Screw Mister Charlie..his thoughts don’t matter

Once again, I am reminded of the diversity that exists within the Black community. In one of the online communities that I go to, where I can engage with holistically minded sistern, the issue was brought up of some of the new Black comedy shows. I should mention that I rarely see any tv shows in their entirety instead generally watching snippets of shows on You Tube or some other online venue. Anyhoo, both D.L. Hughley and David Allan Grier have new shows, I haven’t caught Grier’s show but I have caught some snippets of Hughley’s  show on CNN.

My initial impression was it was funny, but nothing too deep, after all Hughley ain’t a Dave Chappelle or Paul Mooney, but it was ok shit in my two cent opinion. Well it seems there are a lot of Black folks who were appalled at the stereotypes they saw, example being the pimp Freddie Mac…personally Freddie Mac was a pimp in my opinion but that’s another whole story.

So the Black folks didn’t like the stereotyping, but in my online group, it was revealed that while some did find the skits funny in both Hughley and Grier’s shows, they didn’t feel it was appropriate for these shows to air in mixed race company. Wait, come again? So white folks shouldn’t watch this shit?  Seems that when we have Black shows that air and show how some Black folks (not all Black folks) talk/act its not ok to show that…well I call bullshit on that.  Yes, there are white folks who might see a Black show and then try to walk up to a Black person and connect based on that show, but I am sorry, having a resident white guy, I call a spouse, most white folks of reasonable intelligence know they can’t do and say everything we do.

Look, when my family comes to visit, the n-word gets used a lot, I said it before my Pops grew up with it and he ain’t stopping now. He has not had his Paul Mooney moment and decision to stop using it, so when he’s here, we roll with it. Never in 13 years has my husband ever thought it good to say “Hey, Rev Nigger” to my Dad or “Hey junior Nigger” to my brother.  When I reach that angry point when the southside of Chicago starts coming out in my speech, the spousal unit knows to accept it but not to talk like me.

See, I give all these examples as proof that white folks do have common sense, just like I know after watching some Jeff Foxworthy, not to assume all white folks is rednecks….

No, what this line of thinking says to me is many of us are still trapped in that place where we are too concerned with what Mister Charlie thinks of us, still trying to get white approval. Truth is, I used to live at that address too, but something about getting older, I am not in the least bit concerned about white folks and what they think. Truth is if some of them think we are niggers, they are gonna think that whether some cat is on the tube shuckin and jiving.

Really, we need look no further than this election season and the bigoted white folks we have seen who refuse to see Barack Obama’s humanity, instead he is simply a nigger because his skin is brown. Obama is the embodiment of America and her dreams, proof that with hard work you too can get ahead. Yet for some regardless of his credentials, he is considered a nigger.

Sorry, but that lets me know I need not worry myself over what Mister Charlie thinks, instead focus on myself and what I think, Shit, Mister Charlie needs to be more worried about what I think about him.

White folks and racial naivete

For the past few days I have been thinking about the rather interesting observation that this presidential season seems to be bringing out, the fact that by and large when you are person of the paler hue, one does not have to think about race on a regular basis.

Seriously, both in my online as well as real life dealings, I have been in contact with white folks who are positively stunned at the blatant racism that is coming out the closet as America seems to be edging closer to possibly having its first Black president. It seems that on an almost daily basis, we are seeing effigies of Obama, folks making asses of themselves on TV about how America is a White Christian nation and only white folks get to be in charge. Shit, I am sure Sears is running out of white sheets in some parts of the country.

The thing is as a Black woman, none of this is surprising to me, shit I would be more surprised if we didn’t have folks doing this shit. See, I was born in the early 70’s yet I have been on the planet long enough as a Black woman to know that despite the strides we have made racially in this country, shit regular readers know my Pops grew up drinking from the colored water fountain and never thought he would have a white son in law. Despite the fact that we have made strides, we still have a long way to go. America has never had a truthful racial dialogue, too many white folks would rather see my ass serving them when I am in a restaurant than see my Black ass getting served.

Don’t get me wrong, thoughts of race don’t consume every moment of my waking day, but honestly there are not too many days that I don’t face that reminder that I am Black. Its just good for me that I love my Black self and accept that being Black is a part of my identity. I can never just be a person because in this world, I am Black first and foremost and that’s cool with me.

