Thursday, September 4, 2014

Negroes and Faggots

I thought I would use a title that might get people's attention. I am getting ready to retire, I am officially old. I was born in the 50s. In 1964 I moved east to New England. We took route 66. Get your kicks on route 66. I don't remember most of the event; but, my mother told me that we went to a restaurant on "America's Highway" and stopped to get a meal. She told me that a black man came into the restaurant with his family to get a meal and one of the patrons complained and the man and his family were forced to leave the restaurant. Apparently the white man screamed and complained. It was in the Midwest, I would never live there.

My mother was not pleased. She would be considered liberal and an independent woman long before the woman's rights movement. My father was apparently not in agreement; but, did not complain. He saw blacks as different; but, in the end believed in making his own judgments. He also wanted to vote for George Wallace. Both changed their opinions over time. They didn't really believe in rocking the social order. I take after my mom and do not care about the social order. I think it needs a push every now and then.

I watched a episode of "Quantum Leap" tonight, it was about the Watts riots. I had moved back to Los Angeles by the time the riots hit and my father was a cop with the county or the city at the time. It wasn't until about 1971 that he went into federal law enforcement. In about 1965 or 66 my father took me to Watts with him. I don't remember why; but, he was acting as a cop at the time. It would have been a Sunday and he was probably serving a subpoena. He took me to a restaurant in Watts and I had a nice meal. It was strange being there surrounded by black people getting food at a restaurant when I was still in elementary school and the riots were still fresh in everyone's minds, including mine.

In 1992 we had another riot; but, I was an adult and came downtown during the riots with a 38 police special and it was loaded with very bad bullets, the kind that kill. Nobody tells me I am not allowed in Los Angeles without risking a lot. This is my home and it is that simple. To  bad I became a pacifist.

I have a lot of black friends, they think I am crazy because of the jokes I tell. I don't know if they see me as white, I am not, I am Irish. In fact I am what is known as black Irish and it does not refer to my color mostly. I am as a white skinned as you can be; but, black hair (once upon a time), blue eyes and a particular look and home that is not influenced by Vikings. It is said that the Irish are the blacks of Europe and the black Irish, well, we were also considered different. I never forget that I am Irish and that 1/4 of my people were starved to death or that our home was stolen or that we were treated as criminals in our homes or that speaking our language or teaching our language was illegal in our own homes.

1965 and a young boy in Watts having lunch with his dad as his father issued a warrant or whatever. Nobody bothered us, nobody kicked us out of the restaurant and my father was not bothered about having his young son, who was still in elementary school with him in Watts when only a year before we had seen a black family kicked out of a restaurant. Wow.

My father used to call black people negroes. That was considered polite as the word whites used most was "nigger". I don't use profanity on this site as a rule; but, that was what white people called blacks and we should remember that. It is offensive and obscene and dismissive and I hate it. Lets not forget that white people in America used to call black people that because they treated them as second class citizens. Lets remember our whole history so that we do not repeat. Oops, too late. Now we still think it is okay to call gays "fags" or "queers". Lets not forget it.

I think well of Pastor Daniels and was disappointed to see that the church she was a member of believes that the worst thing in the world is to be gay rather than kill people as a soldier. I hope a member of Pastor Daniels family reads this and repeats it to her church. It has value. People will tell me that race is not a choice; but, that being gay is. That may or not be true; but, what does it matter? What if people chose to be black or female, would it then be okay to treat them as less than fully human? What is the crime in being black, female or gay? I am saddened when I see black people treat gays as sub-humans or women as sub-humans. I am equally sad when I see whites do the same, it means they haven't learned either.

When I was in Junior High my school was "integrated". That means that black kids from Watts were bused into white areas. It was one of the first schools to be involved in what was called bussing. Two black kids from the Watts area were bussed into my school and robbed me and threatened me, that did not go well for them in the end. One of them was accidently electrocuted and I watched without helping him. I was cold little boy and had planned on shooting him; but, he left and it became irrelevant. I was not a nice Pimpernel at the time and was busy dealing with my own threats, one more meant nothing to me and the color of the person was irrelevant compared to the threat. This was during the time when I almost choked a white person to death for pushing me to far. He never tried it again and neither did anyone else.

I have a lot of friends that are black and a lot of friends that are gay. I also have a lot of female friends. Oddly enough I have few friends that are white males. I think more about character then I do about color or sexuality or gender or nationality. These are our bigotries that we allow us, people, to be divided by while we have our future stolen by people with power. When we give up hate and bigotry, we destroy power, the power of the world. That is the message that Jesus brought us.

Love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. You never know what joy you might find. The love of my life was half Mexican and all woman. Think of all the insults that people might have used against her. Mexicans were still called "wetbacks" in California and women were still called "bitches" and gays were still called "fags". I fell in love with her in 1971 when blacks and Mexicans were still trying to get the right to buy houses in "white" areas. It never occurred to me to think about her color, her nationality or anything other than the fact that she was the sweetest, gentlest and kindest woman that I have ever met in my life. I never considered what others might think, I only cared what her parents thought about me.

I remember the moment I met her, it was in 6th grade and she had skipped a grade. She was really smart. I was too; but, my parents (mother) would not listen to the teachers and let me skip grades. She wanted me to learn to deal with people my own age, people period. My mother wanted me to have empathy for others and I didn't have any at the time. I did not see black or white, everyone was an idiot in my mind, even the teachers. LOL. I didn't even feel part of the human race, I was my own freak and that I met her. ROFL.

I had to stand at the door and greet every student as I entered 6th grade at a school I had never attended before, knew no one at and would only be at for a year and then be in Junior High. I don't remember meeting any of them other than her. Then the teacher asked them all to ask me a question  so they could get to know me as I was the outsider once again. All the questions I was asked were superficial and irrelevant except hers. She asked me a two part question and put me on notice that I wasn't the only smart one in the room. She let me know that she saw through me and challenged me and that is when I fell in love, a soulmate.

I couldn't see her well at the time as my eyes had been damaged in an accident and I had not yet received my first pair of glasses. I knew she was female as I had met her at the door; but, she could have been anyone except for the questions she asked me. That was what made me fall in love with her, her questions and her personality that caused her to ask the questions. She asked the questions to let me know that she was watching me and it was not okay if I destroyed everyone else. I fell in love with a soul, not a sex; but she was very female and that is when I learned how important women were because if she was one then they had to be special. I have never considered being gay because she is my love and she is the most I can love another.

If we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, what is the limit and what becomes narcissism? The moment others are not us; but, are instead our neighbors then we must love people that are different than us while still loving ourselves. That means everyone should be loved by us. Our preferences are just that, preferences.

1 comment:

Pimpernel said...

Dear Readers,

A short update. I don't think we talk openly enough about race, sex or even religion. We make believe that these things don't influence us; but, it is a lie. I know people that are white and complain that blacks feel they are treated unfairly and tell me how they are not bigots; but, that is also a lie.

When you see riots in Ferguson, you better understand it is exactly because they are treated differently and know it. When you see cake shops refusing to sell to gays we justify it based on a misreading of the bible. The claim that people shouldn't have to serve gays because of their religious beliefs is the same excuse that was given for segregation.

We need to be honest with ourselves and others. We need to face our history because 1964 wasn't that long ago and women still got paid less for the same job into the 70s.