MLK Day, For What It’s Worth

Today is Martin Luther King Holiday, depending on where you live.  For me, every holiday is just another day, nothing special about the day unless I am looking to buy something on sale.  Yes, it sounds rather cynical but the fact is that we, the modern Americans, have made it that way.  I’m sure that one day we will have Gay Liberation or Rainbow Day and plenty of other special days set aside for every conceivable minority interest.  All of them will be especially meaningless because they will be celebrated in an insular manner.  And the media will be full of special stories detailing the glorious struggle against all those ho disbelieve, particularly the old white males who will always be portrayed at racist, homophobic, misogynist,  and everything else possible one can be.  But that’s the rub, be careful what you celebrate for it may come true.

If we are all suppose to come together then how can we hands hands in common cause if we are too busy being bashed or doing the bashing?  So I ignore all those celebrations when those who do the celebrating are doing the bashing.  There is a sadness in that resignation, for on the one hand I am vilified because I do not applaud those who come with their grievances to lay at my feet or I am crucified if I don’t acknowledge those grievances as of my making.  Then what am I to do?  Heads, I’m, wrong, tails, you’re right, it’s a loaded game.  And every year as the economy continues to worsen the game gets a little more strident and I become a little more withdrawn.  Many, many years ago I used to give some of my time to the NAACP and other organizations.  But then I found my time wan’t wanted.  I was told that I didn’t understand the feelings and the needs and the past hurts, but be sure and give us lots of money.  I had spent weekends helping people to repair and paint the apartments they had acquired or the old row houses they had bought.  I hauled garbage and trash to the dump and found used appliances that worked.  I gave some of my time so that a few others could escape the squalor that held them back in life.  I didn’t expect a kiss on the cheek or to become their instant pals, I didn’t need any profuse thank you notes.  I gave of my time because there was a need and I could help.  Now I am the enemy and I don’t count.

The world has changed since the fifties when I was a child.  I’ve seen a lot of good and bad, most of which at the time I did not understand.  It is only with age and knowledge that one’s perspective of the world changes and the significance of its events  make the puzzle clear.  Yes, we learned who was coming to dinner and why teaching in an inner city school was important.  Changes come but seldom the way it happens in the movies.  Ghettos don’t accept outsiders no matter how well meaning they may be or how filled with the good hope of change that lifts everyone up.  People of good heart and intent may see the goal of all neighborhoods as being filled with the rainbow of nations and peoples.  Maybe so, but in real life it never works out that way.  The places I have worked I’ve always had good relationships with people of color, that is the best way I can put it for I really don’t think of people in those terms, and we have talked about many things.  I have invited them over to my house but they never took me up on that invitation and I was never invited to theirs.  Outside of one man, Gill, who is of Mexican heritage, I’ve never had any friendships with people of color.  I worked with Gill in outside construction and one of the hallmarks of that type of work is the amount of trust you place in another individual you work with to keep you both safe.  Gill and I would talk about a good many things such as Mexican history and archaeology because we both read extensively on such subjects.  We had a common bond of trust at work and intellectual interest.  Unfortunately that friendship did not last more than five years due a number of circumstances.  Life’s events often cause such interruptions in our seemingly faster paced world.  But now I understand that due to a new survey that since I do not have any friends of color in my life I must be a racist.  Some academic waves her magic wand and presto, I am now a racist.  I suppose if I did not have any gay friends I would be called homophobic.

All this new age thinking has suddenly produced divisions where none had been before and done so in a most artificial manner.  The new Black Power movement is not about ending racism, for there is far too much money to be made pushing the racial divide upon the American population.  Does Al Sharpton make the money he spends for all those expensive suits and all that expensive travel all over the country from being the pastor of a small church in a black neighborhood in New Your City?  No, there is far more money to be made by accusing any and everyone of any and everything regardless of any possible proof.  If Al Sharpton says you are a racist then you are one.  He doesn’t need any proof.  And if he says that racism in the worst forms are endemic all throughout the land and are embedded in every institution, then we can be sure that he is right.  And if an English billionaire gave large amounts of money to Al and his friends to continue the good fight in Ferguson, well, what of it?  It was only incidental that Al and his friends boosted the circulation of the media that billionaire just happens to own.  I think it is time to pout a ninety eight percent wealth tax on billionaires and multimillionaires.  People with too much money seem to only do harm with the excess.  Oh, but that affect a lot of black professional athletes and that would be racist, wouldn’t it?  I guess I am racist after all.

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