Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Physical Location: New York, New York
|Posted: 8 Dec 2005, 1:50 am Post subject: The Decay Inside America - Blacks and Gays
|[this post is originally found on my blog with links that lend credibility to the words: http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com/2005/12/slavery-reparations-i-cant-go-to-sleep_07.html]
"Low brow, high stakes, crack smoke, black folks...."
I was always against Slavery Reparations. The mere execution of paying them out boggles contemplation. Do I think African-Americans as a class deserve them, though? Yes. Without doubt. We have continually beat that community down. They know we know this. We laugh at Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle because we know they are right. "It's funny, because it's true." But once we turn off the TV or leave the theater, we go back to the status quo, the Prozac, the lifetime of unending therapy sessions we need to help us deal with the fact our society is rotting from the inside out. It's not just our leaders; it's the people who elect them.
It's not just our leaders who barely debate the merits of destroying and rebuilding an entire country, but almost immediately debate the merits of rebuilding one of our own [black] cities? One of the most unique and culturally relevant places we have in this country? It shocks me. I question if this is the kind of society that listens to our forefathers anymore, or if we just listen to their words spun into lies. What has become of us? Do people ask themselves questions like this anymore? $1 billion dollars a day, and most of those fighting and dying are minorities, too. Go figure the white guys running the war never served themselves yet can question everyone else's patriotism. The hypocrisy is breathtaking. And we impeached Clinton over personal indiscretions, ones many of us in our own society are guilty? Remember the conservatives decrying "Travelgate?" That was cronyism and a scandal, and now look at those same individuals. Go figure - Republicans have the same human failings as Democrats. The difference is in the hypocrites who brandish their morality like a weapon at anyone who disagrees with them, or points out their unprincipled actions. It wouldn't frustrate so much if it didn't work. But the American public, in its decay, has suckled up to the hypocrites' teat, hearing what they want to hear, never caring the words rarely translate into principled action.
"Oh, but that's because Things Are Different." No they're not. They never are. I only see history repeating itself.
And we do nothing. We have turned our backs on blacks' problems and we have never kept our word to them. When we finally, reluctantly, started to accept them we said, "Go out there, be equal and good luck." Although we do not want to give them affirmative action or special consideration, or anything more than what everyone else gets in our Darwinian society. Then we wonder why one of their deepest poets was a drug dealer and gangster.
It's because they remember slavery. They remember hundreds of their children and men beaten or hung in the streets of New York City as the Civil War broke out, blamed for wanting their freedom. Isn't that heartbreaking? Even in this city. They remember "40 acres and a mule" which, had we fulfilled that promise, maybe their community would not be in the dire straits it finds itself in today. Instead we freed them, gave them Black Codes, Jim Crow, segregation and ghettoization. Holy Robert Moses! Because of one lousy Supreme Court interpretation, the Bill of Rights was not applied to blacks nationally until the middle of the 20th Century. Barron v. Baltimore. And now the kinds of guys who voted against applying the Bill of Rights nationally will be handing down decisions on our Supreme Court. And I'm not supposed to be frightened? I'm not supposed to yell out about this stuff in class when I hear it?!? Bullshit! A breach of decorum in defense of liberty is no vice, my friends. It's not even a partisan issue. We need to start looking and reading the roots of our country's founding, because it is obvious to me we've forgotten them.
We can never understand black experience because we have nothing like it in modern white America, except against the gays. Even Latinos seem to have escaped this American rite of passage of battering its minorities to prove they really want it bad enough. We haze our social sub-groups. It's like we kicked blacks in the shins, didn't allow them to eat or hydrate properly, and then when we stop we say, Okay, now let's race! And when they can barely get past the starting line, we consider them inferior or even question the notion of equality itself. We've never had equality. Every group in society did not start at the same place to make it fair.
Meanwhile, the entire game has changed right under the blacks' eyes. The game is no longer about racial equality, but social equality. This is why the cry of racism rings so hollow today. It's not about that anymore, baby. The language has been manipulated and played with so much, racism is almost a dead concept. We don't talk about race anymore; it's all about what you got and for how long have you had it. Hello, Hurricane Katrina! The black community is behind the times - they still cry racist when really it's not about that anymore. Now it's money, power and influence (racism's problems, but remember, we don't talk race anymore). Our society worships those three things, including the Christians who vote for the kind of people we find in our government (this is about the most compelling argument for a wall between church and government I can think of). And what kills those in power is that blacks, gays and jews still have influence.
The creative classes are always the most oppressed. The Jews, the Blacks, the Gays, etc. People look at their numbers in the most influential industries and they resent it. They are "Lavender Mafias" or "Cabals" or "Gangs" as if their success is illegitimate. But is it their fault oppression makes creativity flourish? That imagination bridges psychological gaps in sadness and depression? They dance for their rights, entertaining a country that laps it up like a salivating dog, yet seems to resent its enjoyment. Larry Bird was just as good at basketball as any black ever was is the kind of things these people say.
