On What is my race?
So, while I was in the shower, I thought, as I do while near scalding water rains down on me, about a half dozen, but three rose up and one dominated the others.
The lesser two were about Pelosi’s clap and the Virginia crud. And those led to the big one.
Pelosi’s clap is being hailed as “queen of shade” level, and while I get the love and all, two things really bother me about that. First, the number of people saying it is mighty close to the number of people who did not back her move. There are some demographic trends there, as well.
She is not the Queen of shade, folks. Shade is something from the Black community.
Don’t argue with me here. I will make you regret it. I will snatch all the stuff you hold dear.
The Virginia stuff is really about power. I note that I knew blackface was wrong when I was like four — and I was watching Warner Bros and Tom and Jerry cartoons from the 50’s, where black face is heavily featured as a sight gag.
It was 1969, for me to be four. Remember this. I am born between the start of two new years’, and I embrace all of it.
I first heard that I was the n word in grade school, at Pueblo Elementary, roughly around 1975, and I looked around to see who the kids were taunting, because while I had heard that word used at my great grandparent’s house and once in a great while, when I was very young, at my grandparent’s house, it was always about football. Always.
That was when I first learned how horrible it was as a word. And my reaction was to wonder, deep inside, if I was doing something wrong — something like black face.
I was like 7 or 8 here. Ok? Nixon was still in office, because I remember hearing people talking about him using that word. It was a while back.
That was me, though. As we have countless examples of, even today, there are a lot of folks who still do not know that black face is wrong. EVEN NOW.
I spent a bit of time today answering a question of a friend on Facebook who posed a hypothetical involving drag, and I had to point out how it was wrong, even then, even as he tried to find a justification, and even as people were saying it was okay to do around me — and they were white people, and they were men, and they were gay.
The south has a long history of violence towards Black Americans, and black face is a way to make it seem acceptable and all that. But the point being, it is wrong. Period.
It is not limited to the Republican Party, this massive racism that pervades our government. It could be argued, for example, that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is essentially Ginny Thomas’ black face.
Could be. I would probably enjoy it, but only in person. With someone who understands shit like how oppression works and what it is and why it is violence.
In this case, we have Dem leaders who have done this One apologize and then backtrack, and another, in what looks like an effort to save the other, admits he did it. Once. As a kid.
These events were decades ago.
Now, there is a desire to retain power in Virginia among the party leaders, even as there is a massive effort to gut the racist fucker shitting in the white house and his white man toy dildo of a VP.
This is important.
Power protects itself. This is an old, old maxim. Repeated in a dozen different forms in many languages going back to Greece that I can think of. But this is power against power.
the power of an irate base against the power of the existing machine.
So here’s what should happen: a new election. New folks, and only among Dems.
Not going to happen. Not even a little. One will go, one will stay, and in the end, what will be pointed at is not what they did in that way, but what they did after that, for Black people, specifically.
Really, if you fuck up that badly, your next several years of actions — your next ten big things, because it takes ten good thing to wipe out one bad one — should be to help black people specifically — to the point that if it helps other groups, well, hey, fine and dandy, but it will be incidental.
And that is where it is missing, where the piece is fucked up, where the hole is. These are people who, if asked when such a thing is not going on, will say that they walk the walk, talk the talk, do all the other stuff. The way things used to be, the way they still are in the insulated world of millionaire politicians.
Then came the fucking treasonous twerp shitting in the white house. (and yes, I *really* really *really* hate him)
His lies, his misogyny, his racism, his hubris, his laziness (he hasn’t even worked a full year in his first two years — and that is including his “executive time”), his homophobia and transphobia, his inability to do pretty much anything decent, and his reliance on the worst human beings in the world all have come together to push us to a point where America, collectively, PoC and White folks, Men and Women, are standing up and saying ENOUGH.
And these Dems are caught in that. Because they don’t realize how the massive wealth inequality in this country feeds into that AND the base of the orange hitler wannabe.
And I am not even to the good part, the real meat of this post, yet.
So the question becomes, what have they done for Black people after having done this shitty thing against them? Ten good things for every bad one.
What has this Lt Gov done for women, specifically, that deserves having his actions looked at fairly with a woman sitting there saying hey, you assaulted me (is that really what she says, or is that the translation for the gentler ears of the wealthy elite so as to not offend their delicate pretend waspish sensibilities?)
I don’t know. I ask though, because that is what we are going to have to start doing if we want to maintain power in the Dem party in government and retain institutional knowledge enough to change those systems.
that is important, because that is who we *know* a person has changed, has learned a lesson, has understood the harm they have caused. They work to make up for it — not just then, for that one person, but for all those who are like that one person.
That is really important to think on, really important to know.
And that led me to the next thought. Part of a through line that has race as a center.
And here we get to the title.
What is my Race?
You cannot say “Human” — human is not a race in what is, for lack of a real term, race sciences. It is a genus. It includes multiple species. Race exists below species.
Yes, there is a Human Race, but the term, really, is essentially a rhetorical device meant to supplant Mankind and similar stuff semantically — it is not actually speaking to Race, even though a lot of us turn to it because it is the first thing we think of, a habitual driv by of a term that fills in a slot becaue we are caught up in a social construct we don’t know how to get the fuck out of.
