In recognition of the approaching USA Black History month, I thought I'd explore my own black history! I'm not black, I'm some kinda cream color. Can you relate this to your own life experiences and prejudices?
To me, we are all human beings, different cultural flavours of ice cream if you will. None are bad and there is no chocolate or vanilla, but many shades and and mixes. Each with their own sensitivities that must be honored and gifts within.
It all Starts Here!
I don't want to be dropped and I want something tasty to eat! The motor neurons in our mouths are strong at this age as we discover what is edible and builds our view of the world. There were no black people to see or bite, so I learned nothing.
I was pre-wired though with emotional senses that help me differentiate friend and foe, for the purpose of survival. Hurt me, and I will associate your image with pain and not like you...for a long time! Love me, and I'm with you. It's that simple.
Elijah - The alien has landed!
First impressions are long lasting. Elijah was an alien. Never seen a colored person up close, my whole town was Italian, Polish, German...shades of light white! I met him once when he delivered a painting of my brother to our door. My brother wasn't going to live much longer and my father was deeply touched. I feel tears just thinking of my fathers sense of love for Elijah, how he slowly said his name in awe. He paid him of course.
Elijah was a higher power and always will be.
When I saw the painting, I was in shock...what kind of person could create a painting? My family couldn't do sick figures. These...colored darker people...were something amazing.
#AttractionisFamiliarity - important later
Something in the brain I guess...
I found my parents 45's and albums and listened over and over. The Jackson Five were hot, Motown on fire, Gladys Night and the Pipps, Mini Ripperton, and this group...the 5th Dimension!
I was too young to feel sexual drive, but what attraction I have to black women was formed in my image of Marilyn McCoo and that song playing in my head. These were feelings of love and peacfulness, and something other worldly. Why I was attracted to one and not the other, I don't know.
#Attractionisfamiliarity - notice, love bonding forming, important later.
There were no colored people until 3rd grade or so. But I had been watching them on TV and they were funny as h3!!. Comedians like Redd Fox, Sammy Davis Jr, Flip Wilson. TV shows like the Jeffersons, Sanford and Suns were favorites. I watched them over and over. Black people were...different I could tell, didn't know much though. They walked with a skip, funny, talented, and junk salesmen? I had no negative impression of colored people yet.
There was also Al Jolsen, but as it turned out, he was white decorated black. I was confused...
Elementary and PEA FUNK!
Probably hadn't heard of Pea funk, I could find no photo of it. Black kids started to show up around 4th grade as kids were bussed around to mix them. I had the pleasure of sitting behind Yahroj , who had a big affro filled with pea funk! Smelled to high h#!! I had to constantly look around his fro. Honestly,I had a fro too, just no pea funk! He was a good kid, sucked at math though...probably due to his head being ovelry weighted by pea funk!
Black people started to take a different tone now. Some were "normal", some were angry and some were just rude and they got away with it a lot.
One boy in 5th grade went ballistic on the playground.
Every other kid stood patiently in line while this kid chased another boy around to beat him for no reason I could find. The boy evaded in a game of catch. The teachers did nothing. Why wouldn't black people be punshed...? I did not understand. But he was nuts!
There were some negative impressions of black people growing. They had serious attitudes. Bitter and angry, I didn't get it, did't mesh with what I had learned. I tried to be nice to some, it didn't work!
We watched Monday night and weekend football always.
The Juice! Jim Brown, and so many other players, lots of white ones too. But these were power forces on the field of battle in my mind. Black people were almost super human at times.
Oh God I loved Jim Brown and the Browns, because my father did. He idolized them...and I'm still waiting for that superbowl win! Jim Brown fine human being. Look how strong these black people are (we still called them black at this time), but reality is, they transcended that label.
Lots of black people in school now. A few were cool, I liked them, a lot I couldn't stand to be around. I'd never seen anything like them.
One of my favorite teachers was a colored black teacher. I loved her because she loved what she did and she disciplined people. She cared, it made a difference!
#discipline - see a common theme of discipline being a strong value!?
I watched Brians song around this time and it left an impression on my soul that can't be erased. It's the story of Brian Piccolo dying of cancer and his friendship with Gayle Sayers. Discrimination started to show up on my radar, I still didn't know much history. Tears are flowing right now, keyboard wet! Doesn't get any better than to combine football and male bonding on. To this day I love Gayle Sayers. Girls, watch this movie with your BF!
How compassionate and real black people can be. And that song left it's mark deep inside me. Damn, I can't stop crying, why is that? I'm old enough to control my emotions...it's all good! That little child inside me was touched.
#MediaCreatesAPowerfulImage - media creates impressions, what impressions have you been taking in?