My kids are biracial, yet they are being raised and have been raised to understand that most likely folks will view them as Black, so while they can call themselves what they want to, just understand folks may view you differently.  Speaking of the kids, my son was 3 when race was brought to his attention and now at 3 my daughter is starting to notice racial differences. It most certainly isn’t anything I have called attention to, but I suspect that children of color notice racial differences sooner than white kids. That’s neither a positive or a negative but just one of those things. I was about 4 or so when I realized race and when I entered kindergarten and was the only kid of color, it was my grand debut into the land of racial differences.

On a parenting board that I hang out at, a white mother encountered a racial minority being mistreated by a white man and her kids were with her and she was at a loss with how to deal with the situation. Other posters (white) suggested that kids are too young to be burdened with dealing with racism.  That stunned me because as a Black child, I was raised to understand that sadly racism is something you may encounter yet I have grown white friends who still grapple with dealing with racism. Honestly, I expect it and rather than being surprised I look for ways to move on less I blow a gasket.

Part of why we as a nation have still not moved on is because in my humble opinion, we refuse to talk honestly about race, what the legacy of slavery has meant to millions of African-Americans. How systematic oppression over hundreds of years cannot be wiped out in 40-50 years. Until we get to that point as well as the point of looking at our own internal biases that may cause prejudice deep within us, I truly don’t feel we are making nearly as much progress as we think. No, what we are doing is that type of cleaning when you sweep all the shit into the closet and under the bed but at a certain point,  the closet door starts bulging, demanding that you move shit out of the closet. That is where we are at as a nation. The closet doors are becoming unstable.

There are those who feel an Obama presidency will usher in a new era, well it will be a new era, but I suspect Black folks will still get stopped for driving while black. Police brutality will be an issue and all the other injustices will happen. So while I might start looking for my dancing shoes soon for November 5, we still have a lot of work ahead of us to truly achieve racial parity.

As for white folks raising kids, don’t fear talking about injustice with your kids, to do so IMO will create a generation that is truly prepared to tackle injustices head on.

Got fear?

I have a confession, I am really scared. Scared personally because after almost 13 years the spousal unit and I are going through a rough patch, nah its not so serious that a breakup is coming but for two easy going folks, its been a rough year.

I am scared financially, because well the past year and a half we have now lost close to over 30K in income but my bills haven’t dropped so every month I am playing that rob Peter to pay Paul game. Truth is I am not sure how much more we can endure financially, but I am going to remain upbeat and have faith that the tide will turn soon.

Yet the biggest fears that are nagging at me daily is around the election. See, living in Maine as a Black woman is not exactly a cakewalk and leaving is not a reality anytime soon. I have tried working the numbers for an escape sooner rather than later, and its just not happening. Don’t get me wrong, the place has grown on me but at same time, I wouldn’t mind being some place where there were more folks that looked like me.

Nope, I am scared about what happens if Obama wins. On another site I hang out at, another Black woman living in a fairly white state articulated perfectly what has been lying beneath the surface with me that I have been to scared to name. Will I face a backlash if he is elected? See, while Sarah Palin has been practicing  for her next gig as the Grand Klan Dragon or whatever they call the leader of the Ku Klux Klan, I have been wondering will average folks of color like myself feel the wrath of angry white folks should their man and woman lose?

Don’t get me wrong, I damn sure don’t want McCain-Palin to win (yet another fear) but I wonder will we see increased incidents of violence by folks whose passions have been inflamed thanks to the Hate Express?  I hope not but truth be told, I think violence is likely. I think should Obama lose violence is also a reality in large cities. Don’t even let us endure another election season with hi-jinx with the votes… I see riots and violence the likes we have not seen since the 1960’s being a real possibility.

Yet in the midst of my own petty fear, I am reminded of the ancestors and those who blazed the path before me and millions of others, a path that allowed for a little Black girl from Chicago to even end up in Maine. When I stop and reflect on the fact that as my Pops reminded me yet again last night that he grew up drinking from the colored water fountain, picking cotton in rural Arkansas, I am reminded that while my fear is real, its nothing compared to what those before me faced.

So, while I do have some fear for what will happen come November 5 in this country, I am going to hold to the faith that millions of others before me had that allowed them to rise up and hope for a better tomorrow.