lastcivilizedwoman

on being afraid and the end of white privilege

July 5, 2014
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Most black people I’ve met here in STL are afraid. Living here makes black people afraid to live, to learn, to be good to each other or to leave. I’m not afraid and that makes me suspect and feared. I am suspect because I am not susceptible to the spirit-numbing, soul-robbing, mind-game-playing, gaslight tactics people do to each other here in the state of Missouri.

Two different jobs, I had supervisors tell me I should go work someplace else. One of them actually got me fired from my job because he couldn’t obfuscate me into being someone I didn’t want to be. The other one, instead of talking to me like an adult, kept threatening to write me up, insisting that I didn’t belong on “her” team. She ultimately had to give me a review (written by someone else) that probably made her want to gag, because I didn’t do what she was trying to mind-fuck me into doing. The only reason I’m still at my job is because I was able to transfer away before she was able to come up with a trumped-up cause to fire me.

But, back to my task at hand: black people I have met here and became friends with have all said the same thing, “they are afraid to go anywhere that they don’t already know someone.” They worry that if they don’t know someone in a different city, they run the risk of being hurt, robbed or worse. For some reason, these folks here believe the rest of the world “is out to get them” if they venture past the borders of the state of Missouri.

I stopped being friends with two women because they were afraid. I invited both of them to celebrate birthdays in Las Vegas and both of them wanted to know why I wanted to leave STL to have a birthday party. Neither of them wanted to leave the city because they were afraid.

It took me a while to figure out what was really going on.

I’m not from STL, so I’m not susceptible to the fearfulness that has been fed black folks here from the cradle to the grave. It’s why the city school system is unaccredited and why at least four generations of blacks (and some whites) here are ill-spoken, illiterate. humiliated and afraid, even the ones who consider themselves middle and upper-class. There are several generations of black folks who are cut-out, left-out, shut-out, locked-out, locked up and put-out. The young people, as in every revolutionary generation, have risen up and are demanding an end to the status quo of “white privilege”.

STL Blacks carry on with a lot of uncle tom, handkerchief-head, shuck and jive performing and will turn on each other in a heartbeat, especially if they think it will curry favor with the folks they think are running things here. They don’t think for themselves because they believe doing so will get them in trouble. Every question begins with “what would the white folks do?” Blacks here won’t think for themselves and they can’t take care of each other because of this.

It may have taken the Michael Brown shooting in August to start the STL revolution. It is now the beginning of the end of “white privilege” with the several shootings of black men in the last 2.5 months. Unfortunately, it also means that innocents will be victimized until the situation is changed.

None of the people I deal with, including my closest friend, have a clue on how to present themselves as equals. The one thing I’ve noticed is that white people here, if they can’t get you to defer to, obey them or step aside, they will either ignore what you say and do or they will do everything they can to ostracize you or even race you up the sidewalk to get in the front door of the closest grocery store first. None of them know how to talk to or behave with a black person who is well- or better-educated and speaks good English. Their belief system is that we are dirty, stupid animals and incapable of behaving in a civilized manner and uplift ourselves from a state of poverty and ignorance.

It is really great that Reverend Al, Brother Jesse, Martin Jr, Father Dick and Dr. Cornell have come to town to help folks stand up for themselves. Even though they are on the right track with the non-violent pop-up protests, none of them have come up with the right speech or the right phrase to set this town on proverbial “fire”! None of them have seen what is really going on in STL!!

From my point of view, it appears that all of the police departments in the metro area have signed on to maintain the current culture of “white privilege.” A culture that is designed to keep people of colour “in their place” and maintaining a way of life where non-whites aren’t allowed to fully participate in the economic and educational riches of this region. Blacks and whites here don’t like each other, because both groups have been fed with mother’s milk not to like or to talk to each other in any meaningful way.

“White privilege” is so well entrenched in the MO culture that no one seems to realize this is the crux of the unrest. It is the reason that so much misinformation in the Michael Brown case has been released, which is designed to discredit the current protests and demands being made. This is also the reason for the violence-prone “renegade demonstrations” that pop up from time to time at high-visibility venues like the Dome, Busch and SLU.

