loaded terms (the n-word for [some] white people)

As the presidential race nears its end, and tensions rise, it has become abundantly clear to most that race is playing a huge role in this…race.

Exhibit A:

A coworker speaks:

America’s not ready for a black president.

and

I just can’t get past his name.

and

He [Obama] is best friends with a terrorist [Ayers] – they’re next-door neighbors!  He [Ayers] helped him buy his house!  And I know he hates America because of his pastor.  His pastor hates America!

and

The reason the stock market keeps fluctuating is that people are afraid Obama’s going to win.  And he’s gonna raise taxes, and all the companies will go out of business.

and

If black people hadn’t gotten all these houses that they couldn’t afford, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

–Just typing this stuff, I could feel my blood pressure rising.  This guy (the same guy I was talking about before) pisses me off so much.  I haven’t been a die-hard Obama fan, but I will say, that given a choice between McCain and Obama for president, I’d choose Obama every time.  Every time.

The thing that gets me, is that this dude wants to say all this crap and then say-

Oh, I don’t have a problem with black people.

If you mention that some of the things he says are racist, he’ll go crazy trying to defend himself.  Making up all kinds of fanciful, far-fetched reasons he believes anything bad he hears about Obama, and discounts everything bad he hears about McCain/Palin.

Exhibit B:

My dad has a friend – they’ve been friends for years – but he’s more like an adviser/sounding board to her than someone to actually hang out with, or whatever.  A long time ago I realized she had some race issues, and it would be better for me to not get close.  Dad can take care of himself.  I, on the other hand, might say something untoward.

So every once in a while, Daddy tells me whats going on with her.  They keep up mostly through email these days, and send jokes to each other.  [My dad loves to send jokes.  And those powerpoint presentations of pictures of some famous person’s house, or a hotel in Dubai, or nature, etc.]  Recently, she told my dad that she felt like things in the country weren’t going that bad.  She’s doing better now than she was eight years ago, so [fill your own expletive in here] everyone else.  At least that’s the message I get when someone says they’re doing ok, so they don’t see why other people think things are so bad.

Anyway, she sent Daddy a couple emails about McCain and how wonderful he is.  So, Daddy sent her this:

How Racism Works Continue reading

that polonius guy did

Remember in Clueless, when Cher corrects Josh’s gf cuz she gets her source wrong when she says

It’s like Hamlet said – “To thine own self be true”

Well, I feel like that right now.  I’m one of the three people who are watching The Mentalist, on CBS, and tonight, the show referenced Peter and the Wolf.  The mentalist character was trying to see if a mom was really paying attention to kid stuff, and so he asked whether the duck was the flute or the bassoon.

She said bassoon.  (Obviously, wrong.)

When the dude finally does his big unveiling, and tells her how he knew to suspect her [because she answered the Peter and the Wolf question incorrectly] he also gets it wrong.  He says the duck was the flute.  And that the wolf was the bassoon.

Well, I know Peter and the Wolf.  I listened to Sterling Holloway’s narration of DIsney’s version [on record] over and over when I was a kid.  One part I’ll never forget

And Grandpapa was a biiiig bassoon.

Oh, and the duck’s name was Sonia, and was played by an oboe.  Sasha (the bird) was the flute.

the answer to the question

vegetable samosas - yummmmm

vegetable samosas - yummmmm

I LOVE Indian food.  SO much.  I live in Podunk, USA, as you may recall, and we don’t have much in the way of international cuisine [aside from Italian and Mexican].  We actually do have access to Indian food, though.  There’s a guy here in town, who runs a place that serves Indian 3 nights a week.  The rest of the week it’s Italian.  But you can imagine that it might be hard organizing folks to go get Indian with me, in a place like this.  And it is.  So, I mostly get Indian food when I’m out of town.

But last week I was talking to an Indian guy at work, and we were discussing how we both love hot food.  And how we both go to Taco Bell and request a lor of Fire sauce…and substitute beans for whatever meat comes in whatever we’re ordering.  (I’m a vegetarian [ovo-lacto].  He’s not a vegetarian but he doesn’t eat a lot of meat.)

Anyway, I mentioned that I love Indian food and he was like – really?  And he asked what I like.  I told him I pretty much like anything with vegetables, cuz I’m a vegetarian.  And then he was so happy [even tho he’s not veggie] and he was like – “wow! I never knew you were a vegetarian…”  So we continued to talk, and he said that I could come over any time, cuz his wife always cooks a lot, and they have lots of leftovers.  [Actually, when he found out I was a vegetarian he said I should just get a room in their house, and move in.  To which I replied – “be careful, with this economy, I just might.”]

I mentioned some of my favorites [all time: aloo gobi.  when I ate meat: chicken tikka masala.] and this guy said – you know so much about it, you could be an honorary Indian.  So I told him about how, when I was leaving Chicago, a cab driver there asked me if I was Indian, cuz he thought I looked it. I replied, “No, but thank you.”

That’s when another guy who was sitting at our table, chimed in, with a question I’m sure he’d been itching to ask me.

“So, what are you, then?”

And without any thought at all, I replied, “American.”

He was actually kinda interrupting our conversation, and so I went back to whatever we were saying…but didn’t anticipate that all of the people around us would burst into laughter the way they did.  Now, I think that this guy might have been a little embarrassed with the way that turned out.  He didn’t say anything else, but then…I don’t know.

