I am still pondering over the video I posted earlier today. And I just have no other explanation for my feeling of unease about it than the most obvious one- that it is almost impossible for me to watch that man and believe such a self-proclaimed redneck (and y'all, I am pretty sure he is not faking that accent) could come out with such truth and profundity and of course... that makes me a stone-cold bigot.
Not a racist in this instance, but a bigot for sure.
I am surrounded by rednecks where I live. And no, a black man would not be afraid to ride through my neighborhood because my neighborhood has more black families than white and that is the truth of it. Do I ever see a white person walking? No. Every person I see out for walks is black. But I have been thinking a lot about how I never see any of these people walking in the woods where I walk and I don't think it has a damn thing to do with anyone being afraid of animals. I think it's because the path I take goes directly across from the truck stop off the interstate exit and there are plenty of Florida Highway Patrol cars around and that some of those troopers would not be loathe at all to stop a black man walking down the road into the woods. An old white woman? No threat there. She may be crazy but she's obviously not up to anything nefarious.
And the odds of any rednecks in pick-up trucks hassling me are pretty low.
I'm so stupid that it's taken me eleven years to figure this out.
It makes me want to just cry because I think of myself as so damn aware and empathetic and blah, blah, bullshit blah. But do I understand, truly?
No. I do not.
I have just accepted my little village the way it is, black folks, white folks, we live on the same streets, some of the trashiest houses and yards are the homes of white folks, some of the nicest are the homes of black folks.
It has not though, gone unnoticed by me that the most obviously poverty-stricken among us are without a doubt black families.
One of the things Dixon White said in that video is that we better "motherfucking SEE color," and that when we see incidents of racism we need to speak up. I have tried to do that. I had it out with a man who worked at the trash place one day after he used the n-word repeatedly.
I think he may be dead now. Haven't seen him around in forever. I feel sorry for him. He was a sad and bitter man. And in this case, he could NOT see color because the woman he was talking to was very obviously white but what he did not know was that her adopted father was black. He would probably NEVER have used those words if he had known. And I told him that. So in a way, he did see color and he made the exact wrong assumption based on it.
Not unlike the assumption I have made, watching Dixon White.
Anyway, I'm not sure that I've watched any five minutes of video in my entire life that's given me so much to think about. As our Angella said, he was preaching to the choir here in this blog community but still, he's given me, personally, some things I need to fucking pay attention to. The words this man said were extremely profound and I hope they start a conversation that needs to be had with words that don't dance around the daisy field of color-blindness. And not just a fucking conversation. An entire new era of awareness. And I need to personally realize that someone who looks and talks like Dixon White may not be the person I think he is.
Although to be perfectly honest, I've never met anyone who looked and sounded like him who said anything nearly as profound as what he said.
I just watched the video for the third time.
You know what my deepest unease about it is?
I've always been told that if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
But no matter how I try to reach into the most cynical and bigoted parts of my heart, I can't figure out how this video can be a bad thing. Such simple truths. Stop being so defensive. Stop thinking of white supremacy as merely someone in a pick-up with a confederate flag in the back window represents. Or some craven in the KKK. Or some old guy at the trash depot.
That's a huge responsibility he's telling us to take on.
HUGE. It means we have to step out of our little dream-worlds and yes, fucking SEE color, and while we're at it, see bigotry against disabilities and ageism and sexism and homophopia too. And speak up when we see discrimination. Speak up when we see injustice.
Fucking speak up. Act up, he even said.
Stephen Gaskin used to say a thing that went like, "When you see a situation that you wonder where God is in this, you need to remember that you are God's eyes here."
And if Dixon White is truly the Southern redneck he says he is, I apologize to him too.
I wonder why he kept his eyes closed for most of his speech. I do not know. But I will say this- he has opened some eyes.