The entrenched “privilege” regime is afraid and trying to wait until the depths of winter, to release the non-indictment of officer Darren Wilson, hoping it will postpone a riot such as the ones in LA in the early-90s with the Rodney King police beating verdict.

It’s more like “Forsyth Stays White!”, the cry that was heard in late 1987 in Georgia. There is a concerted effort to keep the white privilege power base in STL metro intact, but without the overt racism that got Cumming, GA in so much trouble.

Blacks and whites here see each other as the “enemy”, not as someone to share economic wealth, educational opportunities, governmental and political equality with.

It is time for an end to “white privilege” in metro STL…

 

 

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black history redux!

March 3, 2014
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back o my headMany thanks to Shukree Hassan Tilghman, a 29-year-old African-American filmmaker, who goes on a cross-country campaign to end Black History Month, for inspiring me to go on this journey with him. http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/more-than-a-month/

follow this blog,  (or until I get bored), you will see stories and information, past and present, pertaining solely to black people and their many accomplishments and contributions to modern society.

Nate Robinson is not the first non-tall professional basketball player to win a slam-dunk contest. It is Spud Webb, who played for the Atlanta Hawks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spud_Webb

Ralph Ellison wrote a scathing novel “Invisible Man” in 1952. http://www.biography.com/people/ralph-ellison-9286702 that, while not “21st century” material, it speaks much about the current condition of black men in STL.

bell hooks, born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, wrote “Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism“. In a class with Angela Davis, I consider bell to be a premier black feminist writer with an honest opinion about black women and feminism, which, in my opinion has not been thoroughly visited by black women, especially here in STL. Unfortunately, there are still human beings who believe their only value is in how many babies they can make, how much money they can get for making babies and which man they can trick into marrying them for said babies and the “lifestyle” improvement that comes with making said babies for said man married to him or not.

and then there’s the STL homeless situationhttp://www.stlmag.com/St-Louis-Magazine/January-2014/No-shelter/, an article on the perspective of one man fighting a fight that may not be winnable, simply because these people are either too beaten down or too lazy to do or be otherwise. the problem may, in itself, be self-perpetuating also because of one man.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octavia_E._Butler — this country’s first black female science fiction writer. all who follow, stand in her shadow.

 


thought for the day

January 18, 2014
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shut up! sometimes the best way to be heard is to stop talking.


double nickels and a full moon

January 15, 2014
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buttery moon 2014this evening, I watched a bright, butter yellow moon rise slowly over the tree tops while sitting on the train home this evening. I counted myself very fortunate to be able to sit still for 35 minutes and experience the phenomenon of that moon. I’ve seen that moon before, but never quite the way I saw it tonight.

at first I wasn’t sure what it was, it looked like something was on fire, because the top of it was barely seen through the tree-tops and it took 5 minutes to reveal itself  that bright, butter yellow orb that took its’ sweet time to appear in the distance.

i could blink and miss some aspect of that rising moon, so much so that it seemed as if the moon was frog- leaping into the sky should I look away.

i’m glad i got to see that moon rise. i count is a blessing and a privilege that i could sit still long enough to enjoy and appreciate it.

such a simple pleasure in this fast-paced world where everyone seems to be looking down (phone/ipad/laptop/notebook) at something in their laps these days.

i hope to see many more.

55mphfor the uninformed, double nickels means 55, which the age i will be in the spring. to me, this number is just as momentous as age 40 or 50 for that matter. it means that i am 5 years away from being 60 and that much closer to a retirement that i am not prepared for, neither emotionally nor fiscally. i, like many others, unfortunately dropped a lot of money into the stock market, relying solely on this as the way to secure my retirement future. bad idea. two years before i turned 50, half of the money i had saved was gone in the nuclear blast that was the housing market debacle. sucked away into a black hole.

sadly, this did not come to pass. to add insult to injury, two years after i turned 50, i was fired from my job. no severance, no golden parachute, nothing. i then made the mistake of assuming that my skills would put me back into the job market within a couple of months and ran around having some fun. it actually took 18 months and by that time, i had lived through the remaining money from my 401k. so much for the plans of worms and women.

i count myself foolish for believing the lie that the stock market would be the means towards my independence and comfort in my dotage.

i’m still grateful for having seen that moon.