I didn’t think any more about it, other than that I was kinda surprised that so many people found my response humorous.  But it turned out, this was a story good enough to tell – because a coworker who was there, made a point to tell another coworker who wasn’t there – to give them a good laugh.

And maybe it is funny.  But that’s who/what I am.  American.  For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live, til death do us part.

I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

in the black

I’m just now realizing how big the intersection between politics and race has become.  It’s like a volcano that’s been puffing for awhile, and is getting ready to blow up.  I knew that there were people out there who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a black man [whatever the personal cost to themselves], but I didn’t have the expectation that someone I work with would have the audacity to almost come out and say it – to me.

Yesterday, I and another black female coworker were verbally accosted with rumors of Obama being a terrorist.  This guy that we work with has always raised some red flags with me [TNTC, really, but most glaring were his backwards views about gays], but yesterday took the ever-lovin’ cake.  I had just heard about Palin’s accusation that Obama is friends with a terrorist (Bill Ayers) and hadn’t heard any actual facts about it.  So this guy swoops in on the convo and says that he heard they live next door to each other, and they’re friends, and that guy [Ayers] helped Obama get his house [in that neighborhood], and it’s all true.  Because – and I’m quoting here –

they couldn’t say it on TV if it wasn’t true.

::crickets::

Yeah.  For real.  Then he says to me, “You’ve gotta watch Fox News, see?  They’re the only ones that are actually fair.  They have a Republican and a Democrat on Hannity and Colmes.  See, otherwise, you’re just getting one side of the story.  You gotta watch Fox News!”

I thought he was joking.  Really, I did.  I’d never heard anyone say out loud [not even a Republican, and I’m surrounded by them here] that Fox News actually is fair.  And believe it.  I asked him if he was joking.  He wasn’t.

Then he just kept going – he doesn’t think that America’s ready for a black president.  He thinks that all the white people will just think he’s only going to help black people [I suppose this might be due in part, to the fact that most people expect others to be like themselves and then begin to project their own characteristics on others.  In this way, it can be inferred that those white people that assume Obama would only help blacks would – if they were in a similar position – only help whites.]  He was quick to remind me that he wouldn’t have a problem with a black president – but other people might would.

After I’d had all the nonsense I could take, I went back to my desk.  But our friend continued to pontificate, telling my female coworker that this whole financial meltdown happened because – wait for it – the terrorists helped Obama help black people get houses/mortgages they couldn’t afford, and now – since they’re not paying on them – we’ve got all these problems on Wall Street.

Yup.  I know someone who believes that ish.  Or at the very least, said it out loud.

I’m actually amazed at the lengths that some people will go to, to support their racism.  These folks are deluding themselves, choosing policies that will actually hurt them but they figure they can live with as long as a white guy is running the show.  Wow.  Tell me how much has changed?

I wanted to talk about the whole financial debacle in more depth but it’s getting late…I suppose my basic point was this: how can you possibly suggest/promote new programs, or increase funding for current programs, and discuss the raging deficit – and then say you’re not going to raise taxes?

Where the *hell* would the money come from???

To me, that is why McCain looked like a ninny tonight.  Sixteen years later: It’s still [or once again, actually] the economy, stupid.

sometimes, i silently scream

The first time I ever saw The Color Purple I was about 9 years old.  it may be possible for a 9 year old to understand this movie – but I sure didn’t.  I just remember being very disturbed by the movie.  I’ve seen bits and pieces since then, but never the whole thing.

Finally, I have seen the whole thing – and finally understand it.

What a movie.  [I know I’m all late, but whatever]

But you know, sometimes, some scenes, in some movies…they strike a nerve.  And the anger comes bubbling up to the surface for a moment.  I’m thinking specifically of the part when Sofia responded to the mayor’s wife when she asked if she wanted to come work for her – and the aftermath.  Those few minutes were hard to get through for me.

I don’t think it would be so hard if there wasn’t a similar feeling present in today’s world.  If we really were so far removed from the way things were back then – if there wasn’t this undercurrent that carries the same ideas without speaking the same words.  And so I am angry.  Because I still get the same message in looks, comments, subtleties – at work, in the grocery store, at church

This is why my dad can’t watch movies like Rosewood, etc.  This is why my uncle spent a good part of his life hating white people.

I can’t imagine living through the things that my dad and his family lived through.  And the kind of paradigm shift that’s required, to go from raising your kids to stay alive to raising your kids to achieve great things.

And so I let loose another silent scream as I continue on this journey of being me.  It’s the only way to let the stress out without causing more problems…

And yet, my familiarity with some of the lines, allowed me to be a lot less serious when I finally got to the part where Sofia says “…I’ll kill him dead…”

the obama channel (?!?)

because there is one.  There is an Obama channel on my tv.  Seriously.  It’s labeled that.

I have Dish Network, and channel 73 is actually labeled OBAMA.  Like channel 105 is labeled USA, and 118 is labeled A&E.  Looking ahead on the guide, this channel will be a paid Obama advertisement continuously [24/7] at least until October 14th.

Somehow, this just feels wrong.

I can’t imagine how much money that costs, but I know there’re myriad ways in which it could have been better spent.  My mind remains boggled that he actually has his own channel.

It seems like it’s just a loop about his economic plan that keeps replaying.  I wonder if this $700 billion bailout will affect his economic plan promises for no new taxes on the middle class, though.  No telling, but I’m sure there’ll be some kind of question about that in the next debate, this week.

But I’m still just weirded out that this dude actually has his own channel.  Has this ever even happened before?  Wow.  [When do Democrats get this kind of money?]