Monday, July 27, 2015

Becoming an Ally

Last night, I was chatting with a friend from Texas.  She and I don't see eye to eye on a lot of political things since she's a Republican (gasp).  Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if she were a Libertarian - but more like those old school libertarian who formed their socio-political thinking before Ayn Rand convinced a lot of people who believed communities can take care of themselves without interference from a large, disconnected government to forget about the welfare of others and focus only on their own selves.  These old school libertarians see the wisdom in high way funds even when they see problems with the tax code, politicians, and that stuff.
My mom is an old school libertarian.  I hear there's a distinction made these days between Left Libertarians, Right Libertarians and American Libertarians because Teajadists generally don't think enough about policies to even make a real policy - they just react with fear.  That fear is easy to stoke as the Koch brothers have demonstrated so effectively as they and their fellow class warriors have taken over the country.
But I don't care about Teajadists, this morning, exactly. I'm thinking about how Velvet, as an affectionate, playful but seriously strict authority figure up at Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp, provides a stark contrast to the authority figures presented by the racist police who routinely commit murders with the blessing of a racist communities across the land who value property over people.  Those authorities pepper spray restrained college students too.

I'm also thinking about how those murderous, redneck cops in Texas are giving Texans a bad name.  A reputation worse than any we've had back in the day when Senator John Tower "flew"around a party in his superman suit.

Texans have been the laughing stock of the nation for generations because of screwballs in government, among other things.  We could always live with that because for the most part, those screwballs hadn't done any real damage yet beyond the stuff they cooked up with the John Birch Society.

I realize, here, that I'm speaking as a white Texan.  Brown Texans have had a different experience, as the case of Joe Campos Torres demonstrates.  In 1977, Houston cops arrested and beat 23 year old Vietnam veteran Joe Campos Torres and threw his dead body in Buffalo Bayou.  Maybe he was still alive when they threw him in the Bayou - either way, we see what White Texas thought about that when the judge gave two of the six officer involved one year probation and a $1.00 fine.
That's A ONE DOLLAR FINE for killing a brown man.  A Mexican . . . .

The comments of white people across the land who automatically support the cops anytime they've murdered someone - whether it's a black guy committing some low level "broken windows" offense like Eric Garner or a little kid minding his own business like Tamir Rice or a young black man in a hoodie holding skittles - the comments of whites show that the conviction that brown people are less than human continues to dominate domestic and foreign policy here in the good ol' US of A.

My friend in Texas is outraged at the behavior of the Waller cops and her neighbors who continue to support police violence as an appropriate to talking back.  Most likely, these good Christians are beating their children for insubordination as well.  Waller is pretty close to home for my friends in central Texas, and when a subject is dominating the local news, it's in your face everyday instead of in some place far away - like, say, Ferguson or Baltimore.  

Personally, I could see all kinds of violence erupting as the official response to Sandra Brown's murder starts unfolding in the courts.  If something resembling civil war were to break out in this country, you can count on the gun toting, "christian," white supremacists in Texas to start shooting brown people.  Remember this guy?  Joe Horn shot unarmed brown guys in his neighbor's yard, in the back.  That's legal in Texas, even when Texas is full of cops who would gladly shoot South Americans.  All kinds of white people are foaming at the mouth to shoot brown people - and it appears that a majority of whites still don't believe that's a reality every parent of a brown child in this country lives with every single day.  

No wonder young people, young people in white supremacist cross-hairs, used alternative tactics to draw national attention to this very deadly situation.  Still white suburbanites act as if blocking a road is worse than shooting brown kids.  A CVS, that can be replaced, is more important than the lives of brown people.  The convince and property of whites inevitably trumps the right to life for brown people and poor people of all shades.  I suppose the rights of middle class blacks are somewhat protected since they may have property and often "talk like white people," so that's okay.

A young, African American ballet dancer just stayed with us for a few weeks while she was at a dance intensive.  We talked about how her white "friends" at school say, "We don't think of you as black," as if it's a compliment - as if they're doing her an unusual and commendable favor when they extend their own equality to her.  That's liberals for you - never seeing beyond their own class and privilege even though they might be trying hard to be nice to others.

In any case, looking at that family photo in Vermont, the Whiteness is so white we throw off a glare in the sun.  And I'm saying again:  White people need to throw off the oppression of Politeness and start calling out ignorance whenever it confronts us, no matter how hard a host may have worked to make a lovely dinner.

I'm happy to say that the other night at Cupcake's parents' barbecue, Velvet, Pinko and I nearly made a nice white lady cry when she said that George Zimmerman was right to be scared of Trayvon Martin.  She didn't know their names of course.  It was just that guy in Florida who shot what's his name, the guy in the hoodie.  She even said it was hard to know what to believe with Fox being conservative and CNN so liberal.

That's what it means to be an ally, and it's time for every thinking white person in this country to throw off the complacency and comfort we passively accepted when Ronald Reagan told white America to forget about civil rights, feminism and peace and go back to the suburbs to shop.  A nation of self-centered yuppies was born - consumers who believe having stuff proves they are superior and that business ethics are actually ethical.

It's true that when you get out of the suburbs and into the streets, you may get pepper sprayed even though you're white and/or old - but like Frederick Douglass said: Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will.

Today, we're fighting the same battle the abolitionists fought over a century ago.  The police now are playing the same role they played for the Robber Barons - brutalizing workers to prevent us from organizing, in addition to catching run away slaves.


Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Just a quibble:
The Raygoons took power because of the so-called "Reagan Democrats."
These were (and still are) 'lower' and 'working" class Whites who were feeling disenfranchised while civil rights, voting rights, and other social amenities were granted to "non-white" folks. Raygoon successfully appealed to the politics of white 'resentiment," and tacitly, byt obviously promised that, if elected, HE would slow the oricesses that promised emerging equality to the folks whom the Raygooners both feared and despised.
It worked well enough that even a "populist" Dim president--Clinton--who ousted Poppi Bush had to follow the same policies on race of his immediate predecessors.

July 27, 2015 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger PENolan said...

I rely on you to make these distinctions, Professor.

July 27, 2015 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Gail said...

HEY TEXAS - so good to "see" you and read your political views, assessments and strong well informed opinions. You remain my favorite news anchor. Hope ll is well, I am ok all things considered.
Love you girl

July 27, 2015 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger mac said...

I wasn't going to comment because I have nothing to add that would be near as succinct and thoughtful.

However, I can say, " you go girl!" . You're spot on.

August 1, 2015 at 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Toni said...

Spot on!

January 6, 2018 at 2:45 PM  

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