Dark Continent

Dark continent: (n) reference to Africa

Although it’s never really organized, there is a definite attempt to rally for the victim—or make numerous excuses for the bully.

Both positions suffer from a weakness.

The bully and all his advocates appear defensive.

And the victim, trying to come across sympathetic, is often anemic—maybe even a little suspect.

Maintaining the insanity of racism requires a verbose bully and a wounded victim.

And may I say, as long as this profile is bolstered, the roles continue—bully and victim.

For perhaps two hundred years, Africa was referred to as the “Dark Continent.”

It was a conversational way of allowing the ignorance of our society, permitting them a tenuous explanation for egregious actions.

After all, the word “Dark” is simply a more clinical phrasing of “black.”

And adding “Continent” clarified that it was not part of Western expansion by the European explorers.

Merely consider how the slave traders were comforted, easing their conscience concerning stealing human beings by gently reminding one and all that these pieces of property had been poached from a Dark Continent.

Hell, they might even have done them a favor—escaping the treachery of their own surroundings.

We must remember that racism never really goes away.

It just changes its lingo and softens its rationalization.

 

Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia (Prop Noun): a former republic in central Europe formed after World War I

It was usually right before lunch in our fifth-grade class that the teacher asked us to open up our geography books.

I grew up in a small town.

In our tiny burg, the state capital, which was only twenty miles away, seemed a world apart from us in culture, problems and of course, interaction.

So when my teacher talked about places like Mississippi, Switzerland, Utah and Czechoslovakia, the names began to mingle. The relevance gradually disappeared.

I didn’t know anything about the countries.

Sometimes I confused the states of the Union with places far, far away—in Europe and Asia.

(It was a different time, filled with much prejudice—so we rarely talked about Africa. I knew there were jungles there. There were whisperings about cannibals, and my understanding of the lion was that it was man-eating.)

I didn’t feel ignorant.

I just didn’t think all of these nations and names and locales were of any value to me.

I didn’t see anybody from England coming over to try to understand me—so why was I sitting, opening a book, looking at flat maps representing a round world?

Then I grew up and took my first trip to Mississippi. Although some of its landscape was different from my home, most trees carry a family resemblance, no matter where you go. What opened up Mississippi to me was meeting someone and putting a face to a place.

As I traveled more, learned more, wrote more and created, I met more faces. They were tied to places.

One day I received an email from a young man from Czechoslovakia. He had read one of my books. I was astounded. How did it get there? Apparently, my books were not nearly as timid as I. They felt free to journey and be handled; they welcomed the inspection by people from all cultures.

By the way, his note to me was so nice.

He was so intelligent.

He was so appreciative.

It made me like Czechoslovakia.

It could be a short-sighted way of looking at life, but if I can put a face to a place, then the place begins to mean so much more to me.

For instance, I no longer think that Africa is filled with cannibals or that the lions wish to munch on human flesh.

I don’t think all people from California are “fruits and nuts,” like my Uncle Raymond claimed.

And I no longer believe that all French folk wear berets and do nothing but eat croissants and kiss with their tongues.

I guess the best way to learn geography is to first travel the width and breadth of your own heart, and make sure that you’re prepared to receive what you will discover.

The world is only twenty-six thousand miles—all the way around. Not very much. And within that twenty-six thousand miles are nearly eight billion people.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful for us all to believe that we would really like most of them?

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cuisine

Cuisine: (n) a style or quality of cooking

The things that tickle me might make one believe that I’m a cynic (if you didn’t know how adorable I am).

I can barely contain myself from laughing out loud when people pronounce the word “cuisine,” putting as much French pastry in their accent as possible.

“Cuisine” is all part of this notion that people on Earth are different from one another because of their preferences. Actually, it seems we are still trying to divide one another up like a box of Crayolas, by color. Oh, people throw a fit when they hear me say that. We all want to believe we’re enlightened and free of prejudice.

But let me tell you something very simple about cuisine:

All the people of the Earth, in their diet, have a bread, a potato-like substance, and a meat.

How they make their bread or what their potato looks like or what meat they may choose depends on what’s available.

I could travel all over the world and have no problem at all.

I would just ask, “So what is your bread, what is your potato and what is your meat?”

I think cuisine becomes interesting due to the fact that we can appreciate how each human being (who is so much like us) chooses his or her way to fill their plate.

Honestly, there are a few exceptions, but most cultures are not that fond of green, leafy vegetables, and even eat fruit only on special occasions.

Certainly if they eat more of these fruits and vegetables, they’re healthier, but that doesn’t stop the Arab, the Israeli or the Russian from favoring their particular cholesterol-filled animal flesh.

In addition, every cuisine has its version of a sweet sauce, a barbecue sauce, a catsup and a mustard.

Check it out. You’ll find it hilarious.

So if you ever find yourself going to a restaurant where they’re serving the cuisine of Africa, just take a moment and taste some things.

Pretty soon you will find on your plate their interpretation of French fries, a roll with butter and a hamburger.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cryptic

Cryptic: (adj) mysterious in meaning; puzzling; ambiguous

Some examples of cryptic thoughts.

It certainly was fortunate that there were ignorant black people in Africa so that American slavery could prosper.

President Trump would be a fabulous leader if he knew where he was going.

