Friday, April 06, 2007

The Age of Enwhitenment

I wrote this last March, before I was diagnosed with diabetes. Hence, the references to imbibing a little more than I do today. Originally posted on another blog, that person turned out to be a complete, self-centered jerk and he has been struck from the records like what Ramses did to Moses.

I don't understand what is going on today. After September 11, 2001, I knew there would be an outpouring of resentment and hatred toward Arabs and Muslims. This is pretty much a standard mind reflex when hit below the belt. We were hit hard and left to bleed openly for the world to see. For a country with so much pride, we can be pretty naive. How many of us harbor distrust for all people of Arab extraction because of the events that transpired on that fateful day?

After 9/11, I wondered if the prejudice felt by many towards African/Americans would be circumvented or replaced by a much more deeply rooted hatred for our new enemies. I questioned whether blacks would climb up the social ladder or would there be a new rung added just below theirs for our new Muslim adversaries? Today, I find not much has changed. Here in the land of King Kong, Mickey and Shamu, the status quo prevails. Oh, not with you who come to visit. I'm talking about the ones who grew up here and elsewhere, where southern ideals from a lingering past still exist.

A few weeks ago, I met a friend to discuss a few things at an Irish pub. After all, St. Patrick's Day was right around the corner. This type of location would seem innocuous enough, wouldn't it? After a couple of drinks, my friend had to leave. I stayed a little while longer. In came a couple, she with a nice charm about her and he of the long hair that Hippies used to have. There's not much peaceful about his ilk these days. The conversation started out innocently. We discussed "where y'all from originally?" and a few more pleasantries. She sat between us. All of a sudden, he blurted out of nowhere,

"The best thing to ever happen to this country was when Abraham Lincoln was killed."

I was completely dumbfounded. I asked, "You mean on account of slavery and all?" Yup, that was it. I finished my drink and left, but I turned back to him and asked, "If you had sex with a monkey, could you get it pregnant?" After all, to these types, all blacks are monkeys. "If you had sex with a black woman, could you get her pregnant?"

Out the door I went. I didn't wait for a response.

Last week, I went to my regular place, where I sometimes go to relax and meet old friends. One gentleman is a bank vice-president and was not born with the same color skin as me. He's a very nice, well educated man and is faithful to his wife and honest upbringing. I stopped by briefly and stood next to him and we talked. A younger couple came in. The bar was pretty full at the time. She went elsewhere to look for a place to sit and he went into the restroom. I went in, too, not because of him, but I was leaving and I wanted to do whatever one does in a men's room before beginning a journey across town. I told him, "You can have my spot. I'm leaving. There's room for both of you."

"You mean, next to that..." Well, you can add your own racial epithet. "My woman won't sit next to a..."

"Come on, now," I responded, "he's a really nice guy. He runs a bank."

"Good thing I didn't bring my hanging rope, then," and out the door and to the bar he went. I turned the other way and left. What makes these types better in their own minds? In deference to the good, kind folks I've met through the years, most people around here are nothing like those two.

After September 11, I had a dream that times would change. We would begin to trust our brothers and sisters who stand with us, no matter what creed or race. We would ALL work together to face the evil that hit us. New leaves will turn. A revolutionary resolution would form. I was wrong. I guess I'm just one of those naive Americans.

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