"Black people use profanity because we live a profane lifestyle."
William Styron writes about this in his book "Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness." He describes how creative and intelligent people are beset by depression. The notion that one must experience misery and depression to be creative is akin to the unspoken reason the legal community continues the structure of the emotionally brutal first year of law school: you must feel that misery before you can succeed. And law school is exactly where attorneys first learned to deal with their extreme stress through alcohol and drug use. Why such an intelligent community can't learn to fix itself, I do not know.
We, as a society, laugh at the notion of reparations. "Look," we say, "you wanted equality, you got it! Now go on out there and start bein' equal!" And then America slaps blacks on the ass like it's their coach telling them to play ball. We don't give them uniforms, equipment or instruction, nor proper nutrition and training. And when they are consistently decimated on our playing field, we call them inferior. When they make up their own rules or play dirty, we call them criminals, whores and greedy vacuous animals. We disdain their overt materialism at the same time our President begs the country to spend more, get in more debt, in order to save the economy during his administration, even if it hurts us long term. And then when natural disaster hits the black community, we first want to blame them and will only blame ourselves in the face of incontrovertible evidence. And befitting Non-black America, we focus on their problems as the real cause of their victimhood, and for not having values. In the midst of crisis, when we are all vulnerable, our leaders talk about the glories of consumerism, and not on community. We are not fooling them with our hypocrisy, we are only justifying our continued power and social strata. We watch Jerry Springer to remind us of how much better we are than the groups paraded on the show.
By the way, Consumerism runs counter to fundamental conservative AND liberal principles. Debate me on this.
"I Can't Go To Sleep"
Unless you've experienced an extended - years - period of almost comical bad luck and breaks, you can't relate to the feeling that the structure and attitudes of society conspire against you. Blacks can list their "Catch-22s" that subvert their basic success, that which whites take for granted [see Chris Rock joke on this here]. Yet, that is just seen as carping, of not "rising up and overcoming." We don't provide them the tools for success, then beat them down further under the guise of freedom, then when we stop, and expect them to succeed with nothing more than the inequality they've suffered. Conservative, liberal, I don't see how anyone can't see the obviousness of this history or how it's played out.
This is so ingrained in the black culture that whites who speak against it are "guilty liberals" and blacks who speak against it aren't "keeping it real." (or, as Chris Rock says, "Real dumb.") I rescue pound dogs and I understand how fear and abuse causes a living creature to bite and fight the ones who effort to treat it.
We stuff them in ghettos and subvert their success because, deep down, we just don't like them. The notion of making out, having sex with, or marrying an African-American still creeps out a majority of whites. Worse, even blacks find each other unattractive, straight or gay.
Who can succeed like that? As they fall and stumble, we call them bums, idiots, crack heads, criminals, amoral, or the genesis of every problem in society. That America would ever face its role in devastating a community seems laughable. To blame society is too amorphous, too nebulous. There's no face on society. Just like it's easier to blame lawyers for our litigiousness than to point the finger at the clients who bring these lawsuits. Everyone has heard this: "I'm a lawsuit waiting to happen." It's easier to blame an identifiable group than to look ourselves in the mirror. It's not our fault, the lawyers make us do it!
Groups fit in soundbites; they're easier to sell and swallow as causes of social ills than our own corroding values.
We do this with gays too. Many open-minded people will quietly admit they wouldn't want a gay son or daughter. They quickly justify it by saying, "Well, it's just a harder life." But who makes it hard? Who is responsible for making it easier? If the answer is not "American Society," than who? And who is this "society?" The answer is: all of us. We are all responsible. Originally, being "PC" was about exactly this kind of issue, but the liberals went too far with it and instead they were surpressing people's ideas and feelings, and they shot themselves in the foot. Now "PC" is totally discredited. Good riddance, I say. I'd rather be slightly offended but be able to challenge a belief than to have it hidden where I can't address it. So, I'm all for people talking about their prejudices and not being ostracized. I think Lani Guinier raised the same argument.
"ROAD TO RUIN"
Gays grow up hearing in school what they learn from parents and siblings: "Fag" is the worst thing you can be called, even today. I'd prefer to hear kids use the word "Fascist" for that level of loathing. The harrowing mental conflict as a kid slowly learns in puberty that he's one of worst things a person can be, wreaks emotional havoc. Layered upon that his sexuality gets distorted in the process. He isn't allowed to date and learn the rules of the love game when his straight buddies do. While others are exploring their new feelings and seeking their parents' counsel, he is learning the art of the charade. He has to hide or fake intimacy with the gender he doesn't find attractive, thus victimizing those women. And people wonder how a perfectly decent man like Jim McGreevey could fall like that? Like we don't know what caused the need for him to handle his personal affairs in such a manner. This is what our society needlessly does to its talented.
