March 09, 2004

Triple A Ballin'

Tonight started off mostly alright, despite having a cough that makes strangers stare at me because it sounds like TB, went to pick Al up at the coffee shop and go to bass-practice. En route to practice, I declared we needed a snack, stopped at the other coffeee shop, threw on the hazards, and when we returned to the auto, ouila, it did not drive or start or turn over but rather, played what I think might be Phil Sherburne's fave schaffel track.

Called Triple A. Triple A said "one hour" and then "another 40 minutes" and after that another 15, and after the jump suggested I drive 20-30 minutes to charge the battery.

So we waited. We ate the snacks and pretended we were on tour in another city, to make the waiting more... exciting, purposeful and glamourous. I asked him if he ever wished he wasn't white. He said he had never thought about it. I explained to him that from the ages of 11-13, I wished for nothing more than to be relieved of my whiteness, because I knew that I would always be part of the problem, and the cultural entitlement of being white really got to me. Apartied was a big issue in my brain in the '80s. I remember crying about it, even, knowing there was nothing I could do about being white. Al said that white guilt is not a typical revelation for 6th graders.
I guess not.

Fortunately, we broke down in front of the best used book store in town , which is open til 1am on weeknights. Al read some book about the gay-luv undertones in Star Trek which had a drawing of Spock giving Cap'n Kirk a handjob in it and a then started in on history of the papacy. (I went to the Vatican with Al this summer ( his mom lives two blocks away), and I liked it more than he did. It made me angry, and I also cried during my visit. I did not see the Sistine Chapel because I am not about to shill 18 euros for the pope unless maybe I get a ride in the Popemobile out of it.)

I read some badly translated Irish mythology dictionary where all the women were virgins and had names that rhymed with Bleereaecugh, then moved to some feminist goddess/faery encyclopedia, where my favorite entries were as followed: A queen who could not be "sated" by normal men, so she married a giant. As if to quash the wrong idea before we go there, it quickly notes "And her greatest earthly pleasure became brushing yards and yards of her husbands long hair." Imagine if your greatest delight is brushing someone else's hair? No wonder no human man could sate her, no one had hair long enough.

The second was a woman who was a pig who birthed all of England by roaming to different ends of the country and birthing out a grain of barley and a bee, or a seed and a bee. I don't know who thought that story up, but it sure is a good one.

Lastly, Chicagoans and 227 fans take note: Jackee is in town all week

Posted by Jessica at March 9, 2004 02:31 AM | TrackBack

Huh? Junior high is announcing-that-you-wish-you-were-black time. Where the hell was Al? Germany?

But I don't think it was guilt, I think it's being treated like a child and resenting it and therefore identifying with people are who are also treated like children and resent it. Except that you really are a child and they are grown men and women.

Perry Farrell said things like that until he was 36. Speaking of people who should be treated like a child.


Posted by: travis at March 9, 2004 02:27 PM

I only wish the basic problem of racism I've faced and experienced from people around me was to be treated like a child. Nice theory but its patronizing. Can you stick to decribing your own life and not mine? The f-ed up thing is having to talk to people who do not have the inclination to really listen to you but you have been told that THESE people will listen to you. Sometimes its better to be around people who never "felt my pain" and don't really give a funk but are willing to listen than to be around people who "feel my/others pain" enough to tell everyone what that pain is.

Posted by: jackson at March 9, 2004 03:48 PM

Sure, I can stick to describing my life. I did so pretty cleanly. The topic was the urge, on the part of white middle-class-kids, to fantasize about being black. I did that when I was in junior high, so I can speak on it. I can't speak on being black but I never attempted to.

I would break it down to what I said it was about: kids of the default socioeconomic class, who are accorded no respect, being kids, align themselves mentally with other people that get no respect from their authority figures--like racial minorities and/or economic underlings. Most of whom are in fact adult humans who very much deserve respect.

It's a tight idea. Sounds even better to me now than it did when I first wrote it.


Posted by: travis at March 9, 2004 08:39 PM

By all means break down what you think your life is like. But thats not what you are doing. You are using other people as a proxy to explain your life.

