Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Thief of Rage - The Thing About Race

When I was ten I wanted to be black. Not for any reason other than the greatest athlete alive was black. It didn't register with my juvenile mind as being something a white kid from Essex would never, could never achieve. Simply put I wanted to be Cassius Clay. Why not? He was handsome, brilliant, effervescent and so exciting to watch not just when boxing but when speaking too. He was lithe and eloquent, poetic even, attributes I so wished I had. If only he had been Liverpudlian to seal his perfection. No one had told me white boys can't become black. 

You see then, as now, colour meant nothing to me. If anything I found brown skin a delight. I had nurses in hospital who were black and, as debased, pervey as it may sound, I wanted to lick their arms, their faces, see the silver slick trickle of my saliva on their skin. That colour, that chocolate brown was vibrant, musical, sunshine in a grim grey London, alive with a gloss of something special. I had no comprehension, having never met with racists, what one was let alone why they were so unpleasant to someone patently different to them and conversely just the same

I liked that physical difference then as I do now. Do not trust those who say they don't see colour or racial differences, that those things we should celebrate are not as obvious as the nose on my face.They are and they are wonderful. Those people's declaration of not noticing our collective visual differences suggests they are either blind, mentally deficient or guilty of some deeper secret in much the same way men who trumpet their heterosexuality are hiding something. So too are those whose spurious claims not to see the broader nose of a black man, the almond shaped eyes of an oriental, the delicious lustre of an Asian woman's hair,  are trying a little too hard. Why are they so desperate to be seen as not racist?  Could it be those people are closet racists?

When someone asks me do I like black people, or any other race come to that, I say 'I don't know, I haven't met them all.' What a dumb ass question. Other races are precisely the same as each other in terms of how good or bad they are. Some good, some bad, some ugly, some gorgeous.  By not recognising the visual distinctions that exist between us how can we enjoy them? They are splendid. It's like being presented with a menu. Before you is a range of shades, of features, of shapes and of course colour. Embrace them, embrace our differences for they make us humans all the more special. They add variety and after all variety is the spice of life.

"Sir, which of these four females would you like to have sex with? The black girl, the oriental, the Asian or the Blonde European?" My answer would be, assuming the women in question were to my taste, "Ladies, hello, come on in and snuggle up."

When I hit thirteen I harboured a fancy for Diana Ross. It arrived with sudden urges unfamiliar to me at first down in the old undergarment area. I had for a long time hoped Diana would park her slippers 'neath my bed, slide her nightie under my pillow. Sadly, I had to make do with her photo. A poor substitute for the real thing. Similar too, but not quite the same as a 'Pictures of Lilly' scenario. Ahhh, but the passions we shared. If only Diana knew. Surely sex is a far more natural call that that of racism?

It was my grandmother who hurt me most on the subject of race. It was undoubtedly her that introduced me to so called white supremacy. I, growing up in a decade when love, peace, equality - class, racial and sexual - were the order of the day imagine how I felt when my Nana's reaction upon seeing Trevor MacDonald (a black, UK, newscaster) was to throw her hands in front of her face so she wouldn't have to look at a nigger on TV? I was beside my self with hurt, rage, disbelief. 'This is the sixties for Christ sake. We aren't like that any more.' They were then. They still are now. Less perhaps but one racist is one too many.

I have always been what others class as a stereotypical anti-racist. One who, long before DNA with its empirical wisdom came to save the day, used to claim there was only one race - the human race. It was a common thread among those like me to point this out much to the chagrin of white supremacist's, the Catholic Church and other twisted parties. Now I don't have to. Along with anthropology, biology and yes, DNA, we have solid proofs of our one race beginnings. You would then, still do as it happens, get those who argue the toss of a salad over there being several distinct types of race. The fact remains, as that anthropologist said some while back on the BBC, broadly speaking there are only two races on this planet - blacks and lesser blacks.

This undeniable fact does not suggest there are not sub-divisions. We know there are and we know what they are. I have already spoken of them. Thank goodness for our differences for they give variety to what would otherwise be a dull world.

Of course racism is just a form of bigotry. Bigotry is as unpleasant as its offspring. Knowing the difference is really a moot point but a man who hates Jews is not racist. Jews are not a race unto themselves. They are part of a sub-division of Asian, Arabic peoples. To be a Jew hater one is anti-semite. To hate the Irish one is not racist one is a bigot. 

There is nothing new in that argument. Nothing to be gained either by dignifying bigotry for being as wrong as racism. Both are warped. Both are unpleasant. Recognising the difference is not a simplistic view point but rather a simple and honest one. The solutions to racism are not so simple though.

Then there is xenophobia. Some political parties, no names, no pack drills, use this the better to grease their own rusty wheels. Fear of the different, along with fear of change, has kept the peasant classes in their place for centuries. It is a tool by which those in power illicit a fear response in those they seek to subjugate. It is another form of bigotry and as such is as stupid as it is crude.

At the end of the day racism fulfills a primal need. Humankind have to hate something, or so it seems to me. If its not organised religion of one kind or another then it is class or racial differences. The times I have heard seemingly balanced people revert to type when confronted by one of the aforementioned is beyond count. The need to hate is so great one wonders what would they do if all those biases mentioned were removed? Why, they'd of course invent something else. 

Racism is discrimination. It is bigotry unleashed. It is stupid.

Otep's photo.

Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.


Adam Everhard said...

If only we could think as innocently about race as that kid you once were, the world would be a better place.
I see differences as beautiful and can't imagine why anyone would use them as a reason to hate.
My response to the four women would be a little different, though. It would be "Ladies! Come in and let's watch romance movies together, give each other pedicures, and talk about guys!" ;-)

Russell Duffy said...

I could do the pedicure route but not the talking about guys! LOL.

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