Right now — smack dab — in the middle of this crazy social and consciousness shift, it can be quite perplexing to glance back at the past two-three decades and marvel at how we have developed and changed. Many of us were “passing” as white, straight, single, younger than we are, healthier and/or wealthier than we are … and some of us tried to “pass” or fit in as blacker than we are, more asian than we are, more jewish than we are etc. For a much longer period of time, women have tried “to pass” as men, and some male individuals have tried “to pass” as women. But now … we are still trying “to pass” — as Facebook and reality stars, fitness models, porn stars, persons who “only believe in science” (in spite of having little formal education, being barely on a sixth grade reading level, and not interested in knowing how research, science and statistics are constantly used to manipulate the public). And the worse part of it all is not dividing people into niggers and “white trash” vs. the privileged, but rather our continued despising “uppity niggers”, “in-yo-face fags” and “in-breeders”. All this in an age where the rich and famous as well as the poor are still bleaching and tanning their skin to look different and better, and where light-skinned persons of colour and darker-skinned persons of colour are still considered different within their own local cultures. Some of us still hear that we “are not black enough!” and “that we are too dark!” Go figure!
Let us just take a look back at a film from yesteryear:
SEE BLACK LIKE ME HERE!
We may live in “modern times”, but racism never seems to change.
Check out this article on modern-day racism: HERE!
In 2005 I published a controversial poem entitled “Modern Times and the Old Negro”. The poem was (and still is) controversial because it speaks to how easily we get used to the status quo and eventually see it as a comfort — despite it not being to our advantage.
Modern Times and the Old Negro
I remembers one hot ‘n dusty mornin’
on the road to Realism:
bus couldn’ ha’ been more ‘n nine miles
outside the Big City when the
air-conditionin’ gave out.
The upright, sunburn-wrinkled faces
’round me soon started a’meltin’
into sleepy country roads —
like the ones ya sees on bank calendars:
with clapboard corner stores a’boastin’
sales on ‘Freudian Slips’ an’ plastic posies.
Yeah, ah jus’ knowed ah be headed straight fo’
Hell, so’s ah closed may eyes real tight
sayin’ “Praised be the Lawd!”
Feelin’ panicky that ah be most terribly lost,
ah was jus’ abouts to get off that bus,
when ah hears someone whisper “Nigger.”
Well chil’, ah gots mad fo’ a minute,
but then ah jus’ grinned like an
old fly in a new outhouse ’cause
suddenly ah know’d exactly where ah be.
— Adam Donaldson Powell, “Collected poems and stories”, 2005, Cyberwit publishing.
And to many, I am still “just a nigger”:
My own first memory of outright racism was when I was seven years of age and living in Madrid, Spain, and was called “negrito” in a taunting manner.
I had many racist experiences in the USA … at work, on the streets, at school and sexually, but I have also had several as an adult here in Norway. One sexual partner saw a photo of me as a child and commented: “Here you really look like a ‘nigger!’.”
Another time at the train station a young white boy ran after me screaming “hey nigger!” it turned out that he did not know how to properly address an unknown black man.
And yet another time an elderly white man leaned over to me on a bus in Oslo and asked me what I was reading:
“What are you reading … ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin?!!” he taunted. (I was reading Ibsen, in Norwegian in fact).
I am generally rather passively-indignant at such racist and stupid behaviour, but I must admit that I have often thought to say: “I am not a nigger, but I do have a different skin colour and social intelligence than you have. When I become a ‘nigger’ I will let you know … and I doubt that you will find that comfortable to experience.”
READ ABOUT “THE TWINS” HERE!