Don’t Blame Them For Me

I love big long raucous discussions, lord knows, but something Lesley said over on her blog about the whole thing makes me feel like throwing up just a little–“And once again, I find myself siding with those who consider themselves ‘conservative’ rather than on the side of those who are generally in
tune with my lefty leanings.”

 It’s nothing about this specific comment, it’s just that feeling of “Oh, fuck, someone’s reading me and thinking of me as being on a side or speaking as a liberal or as a feminist or whatever other label.”  It’s not that I mind that, but you guys, I’m not a great feminist thinker.  I’m not out here spouting the most astute or well-thought-out things about race or gender or politics.

I mean, I hope that, if something sparks your interest here (or even your distain) you’ll search out other sources, other voices, people who know more than me and are more articulate about what they know.

Because, shit, if you’re looking at me and saying “Well, if B. thinks [whatever] and she’s a [thingy], then I most definitely am not that thing,” we’re both in big trouble.

I just hope y’all know that–that I’m not the be-all end-all voice of anything, except myself.   Sometimes, I don’t know what I’m talking about and almost always, I don’t know as much as I should before I start spouting off.

I’m pretty sure y’all know that.  I just wanted to say it anyway. 

The Green House

Last year, the folks in the slate blue house planted what they said were African daisies–these shocking dark orange flowers–along their back fence.  On the other side of the fence was this little green house with tall narrow windows.

Every day Mrs. Wigglebottom and I would walk by and I would think about how insanely beautiful those orange flowers looked against the green of that house.

The folks in the slate blue house claimed that the African daisies were perennial, but they didn’t come back this year.

This morning, a man in a bobcat knocked the green house down.

Another in a Long Line of Letters to Kleinheider

Dear Carter,

You are a racist.  It’s not surprising considering that if you’re white and American you have a 99.9% chance of being a racist.  Look at me.  I’m a racist.  I don’t want to be a racist, obviously; I’d like to believe that I’m a good person and treat everyone equally until proven wrong.

But I am.  I can’t tell you how many times someone will be telling a story about some fucked up thing someone did and when it becomes obvious that the fucked-up ne’er-do-well is black, I often find myself thinking "Oh, well, he probably can’t help it."  And then I think, "God, that’s a fucking racist thing to think."  So, clearly, I’m more of the patronizing jackass liberal version of racist, but I am what I am.

Here’s the thing, though.  I try not to actively harm others and I try to be aware that, because I’m racist, I might be blind to the ways that my actions hurt others.  I don’t want to hurt people if I don’t have to.

Sure, it would be nice if there were no racism, but I don’t see how that’s ever going to happen, so some days all you can do is not add insult to injury.

In other words, if you can’t help but walk around like God gave himself a vagina especially to squirt you out of, the least you can do, you know, if we’re going to try to behave like "civilized" folks (I know how much you love insisting that folks behave all "civilized"),  is not run around flaunting the fact that you’re so great just because you’re white that when you shit, school children throughout the county ask each other what smells like flowers.

Today, Sir, you failed to behave like those "civilized" folks you’re so fond of.  I doubt you intended it, but your post today on Harold Ford Jr. could have easily been entitled "How Dare the Negro Get so Uppity."

I suspect that you think that it matters whether Harold Ford Jr.’s grandmother was white or not because, if someone could prove that she wasn’t white, it would prove Ford a liar.  But how do you even define "white," Carter?

How "white" does a woman have to be to be white?  Two white parents?  Four white grandparents?  Eight white great grandparents?  You see how quickly that goes from being a question about a knowable fact to being a question that assumes some kind of "one drop" rule–that being white isn’t just looking white, but not being "tainted" at all by blackness?

Assuming that blackness is so powerful that it trumps whiteness, no matter how little blackness might be present (if we could even measure such a thing) is racist.

Then, let’s move on to this little gem: " If it is not true, or massaged, it smacks of serious racial opportunism."

Racial opportunism?

Do I even have to point out how this is racist?  Sorry, I have to ask because you seem like a smart guy and so it’s hard for me to imagine that you could not see how thinking that coming up with a white relative would be an "opportunity" for a black person.  The implication here is that being black is so shitty that digging out some white relative would somehow give Ford an advantage he couldn’t have as a ‘mere’ black man.

AND YET… and yet…

You even acknowledge that most black people in the United States can trace their family tree back to Europe as well as Africa.  So, even in your own framework, having a white relative is common enough that it can’t be said to be any kind of advantage.

I must, then, point out to you again that you have a grown-up job in which you have a great opportunity to influence and reinforce how we talk about politics in the state.

You owe it to yourself to actually think through this stuff and to try to leave the world a little more "civilized" than you found it.


Aunt B.