But to blame society is too amorphous, too nebulous. It's too complex an answer. It can't be sold and swallowed as a soundbite. Besides, their fags.
But they are also our friends, sons and daughters. And they learn how to hide and merge into society (something African-Americans have both envied and resented; minorities compete for who's had it the worst, after American Indians).
Gays are amazing chameleons.
Most of America would be shocked at how much of Hollywood is homosexual or bisexual, absolutely shocked. And so many gay activists want it exposed, to rip down the curtain. But in this society that would create a backlash, the type happening in the Catholic Church against the priests. Those poor gay priests who joined the Church to run away from being the worst thing a man can be, a fag. Maybe celibacy and nesting in God's bosom is the answer, they think. Now they are being hunted, when even the survivors of the abuse point out many of the victims were girls. What a slap in the face to those abused women, that this is the Church's fix.
Who can succeed there? As gays fall and stumble, society calls them amoral, hedonists, drug addicts and alcoholics. They were shoved by society out of its sight into bars, the only places they could meet each other. Rife at these bars and clubs are every substance imaginable to ease the pain of trying to soldier through that warped sexual and emotional sense of self they developed in their teens. Many gay men never emotionally mature beyond adolescence. They become cynical toward love, spirituality, family, marriage and morality; the things which make a society strong and healthy.
The entertainment they worship glamorizes their drugging and drinking and warped values (Absolutely Fabulous, Valley of the Dolls, Mommie Dearest) or talented people who buckle or slowly kill themselves publicly under society's pressure (Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Courtney Love) or those who become hardened bitches who take nothing from nobody even when they are wrong (Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Martha Stewart). "Fuck all of you," these people say, seemingly without cause. Or gays worship those who've survived life and come out on top: Cher, Madonna, Tina Turner. All this achingly boring and unending kitsch seems comical if you don't know where it comes from.
American society can't admit that it created these caricatured individuals, who you see on the train carrying expensive bags, dressed as though their materialism shields them from the daily slight insults they face (just like African-Americans). Even in law school otherwise enlightened people describe utterly ridiculous or stupid situations and things as "gay." Gays say it's okay, that they understand, but they don't. Who always wants to fight and make people uncomfortable, including your friends and family?
Using gay that way is another drumbeat reminding gays that deep down, people don't like them. The idea of their sex lives is creepy. If gays make the slightest flirty remark to a straight male, it can cause that individual to question his entire sense of self: That guy hit on me - do I seem gay? Maybe I should be more anti-gay so people won't think I'm gay.
Gays get blamed and beat up because straight guy resents the insecurity that gays made him feel. Or gays get blamed because a guy can't tolerate that he may have gay or bisexual feelings himself. Perhaps if homos didn't exist, these feelings wouldn't, either. And what sucks is that straight guy is a victim of America's attitude toward gays as well. Homosexuality is feared and hated, but it also occurs everywhere in nature. And where it seems most extreme in nature, it turns out society's poison caused it (like with this drag queen fish).
America warps the value of gays, who feed those warped values back to America through entertainment.
Oppressed groups succeed because life is tougher for them in the jungle, and they develop skills others never find the need to use. And people respond, "Well, good for them - life is tough. It's tough in the jungle for everyone." That reasoning is ruinous. First, we don't live in a jungle anymore, so it is society keeping it a jungle. Second, it's that mentality that keeps us crashing the same car as a society. Oppressed groups develop a biting cynicism that is hysterical and depressing. It questions everything the majority believes in that enables those groups' oppression, even the notion of God itself. Just like in the French Revolution, a miserable failure. And then we sit around like a bunch of idiots wondering why our culture is deteriorating, and who do we blame? Those oppressed groups, because they write television shows, movie scripts, plays and literature attacking the structures that attack them. And nobody can express themself better than someone who feels oppressed.
So we exacerbate the problem, and like Dave Chapelle said, it just don't never end....and people wonder why the man collapsed, but it was all in his humor. You don't have to be smart to know why you were laughing at the jokes about the pain of his people (or at Richard Pryor, or at Chris Rock, or at one time Eddie Murphy). "It's funny, because it's true." We stand eyes aghast and watch the young and talented crack up. Don't just stand there with your eyes open; open your eyes!
So, yes. I believe African-Americans are owed reparations. But they will never get them. America would have to admit too much to itself to make reparations feasible. In the meantime, why don't we all lighten up just a little on attempts to help them out of the mess we put them in.
Discussion Boards by phpBB © 2006 phpBB Group
www.glbtq.com is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL 60607
glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.