What the hell is going on with our world today? Me2 Me2, someone once said I was pretty! Dammit, if you are ugly and someone calls you pretty, just face him or her face to face and tell him or her not to offend you. FFS! Really, is this what we have come to today?
I find it shocking that we are turning into a world full of pussies, and I don’t mean that in a good way.
“This man forced me into sex. He put his thing in my mouth and made me have oral sex with him.” This is from another me2 person going after a politician in Virginia.
I get that there might be overarching forms of bullying going on, but few men, smart men, would put themselves forcibly in a mouth full of sharp teeth! I guess a stupid man might, But he would only do it once.
Until a few days ago, I did not know what that term was. I am not a spring chicken. Yes, I grew up in a time of minstrel shows and such. The last actor I saw portraying a black person was Neil Diamond in Jazz Singer. His friend Franklin Ajay (Bubba) gets him to perform in a black club. Everything is fine until one of the patrons spots his white palms and then all hell breaks loose!
Why, we are left to guess but the fight that ensues lands the band “The Four Brothers” in jail where Laurence Oliver playing Yussel’s father, ask him a question, which is probably the best line in the whole movie… “Isn’t it tough enough being a Jew?”
If you were to ask a black activist (Al Sharpton) about this, they (he) would most certainly spin this as more white hatred of the black people.
I do not deny racism, I am calling into question who the racist is.
In the 1980 movie, when one of the patrons sees his white palms, and calls him out, the writer gives him the line. “That ain’t no brother, that’s a white boy!” Over this observation, the place erupts into violence, even though the performance up to that time was a success.
• Was the writer a racist?
• Were the patrons in that time racist to the point of destroying the club to harm the entertainer?
• Was this scene indicative of the time?
• What period was this supposed to happen in, wait the 80’s…
I have been in Black Clubs in the ’80s as a white person. My company transferred me to Houston to take over as a manager of a department. My black employees invited me for drinks after work one day. They did not tell me it was a black club. I was new to Houston and certainly had no idea that the Palomino was a black club. Folks, I saw none of this. We had a great time, I had many dancing partners that evening, and I cemented many long-term friendships that have lasted through the ages.
Another of my employees at a different company brought me to a gay bar, after work. Same response. At the end of the day, I went home without a date, as I was not looking for one. There was already someone in my life.
Was I a victim?
Some could proffer the argument that they set me up. They knew things that I did not and put me into an uncomfortable situation for their amusement. Much to their chagrin, I was not nervous. I can handle myself, even if things had gotten out of hand. They did not, however; get out of hand as in both clubs people were nice and accepting of me.
They knew I wasn’t black but they did not know if I were straight or gay. Can you not go into a club like this as a “person,” and just enjoy the company of other people, without identifying as straight, white, or black?
In many of my novels, I talk about labels, and how my characters abhor them. I won’t go into details here. We are all the same when it comes to race. We are the “human race.” Our sexual identity is also not that distinct from one another, as we all start our life as a girl. Men have nipples, look it up!
You would be shocked if I told you how offended some men can be when I point out that little fact. Own who you are. Celebrate diversity, and don’t you use it as a way to divide us.
In Tipping Point, I make the argument that we should all strive to look at each other as human beings and not look for that which divides us. This is a common theme in a few of my novels.
Last evening at a writers meeting we got into a conversation about art. I mentioned that one of my instructors was incredibly opinionated. She was very good as an artist. Excellence at what we do tends to breed a certain hubris that I take umbrage with. I don’t care who you are or what you have done, you are no better than I am and I am no better than you are.
This instructor had a certain mindset including which paints you do not use. There are brushes, and so on that, you had best not bring to her class.
Early on, we were asked what got us into painting in the first place.
Without hesitation, I spoke the truth. Bob Ross.
OMG, you would have thought I had just pissed in their Wheaties.
Some of her requirements for the class are that you mix your own colors and, this is right.
Never use paint straight from the tube…blah blah…
This person was rather high strung and had little tolerance for not doing things “her way.”
Why Bob? Why do I still to this day, hold him in high esteem?
