Friday, October 12, 2007

Colliding Worlds (Part I)

Wrestling with desire to go to Sheetz and buy a pack of cigarettes, my thoughts are a jumble this early morning. I'm sure I understand my own thinking right now. I don't expect anyone else to understand them either.

I've been blog hoppin' tonight: reading up on some blogs and listenin' to good tunes on CD. Events from yesterday weigh heavily on my mind. October 11Th was National Coming Out Day, which I forgot. No chagrin though, I'm as out as its going to get. While I'm out to friends and work associates, my family is the last obstacle to cross. I don't hide anything from them. I allow them to draw their own conclusions, but I don't broach the subject either. I won't. Too many thoughts of the past, too much remembering who I am, forbids me to allow myself to be lulled into any sense of security or acceptance from my family. "Remember kid, you were born a black man." The whole gay thing ain't a happy little Pride Parade for most black folks, especially not in my family.

Being introspective and aware of how different I am from most, there are issues to resolve. I've never been more aware how distant from others I stand than these last few weeks. I've actually have been catching up with reading with I'm out on short term disability (which soon will be long term disability). So far I caught up on some poetry by Nikki Giovanni, Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun, and Richard Wright's Black Boy. Tonight, I finished Eric Jerome Dickey's Genevieve (more on that later).

All the above pieces of literature mentioned above deal with the heart of African American life and struggle with racism. It reminded me, soberingly, how fortunate I am to live in the times I do. That the blood, sweat, and tears of my predecessors, provided me the opportunity to skip about happy-go-lucky being a black non traditional sexual man, something no black male dared mentioned 40-50-60 years ago. If you were, as Gran'ma used to say "someone who butters their toast on the wrong side," you sure kept your mouth shut, were discreet, and didn't bring attention to yourself.

Additionally, how lucky am I to be born, and basically bred, in the North? I've lived in various area where racism could and can be rampant, like Kansas and Virginia, but never the deep, deep South... Never in any of the states on my top ten list I refuse to ever set foot in. The top three are all west of Georgia. (Care to take any guesses?) I have no doubt the Creator placed me where I am now because my fool ass couldn't have survived the riggers and oppression of the South. Oh hell no! I'm proud of my ancestors for their suffering, but no, I'll pass on living there!

Now before anyone thinks I'm bashing the South, let me say I respect it. Life is a little more honest there. If someone doesn't like, doesn't want to associate with you, people are upfront about it. Livin' here in Pennsylvania, well I've learned too many times people laugh and joke with you, then call you every racial epitaph behind your back. Folks pretend to be your friend, then your nigger at the first moment you step out of preconceived roles and boundaries. I was reminded of how close Central PA is too the good ol' South early this week..

I haven't gone into discussion about the Jena 6 situation, but it doesn't mean I'm disconnected from life's happenstances. I try to keep the Weilding the Axe lighthearted, fun, and use it as my own tool of self-discovery. I've been criticized by some anonymous folks for not addressing issues central to the African American community, for being a sellout, an Uncle Tom, a wanna-be, whatevah fro my likes, choices of music, and friends. I won't lie. The comments sting from time to time. I make note of comments, think about 'em, then remind myself that even though I'm not someone's expected notion of what a black man should be, unless I've truly gone off the deep end and really did sellout (gone OJ), there's nothing wrong with me. I know who the fuck I am! And no one has lived in my shoes and experienced my hurts, so don't judge me. I love my bruthas and sistahs, respect ya and envy ya. Cut a boy some slack! Anyway, my point being was I saw the news blurb online in nearby Lititz, Pennsylvania, a similar little racial brouhaha like Jena 6was developing with similar undertones, albeit, not to the current extremes as in Louisiana.

Three white students from Warwick High School have been charged with harassing African American and Latino students with racial slurs, throwing paper & garbage, displaying Confederate Flags, and the noose thing. Further, the high school student parking lot has an area known as "redneck row," where kids prominently showcase Confederate Flags in, on, and around their cars. OK, I won't go off on the whole business the Southern Cross is a symbol racial hatred, I think it's fairly obvious, don'tcha think? I understand why White Southerners cling fiercely to its symbol, but I will never comprehend why white Northerners cling to it so??? Traditionally, the South has hated the North for the its part in decimating the South. Oh, I won't go on that history lesson... er'rybody knows the real deal. A cracker is a peckerwood is a redneck is a racist. Does it really matter where in the USA they live?.

Interesting enough, as I'm writing this post I just saw Mycah Bell, one of the youths involved in the Jena 6 situation is back in jail.

Sigh...I'm not surprised at all at either situation. Central Pennsylvania is a little hotbed of racist activity, it just is kept quite, that's all. We have the the East Shore and the West Shore in Harrisburg. The West Shore, commonly referred as the "White Shore," because very few minorities live on that side of the Susquehanna River. I've heard some people referred to Harrisburg as Nigger-City (No not "n-word city." Forget euphemisms tonight, I'm in a mood! Deal with the word! It exists and unfortunately is used too frequently).

Lancaster County, where Lititz resides, is filled with racial tensions. From Ephrata to Brickerville to Manheim to Lititz to Neffsville to Millersville to Mountville to Columbia to Quarryville...on and on, I know how the county can be. I lived there. Oh its quiet, quaint at times, and if you're black, remember to keep your place, you might not experience any problems. Might not. All my friends of color have had one or more situations there. So have I.

(I know I'm jumping around, but I've got much on my mind)

Flashback to15-16 years ago during Gulf War I in the early 90s. At the time everyone was supporting all the deployed troops by tying yellow ribbons around trees, light posts, what have you. One afternoon a friend and I, two men of Negro ancestry, were walking down the street and I happened to see a ribbon on the ground near a telephone pole. Back then, I was a little more patriotic, so I picked it up, and fastened back up thinking I'd done a good deed, showed my support, and respect for the troops. Off we went, scurrying back to my apartment, and I thought nothing more about it. Five minutes lately, a borough police car (I won't say which borough police department, those who know me in real life know WHERE) pulled next to us. The officers proceeded to question us, saying they got a report some black men were seen ripping down these fucking ribbons.

Contrary to popular opinion, I can do the "yessuh, no suh" routine when needed. Yessssss, I did and do have a big mouth, but I had no desire to go to jail for something I didn't do, so I played it cool. To my best ability, I attempted to explain what actually happened as respectfully as I could muster, playing the, humble, subservient, Negro (you know the cops were white now, don't ask stupid shit!). The cops believed me, let us go, but the fuckers followed us all the way back to my apartment, then followed us in to prove we really lived there. Grrrrrr!

That's just one example. This post is getting long, but I have more to say on the matter. It'll have to wait until later in the day because I'm tired.

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President Barack Obama!