I grew up in post-war San Diego. My family lived in plywood rooms tossed up for the influx of the wartime factory workers. We could have conversations with our neighbors without leaving our mutual homes. When I went to school I was exposed to a lot of people who didn’t look like me—tow-headed blue-eyed white speaking kindergarten English. Spanish was common and I often wished I had been dark haired, dark skinned, and dark eyed. Years later I learned that my brunette mother had considered brown eyes preferable but she kept having blond haired, blue-eyed children.
My early school class was probably a third black; I remember thinking there was something wrong since at least half of those kids had no shoes so the light skinned soles of their feet showed a contrast with their dark skin. Other than that, I was mostly concerned if a classmate was bigger than me (I was a wimp).
Continue reading “Racism: Chopped and Channeled”
I highly recommend Amiri Baraka’s experimental novel from the ’60s, The System of Dante’s Hell. Written under the poet’s name at that time, LeRoi Jones, Baraka gives a highly personal, somewhat autobiographical, account of how the experience of being a black man can be related in terms suggestive of Hell as developed by Dante in the Inferno.
In fact, a modified version of Dante’s system is provided at the beginning of the book. But don’t get trapped into attempting to marry each section of Baraka’s narrative to Dante’s map of Hell.
Continue reading “The System of Dante’s Hell”
In the last few days there have been at least three newsworthy killings, all by guns. One was an innocent, unarmed black man who was being held down on the ground by the police yet still was deemed a threat to the life of one other policeman that he felt obliged to pump numerous bullets into the body of the subdued black man. Another was a black man who was stopped for an alleged tail-light malfunction. The black man informed the police that he was armed but that he carried a permit for the concealed weapon. The police demanded his papers and when he reached for the papers, he was shot and killed by an over-anxious policeman who apparently was very afraid of a black man with a gun.
Then last night while patrolling a Black Lives Matter rally, an apparent crossfire of angry African-Americans killed at least five policemen and wounded many other people, police and civilian. Later the police were able to kill at least one of the shooters. Now we learn that the lone shooter was a veteran and trained killer clad in body armor and upset about the recent police killings. Interestingly, the shooter was taken out by sending in the bomb robot, not to remove a bomb but rather to deliver a bomb. Skynet, here we come.
Continue reading “Don’t Shoot”