More of the same. I had a favorite black social studies teacher who was black. I appreciated him because he loved what he did, he treated us well, and he disciplined me. I respect him for that.
I also saw more rage. On a bus ride home, two white kids in back were talking and laughing. One of the black kids from a group home said "Whut you say? What?" Other kid says "nothing". The black kid went back and kept pushing and testing, eventually he slammed the white kids head into a window over and over...there's that rage again! blood all over. White kid never faught back bus driver did nothing. - 2 points for black people. Oddly enough, I sat near the black kid after that and I ha compassion for him because I had a sense of where he came from.
He was one heck of a BB player, just out of control emotionally. Probably dead now...
My friend healed, my memory is still there.
Screwed by Black People!
My father valued stuff, he took care of it because we didn't have much. He would give a person the shirt off his back to help them. He rented a house we had to a black couple who seemed on the up and up, but they totally trashed it. He was vile towards black people at that point forward, except Elijah. He also became hateful of Mexicans, I know not why.
I was not directly hurt by this, but I saw my parents anguish and I had to deal with their racism for decades. One little drop of water can take a mountain down! Be carful what you do out there, people get hurt which causes a ripple effect.
Almost no colored people, all white, and chinese, and other cultures. In my last year a black kid showed up at my engineering school and treated it like it had no value or hope.
I hated that attitude of him and other white kids who were the new generation. I worked my tail off 17hrs a day to get to top of my class from the very bottom and someone is disrespecting himself and my school?
I tried to motivate him, I don't think it worked.
How do you prop up someone self esteem? This was near Baltimore. Baltimore is now a mess, sad.
When I started working in the 90's, I got into bicycling. At some point I heard the story of Major Taylor, the fastest man in the world on a bicycle in the early 1900's. He crushed all the white racers throughout the world..before Jessie Owens! His book was a great read. He died penniless after failing businesses. I had nothing but respect for this MAN!
How he pulled that off while being discriminated against is fascinating. Sometimes I think if you push someone down, that stress can make them strong!
#Stressisgoodforus - if we take stress the right way, it will make us stronger!
WORK and HOOKUP TIME!
I started work and there were few black people in IT at the time, but there were a few and they were decent. I met one as an intern in college, he was pleasant to work with. Others were just normal people.
At some point a mixed race black woman took a liking to me, I don't know why. I was terribly introverted, nice guy, kept to my desk all day. I had only kissed a girl at that point and it didn't even go well.
She took a liking to me and made a pass at me. At this age, I was like, I might as well go check this out, I have nothing to lose...I'm a 30 yr old virgin with zero experience. She a vuluptous, positive energy woman who had interest in me? Damn! I took the bait like a hungry shark. See that Maryilyn McCoo impression now?
We met in a private place, hung out and talked, she said she was married but it didn't mean anything, was ending, which was the first sign of sexual incompatability in people for me and lying. I didn't care at the time, I was being selfish and stupid. I didn't want to die a virgin, and decided to go for it. I pushed her buttons and we had an amazing 4 hours of everything I could think of. Intercourse did not work though, I could not get there very wall, she was very understanding...probably dissappointed. She did orgasm several times though..proud of that!!:)
I broke it off next day, couldn't do married woman... She stayed married for years.
I turned Christian not too long after this and this was behavior was from my options list...for now.
Later in life, I ran into a dude at church, lots of black people there. I took a liking to a really wounded black guy who asked for help who was an artist. Are you seeing the conection? Attraction is familiarity! My empathy, my compassion for people and my willingness to give, meant I became his care taker for a while (see all those threads above from my experience and my father). I helped him out in various ways including financial. Always promised he'd pay me back, never did, not a penny. I was "dogged"...didn't know what that was a the time.
This was my first experience with this kind of personality called a narcissist. I learned a little about narcissists at this point and had to learn more later to fully get where he was coming from. If you run into one, you better have your skills on! I don't care what color or sex they are.
The valuable part of this experience was meeting other people from his world. I traveled with him to his town and met a black woman running a breakfast shop, working a small business and her tail off. What a powerful force of positive energy.
I wish some of the black men had treated her better, but I came to learn there are quality people and corrupt ones. There was a top notch black police officer there and a bunch of derelicts.
I have so much respect for that woman, I wish I had showed it more than big tip. do it over, I'd give her a hug and a kiss and some props.
I try hard to treat black/colored people with MORE respect than they'd expect because they have been abused in our unfortunate history. But I do have a guard up at times as wounded people will screw you, and I don't like that feeling! But that's a human thing, not a color or race. I've shown respect to black people many times as my black history unfolds.
Oh yea, props to these MEN:
#TuskeegeeAirmen. Nothing but praise!