Thursday, September 06, 2007

Strange Fruit, Indeed

Hell of a post, here. This is so true. Even in the woods in northern Wisco, we watch how the Anishnaabeg are treated, talked about, educated. We watch the Guatemalans who have been brought in by a local ReThug to work for next to nothing being housed in substandard rentals. We watch & do what we can, whether it's Spanish signs in the window of the local co-op, (but no signs in the language of the local indigenous people!), a church opening its doors for the immigrants, (I thought all church doors were always open. My bad.) or learning how to cook with curry.
We walk on eggshells still, many of us—gauging our effect on the surrounding environment, even the most bodacious of us, internally faltering for a moment when we enter certain surroundings. Letting that painful question be heard for the briefest second—“Is it okay for me to be here?”—before plodding forward defiantly...and sometimes with great trepidation.

That is the damage of institutionalized racism. Its “mark”, if you will. That hesitation. How does the old saying go?

“He who hesitates is lost.”

And sooooooooo many Black folks have hesitated over the years, decades and soon it will be centuries, that they—we—have become lost.

Understand something. It is the year 2007. Where we joke about, “Where is my flying car? My monorail? The 3.5 jet-packs per family we were promised?”, mocking the progress we were supposed to have made, based on futurists predictions.

It is the year 2007. And as much as we may try to think otherwise, we live in a country where White teenagers will still fight over who can, and who can not sit under a fucking tree during recess at school, based on the color of their skin. For all the crowing about the “browning of America”, and how the kids are un-learning the racism inculcated in the American fabric, this incident should give every one of us pause.

We can sing “kum-ba-ya” til our throats sound like Miles Davis after a bender of Sloe Drano Fizzes, but at the sick core of America, racism still infirms this country's aspiration to greatness.

I use the word “infirms”, loosely. Because the pat analogies about America's racial “sickness” are so very, very flawed. Racism in America isn't a wound,—as so many describe it. No. Wounds heal. And it isn't a cancer—because you can remove a cancer, should you catch it early enough, or if not—at least bomb it with enough countering toxicity where you can seriously impede its progress.

Racism in America is neither of these things—a wound, or a cancer.

It is quite simply...akin to a living, festering parasite that feasts on the very soul of the country, and what makes it work. It's a vicious tapeworm. Picked up long ago, and living there, deep in the American's very guts, in fact. Not killing, mind you...but in there nonetheless, all slimy and sickening, so intwined with what makes this place simply exist, that it's supremely difficult to remove.

And the host knows it's there. Knows it slows and sickens it with every step forward. But in the end...does nothing about it...because the effort to remove the parasite is “just too great”.

Too costly.
Via Susie Madrak.


Anonymous said...

Racism is a two way street and is practiced by all races. It is sometimes a very convenient way to avoid responsibility.

coldH2O said...

Well, you would be quite wrong about this. There is no avoiding of responsibility in this, just the avoiding of how deep racism is in this country. Let's not forget that Reagan's "welfare queens" were all the result of his brain, a brain like Swiss cheese.

Anonymous said...

I am not saying that racism doesn't exist - only a short distance from here one can obtain a lifetime supply. (borrowing from Wolcott here) Rather, like some media will soon roust the souls of some 3,000 dead New Yorkers for the greater glory of George W Bush and the Republican Party, it in not the source of all problems and often overdone.

I'm so glad that I wasn't wrong.

coldH2O said...

Alright, it's not the source of all problems, but the failure of our nation, culture, institutions to recognize how deeply ingrained racism is makes the solving of many issues almost impossible. I mean, we're still prosecuting evil-doing bastards in Mississippi in 2007 for crimes committed nearly 50 years ago. I would caution you that the left or progressive continued exposing of said racism is not the same as the criminal, immoral use of the 9/11 dead for cheap ReThug political purposes, you are right about that. Next time I will have some coffee, & maybe a biscuit. Later.

Anonymous said... be continued.