the finest alcohol around


Sister Girl said... excellent blog in the finest form !

As you know, I'm a lover of ALL people because it don't matter to me in the least what color a person is. What matters to me is the show of respect between myself & the other party. I can take a joke better than the next person,if that joke is "tasteful".

It's a damn shame that the same things that happened years ago still fester itself today when someone dares try to change things for the better for all. And when they can't beat you down to due your mental strength,out comes the sick attempts through the latter(racism).


Keith's Space said...

I'm standing and applauding...You've put the final word on this subject O.G. I am glad
that You and Field and Big Man and all of the others have written so eloquently on this issue. This is a powerful new medium we have here
and from time to time we can use this to exchange ideas and ideals and un-brainwash the "non-reading"
public...I like what we are all doing here...I agree with what you
are saying...As the blogoverse grows bigger and bigger, who knows
what changes we can effect?? We
are worldwide baby!!!!

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

im with the salad bowl
and i bet u would drop some dope rhymes
well said folk

Mizrepresent said...

As i said on many blogs...i find the cover offensive, in that it perpetuates fear...Obama and Michelle are not these people they present...they are us, grew up like us, struggled like us, made it like us, and deserve the same respect, like us...just because he is running for president doesn't give anyone to recreate his image in their liking...i would hate to one day see me on anybody's cover, depicted dressed in "hoe shoes" and "booty dress" just because i enjoy "dropping like it's hot" in the most appropiate places,(not that anyone would ever see me as a money making cover...but who knows, lol) but and then that has nothing to do with my accomplishments as a citizen, as mom, as a writer, just one man's f@#Ked opinion of me.Great post lady, love how you give your own twist on's refreshing!

WNG said...

Ok, I'm SORRY it took me so long to get here (you know how my head's been this week).
HELLZ YEAH GIRL!!! Thank you for laying it out so well. Great ideas well presented - and vodka references NEVER hurt.

I'm all over the salad bowl idea, myself. I think that the first thing that we need to be able to do (as Black people or White people or any people) is to talk HONESTLY to each other. We need to undertsand that this is going to hurt and this is going to be hard, but we need to share our truths.

Thank you for sharing yours. More vodka to ya'!