So, I think I’ve come up with a MAJOR way to help race relations in North America. In research, Regression To The Mean means that eventually, the more tests you do, you’ll find your results will tend to be closer to average than to any extreme. After you’ve read this post, and watched the videos, I’ll explain how this concept could help society, as a whole.
Spoken Word, for me, is the only true way of bringing written words to life. The words, alone, are animated and embodied by the poet, and the experience is the same as being sucked solely through the words on the page into a reality that is not your own, yet where you are free to imagine the characters and the scenery and the smells and the sounds exactly as you want them to be. For those few minutes, you are living their words. Well, if it’s done right. While doing my poetry slam search this week, I came across several humorous ones, which I did save for later. And then I came across these two. And, given many of the dialogues I’ve had over the past week, they seemed…fitting. Neither one of these poems, by title, or from listening to the beginning, seemed to have anything to do with black history, or black history month, whatsoever. But they both took interesting turns that left chills down my spine, in the most wonderful way. I hope you enjoy them.
In my discussions over my past posts, especially those surrounding the merits of black history month, and on whether you can really be oblivious to race, the opinions were diverse. One opinion was the fact that focusing on the past would never help us move forward in the future, or that the demands for the education system to more fully support black history, and the history of all the cultures that made North America what it is today, were somehow also connected with demands for an apology for the atrocities of slavery, or for white people to feel guilty or ashamed because of what white people in generations past had done. I’m sure, and have actually seen evidence of the fact that, some black people DO feel this way. Just as feminazi’s do call misogyny on any damn thing that refers to a women (read my response to the comments of me being a misogynist because I think saggy boobs are NOT cute, and catch a link to those comments too!), that isn’t all about how fantastic women are. But, for the most part, I think that’s not the goal of most black people in today’s society who are fighting for equality and for an equal voice in the school system and in the world at large.
But sometimes it’s difficult to find the right words to convey exactly how you feel. Which is why some people revert to nasty name calling when they are frustrated with the fact that someone disagrees with something they see as patently obvious. This first poet, I think, answers to that frustration in the most wonderful way.
Jason Carney: Southern Heritage
♥ Def Poetry ♥
The feelings he described had nothing to do with some global general shame he should feel for being white, when for over 300 years, white people had slaves. No. It was about looking the other way. Pretending that what’s happening right in front of you really isn’t, so you don’t disturb the peace, and you don’t create waves with your neighbors or friends or family. How many of us choose to look the other way rather than stand up against those that we love, for fear of alienating them, or for fear of disappointing them? I’m telling you, he started off and I was like ‘he’s aiight’. Then he got into it, and I was like ‘OK, he’s not too bad, after all’…but then BAM suddenly I was sucked right the hell in, and I swear for the last minute or so I had constant chills, right down to my fingertips. Bravo, Mr. Carney.
Now, that doesn’t mean that, because you shouldn’t just choose to look away when something wrong is happening, that your goal should be hypervigilance to any possible wrong that could be taking place. Are there still major issues in race relations and racism? Of course. Should that be all-consuming? No. In those comments, where it was said that focusing on the past is part of the problem, I disagree. I think we need to remember the past, and be well educated on it, so that we can move forward. But I also believe that some people are so busy focusing on the atrocities of the past, that they can’t see the love in the present.
Things have changed. Do they still have some way to go? Of course. But the fact that I have space and time to be outraged at the injustices, and am not so afraid of the repercussions to voicing my opinion on them that I only have an underground newspaper on the issue, means that things have moved forward. I’m not on some shit list for the OPP right now because I have, in some forums recently, publicly defamed one of their own. And I wasn’t blocked from college admittance once they saw the color of my skin, despite going to the top college (only next to McGill) in all of Canada.
So, does that mean we just give up the fight, what we have is good enough? No. But maybe we don’t need to see the boogeyman around every corner. And maybe sometimes an asshole is just an asshole, and it has nothing to do with you, or what race you are. Maybe, sometimes we are so consumed with fighting the good fight, in standing up for our rights, in being PROUD, that along the way we’re missing out on some of those things our ancestors fought so hard for. Like the safety of love and family, and not being ripped apart at someone else’s whim. This next poem, she basically broke it down that message down to the most basic level. But I want you to give it a chance, because, as with many things, first impressions can be deceiving.
Frenchie: Fucking Ain’t Conscious
♥ Def Poetry ♥
Ok, so you’ve gotten down to the bottom and you’re still like, ummmmmm what about all this regression to the mean stuff, right? First off, let me say that this message will in no way help the hopelessly racist. This post is not a cure for hate. It’s a cure for everyone who falls somewhere in between. For those who have stood by and watched those they love act in hateful and vicious ways and have chosen to look away, to not acknowledge what is happening. Those who hear the racist jokes and don’t think they’re funny, makes-them-a-little-sick-to-think-anybody-could-think-they’re-funny, but never speak up and challenge them. For those people who are so busy fighting for their rights, forever battling against the monster that they claim is forever at their door, and for the people who love them…who never stop to think “this is craaazzzyyyyy!!! We’re going to deprive our children of a birthday party they want because it would be un-our-ethnicity?” And for the record, I would like to mention that all scenarios encompass ALL races. There are white people who feel the need to fight for their rights and avoid looking too un-white, and there are black people who are vicious racists, and vice-versa.
The point is, why don’t we just stop? If all the people in between decided to just stop, to let their behavior fall toward the middle, how much better would the world be? If we all felt a little sorry for the bad things, and proud of the great things, and acknowledged all of the failures and victories of not just our own races, but of others? Black people, don’t get all in a huff, cause I’ve already spoken about the whole “history class is unfairly white” situation. I’m talking about recognizing the role that white people played in standing up against slavery, because man were there many who did. The ones who fought for equal rights, at a time where it was dangerous as hell to do so. And the ones who, Affirmative Action or not, hired people based on their qualifications and NOT on the colour of their skin…cause they existed. Those details are missing from the history lessons too: the ones in schools, and the ones we teach our children.
I’m not saying ‘turn the other cheek’. I’m not Jesus. Nor am I pretending to come from some Christian place while I say this. You can’t forgive what someone has done to you? Fine. It sits on your soul while they sleep peacefully at night not giving you another thought, but if you want to consume your soul with hate against them, that’s your choice. But to turn that hate into racism is so counterproductive, and so counter-message, and so counter-equality that I just can’t champion it in any way. Why not devote your energy to love, to the things that really feel good? Stand up for yourself and your rights, fight for equality for all, and then allow yourself to be soft and tender and vibrant and sexual and not worry what the world will think of you or your life or your lust. If we all brought ourselves to the average, did a lil of everything, fight for our rights and for the rights of others, celebrated our own culture while respecting and even enjoying in anothers etc., I think it would do our society a lot of good.
And eventually, the extremists would die out. And what would be left would be the average: and the world would be a better place.
Happy Sunday Y’all,