In thirty minutes using basic colors and skills, he manages to create beautiful paintings that set the stage for most of us to escape into. We imagine our bare feet on the lush grass, or perhaps swimming in the lake, as we feel the fresh water on our bodies. Just maybe we think of ourselves laying in that field among the happy trees, looking at the “happy clouds” or other things, which could be happy accidents.
Why Bob? Why not Bob. What a gentle soul and kind spirited man. What a great role model for us to all aspire to. The barbs were too much for me, so I searched high and low for “flesh colored” paint. I also found a two-inch brush, to top it off, ordered a shirt with Bob Ross on the front. The bully of the art world had met her match!
When you are painting portraits as she was teaching us to do, there is indeed, only one way to get it right and flesh colored paint is not it. That is why I had to search to find it. I wanted to make a point, graciously.
As I sat there with my two-inch brush and a dab of flesh colored paint on my pallet, we were instantly in a standoff. She knew that I was taking her to task. “Your opinion is just that, an opinion!”
“Don’t mock those that you don’t agree with.”
Had Bob not made it appear so easy, I might never have purchased the stuff to give it a go. My portraits sell all over the world, and I have her to thank for that, but in truth,…Bob is who inspired me.
• Why did I tell this story of my art career?
• Does it fit into being a victim?
• How does it fit?
Last night when I was telling this story, one of my comrades took me to task. It would seem that referencing flesh colored paint was racist. “WTF? Are you kidding me? It says flesh on the tube, is Windsor Newton now a racist?” What is going on for this person to make such a ludicrous assertion?
Are you looking for ways to be a victim?
I don’t have a racist bone in my body. I dislike ignorance and those that act on it. My comrade had no clue what I was talking about. Had I been less sure of myself, I might have taken offense to that assertion, or worse, questioned my own stance on racism.
They assumed that flesh was “white flesh,” but in truth, it is a “base” with which you can add yellow ochre, burnt umber or pick your color, and make it any kind of “flesh” you choose.
Titanium white, yellow ochre, and alizarin crimson are also the beginnings of the base for flesh.
Do you believe everyone should be pure of heart and thought? Just possibly nobody should talk, or speak, write, text or communicate in any way so we don’t offend someone. Wait, if I don’t say hello when seeing you; is that communicating with you nonverbally. Is that not a way of telling you that you are so insignificant to me that I am not going to waste my breath to say hello? No, it says that I am so afraid of offending you, that by my acknowledging you that, you might find something offensive. FFS is that where we are.
I walked past a man leaving the bank the other day who gave me an eye roll, as we passed. What did that mean? Should I be offended? Was I not worth the time to at least say hello to? Did he not like white people? He was black, that must be it, he is racist, and that is why he rolled his eyes and did not say hello to me. I should write a column for the New York Times about how all black men hate white people because this one person rolled his eyes at me, instead of saying hello. I am a victim! His eye roll was offensive to me! How dare he not acknowledge me as his equal!
“Is this where we are?”
He was holding his phone and had an earbud in his ear. Is it possible he was talking with someone on his phone or listening to voicemail, and he eye rolled at what he was hearing?
I leave you with this thought….
Look for things we have in common instead of things that divide us. Start with the fact that we are the entire human race. The color of our skin, or sexual preference, is not something to divide us. Start out with respect for your fellow human traveler on this road of life, and the rest will be much easier.
“I just about hate to say this, and yes I am stealing the line from Pollyanna. Look for the good, and you will find it, look for the bad, and you will surely find that too.”
I could choose to ignore the phone, and the earbud, and think that person was anti-white, and use it to build a precept that all black men hate white people or….I could give him the benefit of the doubt.
Great minds discuss ideas. Those focused on petty things; discuss people and ways to be offended.
Rise above the fray, and lead by example.
BTW, my art instructor and I are the best of friends and have been so since I stood my ground and forced her to examine her own life. Bob, Kincaid, and others serve a purpose and they are no less relevant than Renoir, Picasso, or De Vince. While they would argue the fact that I put their names in the same sentence, neigh the same paper as Renoir; I would argue that Renoir never inspired me to go and purchase paints.
Much Love -TW