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.

 

Daffy

Daffy: (adj) silly, weak-minded, crazy

Looney Tunes.

There were four or five years in my life when I lived for them.

As I look back now, I realize how intricately these cartoons were constructed—how much money was put into the music—and also how cruel they truly were.

Very recently, I’ve noticed that there was some hidden racism in the relationship between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

Daffy, black, was always trying to keep up with Bugs Bunny, though the rabbit seemed to have a charmed life and Daffy appeared to be born under the sign, “Please hit me.”

It made Daffy very angry.

So enraged was he that he plotted against Bugs—and the notorious bunny innocently looked on, as if he had no idea whatsoever why Daffy was so perturbed.

As a kid, I found myself rooting for the calm, easy-going “what’s up doc?”

On the other hand, I found the black duck to be inept, clumsy, arrogant and mean.

I’m sure that was not the goal of the cartoon makers.

But in an era when racism was rampant—not that different from today—the color distinction between the light gray and white Bugs and the black, almost Southern-talking Daffy, was pronounced, and dare I say, obvious.

On top of that, when you’re given a name like “Daffy,” it’s hard to overcome the profile in a five-and-a-half-minute cartoon.

So, oppressed by color, by the fact he was a duck, and that favoritism seemed to be given to the ever-extolled rabbit, Daffy found himself spending all his time frustrated, unable to get a life and be productive.

I’m always bewildered when someone is angry when another race complains about their status. They say:

“This is America, the land of opportunity–just go out and make a world for yourself.”

But as Daffy will tell you, sometimes that is difficult to do—when the Bunny is unmercifully “Bugs”-ing you.

 

Culture

Culture: (n) a particular form or stage of civilization

What if I don’t like your color?

I can’t really say that—it makes me look like a bigot. I can’t let you know that I’ve been raised so sheltered that the hue of your skin gives me the creeps. I associate your color with matters that are not desirable.

All I really want is for you to stay away from me.

I have noticed that insulting you doesn’t cause you to disperse. I can talk behind your back and make you feel uncomfortable, but there’s always a chance you will defiantly remain.

I can insist that you’re inferior, but then every once in a while, you do things to disprove my contention.

What if I just don’t want to change my opinion? If I’m open-minded, my brain might slip out of its casing and wiggle away.

What can I do to make sure you stay away from me, but at the same time not incur your wrath or revenge?

What will cause us to remain separate without making it seem like it’s social segregation?

I do not want to be condemned by the self-righteous souls who think they’re superior because they learned how to tolerate you.

I don’t hate you—I just don’t want you. Shouldn’t I be allowed to get what I want? I mean, America being free and all.

So me and my friends got together and came up with this great idea.

We’re going to pretend that you are different by establishing how unique you are—how outstanding your customs and the climate in your community.

We will admire your cooking without ever partaking.

We will compliment your music without downloading a single song.

We will ooh and ahh over your costuming as if it’s coming from a faraway land, humiliating our beige and brown.

We will explain that you have a way of doing things that’s simply marvelous—as we have a way of doing things that is equally proficient.

We won’t talk about things like racial prejudice or fear of mixing.

We’ll call it culture.

It sounds so…well, cultured.

In doing so, we establish that you have found your way of doing things and we have found our way of doing things and there is no reason for the two paths to cross or for us to talk you out of your preferences and abandon ours.

We have invented a new racism.

It’s friendly, seems educated and is flexible.

You have a culture.

We have a culture.

Now, if you’ll be so kind, take yours over there and we’ll keep ours right here.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crackhead

Crackhead: (n) a habitual user of cocaine in the form of crack.

Let me start off by saying that what I’m about to write on is not like I’ve invented the wheel. It has been a topic of conversation for some time.

But I do feel it is my duty to roll that wheel along.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

We are a society that despises outward evidence of bigotry while encouraging—and even in many cases, promoting—internal methods. We mainly propagate these misrepresentations through our art.

The Law & Order series on television will happily and continually distinguish between its affluent and impoverished characters by assessing wealth and position to the use of cocaine, and denigration and crime to the crackhead. But as the definition has already told you, both substances are derivations of the same poison.

But cocaine is a “phase” that rich people go through, while crack is evidence of urban blight and proof that the inner city is perniciously flawed—and therefore continually dangerous.

