- Racial Equity
- Talk About Race
When we peer into the unknown our eyes are watching God, novelist Zora Neale Hurston might say.
As I said my friend, the Miami businessman, Dave Williams, sees things differently than other people. He says this is because he is a space alien. He said that black folk did not come out to vote in the 2010 mid-term elections because “during slavery we learned when it is best to be still.”
“I think this habit of mind is older than slavery and I am not always sure it is best,” I said. I get very impatient with the march forward and then “be still” and pray technique that too often characterizes black progress in America. Yet I cannot argue with the results. In less than half a century African Americans have moved from “We Shall Overcome” to “Yes We Can,” as the subtitle of my soon-to-be-published book says.
“How do you know when to be still or to march forward”? I asked Dave before the elections.
“You pray. You’ll get the answer.”
I laughed: “Come on instead of going to the polls all of those millions of black folk are going to be somewhere praying.”
“If you are in constant contact with God, the Unseen Invisible you’re always praying,” he said. “I think I read that somewhere in one of your books.”
I consider his attributing this to me as his effort to deflect attention from the fact that it is he who thinks like an alien, which is why he says I cannot use his real name. He is in a public contact business and he feels people would stop doing business with him if they knew how he thinks.
“I don’t remember writing anything like that.”
“You write so much you must forget what you write.”
“Everything I write comes from people like you, not from me, maybe that’s why I can’t remember some of it.”
“Well anyway I was not still,” I said. “I voted. Before the election I found what I consider attempted Republican dirty trick to suppress the vote for Democrats, not unlike what you guys had in Florida in 2000, and I sent email alerts to every Democratic official in Northern Virginia. The attempted suppression was averted.”
“Isn’t doing something better than being still”? I said. I have always been uncomfortable with the fatalism of the inspirited people I grew up with, which is why I went off to a prestigious Ivy League university to get a Western education. Western Civilization is humankind’s war against fatalism. That human enterprise can control destiny is the theme song of man’s Western quest.
But I never got completely Westernized. Having been raised in the 1940s and 50s in an almost tribal existence in one of those church-centered, African American spiritual communities in the rural South, I could not get over the habit of being still and respecting my connection to Unseen Invisible.
“The problem,” the Unseen Invisible said, “is materialism and you cannot solve a problem on the same level that the problem exists. You must move to a higher spiritual level.” I listened but I still continued sending off $5 here and $10 there to the election campaigns of Progressive Democrats around the country, giving them money to combat the rampant corporate materialism that was manipulating Republicans.
I believed that President Obama had tried to cure the malaise of the West by attempting to reach out on a higher spiritual level to Republicans but their sense of spirit could not connect to his. They worship the same the vindictive, warlike manifestation of God of the Middle East before the time of Christ.
“If the Republicans take control of the House in this election they might even impeach (crucify) Obama,” I said to Dave.
Obama tried to reach out on a higher spiritual level to people of the Middle East, and just a few days before the election, suspects linked to Middle Eastern extremists, who worship the same ancient warlike God, put packages on planes with enough explosives in the packages to destroy the planes and kill everyone.
“If they blow up a plane then America will crucify Obama because of the spirit he attempts to manifest That will be all the proof that some people need that hatred cannot yet be cured by Christ-like love,” I said.
“I do believe there is a divine intelligence outside this dimension. Fate is the mind of God,” Dave said.
“As a space alien you should know.”
“We don’t know how that divine intelligence works. Maybe the Tea Party Republicans are a good thing. Their behavior shows that racism still exists when the rest of the country wants to pretend that we are post-racial.”
“You’re just justifying the fact that your people are too apathetic to get out and vote.” When I love them they’re my people. When they make me mad they’re his.
He completely ignored me and plowed onward with his oration.
“The Tea Party might get rid of some of those people in Congress in Washington, Democrat and Republican, who need to be gotten rid of. We don’t know how God works. You can’t start to do until you know what God wants you to do, so when you start to do you’ll be doing what God wants and not what you want.” He made the kind of pre-logical tautology that drives me crazy; but it is useless to try to stop him.
“All you’re doing is putting a positive face on indifference, and fatalistic . . .You’re just making excuses for trifling people.” I stopped. He wasn’t paying attention.
“Maybe the Tea Party is an enema.”
I was still. Stillness is the kind of respect you should pay when contemplating the workings of an enema. In my stillness enema-matic images of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rand Paul, and Rush Limbaugh occurred to me. I smiled.
“Barrack will still win in 2012.”
“Why. . . because the nation will not elect an enema as president?”
“Next year when you quote this will you claim you got it from something I wrote,” I asked?.
He said: “I did.”