Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I Have an Orange Tree
When a neighbor or passerby desires the fruit from my tree, he must ask permission before eating my fruit.
Even in the almost-antebellum South, whites cannot take my fruit nor can they forbid me from eating my fruit.
By law, this fruit is mine
(Though the tree itself was originally planted by my ancestors - I am eating from the fruits of their labors.)
As many celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. - some say that he brought about new freedoms for the African-American population (and by extrapolation, many others).
The truth is (and always was) that we were born with these rights.
Many have labored and sacrificed for these rights.
Constitutional Law guarantees these rights.
That many of those in power refused to recognise these rights is a different story - until we were able (as a group) to demand these rights, we were not ready to carry the responsibility of these rights.
"Go sit down 'Snooki.", I said to a rude young woman as she made a smart remark upon seeing me exit the women's room at a local pub while watching a recent playoff game.
The line for the men's room was long so the owner of the place told the guys to just lock the door of the single-toilet restroom after entering... and to remember to lift and lower the seat.
When the woman came out, she told a group of brawny guys what had transpired.
One of the guys approached my table and motioned for his equally-sized friends to join him so I walked to a nearby patio.
"S'up Ben?", I said.
"Hey, John. You called 'Big Mouth Lisa' "Snooki"?". Dude, that's what we call her.", he said as he began to ask about common friends and make introductions to his crew.
My friends from the table came outside as soon as they saw me being surrounded by a group of white guys in a predominantly white pub.
(Although they relaxed once they saw me laughing with the group of guys.)
He mentioned that the girl was pissed that they failed to respond to her initial complaint of a Black guy coming to their club and talking shit.
"Look at the guys at your table. I wasn't about to do a thing but pretend to look mad.", he said with a laugh.
"It's still the South", I said with a shrug.
By this time I had introduced the guys from my table to his friends and we sat around a fireplace on the patio so we could talk.
"You know she said that "some Nigger" said such and such and that you were all ready to fight." I said.
"No she didn't say that word.", Ben lied.
"Yeah, she did." one of his friends said.
'Said what?', I asked.
"Nigger", the guy said quietly.
(I shook my head towards the guys from my table to let them know to relax upon hearing a white guy say this word in front of Black guys.)
"Yeah, that kills me. That's just funny. Black people always ready to fight when they hear the word and white people often wanting to but too afraid to say it.", I laughed.
"Did you take the wheels off your house yet? Is your City Hall still a double-wide?", I teased the guys in Ben's group. (A recent hurricane demolished their city hall so the town's business was being conducted from a double-wide trailer.)
"You look Italian. I don't get mad at no Goombahs. No Dago Guinea-Wops. Dude, I'll even go to your uncle Guido's pizza shop to get a pie. My feelings aren't hurt because someone from 'Jersey Poor" says the word "Nigger".", I said as the guy became enraged.
Ben just looked at him to calm him but wondered where I was going with this.
"Cracker, Honky, Whitey, whatever... White people don't care when Black people use these terms - they only get upset when the attack becomes more personal. When it attacks ones ethnicity. White people just say, 'So what, he/she is still just a Nigger' ", I said.
"I was just proving my point with you.", I said to the guy.
We talked 'race' more than we watched the games.
When I pointed out that many Blacks don't really hate whites - that most of them only resent them - this caused confusion from the entire table.
"Do you hate the fruit 'quince?" I asked the entire table.
"I don't even know what that is.", most said.
"Exactly.", I said, "Some might not like the looks of it and never try but form an opinion anyway. Others will recognize similarities to known fruits, try it and like it, dislike or be indifferent. Most Blacks who are racist haven't experienced enough whites to be otherwise - the same is true for most whites.", I continued.
"Minorities resent whites, fat women resent fit women, the poor resent the rich, people just resent people who they imagine as having it easier than themselves.", I concluded.
"Why are so many Blacks poor?", one guys asked.
" 'Culture' ", I said.
"Many Blacks say things like; "The white man won't let us have/do such and such." or "White people have all the money." or "White people hate us." or any other excuse.", I said.
"Many Blacks don't understand that they don't have to ask permission to be great. That mentality is one of the many vestiges of Segregation. But I'm from Cali. We didn't say, 'Give us free' - we've been free.", I continued.
"If it was only about race, your town (which is 99.99% white) would be filled with good-looking millionaire geniuses instead of people not smart enough to build a hurricane-resistant structure in a hurricane-prone area while having to do business from a double-wide.", I said.
"If it was only about race, poor white towns such as yours would not exist.". I concluded.
We talked more about 'race', then about sports, then about life.
These guys may never be friends but they will at least say, "Sup" next time they see each other when I'm not around.