It is a racism that continues because we feel that if we don’t have some release for our fears of color and culture, we might just go back to wanting to lynch again. So we become party to socially acceptable principles that have no basis in anything but bigotry.

If you take crack, it affects your head. That’s why we insist you’re a “crackhead.” But there is no such thing as a “cocaine head,” or a cocaine user who is going to break into your house and steal your television to support his or her habit.

Bizarre.

You fight racism by noticing the little places it crops up, and confronting them as simply as possible. If you wait until racism is actually in your presence, it’s too late.

I remember when I was renting my first apartment and I discovered cockroaches, I hired an exterminator, and when some of the cockroaches were still hanging around two weeks later, I angrily called and asked him to come back and “do his extermination right.”

After spraying one more time, he patiently turned to me and said, “I am more than happy to spray your place, but I must ask you to do something on your part.”

He walked over and pointed out dirt on the counter and food that was laying out. He looked me in the eyes and said, “If you want the cockroaches to go, you’ve got to stop feeding them.”

I will tell you—likewise, if you want the cockroaches of racism to go, you’ve got to stop feeding them with your quick smirk, your nervous titter or your frightened silence.

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Contempt

Contempt: (n) the feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile, or worthless

I listened intently as the gentleman closed his argument by proffering, with a sneer on his lips, “Just because you’re swimming doesn’t mean you’re a fish.”

The point he was trying to make is that no white person could ever understand what it’s really like to be a black person.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

There was applause in the room when he spoke the words. I, on the other hand, sat quietly, seething in my soul, feeling nothing but contempt.

I have complete contempt for racism.

My contempt is also full for culturalism—the assertion that certain groups of humans react differently from others due to their location or skin color.

I have great contempt for ancestry.com, which propagates the idea that because my family members from the past were of a certain ilk or style, that this characteristic influences my decisions.

Anything that tries to break us down into a category other than “human” shall always receive my contempt.

I do not care if I am alone in this position—it doesn’t frighten me if people find my thinking to be insensitive to what they would refer to as “the natural divisions among people.”

It is wrong.

If God did not tell us what color Adam was or what preferences Eve had in salsa, I think the message is clear: The human race is, and evermore shall be, one family that just wants to squabble about who’s superior, so that they might receive better seating in the living room.

 

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Common Ground

Common ground: (n) a basis of mutual interest or agreement.

I do believe the quote is attributed to Sting, lead singer of “The Police.”

When explaining his tour into the Soviet Union, in one of his lyrics he offered the conclusion that “Russians love their children, too.”

It is so easy to sit on the precipice of destruction and discuss, like naughty brats, how much more our destructive weapons could kill your people than yours could destroy ours.

But in the long run, or in the short time it takes for a bomb to explode, people are dead–and most all of them look somewhat like us.

Anything that comes along to encourage the destruction of the planet, the deception of racism, the alienation of the genders or the false pride of a culture is the feeding frenzy for us pursuing the insanity of gobbling one another up in our social cannibalism.

Every single day, in every single way, in every single building where decisions are made about human life, three things have to be honored:

  1. Flesh may have color, but it is all basically the same.
  2. If people were created, they have one Father.
  3. We have not perfected a way to snatch life from death.

Slow down.

This is called common ground.

Everything else is just a silly argument among children about who can jump the highest, and who owns the shiniest bike.

 

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Coexist

Coexist: (v) to exist at the same time or in the same place

It’s stuck right there in the middle. I’m talking about the word “coexist.”

In the chain of understanding that links us together as human beings, coexist perches on the fifty-yard line.

When we don’t respect one another, we look at other humans as “occupying space.” They are occupiers. Therefore they can be bumped, shoved and pushed around to get out of our more important way.

On the other side of coexist is “include.” This is when we realize that our space on Earth is our space on Earth, and is linked equally to every other compartment.

But somewhere along the line, in order to move away from occupying, where we disdain the value of other souls–toward including, where we not only respect but also grant dignity to the lives of others–is this neutrality of coexist.

In other words: “You have every right to be here, just like me, whether I feel that way today or not.”

That’s coexist.

  • Coexist gets rid of racism.
  • Coexist removes hyper-culturalism.
  • Coexist also demands that we cease waving our flag, ignoring the patriotism of others.
  • Coexist is a journey we take, where we lose our ignorance on our way to kindness.

Let’s learn to coexist.

Maybe we won’t get any further than that–but it’s enough to keep us from killing each other each and every day.

 

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