When I was in my teens I lived in a neighborhood that was predominately black. Naturally I had black friends, black acquaintances and a few black enemies, but no matter their status as concerns me, their blackness wasn't an issue, except to them. Not one day went by that I didn't hear about a white guy who had done a bad thing, a group of honkies that were despised, the white man as enslaver, the entire white culture whose sole purpose in life was to keep the black man down. It was usually pointed out that they weren't referring to me, as I was a good egg, not like those white bread eating white guys.
I got a little older I traveled in predominately
baptist/protestant/fundamentalist circles due to my marriage to someone
raised in the Covenant denomination. Each time we'd enter into a
discussion about religion either alone or in company, the topic of
Catholics came to the fore. It would start with the pope is old and
misguided, then celibacy is insane, then Kennedy was shot because he
took orders from the Vatican, then, all Catholics worship da debil. But
they always made sure to acknowledge that they weren't talking about me,
since I was a great guy, not at all like those transubstantiated flesh
Later I was a liberal in a management position
at a predominately right wing company. But I was a good guy, not like
those tree hugging welfare leeching pinko democrats.
And on it
went, nary a week in which I didn't get to hear about how some gutless
scum or pondfull of scum to whom I was tied in some irreversible way was
on the minds and acidic tongues of all who surrounded me. The infamous they were always the cause of the speakers lives being less happy, less secure or less worth living, and so they were deemed the enemy...myself excepted of course as I was a good guy, not like those (name your evildoer by proxy).
I'm 61, and through the years I have been spat past nearly as many
times as I've taken breaths, almost always given a bye for being the one
and only redeemable creature of the demon spawn at whom the spit was
It's taken this long to get it. People are full of spit,
and pointing it out is like pointing out that playing in the dirt will
get you dirty. I cared too much too long, but it dawned on my at last
that it's not the case that no one knows what they're doing is only
sinking to the level of their detractors, trading their arms and
armaments for anothers'. On the contrary, those that use the broad brush
know full well what they're doing, and are nevertheless thrilled with
the act of painting.
Never stand in the way of an artist at work,
or be ready to become a canvas in your own right. Those that offered me
the song and dance about my not belonging to the groups they despised
were dead wrong; they did mean me whether they wanted to believe it or
not because I don't accept the idea that of any given group created by
prejudice, only those with whom you have a personal relationship are
good, caring, compassionate people. There are no exemptions to being
white, you iz or you aint. I'd quote Jesus on the subject, but I'm sure
someone would rail against Christians if I did, and then remind me that even though I once was one,
it wasn't me they mean.