Saturday, March 31, 2012
Leveling the field
Imagine being marked because your skin isn’t the preferred or valued tint. Unless you are ethnic and a shade of brown you cannot know and it isn’t easy for non-ethnic people to grasp even my most diverse friends who have many hues in their friendship pool they cannot imagine it. I also want to express frustration at the economic gap that has spawned decades of misery within the ethnic community and still has not been rectified in our society. In fact there is no example of the same socio-economic disparity within the white community that hasn’t spawned crime. If you are poor and don’t have any other options you will be a criminal because we need to have our needs met regardless if it is legal. The human animal will do whatever it takes to feed themselves and maybe their family. If you belong to a group of people who cannot find a way and you happen to be on the bad side of the socioeconomic divide you will commit crime. When you see the profile of wealth it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see a racial preference or trend. It is a white man who is given all of the opportunities in our society and so much so it is hard not to think there is an unspoken conspiracy to keep the non-white people down. I personally have pushed against this thinking because I come from the great”white” north; Canada where we are so far removed from the American south we have forgotten our ancestors struggles.Canada, where I have benefited from a safe childhood sequestered away from racial tensions until my family moved to Detroit in the late 60’s to get a green card and work for Motown. There we were thrust or dumped into the ghetto where we had to fend and endure near rape and physical violence that when we finally left almost two years later we still don’t remember who drove us to LA. My mother being shell shocked (divorce,moving,money stress) jammed my sister and I into a strangers car; a man and a women who then drove us to California. I promise you it was a stressful drive but somehow we realized LA would be kinder, better than the ghetto of Detroit Michigan and we were right.It almost doesn’t matter who drove us to California because we made it intact. Do remember making sure the man stayed clear of us and the while women was the creepier one and thankfully there were With only two nights of sleeping in motels which must of been tricky because this was the 60’s and a lot of places weren’t friendly to blacks. We made it and I will say my poor 8 year old psyche was on alert always because someone had to protect us from adults and I was it.Now as an adult myself and a middle aged woman of color, I pay attention and being a mother myself to a young man I like the rest of the world am in pain, because of the Trayvon Martin cases world wide. In fact it seems after decades of denying my race, because in denying it I could infiltrate and integrate or so I thought. Today I can attest, that denying my race was erroneous thinking. No matter how integrated one may think they are, they are not the same as them. We are different and diverse and it is a good thing. So now awake to the fact that my race is and is not going away and it has been in many moments of my career and life a liability. So, I can breathe a sigh of sadness for all of the above. It doesn’t help the planet to deny ones heritage and racial makeup just as it doesn’t help the planet to bludgeon society every minute of everyday with it “hello new Black Panther party”.Somewhere or somehow there has to be balance. How do we balance life in this society when there are giant gaps and injustices and plain straight up forces of suppression? There is a thought that the FBI and the CIA in the 70’s encouraged drug use in the ghetto’s to distract and disable the men and women who lived there. Drug saturation to keep the brown masses down. It could be argued it happened but it is unprovable because if those agencies were doing that they certainly don’t want the brown masses to know it. Let's face it every day horrendous stuff is done against humanity somewhere globally by agencies everywhere. It is a huge almost unfathomable crisis. Still here in America we need to be vigilant and protect our brown skinned children and men from harm and we also need to help educate and encourage better choices and help those driven to the edge of society and crime. I do know that a scintilla of the defense budget could create a G.I. Bill educating the entire veterans core. We could rebuild roads and bridges, provide for better mental health clinics and rehab facilities. So much could be done and legally we must begin to examine laws that are geared to suppress the men and women who happen to be of color. This isn’t a thorough comment I know and this subject to huge to even begin to comment on but I have to say something. My heart is broken and it doesn’t seem to be healing anytime soon. I want justice, a more level playing field because it is constitutionally right that all men be able to walk home in safety with their skittles and ice tea.
Posted by Rae Dawn Chong at 7:59 AM