I am a human being, but that is not my Race.
Earthling is not my race, either, and really, i am going to get pissy if folks say that one, because they are runnign away from the hard question that I am asking, and we don’t have the luxury of that kind of fragility and defensivieness and besides, this is my space so I don’t want you to think I really give a rats as about your feefees on that front right now.
Yes, I am African American, or Black, European American, or White, and Native American, or Native. We do that based on blood quanta and genetic testing, which somehow is supposed to provide an understanding of how I inherited my father’s lighter complexion yet still retain the majority of his genetic material, while my mom is just, what, an afterthought?
Fuck you, genome. My mom is a fucking goddess. Dead, but still a goddess.
And what is my son? Did he get any of that from me? Because the wonder that is genetic shit like this is that it is a total wild card — it does not alway match from parent to child to grandchild.
But some parts do, which is what the scientists wanted to know, whereas everyday people want to know what country they are from, what race they are, what their percentage of Jew and German and Russian they are. They want to turn to science to explain a history they have been told.
The blood quanta thing says I should be one eighth black, one eighth Native, one 64th Cherokee Native (a different strain), Dutch, German, Russian, and assorted other whitish shit.
Family tall tales and ancient heritage.
Genome stuff says I am primarily Malian (Western coastal sub saharan), followed by Lakota, followed by Dutch, with a smattering of Iberian and English blah blah.
Current stuff could give me a tribal linkage, by the way, because when I did it shit was still kinda new, and they have added a lot more.
So you can’t say I am Black, you can’t say I am Native, you can’t say I am white, because we aren’t allowed to be all of those things and none of them, really.
We have to choose. This is especially important for mixed race people who are light, as people who are dark skinned do not get a fucking choice.
They are Black. That is their race.
Just as White folks saying they are “really Black people” are still fucking White people. And just as Elizabeth Warren is not Native, and i mean you *know* the fucking racist in chief understood that better than anyone else.
because that whole idea of Race, of you being some kind of special type of person based on collective haplo mutations that no one knew existed and that were used for hundreds of years as justification of how others with different ones were lesser beings, is so deeply ingrianed that when I ask tht question, people run the fuck away from it.
So I am asking.
What is my Race?
What is MY race?
And in asking that question, posing that ponderable, in my hastily typed and typo filled screed that is far too long for a normal person to read, I am wanting you to seriously look at that question, because that is how we fucking get to racism.
It goes beyond the simple fact that you do not get to decide what my race is. It goes beyond the whole argument of one has to be this much of this blood to be a member of this tribe.
I wasn’t born on the res because my father had never been there. He wasn’t allowed to be. Because his father wasn’t allowed to be after he took a black woman as a wife and had a baby with her.
Not that my mom would have ever gone to the res, lol. 20 year old white girl? I think not.
Not in 1965. Not with what would eventually explode into the Wounded Knee massacre in 1973 building up. I remember that, btw. I remember that because my mom kinda sorta suggested without saying it that I watch this.
The way she did the same thing with her books on feminism, and on poetry, and on the weird shit after she discovered her child was not really like other boys.
I had a really great mom, all things considered. I wish you all could have known her.
In any case, what is my race? DO I not have one, when every tom dick harry and john does? Hey, ever notice that Tom, Dick, and Harry are mighty white names for “people in general”?
Why is that?
What is my Son’s race?
If you have a race, and that race is White — European Ancestry, lineage, background — then how aware are you of the fact that for other races, it was seen as being less than, undeveloped, kinda funky looking, and less intelligent?
Not even joking. Real shit. The reaction to that on the part of white folks was imperial colonization, massacre, oppression, and dominance.
Race is that fucking big a deal. It is so hard to get rid of, in part, because the way it infects our culture and society is so powerful that it shapes our way of thinking about it — the whole, well, let’s not have anyone have a race!
Guess what — that’s just as racist, because you are still dealing with the construct of race on its terms, instead of shattering it.
But that turns us to another terrifying truth.
Humans have around 7000 years of recorded history. In all that time, no social construct has ever been destroyed.
They have changed, they have been rendered obsolete by the death of the culture to which they belonged, they have been forcibly denied as a reality by other constructs, but they have never been destroyed or abolished.
I raise this point often in a different axis of oppression, but here it is, again. The only way to take power away from them is to expand them.
To expand them, you have to give all of them pretty much equal power. Not equal status, but equal power. They have to coexist on a level where each of them becomes a full thing on its own, and they have to have some basis in reality.
Race lacks that. There is no justification or basis in reality to divide people by race, other than oppression.
And that means first we have to get rid of the oppression — the aversion, anxiety, animus, and apathy combined with stigma and other social power — we have to actively, willfully, pointedly address these inequalities in the whole of our social systems.
Then we can expand it.
And then we can start answering my question.
What is my race?
because the truth is I have none.
But since I have to pick, because our world and our society requires it of me, I pick all of those assigned to me.
And that is what makes me like a popular fiction novel or a newspaper.