Thursday, May 7, 2009


White Mens' Burden

Early one morning my Daughter told me about a CNN news item describing a ditsy card a U.S.A. Mayor, Dean Gross (aptly named) had sent to President Obama, with rows of watermelon in front of the White House, with a caption predicting 'no more egg hunts on the White House lawn.' Gross later denied knowing that this was racist/colorist stereotyping. (And I'm the Tooth Fairy!)

Right after the 'anger-thunk!' hit my brain in the "You-always-gotta'-watch-out-for-them-colorists' section, I started remembering my Dad's reaction as he was planting vegetables in our upstate New York farm garden, to the remark by a white man passing by in his horse-driven cart, "What 'chu' plantin' there, boy, watermelon?"

My Mother, who just happened to hear what we conscious Blackfolk know is a stereotypical slur, rushed out of the house to save the hapless white man from the sure pummeling Dad was about to deliver to him.

As I thought about the Gross slur, I began to imagine, in these times of heightened colorism concerns - not decreased certainly by the entrance of those beautous Obamas into the White House - what it would mean to be a white male in America today:

1. If I were as color-sick as the white man who sent the watermelon post card to Obama or the white man who asked Dad if he were planting watermelons, my actions would indicate a dysfunctional level of untreated racism/colorism and would illustrate my inordinate fear - not buried too deeply - of the genetic annhilation of people unfortunate enough to've been 'rinsed out' by nature's evolution/climate to the point of wearing no observable skin melanin.(Hence our unhealthy pursuits of 'tans' at the beaches, risking skin cancer)

2. I'd remember (not frequently) the accounts of Black males bing dragged to death behind Texas trucks; other lynchings of Blacks; the assassinations of Medgar Evers & Martin Luther King, Jr.; the killings of those little Black girls in that Birmingham church; the continuing slaughters by cops of Black males of any age or spoken language, among other outrages against Blackfolk and know that some day, somehow, somewhere, some time, Blacks would stop being societys' Milktoasts, stand up collectively for themselves and come for retribution and Reparations against people looking like me (white & male);

3. I'd be particularly ansty as I read through the incredibly savvy list of whiteskin unearned privileges put together by Dr. Peggy MacIntosh in her "Paper 189") from Wellesley College; (Google her name and be sorely shocked by the quality and quantity of her listings);

4. In my eurocentric societally-conditioned-by-our-racist/colorist-miseducating-U.S.A. 'Eduucation' System, I'd be looking askance and with undisguised opprobrium and fear at local Blacks, Hispanics of color, brown-skinned Muslims and immigrants of color who, I've been mistakenly taught, are taking jobs away from white folk like me, and

5. I'd be walkng around in the equally-mistaken belief that I'm better than all of the above-mentioned 'coloreds' in #4 and therefore utterly confused whenever I saw or heard about any one of them making more money than I did. (And I'd hate Tiger Woods and Oprah Winfrey and be glad O.J. Simpson, Little Kim and Michael Vicks were finally jailed).

Well, for the first time in all of my own Black 77 year life, I was able to contemplate what it must feel like to be in the skin of a white male here in the year 2009, smack dab in the midst of Black History month (which those white male Congressmen are now trying to eradicate)

I could - just barely - feel sorry for those white males (especially if in their own interests they would log on to - contribute their honest opinions no matter how hoary -take and share the and where they were found dysfunctional in their responses to differences in color and culture - go forthwith into Ethnotherapeutic Counseling to help heal their inherited-through-no-fault-of-their-own colorist afflictions).

Institute for "Interracial" Harmony, Inc. Mottos: "Prejudice Is Learned - It Can Be Unlearned" "Many Colors - One Race"

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