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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Badlands

Badlands: (n) extensive tracts of heavily eroded, irretrievable land with little vegetation often found in the Southwestern U.S.Dictionary B

As much as I believe that God is a person, during my journey here on Earth, I value Him mostly as a concept.

What I mean is that since I am living in an atmosphere which determines quality by results, I must look for mortal conclusions instead of insisting on eternal ones.

I’ve learned this from dealing with conservatives and liberals.

In both parties there are certain issues, regions or individuals they have deemed “bad”–dare I say, irretrievable?

So sitting in San Francisco, talking to some of my more liberal acquaintances, I will relate to them about my journeys into Mississippi and Alabama as they roll their eyes and wonder what I could possibly hope to achieve by peddling my thoughts to the ignoramus.

In like manner, I have conversed with my conservative friends in Georgia, who heard that I was heading to Southern California, as they told me they would pray for me, hoping I would be able to do something to enlighten those “fruits and nuts” in the Golden State.

The greatest danger in the human experience is accidentally trying to transform one group of humans to divinity while forcing the remnant to live with the apes.

  • There are no badlands–just regions with a lack of vision.
  • There are no good lands–just territory where they use their talents.
  • There are no chosen people–just folks.

We will finally reach a sense of true spirituality when we take a hint from our Creator and stop living our lives peering at the outward appearance, and instead, begin to ascertain what is possible in the heart.

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Apiary

dictionary with letter A

Apiary: (n.) a place where bees are kept.

This is really unfair.

I guarantee you, I will not remember this.

Am I the only person who thinks an apiary is a place where you should keep apes?

How am I supposed to remember that an apiary is where you keep bees? A word picture won’t even help me. My God, the horror of blending a monkey and a bee.

And even though I’ve seen people who tend to these little buzzing wonder-units, it does baffle me. Because they make honey but they will sting–so much so that if you don’t have that funny wire mask on, and the white suit that makes you look like the Marshmallow Man, you’re always in danger of them…well, getting a bee in your bonnet.

But then the shocking news came to me that bees were beginning to die off, and that if they continued this extinction, pollination could cease and therefore crops would not grow and we will eventually all starve.

God, I wish my pollination was so powerful.

So I really have mixed feelings about bees.

I know they’re important. I know they make something sweet in life. I also know they sting.

But I understand that if they do sting, word has it that it can be fatal to them. Maybe something God should have instilled in the human being–some sort of system whereby you get three mouthfuls of gossip and then your head falls off.

I am not the kind of writer who will close this off with some silly reference like, “Whatever bees will bees.”

I am well beyond that.

  • I am astute.
  • I am articulate.
  • And I have enough fear of the works of Shakespeare to avoid such trivialities.

Oh, what the hell.

Whatever bees will bees. 

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Anti-pope

dictionary with letter A

Antipope: (n) a person established as pope in opposition to the one perceived by others to have been canonically selected.

I am not afraid to listen to ideas or read opinions that are contrary to my personal likes or philosophy.

I am certainly not impartial as I read, but I try to comprehend what is offered to me in the composition and f out if there’s anything that can stimulate my brain to greater understanding.

Yet I have to tell you this–the article I read yesterday, which postured intellectually on the legitimacy of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, was basically the same old brick-and-mortar construction that has been put forth for years to undermine the notion, or maybe even the need, for a savior.

I guess all of us, when we’re entrenched in our attitudes (which certainly borderline on sin) are greatly displeased by the concept of repentance or anyone who would even embody such a ridiculous requirement.

But it doesn’t change the need of our species to be emotionally enlightened, spiritually cleansed, mentally rejuvenated and physically inputted to our healthier good.

I will go so far as to say that believing that Jesus of Nazareth lived is essential to our well-being as we continue to search for “jesus like” people in our own generation, to confirm the promise that we are neither as self-sufficient as we believe nor as depraved.

It’s why the Catholics have a pope. And he has a hat, which means he has a human head.

And if for some reason that pope decides to be a “company man” instead of a personal adjudicator for the masses, then we create an anti-pope.

We need human beings to confirm that we’re not just a group of apes with a mortgage.

Every time a society declines into the depths, attacking spirituality and ceasing to believe that a savior, a pope, an artist or a philosopher can arise from our midst to challenge us to better ideals, we end up in war, strife and succumbing to our latent bigotries.

So if the pope don’t work, we create an anti-pope. And if he don’t work, we look for another human in our generation who still believes in the ideals of a Nazarene named Jesus. Without this, we don’t become a secular society which is free of the intimidation of religion.

No, we become lonely travelers who believe that survival is more important than compassion.

 

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