Burns hot and fast

March 10, 2013
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movies and TV teaches us how to have grand passions and lofty goals and massive dreams and flaming love. TV doesn’t show us how to just be ourselves with each other and relax in our own skins. It doesn’t allow us to be comfortable with each other and let passion be a simmer and not a roar. It teaches that love is an all-consuming inferno, burns hard and fast and then dies of boredom, instead of letting it take us on journeys of discovery of life together.

Even some of the books we read don’t teach moderation; of how to spend a quiet time, not gazing soulfully into each other’s eyes, but just letting the silence between envelope, caress and bind us, not in chaos and drama, but in soft, quiet joy and small conversations. We’re afraid to relax, because everything around us tells us we must go go go! It tells us to demand, not ask or counsel; to require, not negotiate. We don’t counsel; we criticize or correct. We cajole instead of caress.

Men and women spend their entire lives chasing each other around, not wanting to ‘die alone’, which is a dumb concept. No one can “die” with someone, even if they kill themselves at the same time. We die in our own skin, if we are lucky, surrounded by people who want our passing to be peaceful and joyous, in the midst of “leaving this world”.

We don’t tell each other our secrets and desires, we tell each other stories, not about the real us, but what we think the other person wants to hear.

If you are looking for a life partner, that person should be someone who wants to HELP. It is not someone who tells you you’re supposed to take care of them. Your life partner should be someone who wants to work with you to achieve your separate and common goals and dreams. You don’t grow apart, you always grow together and support each other through bad and good times.

It’s not about how much money and things you can give to keep that person with you or what you can get from someone because you’re too lazy to stand on your own two feet.

Be your own person and bring your best to your relationships and expect the other person to do the same.


STL — some catching up to do

March 10, 2013
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St. Louis is a Mecca for every racist known to man. They come here from different cities and countries and no matter how enlightened one may be, everyone who comes here will believe that a black person is inferior just because of the color of their skin.

Never mind that if you are a black person who is well educated, literate and articulate, at some point in your career in this city, you will be forced to endure treatment as a second-class citizen.

You’ll be disrespected by Caucasians, Native Americans, east Asians, regular Asians,  Polish, Irish, Italians and anyone else who comes to or lives in STL. There’s also a good possibility that someone Black will do the same thing.

They all come here or were born here and they all eventually absorb the erroneous assumption that a black person is inferior.

They use a word like “arrogant” in place of the N-word in order to denigrate and insult.

In the workplace, the racists hide and pretend to follow “company policy” to treat each other with respect and courtesy, but at some point, the prejudice comes oozing out, usually in the form of one of these folks trying to put the black person “in his or her place”.

It shows up in the form of constant criticism about performance, belittlement of one’s talent and skill, a constant questioning of ability and most of all, being ignored whenever a suggestion is made to do something better or in a different way.

You cannot attempt to keep an entire group of people face down in the dirt and expect a city to prosper.

Atlanta, GA learned that lesson a long time ago. It calls itself “the city that’s too busy to hate.”

St. Louis has a lot of catching up to do. They have forgotten to invite everyone to the table.


Quentin Tarantino: A Little Hero Worship

December 26, 2012
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I would like to engage in a little hero-worship.

I would like to meet Quentin Tarantino.

I would like to hang around the streets of L.A., approaching starvation, just for a chance to met him in person.

And trust me, I don’t hero-worship anyone. It is not in my nature, I don’t care how cute you are or how great a jock you were in high school.

I would like to meet the man who finally confirmed what slavery was really like in my imagination.

I can’t imagine how in the world this man came up with the story I saw on the screen on Christmas day.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/moviesnow/la-et-mn-django-unchained-quentin-tarantino-funniest-scene-20121226,0,5034993.story

http://www.riverfronttimes.com/2012-12-27/film/quentin-tarantino-karina-longworth-interview-making-django-unchained/3/

I don’t actually care that he’s a white guy. I do care that he was brave (or rich) enough to make just such a movie, tomato-throwers be damned.

