I Bear Witness l Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

I Bear Witness

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I sit, I watch,
and I grow ever more obsolete
as I bear witness.
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I bear witness

to a once vibrant people greedily gulping down society’s hemlock. Even as they claim to be “keeping it real,“ they continue to maim, kill, and despise their own in hot pursuit of the prime directive with the passion of a sheetless klan.
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I bear witness
to Black fists in the air in false solidarity promoted by self-serving poverty pimps as the world looks on and giggle at crooked fingers pointed elsewhere.
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I bear witness
to the superficial attempt to ban the “N-word” while the new “un-niggas” stand around watching children killing children and fathers drugging sons, as they celebrate, lionize, and enrich those who denigrate the very womb of their culture with impunity.
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I bear witness
to a generation of lost knowledge, cut off from its roots by Ronnie’s “Just say no” generation of crack, greed, death, and political corruption; A generation where the new N-word is pronounced “Responsibility” and the keepers of the flame completely ignore the destructive power of bitch, slut, whore, and tramp.
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I bear witness
to the reckless disregard of the words uneducated, irresponsible, and classless. Should we not ban these words as well, or should we ban banning words altogether as we celebrate their meaning?
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Yes, I do bear witness.
I bear witness to a new world –
a world where gross ignorance comes disguised as enlightenment, and funky sneakers look down with disdain upon the sweet smell of Florsheim; a world where saggin’ pants and gaudy glitter enable country bumpkins to masquerade as elegant, and the exquisite surrender of eloquence is the very essence of what it means to be hip.
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Where’s Langston? Where’s Baldwin? Where’s Oscar Brown, Jr?
We need you stormin’ this beach, because . . .
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I now bear witness
to a world where motherhood stands alone, to be “dope” renders a smile, and posterity is forced to embrace the wind for paternal sustenance; A world where the walking dead strut about rapping the wisdom of idiocy, and we praise the illiteracy of vulgar nursery rhymes as profound; a world where the mother of salvation’s final gasp is compared to the pigmentation of brown paper bags.
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Malcolm, Martin, where are you?
I once stood with a crowd. Now seemingly alone, I’m forced to bear witness –
horrific witness . . .
to the imminent demise of our people,
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And my heart bleeds.
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Eric L. Wattree
http://wattree.blogspot.com/
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

Religious bigotry: It’s not that I hate everyone who doesn’t look, think, and act like me – it’s just that God does

The Mundanity of White Privilege l The Pickaninny Papers

The Mundanity of White Privilege

MONDAY, JANUARY 14, 2013 AT 10:39AM

By Lydia Holt

As a black woman living in the US, I find that it is often easier to get through my day if I ignore the everyday incidences of misogyny and racism that abound in our society. If I didn’t, I fear I would lose my mind. I’m not talking street harassment or being called “nigger.” No, nothing as overt as that. I’m talking about the small things that could be easily explained away as a misunderstanding having nothing to do with race or gender. They are subtle and unconscious behaviors.

The other day, I apparently left my blinders at home, and two incidents stuck out in my mind as perfect examples of white privilege in action. Perhaps it is a result of following so many academics and cultural critics on Facebook and Twitter.

My sister and niece were visiting Brooklyn from the wilds of central New Jersey, and we were going out to eat but first made a stop at a bookstore. There were six of us altogether including my husband and two kids. As we were leaving the store, my husband held open one of the two doors for us. My sister, niece and oldest son went through the door while I lagged behind slightly, herding my three-year-old through the doorway. Another man was also leaving the store and began opening the other door. Meanwhile, a woman was trying to get into the store. She was clearly in a hurry as she tried to push past me and my child and ended up being hit by the other door in the process. The man apologized, and she made some sort of verbal acknowledgement of his apology before continuing to squeeze by us without a look or word of excuse for her own rude behavior.

Now, usually, I would say she was just being rude and impatient and that would be true, but only partially. My husband was holding open the door, so that was clearly the path of least resistance so I can understand her desire to use that door. But, here is the thing, had I been a white woman, would she have been so quick to bum rush us to get at those books? If my husband were black, would she have more easily made the connection that he was holding the door open for me and waited those few seconds it would take for us to clear the threshold? I’m not privy to her inner thoughts, so I will never know for sure, but that is how racism works. It’s not all lynchings and Jim Crow. It’s the entitlement. Her need to go where she wanted to go trumped all else. She made the unconscious assumption that I would move out the way for her and the door was being held open for her benefit.

After dinner, we went to another restaurant for dessert. The kids bounded down the sidewalk ahead of us singing “Gangnam Style.” My sister and I walked a little behind while my husband took over herding responsibilities guiding them into the restaurant flight attendant style, one hand pointing at the open door, the other gently waving them inside. A couple that had been walking near us and were heading to the same place waited and smiled as the kids walked into the restaurant. My sister and I were a few steps behind and had to cut in front of the couple as they attempted to follow behind my husband. Of course there was no way for them to know that we were all together, but again, if we had been two white women, would they have given us the benefit of doubt and waited for us to either pass by or go inside? I don’t know. But given that my husband is white, he was with three obviously non-white children, and being trailed by two black women…. Perhaps I am expecting too much of their observational skills and over-thinking the situation, but that is precisely how all -isms and systems of oppression work, isn’t it? They, ever so subtly, put you in your place over and over again until you begin to do it to yourself. Until you begin to make excuses for the behavior.

I am sure that the woman and the couple are lovely people and would be the first to say they aren’t racist, and I am sure they even know some black people and may even call them friends (that old chestnut). But I can guarantee you that they are not at home blogging about what happened because for them, nothing happened. There were no incidences. They go about their days without ever thinking about their race and how they are being treated as a result of their race. White privilege offers you the luxury of always assuming the door is opened for you and not thinking twice about it.

 

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