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Tuesday, March 26, 2013


"Me no Alamo! Me no Alamo!!"
So Santa Anna's troops pled at the battle of San Jacinto where Texan independence from Mexico was won and where the Texans remembered the Alamo. Hence the plea from the Mexicans to save themselves from the same fate as the Alamo's defenders.

I defy anyone and everyone to explain to me how what certain whites say (and with which I am thoroughly fed up), "What's race got to do with me? My folks didn't get here till after 1900 and it's not MY fault!" is any different in kind from 'me no Alamo'?
 My initial response to this particular whine is "Ptu!" through two fingers of my right hand, but that requires elaboration.
I'll start by agreeing: no, it's NOT your fault and no doubt your grandparents (or further back for the younger set) heard their share of ethnic epithets. And, yes, more than likely you don't use them either.
However, somewhere along the line you benefited by not being held back and having a real chance to prove yourselves when others, because of their color, did not. You, or your parents, weren't held back because of your familial lack of pigmentation.
So, like it or not, you have benefited from racism. No, you didn't ask for it but I'm sorry; that doesn't really matter. What DOES matter is, what are you doing to erase the extremely stubborn remnants of that structure? Except in the criminal justice system, that structure's gotten quite a bit subtler than it used to be. Jim Crow has been succeeded by James Crow, Esq.
My mother's people were among those immigrants of a century ago too, so I'm one of this crowd as well. But it is from my dad's side (Southern free farmers, aka 'scalawags' courtesy of the ex-planters) that I get my nose and my near-violent antipathy for even whiffs of racism.
Here's the deal: what they used to say in the 1960s is really true, still, today. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
If we're not already there, how do we become part of the solution? First, TUNE OUT Rush, Glenn, Rupert, Breitbart, Drudge and other liars and go to Truthout, Alternet, The Daily Beast, Haaretz and the (Jerusalem) Post for news. Read the Times with a few grains of salt. And read what African-American scholars really have had to say about this matter. Do NOT accept anything cribbed together by Glenn et al.
So, first thing is get and keep yourself correctly informed and form a reasonably accurate idea of the background of the current state of affairs.
Second, don't talk out of both sides of your mouth. If we want the Shoah to be remembered, don't slavery and Jim Crow deserve as much? Promote knowledge of such shameful incidents as the destruction of the thriving and prosperous black section of Tulsa in 1920 (including, by the way, aerial bombing--no joke!!) and the destruction of another prosperous black town in the 1920s in Florida (Rosewood) by the KKK and find out what we can of other incidents. If we want wrongs done to us remembered, what business have we of mouthing 'move on!' to others?! I say to do that is nothing but SHANDA on us and surely race-based slavery and its aftermaths cast shadows comparable to Cossacks, pogroms and attempted annihilation!
Third, develop your own senses for this sort of thing. Teach yourself more analogies; that'll probably help a lot as this is how one learns to see parallels. Do all you can to develop a true sense of who really has the power in each case. While it's true that Proverbs advises us not to 'favor a poor man in his quarrels', this is advice to treat the poor equally, not preferentially. But if the poor today are treated anywhere near equally to others, I've a bridge I'd like to sell you!
So, brethren, no more excuses for not doing our parts. No more whines like the one with which I began this post and no more anythings which have the ring of 'me no Alamo'--or explain to me, in proper detail and without befogging the issue, where, how and why I am mistaken. I have time to wait, so take all the time you need.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I am very, very angry over a number of things. I am also a middle-aged white man. So, I guess that makes me an angry white middle-aged man.
And the people on whom I want to detonate my anger are almost entirely other angry, middle-aged or older, white men.
And why would that be? Well, here it comes, so y'all brace yourselves:
I am angry at my fellow ruling-caste members because too many of them are behaving in ways unbefitting to a ruling caste genuinely confident and secure in its power and rectitude. No, they now act in ways which indicate they are anything but that! Most of them dare not speak the guilty truth that too many of them acquired wealth by adding no value to the economy but simply by legalized thefts from the community at large. Most of them are gaming the system to such an extent as to make their class even more hereditary than it was before 1981 even as they now pull up the ladders by which they themselves ascended. Maybe some of them are peckerwoody enough to close advancement even to poor whites rather than allow people of color to ascend to (to them!) an intolerable degree. Whence else comes the serious campaign to dismantle public education and replace it with a school-to-prison pipeline for all young men of color and probably a significant chunk of whites as well?!
I am angry that they are in the process of destroying nearly everything that makes our country exceptional. They have already largely destroyed a relatively broad way of upward mobility for which we were long famed and envied. Now they and their boughten and paid-for slaves in Congress, in our state legislatures and on the airwaves of radio and television are making a serious bid to complete democracy's hollowing out, leaving us with only the empty shell of the forms and procedures!
I am angry that, from colonial times even to this day, whenever our law or history has offered us a chance to lift out of slavery we have responded with further clampdowns. The English common law which we brought here with us stated that the children of a free father and an unfree mother inherited the father's status and, hence, were free people. Because of our own greed, we broke that law and continued to keep mixed-race people in bondage till God's vengeance overtook our country starting on April 12, 1861. Then we went to the prison-labor, chain gang and sharecropping systems and from there to skewing government help such as FHA loans away from people of color even unto directing blacks and browns into subprime loans when they qualified for better and thus making sure they suffered worst when the crash came in 2008! To this, affirmative action benefits amount to peanuts!!!!! Men who look like me have done little else but steal, on a consistent basis, from those with darker skins. With those like me, they've been subtler and more sporadic in their thefts. And when the law has compelled them to make redress, they usually work it so that working-class whites either wind up 'paying' or believing they are even when they're not.
I am angry at other white men not so well-educated and yet again falling for the crow (that is, Jim) which the planters and their economic descendants have used to keep too many of us thinking we, too, are part of the ruling caste. Our children might need medical care, but all is well because our 'kind' own it all. And, hence, we resist any attempt to redress a badly skewed distribution of wealth, income and good jobs which would ultimately benefit us too. I am especially angry that peckerwoods, with their other-ethnicity stooges (and that's putting it so politely!), all but control the highest court in the land now poised to knock out the floor from under the voting rights of minorities!!
 I am angry that they might well be about to complete a gross crime against us all and the rest of Creation to boot summed up in this old English verse:
The law locks up both man and woman
That steals the goose from off the common
But let the greater felons loose
That steal the commons from the goose.
We, the geese and the other critters may well lose this (still) good earth which sustains us and our economies still unless we act fast and NOW!! But we have the distinction of having the chance to save it--but now's the time to really start!
I am angriest of all at those who break the Third and Ninth Commandments as part of their stock-in-trade whatever their religious labels are from Baptist to Shiite by misusing Scripture and communities of faith to oppress rather than liberate, to crush rather than nurture and love. Worst of all are those who claim their god requires that believers kill, enslave or even put at legal disadvantage others who do not believe in their tribal idol! If they know any spiritual beings, they are demons and devils!! Any oppressive use of faith is of the devil; any so-called 'faith leader' who forbids or discourages asking any kind of questions is also of the devil!
I very much doubt I've exhausted my wrath and the fuels thereto, but (fortunately for my readers) I'm sort of 'articulated out' for the moment. So I'll conclude by restating: I am an angry white middle-aged man, and these are some things which fuel that anger the most. Let me know if they make you angry too.