I got pretty peeved when I got to the part where you said "not getting respect from (my) authority figures". Just who are my authority figures? Is that what I want, respect from my "authority figures? News to me. Your analysis is not tight, its patronizing. Do you think for a moment you have the wherewithall to analyze racial oppression in like two sentences like you just did? And that this would be a "tight" analysis? Your analysis is lacking on many levels, many aspects of oppression are left out, much has been left unmentioned.

Yet you think your theory, on second thought, is tight. Its interesting that on further introspection you are not less sure of your qualifications to explain racial oppression, you're more sure of it. You talk about giving people respect, but I just don't really feel respected from your reply. In fact I feel more disrespected.

Posted by: jackson at March 11, 2004 12:40 AM

You know, maybe I can just fashion a guess here, but maybe I can break down what Travis is saying here -- which is that children -- who often are not entitled to justice or wholeness or respect of their person, their humanity -- which is very much due to them, and always, for the most part, ensconced within paradigms where they are powerless and lesser than those (adults) around them.... and thus, of course, will identify and draw paralells, find kinship, pschiclly, spiritually and otherwise with people who are also not afforded respect of full personhood -- ie people who are victims of subjugation, racism, sexism -- those who are not allowed fullness and freedom in the world. Which is empathy, in it's most base sense.

Posted by: Tiny Unicorn Speaks at March 11, 2004 01:03 AM

Also, I want to encourage dialogue, not defensive fighting here, so please keep that in mind. No beefing please.


Posted by: Unicorn Addendum at March 11, 2004 01:05 AM

I appreciate that Travis is trying to empathize, on one level. He sees a parrallel and its ok.

I understand this as an attempt at solidarity. But if you think about it, would it be consoling to anyone to be thought of as in solidarity with a 12 year old kid who will pretty much grow up to have privilege anyway? Its pretty hurtful no? To think that my grandmother has as much worth in this society, with all the things she has done and seen, with all she has to teach -- to think that this society sees her as no different than a 12 year old middle class white child? Can Travis see how it would not spill out of my mouth so easily? That if I ever said anything like what he said, it would be done with a whole lot more hurt?

So on one small level I can see Travis was trying to empathathize. But part of empthathy is being aware of how much it would suck if the world was like Travis thought it was. Anyway, yeah being treated as second-class intellectually and emotionally is a problem for people of color. I grant Travis that. But there's more to it than that and thats what I was trying to get at.

Lastly I wanted to say, many people of color I know really want true solidarity. I would walk a mile to meet someone on it. Truly. Because you cannot know the toll taken on our lives by racism. Its daily. Its monthly, its yearly, its over a lifetime. Things like hip hop music, dancing laughing, eating spicy food take the pain away and replace it. Delusion does the trick sometimes, ignoring it works sometimes, lapsing into hating your parents or the amorphous "culture" that has marked you like Ham works sometimes too. But this ish is not fun. Who knows when it will end. It needs to be spoken of more respectfully though. This is where I think that guy talking about white dudes blogging might have been trying to say, even though his particulars were off.

Who knows if its going to happen? I don't see breezy and assured words as part of the solution. I don't see the Vice magazine model or even kinder, gentler versions of this model working either. My god though, I wish there was more love in all this. I see personally that white guilt can turn into a new kind of hate, where people hate people of color for being problems. They want racism to go away but for that to happen, they'd rather we take our problems and go away. But thats not it. I did not create these problems. As long as people of color are around to prove that the "space" whatever that may be is not racist, its all good. But step out of line and it gets dicey. To me thats where some people are at. And its not pretty. Its not loving.

Anyway, I appreciate you want healthy dialogue and I hope thats how this is taken.

stakes is high and all that ish

one love

Posted by: jackson at March 11, 2004 01:50 AM

I was thinking about the idea that when Travis came up with his idea, I wonder if he thought of how what he was saying relates to actual people he is talking about. Like, when he was talking about people of color being treated like junior high school kids, did he think that a person of color might read what he wrote, and have an opinion on it? Or did he use people of color as a reference point without fully respecting that when you invoke someone's name, they are already present? I can't imagine if he was in an actual conversation with someone face to face, that if he said, "hey when I was little I hated being treated like a little kid so because of that I felt an affinity for you, since you are black/mexican/other." I can't see that going really well.

Anyway, this is just something to think about. Its pretty much the last thought I had on this topic.

Posted by: jackson at March 12, 2004 11:27 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?