One White Guy: Alone on Juneteenth

I am a white guy. Want some proof? Google me. I’m one of a handful of people in the world that has gone viral for being white. In my case, I was a MEME against the backdrop of white-people-led gentrification in Detroit, Michigan: circa 2013. According to my Mother, it was because I am so handsome, but I digress; even if she never will.

I grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a majority-black-resident city, and I moved in my late 20’s to Detroit. Everybody reading this knows Detroit is a black city because they’ve been there? Or more likely because the media likes to blame the sheer half-century absence of the National Democratic Party in cities of color: on the false construct of black people being incapable, social and governmental leaders. Why show up and help out if black people are never going to vote for a Republican, right?

I could insert here all number of tropes: I grew up around black people. I have black friends. Many of my black friends say that I’m the coolest white guy they know. All of these things are true (HUM-BLE-BRAG) and equally cringe-worthy when you overhear any person on non-color say it in line at the grocery store.

Having validated my proverbial : On this day, Juneteenth, the newest in a long line of holidays’ hastily unveiled to placate groups of people (black lives matter boulevard is coming any day now), let us maybe sit back with a holiday drink and think about:

This date, now interred forever in American history books and dollar-store desktop calendars, is, in fact, a reference to the day that the last African slaves in the deep South became aware that the Civil War was officially over and the Emancipation Proclamation was in effect.

Think about that: As a function of government, the newest of the old guard has decided to give everyone a day off, thus effectively celebrating the very last slave to get the news.

In my mind, on this new holiday and at this time in our society, this sparks a juxtaposition that I just can’t get to stop banging against the inside of my forehead. It’s either an alarming differential from a neurosurgeon or the overwhelming need to write this blog post.

Black Americans have long since known they are getting fucked. And they know that this holiday classification is an abortion of any legitimate civil rights bill.

People of color have a sixth sense for spotting a public relations stunt. Here, for me, clearly, this is a non-confrontational attempt by the Biden-folk, designed to allow certain (white) people to pat themselves on their own back. A clumsy attempt at creating a bigger tent. They see people, white people, black people, all United Colors of Benetton, even you, signing up to take part in some millennial version of We Are The World. Trust me when I tell you, I have been in these rooms and this is what is in most of their thirty-second commercial minds. It satisfies their brain chemistry as they scroll through their Instagram and see a stream of black-joy that they can now share as social gestures, like their bumper sticker for saving the whales, because, they are WOKE, or whatever.

Corporate ad supported, cutural theft of BLACK JOY that was going to happen today, regardless.

Meanwhile, white people, more specifically, white-people-without-access-to-decent-public-education-and-who-also-vote; continue to take it in the teeth in the most hilariously earnest ways. They, or the ‘Deplorables’ as Hillary Clinton so obnoxiously and ruinously referred to the 70-ish Million Trump supporters, are equally paddle-less, going down shits-creek, yet, they remain mostly and tragically unaware.

While it is fun to poke fun at memes and other stereotypes that make us laugh in such guttural ways, I would present myself to pose this question:

What would happen if white people knew what black people know? That the space between them is a consequence of predetermined tactics; war tactics, that go back to Roman times and before. If you cannot defeat the enemy (the general population)as a whole; incite war between them. Distance them based on their apparent differences.

Do not, whatever you do, let them break bread.

I will leave you with the same question I’m asking myself as I am writing this on my own rainy Juneteenth; which is not mine at all, and that’s the larger point; but, please let us sink into our collective humanity and ask ourselves what would happen if we could, regardless of color, call bullshit on those whom seek to predict our vote and do worse, much, much worse. What if we could all just get along, get behind the same understanding that black people in America have known for centuries:

The powers that be are perfectly okay with peddling the narrative of black people being: pick your sterotype. This week on XYZ, a show about, crime, rapper-thugs, black-athletes-white-wives, And the news media? The news media, on the whole would have you believe that every black person is a bumbling idiot standing outside a neighbors’ house fire, somewhere, in some distant housing project, named for some, formerly alive, powerful-for-a-time, white-person.

Meanwhile, white people, particularly those of middle and low income, are getting incrementally fucked over by the same people. I believe it would be more blatant in our countries’ narrative and nostaligia-porn, if it didn’t raise so much day to day suspicion among the white tribe. They wouldn’t collectively stand for that kind of talking-down-to.

Does righteousness have a skin tone?

I suppose what I am asking is: what is the worst that could happen if we all came together? And is there anything more lonely than a lie?

JML

protests + propaganda