Many years ago, almost 60, my Da had an encounter with a Black man. (For the uninformed non-Irish out there, “Da” was the usual way we Irish-American kids referred to our dads or fathers.)
Da had been heading home to the South Bronx from his night job in Jersey City late one night. He was walking through some NYC subway station when he happened to notice a hard-working guy, a colored man–in the accepted usage of the time–who was scrubbing the dingy platform. He caught Da’s casual glance and reacted both unpleasantly and argumentively for some reason.
“Yeah, look all you want,” the colored man said. “Some day you will be doin’ this sh*t work and Ah’ll be yo’ boss!”
Da hurried on to catch his train and didn’t return the pleasantry but he was more than curious about it since he recounted the anecdote a number of times, usually adding that he had no idea what the colored man was talking about. Even when he was mugged and lost a week’s wage to a colored thief a year or so later, he couldn’t relate that theft to the colored janitor’s remarks.
Da isn’t around anymore but he would really be confused as to what’s going on of late in his beloved, adopted country today. He and countless other Irish immigrants had suffered the pre-bias-laws, accepted bigotry of his time. Those ”Irish Need Not Apply” signs so prevalent on windows of the better places of employment must have grated but he dealt with them as best he could by accepting jobs beneath his abilities but which served to pay the rent and put food on our table.
It seems, however, that some people today aren’t content with merely paying the rent nor with putting food on the table, unless the rent is paid on New York City’s Upper West Side and the grub is lobster and filet mignon.
America’s efforts not only to pave the way for Black people to reach their dreams and achieve success in America but to tilt the Black-White playing field toward Blacks have not been sufficient to placate those who still feel disenfranchised. In contrast to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream that people be judged, (and hired, promoted, and generally treated), based on the content of their character, (and abilities, qualifications, and training). rather than on the color of their skin, we are witnessing the reverse of that dream.
And here I thought, fool that I am, that one of the changes wrought by the election of Barack Obama was a colorblind society.
AOL’s “Black Voices” is anything but colorblind and, unfortunately, may reflect the rule rather than the exception on Black thinking: http://www.blackvoices.com/blogs/2009/03/19/disneys-first-black-princess-has-a-white-prince?icid=main|htmlws-main|dl8|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.blackvoices.com%2Fblogs%2F2009%2F03%2F19%2Fdisneys-first-black-princess-has-a-white-prince.
This time, in just the latest racial bitching by Black Voices, their complaint is against Disney’s upcoming animated flick, The Princess and the Frog. More specifically they write, “Oddly enough, though, Princess Tiana is black; her prince is not. That’s right – even though there is a real-life black man in the highest office in the land with a black wife, Disney obviously doesn’t think a black man is worthy of the title of prince.”
Such indignation over a fairy tale! And over such BS!
I assume it’s of no consequence to Black Voices that Princess Tiana is black as well as attractive for an animated figure and that Prince Naveen is a dopey-looking, toothy dandy who would better grace a cartoon in the homosexual magazine, Out.
Wikipedia’s partial synopsis of the film: Naveen “is transformed into a frog by the evil scheming voodoo magician Dr. Facilier. The frog prince asks a waitress named Tiana to break the spell by kissing him. However, the kiss doesn’t break the spell but rather makes Tiana a frog, as well. Together the two of them must reach the good voodoo priestess of the Bayou . . .”
If I were a Black voicing indignation I would take much greater offense at Tiana starting out as a waitress instead of a royal and the froggy couple seeking assistance from a voodoo priestess after Naveen and Tiana were frogatized by an evil voodoo magician unless, that is, the practice of voodoo has now become PC.
Now that I’ve spoiled the plot, back to the real issue of racial harmony in America.
“Black Voices” notwithstanding, I guess the facts that 43% of White voters cast ballots for a Black presidential candidate last November still hasn’t swayed Black voters to accept that America is not a racist country. After all, they might say, that means 57% of Whites voted against Obama, which may be true, discounting third parties.
However, what is also true then would be the stats that 95% of Black voters voted against the White candidate, some guy named McCain. Using those figures, it would have to be agreed that America remains a racist nation, a very Black racist nation.
I’ve written frequently on this topic, most recently with “Sarah Palin’s Racism,” http://www.genelalor.com/blog1/?p=915, and “When Racism Isn’t Racism,” http://www.genelalor.com/blog1/?p=914, et al. I’ve come to the sad conclusion that, as Christ said about the poor, racism will always be with us, mainly because it’s a buzzword that mobilizes the country’s dissident Blacks and which keeps the likes of the “Reverends” Sharpton, Jackson, and Wright in business fomenting racial discord and filling their coffers.
In answer to the title question for this article, we are all supposed to be colorblind but, like the head pig, Napoleon, in Orwell’s Animal Farm might say, some are more colorblind than others.
My late Da would indeed be bewildered by the state of racial affairs in 2009 United States. More than likely he would be inclined to confront and ask that subway mopper what his problem was.