Lessons on Race
Lesson #1 “MY PEOPLE”. “THOSE PEOPLE”.
If you describe or even consider yourself as a member of an ethnic group and believe that in any way your ethnic group is better than any other ethnic group be it for cultural pride or disdain for other groups then you are thinking and speaking of the classification of races. The classification of races breeds racism it is the first step in justifying or denying your own racism.
Lesson #2 COMMUNITIES
The use of the word “communities” and how it replaces the use of neighborhood or part of town is a subtle yet equally vile form of segregation. It implies real boundaries exist among a multi-cultural America. If you feel the need for boundaries you are either protecting or excluding. Rather than saying “…the Chinese part of town or the Latino part of town, it sounds more polite to say the Asian community, the Latin community.
It is all encompassing, states the obvious that all African Americans simply belong to a massive American neighborhood. This makes it easy to apply the afflictions of an ethnic group to generic classification. It results in concepts such as since there is high crime in city centers and thereby in the so-called black community, the black people are inherently more criminal. The next fashion for the silent majority (believing themselves innocent of racism) is to assume that all black people (men in particular) are prone to criminality. The violence is obviously then the product of the black community. The bland acceptance of segregating Americans into so-called communities is then in itself racism.
Lesson #3 ETHNIC PRIDE
Celebration of tradition and cultural uniqueness is what makes a multi-cultural Nation so interesting and beautiful. However, the glorification of negative cultural conditions makes some members of ethnic groups self-hate. Self-hatred is racism against your own race. It creates anger as well as excuses for negative behavior. Just as we now call neighborhoods – communities, we now include poor boundaries that define areas of cities as so-called communities. In 50 years, they have been called, “the bad side of town”, “the ghetto”, “the hood” and now the so called “communities of color”.
An economically depressed boundary of our nation is still a ghetto. The profound injustice is in not seeing it for what it is. An embryo does not decide, prior to their existence to be wealthy, poor, Caucasian, or African and has no choice to be born a freedom loving American versus a North Korean Communist. When that baby grows up in the “bad side of town” their priorities should be to escape that bad side of town or make it into something that is not a bad side of town.
Beware the glorification of negative economic and targeted cultural circumstance. I once heard a young women describe herself as “ghetto fabulous” and I marveled at the stupidity of popular music performer’s lyrics about how heavy his chain was. “My chain heavy!” shouts Kanye West. A ghetto is a horrible place. Its occupants suffer less from white silence and die more often from the damages of poor health and the common destruction of mental illness. The ghetto is not fabulous. A heavy chain is simply a heavy chain. To believe it is anything more is RACIST.
Foster Johnson, June 6, 2020 – RIP George Floyd
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This is a complex journey into lovers’ hearts and minds.
A Book Review By Dinah Lenney, Special to The Times
Dinah Lenney Reviews, ‘The Lyncher in Me’ by Warren Read
Four pieces by Dinah Lenney. Brought to you by SuperAM
The plot gets thick like marinara sauce…
I have never seen so many people crammed into the viewing area of the coroner’s morgue. Apparently more people knew about this situation than just me, Stetter and KJ Johnstone. I casually observed the room. Two could have been reporters. Two were street cops. And four men looked a bit too serious and similarly dressed to be anything but Justice or DOD.
Don’t Pass Me By the 2020 version
Dinah Lenney arrives at the AM
Dinah grew up on the East Coast, outside Boston and New York City, and graduated from a small public high school just north of Manhattan. She earned her Bachelor’s at Yale and a Certificate of Acting from the Neighborhood Playhouse School, eventually moving to Los Angeles where, among other roles, she landed the long-recurring part of Nurse Shirley on NBC’s critically acclaimed series, ER.
Dinah’s memoir, Bigger than Life, was published in the American Lives Series at the University of Nebraska Press, and excerpted for the “Lives” column in The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Her memoir-in-essays, The Object Parade, was published by Counterpoint Press, and she co-edited Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction for W. W. Norton with the late Judith Kitchen.
‘ER’ And the End of Nurse Shirley
Off the Shelf: How I Inhabit the Earth
An Anthology of tales about San Francisco. Just starting. Add your stories with a comment to the Editor.
From three to six years old my life was filled with ordinary occurrences of the time. My main chores were; feeding the chickens and gathering their eggs, which when I encountered a chicken snake on one of my endeavors and got bitten that ended that particular chore. You see the top nests were too high for me. Another chore was to gather kindling for starting fires in the woodburning stove and fireplace. Both were utilized for cooking. A cast iron black kettle held perpetually heated water for tea, coffee, and various other things. It hung in the fireplace. I was enthralled by the cookstove and marveled at how grandma could make her “cat head ” biscuits (a Southerner’s description). She had an oval, wooden bowl that she put the flour in. She would then make a fist and create a well in the flour. Without the use of any measuring instruments, she would mix up the dough, pinch off uniform pieces of dough, and roll the dough into balls. She would do a finger tuck to the bottoms. Before placing them in the cast iron skillet she would dip them in bacon grease top first. Yum! Yum! I liked eating mine with thick cream mixed with molasses syrup, which my grandfather had made. The stove had warming ovens on the top, a hot water reservoir on the right side of the stovetop ( water used mainly for washing dishes), going left were four burners of different sizes. Their tops had a special tool for lifting them as wood would have to be added during the cooking duration. On the outer left side was a shelf. I don’t know its purpose, but when I started the first grade I would sit on that side, eating my oatmeal, and warming my feet propped on the shelf. As a matter of fact, I could smell the rubber burning on the soles of my saddle oxford shoes many mornings. We ate at a large table which had benches on either side with cowhide chairs at either end. Grandma had a crockery picture which was cream-colored with a blue picture depicting an Indian picture. At first, milk was boiled, after the cream had been skimmed off, then cooled in the spring. Before I turned six we got an icebox and the iceman would deliver ice for it. I looked forward to his visit as he would always chip off pieces for me to suck on. The icebox was located on a back, side porch next to the kitchen. Kitchens were built away from the main part of the houses for protection from the possibility of a fire. This side back porch served as a bathhouse in the summer, where we bathed in number two washtubs. Bathing the youngest to oldest in water only changed when too dirty to clean anyone. Bathing every night didn’t happen we used a foot tub and washcloth to wash our faces and bodies and then we’d soak our feet in the tub. Our feet were calloused and smooth as leather from going barefoot…
to be continued.