Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Backlash You Fear May Be Your Own

 Now, I listened to this.  Dave Chappelle, Saturday Night Live.  If you haven't, here it is:

UPDATE:  NBC seems to have peacock-blocked it.  Oy vey.  Just look up 'Dave Chappelle monologue Saturday Night Live 2020.  You can do it lil' buddy!

Now,  I made it through.  I laughed.  I sat here and was culturally white as snow and I made it through this monologue, and my first thought after it was over, was "Damn, I'm glad I don't live in the city."

My first thought.  My first fuckin' thought.

I remember 1968 and 1969 in Portland, Oregon.  Real well.  

Portland was BURNING.  The police had cordoned off the bridges to keep the black people on 'their' side of the river.  I lived on that same side, less than three miles away.  You could look to the north and see the buildings burning, you could see the smoke rising to the north.  I stood on the roof of the house and looked at the smoke, eight, nine years old. 

I listened to the news and heard, there in the background as the reporters spoke, enraged people being shot down in the streets by the police.  Being blocked from crossing the Willamette River over to the 'white' side.  Coast Guard and dockyard fire boats were patrolling the river and the people raged on the banks and got water cannons shot at them - and bullets too.  Those bodies were not counted. 

None of the bodies were counted, not anywhere. Nobody counted the bodies.  Nobody that I knew, anyway.  

Everybody I knew, on the television, the radio, the newspapers, were all white.

We didn't have to know.

We didn't have to know.

Not our problem.  

It was 'those' people, tearing down their own businesses and homes, look at those crazy people, you think they'd be fighting who they're supposed to be mad at! But see, it's all fake!  No, all they want to do is have an excuse - and I was told this by my parents and other adults - they just wanted an excuse to rob and take away what the 'uppity' ones had, because most of them were too lazy to work. The Russians were behind it.  Destabilizing the nation by riling up the poor dumb people who didn't know any better in the first place.  So bottle them all up and let Devil take the hindmost. That's the only way to make it stop.

They say that inside every liberal is a racist waiting to get out.  

Me, I'm scared.  And if you listen to Dave Chappelle, he addresses that - hey, white people!  There's this feeling that you might begin to experience...that people you don't even know, who don't even know you, are going to do something bad to you because of the color of your skin.

I'm not a racist.  What I am is someone who knows what's right, who wants to do what's right, but doesn't know fucking how.  I didn't know so much, for so long - and didn't even realize I was ignorant - that I AM going to fuck up.  I'm going to offend somebody.  Hell, I may be doing it right now in this post.  I guarantee you that Black rights was not way up on my list of things to worry about when I was younger.  I didn't have to.  

So now I'm reading.  A lot.  Way out of my comfort zone.  

How many of my neighbors are?  

I remember being absolutely appalled at the sheer number of people who lived in my little speck on the map, who were like "HOORAY!  WE CAN BE OPENLY RACIST AND HATE GAYS NOW!" as soon as Trump came into office.  Little old ladies I've known for years ffs. Kids my daughters' age.  The sheer GLEE of people who genuinely felt more free once it was 'cool' to hate.  Just following the President's example.

They're all out there freaking out right now.  Some very vocal, hateful, ignorant, mislead, average people, half the nation.

I've got nothing to end this with.  

I need to go find a kitten.


anne marie in philly said...

crush the MAGAts like cockroaches!

Ms Scarlet said...

I know what you mean. The last four years have been stark, and revealing. I have simply walked away when I haven't liked the tone of a discussion - I guess this is my privilege? - when really I should have argued.

savannah said...

You watched him! You listened! Those are the important things. You're reading to educate yourself about things you never thought about because you didn't have to. You know what my take away was? I thought of those crowds of people celebrating the BIdenHarris win and knew that we would, as a Nation, find a way to redeem our souls. The conversation in this house was "white people need to be happy black folk aren't vindictive" Broad brush I know, but that's what Chapelle was alluding to and we all knew it. Trump has appealed to the darker side of human nature, but those darker elements, as you said, were already there. We do have to find a way to be kinder to each other, but other than that I have no answers on how we will do that.