Academy award for Best Director! I’m putting my vote in now! It would take that caliber of director to get actors to play the roles they were playing.

There had to be some psychic trauma for Jamie in the scenes where he was chained, gagged, hung upside down, naked (what a bod!).

There had to be some psychic trauma for all of the actors to play their assigned roles.

I was just sitting watching the movie, and the person in my head (that no one sees) was weeping and (yes) howling looking at the trauma these humans put each other through.

But you know what, I’d still like to meet the man who could have a pair big enough to put this magnificent piece of art up on the screen.

So, Quentin, if you’re ever in STL, look me up.

I get out to LA before I’m dead, I’ll be standing on a corner in Westwood Village or over by the Kodak Theater, looking for you to shake your hand…


an olympic moment

July 28, 2012
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_symbols#Olympic_rings Really Lolo? You’re in London at the frigging Olympics, on the greatest adventure of your young life and all you can think about is some dick and a having a wedding? Really?! I wish I was in your shoes, a lawfully wedded penis wouldn’t do me a damn bit of good standing out there on the ultimate world stage. Get a grip, girlfriend!!


up to no good

June 18, 2012
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Some people are made of plastic,
You know some people are made of wood.
Some people have hearts of stone,
Some people are up to no good.

Some people are made of lies
To bring you down
And shame your name.

Life is about making choices. Some choices we make are actually good for us, even though at the time we make them, it may not seem like it. Later down the road, we look back and realize even though that certain choice hurt, it may very well have been the catalyst to a better life, a better environment, a better happiness.

My topic is the choices we make when we choose a life mate, best friend, our keeper of secrets, etc.

Think of it this way, if you choose someone because they look good next to you, not because of how they treat you, care for you, or help you when your back is up against the wall, then you’re probably going to get an ass-kicking you deserve from that very person.

If you choose someone because of how they look, that really makes you shallow. The best thing you could ever do for yourself is find out how that person will behave with you when you are sick, broke, unemployed, depressed, or just plain down on your ass. Do they come by and just sit and talk with you, while watching TV? Do they offer to do something nice for you just because? Will they pick up the phone at random and just ask you how you are doing? Think about it this way, if you were out of a job, would they still be there, encouraging you to keep on keeping on?

Oh, it’s all fun and games while every body’s flush and pockets are bulging, we can spend money and lavish gifts with the best of them. But what about when your pockets are empty and you’re barely making it from one paycheck to the next? Is it all of a sudden, you can’t get them on the phone, or, you call them up because you’ve found something free and fun to do on Wednesday afternoon, they’re no where to be found? What about that time you had this great movie you rented for $1 and you invited them over to watch it with some popcorn and Kool-Aid and they told you they were going to a happy hour and then next thing you know, they’re back in your face, regaling you with stories of how fine the bartender was that night (didn’t dawn on them that maybe you’d like to have gone too)?

You know that old saying “looks can be deceiving” is a true statement on the state of human relations in the 21st century. You pick someone because they look good and you wind up with someone who’s more trouble than they’re worth. Narcissistic, selfish, mean-spirited, stingy, inconsiderate—but boy are they CUTE! Bullshit!

So does this mean you’ll date someone because they look good, or has a big penis, or tiny vagina, or “good” hair or blue eyes or hazel eyes or tall or muscular, and treat you like shit?

Or would you take the time to get to know someone, that someone who just might turn out to the best thing for you since sliced bread? Especially when it comes down to how you treat each other? Respecting one another’s opinion, allowing that person to be themselves, warts and all? Seeking constantly to find things you can share with each other? Finding out what makes the other person happy and doing that just because you know it makes that person happy? Or better yet, knowing when to shut up and just let them be?

One thing I’ve discovered, when we are young, we want to be right all the time, no matter the consequences. Well I’m here to tell you, knock that shit off! If you are lucky enough to make it out of your forties and you’ve been paying attention, you’ll discover it’s not important to be right all the time. What you start looking for is some mutual respect among your peers, friends and lovers and if you don’t find it, within a certain period of time, then you will move on. It’s not necessary to be right, it is, however, necessary to be treated well, especially when you look back at where you’ve been and what you put up with when your biological clocks were running and your body was following along willingly.

