Something real quick before we get to Taylor Swift. They are in the middle of picking a new Pope, and I just want to say that if they pick a Pope of color this time around, it will be further proof that they give a position of leadership to a black or brown person when everything has gone to crap/is about to go to crap. Exhibit A: Barack Obama.
I heard this on The Colbert Report a few nights ago, but you can ask my husband, and he will verify I said it to him well before we ever saw that show.
Just wanted to put that out there. Not really long enough for it's own blog post, but too long for a tweet on twitter.
My last post was about Taylor and one of her more popular songs, and how said song illustrated the idea that even when in a seemingly one-down position, people have a tendency to be cruel to those that have been cruel to them. If you need a refresher or didn't get a chance to read it, you can click here. And the photo above is what I found when I went on google images and typed Taylor Swift and Pope. I think it might be photoshopped. Okay, moving on.
I said I was going to tie her song back to race and inequality, and here goes...
I wonder if part of the hesitation for white people around making concrete steps towards reparations for black people, is this idea that if white people do that, the black people will get more power, and then try to exact some sort of revenge towards the white people. And I'm not just talking about writing mean songs.
If the conversation about reparations is never had, then there is never an acknowledgment that something despicable enough to warrant reparations was done, so we can just kind of avoid the whole topic.
Maybe at this point you are asking, What are reparations? I am not an expert on the subject, but the general idea is some sort of repayment or investment in the black community to apologize for/alleviate the effects of the damage done by slavery and Jim Crow.
Have you heard of 40 acres and a mule? When the slaves were freed after The Civil War, there was some talk of giving each adult male former slave some land and an animal help him farm it. That never happened, I guess they decided sharecropping and mass incarceration was a better plan. I have also heard free college education, massive government spending on social programs, and direct cash payments also mentioned. I have wondered before if some black people that receive welfare see it as a form of reparations that they they are entitled to. Is that my class bias showing, or just an astute observation? Who knows.
I had plans to talk about something else this blog post, so I don't want to stay on this reparations topic too long. For me, I think a legitimate claim can be made for receiving them. At the same time, I don't think the amount that I would consider fair if we're talking direct cash payments, would ever be considered by the federal government. Plus, when you look at the current state of the US economy and the reality that many white people are struggling as well, I really wonder how it would ever be adopted.
Look at how upset some white people get at affirmative action (an idea that may or may not help black people,) and tell me how we get from that, to those same white people being fine with hundreds of millions/billions of dollars actually being spent specifically to help black people.
Ok, let's move on to a less-sensitive topic: Black Power. My white, gay friend (we'll call him Neil,) asked on Facebook what book his friends were currently reading. I didn't answer. I saw Neil a few days later and told him that I didn't answer because I was reading this book:
If you can't see the picture, the book is Blueprint for Black Power by Amos Wilson. It's 900 pages long. I told Neil I didn't want to write that on his post, because I didn't want people to get "the wrong idea." I also asked him what he thought a 900- page book called Blueprint for Gay Power would be about.
I will say that I am on page 650-ish, and the author has not said Kill Whitey once. His main premise seems to be that in order for black people to move up in the world, it all comes down to economics. Black people should put their money in black-owned banks, and shop with black-owned businesses. They should also start their own businesses. He spends little to no time talking about gangs, out of wedlock births, or crime in the inner city. Wilson seems to believe that all of these social ills would be solved if the economics were taken care of and people had well-paying jobs.
He says at the beginning of the book that there have been a number of theories about why white people have been/are racist (cold climate of Northern Europe being one,) but that they can all be summed up by one explanation: because they can be. If black people get economic power, white racism becomes somewhat irrelevant to the whole conversation.
So here are my questions for you, dear readers:
What does Black Power mean to you?
Is a black person preferring to spend money at a black-owned business vs a white-owned business reverse racism ?
What about preferring to live around black people? Or date and marry black people?
I think it's interesting that in a lot of ways we've been supposedly moving towards this ideal of color-blindness, but the inequalities continue to exist along color lines. What are the reasons for that?
Would you be willing to go out of your way to support a black-owned business, in an conscious effort to remedy an injustice? Why or why not? Tell me if you're black or not when you answer this question too, please.
What are the reasons for there being such a focus on charity and welfare (things that do little to nothing to actually improve people's conditions,) and less of a focus on things that can actually help people be more self-reliant?
We've also got the topics of reparations and the new Pope to discuss. Oh, and if you're gay, what a Blueprint for Gay Power might look like.
Before I end, I want to address my statement above about people getting the wrong idea about my current reading selection. I have been writing this blog for a long time, and I know that it can be easier to read about things like me being followed around in stores or how the black model is often on the side, not the center. But topics like black power and reparations are important discussions to be had as well.
People may make judgments or assumptions about me because of my choice of reading material, and they are free to do that. What is most important to me, is that I am honest and true to myself. I think you should be honest and true to yourself too, because that is the only way that we as humans can evolve and grow, whether it is in our personal lives or as a larger human society.
You know I love your comments, so if you have some answers to my questions, or just some thoughts you want to share, lay 'em on me.