It is ironic that the Jews would consider it anti-Semitic to be blamed for the crucifixion of Jesus, even though their Council cast the votes.

Men and women are equally talented and intelligent—and there the equality ceases.

I shot an arrow into the air and I sure as hell hope it didn’t kill anybody.

I am happiest when I know some people are sad because there seems to be a limited amount of happiness.

The best Republican President acted like he was a Democrat.

The best Democrat President was probably a secret Republican.

People don’t seem to be able to just enjoy sex without thinking they are the best at it.

The more we envy others, the less the chance of ever possessing what they have.

Religion is about as close to God as politics is to freedom.

You can always tell when a nation is failing—it attacks its poets.

I blame myself for trusting you to have the intelligence to make the decision that has now ruined us both.

These are some examples of cryptic statements.

Such talk is fun.

Such talk is clever.

Such talk can start wars.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C



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Cotton

Cotton: (n) a plant with soft, white, downy hairs

It’s not cotton’s fault.

Cotton is not to blame.

But honestly, I can’t hear the word “cotton” without thinking about slavery.

I know—I’m weird.

It doesn’t keep me from wearing a cotton t-shirt or cotton socks. But cotton was a crop that was so difficult to pick, and grew in such a hot climate, that a funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
bunch of white people who couldn’t withstand the process, decided to abandon their entire moral code and respect for humanity and bring in black folks from Africa, convincing themselves that these souls were little more than apes—so that the damn stuff could be gathered and turned into a profit.

The world wanted cotton and the South didn’t want to pick it. So rather than finding a better way to do it or creating a living wage for those unemployed white Southerners who might be willing to consider pursuing the occupation, it seemed logical in the minds of those from that era to enslave a race of people to promote a crop.

Black people picking cotton.

The activity was the origin the racist statement, “You must be out of your cotton-pickin’ mind.”

That would have been considered a double insult: first, that you were relegated to picking cotton, and second, that you were as hapless as they insisted Africans were.

Even in the South today, when driving along, seeing these strange fields full of the white blooms, it crosses my mind: who’s picking this stuff now?

And then, to my horror, I drive a little piece up the road and see black brothers and sisters wearing loose-fitting clothes and head scarves, still plucking the crop from the field. Even though they now receive a wage for doing so, the sight is almost too frightening to perceive.

Like it or not, certain things become tainted.

I’ll never be able to see an old movie that shows the Twin Towers of New York in the background without tearing up.

I’ll never be able to view a Confederate flag without remembering the arrogance and ignorance that punished a race of people and imprisoned them into forced labor.

And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at a cotton field without being reminded of the atrocity that was brought about in our country by white people picking a white crop to undergird their white privilege while subjugating black hands to do so.


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Continent

Continent: (n) one of the main landmasses of the globe, usually reckoned as seven in number

It is 25,000 miles around the Earth.

I suppose if you are accustomed to driving four blocks to the grocery store that number seems outrageously large. But when you’re thinking about a home space for nearly eight billion people, that 25,000-mile number suddenly appears limited, if not confining.

Living space within that circumference is seven continents, if you’re willing to let Antarctica slip-slide its way in. Since even polar bears and funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
penguins are reluctant to occupy that particular Southern apartment, we’re down to six living areas.

It’s not that much.

It becomes almost comical, and then, if pursued too far, dangerous to eyeball one another as foreigners when we are such closely knit next-door-neighbors.

For instance, Africa can be considered a continent, a home for black people, or one of the six pieces of turf available. Perhaps this is why we’ve become so turfy.

There’s Europe and Asia, which have little evidence of a boundary, but continue as one whopping, huge space, peppered with cultures, when really, we’re all intended to just be the salt of the Earth.

South America is also filled with Americans, even though North America, and especially the United States, insists on claiming the title.

Australia, a country, boasts being a continent, and because they are so willing to share their “shrimp on the barbie,” we see no reason to argue with the congenial folk.

We are all within 25,000 miles of one another—when it’s 238,900 miles to the moon and ninety million to the sun.

And that is all within our solar system—when we exist in a universe that scoffs at being considered a mere billion galaxies.

Perspective.

Since the water is winning the war for Earth, as land becomes a little less every year, maybe it’s time for us to work on “neighborly” instead of weapons.


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Complexion

Complexion: (n) the natural color, texture, and appearance of a person’s skin

Sometimes I want to laugh, and I’m told it’s not permissible. They connote it would be disrespectful or place me out of step with the times.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

But I find it very difficult to take one matter seriously–after tens of thousands of years of habitation on the Earth, human beings are still evaluating one another by complexion–and not only evaluating, but feeling the need to live out a personality, a lifestyle, and a culture because of the hue of their skin.

But on this, the liberals and conservatives agree: there are many different cultures with many different customs unique unto them, which are often initiated simply due to the color of skin.

So if you’re a black person you don’t just have a darker complexion–you also need to be in agreement with your ancestors, going all the way back to Africa, which many Americans who have black skin might not even be able to identify on a map.

And if you’re a rosy-cheeked person who has relatives who were once Vikings, you must surely have an affinity for hard work, brats and beer (while denying rape and pillaging.)

I’m a mess. Ends up that I do have a color to my complexion, but enjoy perks from all different cultures and styles.

When will the Earth be able to solve its problems?

When our thinking has a deeper tone than our complexion.

 

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