Try it this way, apply these principles at 20, not at 40 and the right person may turn up on your doorstep sooner than you think.

I keeping remembering being a little girl and reading those stupid fairy tales and watching those even dumber romance movies, where boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl in the end (barf time`) and there are thousands of women just like me who grew up with that shit and still believe it to this day! There ain’t no such thing as a happy ending in a fairytale. Women aren’t taught how to stand on their own two feet and be self-sufficient, we all grow up believing some guy is going to come along making 6-figures, buy us a 2-story house, a BMW, give us 2.5 children, put them through college, take a vacation in Europe every other year and then oblige us by dropping dead with the house paid off, the kids out of college and a million dollars in the bank, free and clear.

That’s a lot of burden to put on one human being. Why weren’t we taught to be self-sufficient, put our own money in the bank and buy our own BMW, 2-story house and skip the babies all together? Or better yet, help the man with getting all this stuff?!?!? What’s wrong with sharing the burdens and working toward the goals together???

But baby, I’m for real
I’m as real as real can get

If what you’re looking for
Is real loving
Then what you see
Is what you get!

(If you haven’t heard these song lyrics before, check out a 70s group called “The Dramatics”) on YOUTUBE  OR copy and paste in your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GG-hD81o6Rs (no copyright infringement intended).


Remake the World

May 13, 2012
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I’d like to remake the world in to, not my image, but a place where people are more civil to one another. A place where work is work and home is home, and neither are ever put together, not even when out doing happy hours or meetings with co-workers.

The place that I live in is a place where people spurt bullshit about diversity and that’s all it is, bullshit. They have some kind of “vision” where everybody looks, talks, acts and dresses alike. They go on TV and put models up, saying look at us, we’re diverse and you walk through the front door and it’s a herd of cattle, munching on the same tired grass.

We live in a world where civility has taken a back seat to expediency, fair play has degenerated into back stabbing and saying excuse me, please and thank you has given way to pushing, shoving and silence.

I’d like to return to a time when individuality was valued and everyone didn’t walk around wearing khaki pants and polo shirts, unless it was a uniform of some kind. I’d like to return to a time when you could go on an interview and answer questions in your own voice; not the voice that’s running around in the head of some HR people these days who think their “vision” of a perfect department is an entire group of zombie employees who think, talk, act and look alike.

When you have a group of people in a room who are of the same mindset, what you have is a stagnant pool, which does nothing innovative, creative or original. You are only maintaining the status quo and in the world where I come from, you don’t last very long if you don’t think for yourself and keep working on being better, stronger, faster.  Most likely, that’s how Hitler came to power; people stopped thinking for themselves and let some megalomaniac do their thinking for them. God help us all if this is the future.

We keep driving cars that pollute the air, we keep buying groceries that are so over-priced, no one can afford to eat healthy anymore. Doctors don’t spend time talking with their patients and if you’re ethnic, they assume that you’re sick because you’re too lazy to go out and exercise.  Laziness doesn’t enter the picture because most minorities are busy living from one paycheck to the next, there’s no time to eat healthy or exercise. Those who want to work, usually work 2 or 3 part-time jobs because that’s all they can get. There are no more jobs that pay a decent living wage and those that do, they come up with some shite about “you need a college degree”. Yeah, right. There was a time when experience counted for something.

We put politicians in office who kowtow to big companies because they’re the ones with the money and we all know that money talks and the people get screwed, which is why JP Morgan is still throwing good money after bad and people like me lose half their life savings and nobody bothers to get it back for us. But our politicians keep bailing out these companies because they want the money that their PACs give them. All they are doing is passing money back and forth. PACs give the politicians money to look the other way while they rip off the voters and the politicians give the PACs’ companies money because nobody’s minding the store and stopping the corporate welfare system that’s currently in place. This is probably why welfare and public housing has been done away with. Big companies want the money that would be going to help poor people.


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