BORN IN THIS SKIN: TRUE COLORS/CANTO #19

BORN IN THIS SKIN: TRUE COLORS/CANTO #19

My relationship with hip-hop is as follows: I’ve been a rabid fan since I was a kid and I always will be. I tend to gravitate towards the old school and 90’s stuff- Black Star (Mos Def & Talib Kweli) is one of my favorite albums of all time, my favorite MC is Ghostface Killah, and the Beastie Boys are LIFE. I like some newer shit too, but mostly underground cause whatever is passing for mainstream hip-hop lately is just fucking trash if you’re asking me. Here in Atlanta we have always had a vibrant hip-hop scene and it’s awesome. Outkast is MY SHIT, and we have a whole slew of amazing acts coming up at all times. I’ve always wished I was better at rapping, and by that I mean even REMOTELY good at it, but I’m happy to just be a listener too.

I CAN beatbox a little, or at least my toddler thinks it’s cool.

My relationship with Talib Kweli is as follows. When I started The Ghost Generation’s Twitter page I told myself I was going to reach out to people I respect, people I look up to, and people I just fucking like. No fan shit, no bullshit, I was going to treat everyone like a colleague, a contemporary, and/or a friend. Life is short, and when you’re small you might as well act big. Dress for the job you want, right? I followed Talib because I’ve been a massive fan of his work for a long time, and he’s an extremely vocal activist so I respect pretty much everything the dude stands for. He’s also a fucking warrior on Twitter because he is nearly constantly getting bombarded with arguments about racism from people that seem to think they can outsmart him. I’m not kidding, it’s fucking dizzying and it’s insane how much shit gets thrown at him every single day. Thing is, he’s firmly on the good side of the fence so nobody’s got SHIT on him and it’s fantastic to watch Talib effortlessly take down the ignorant masses trying to spread bullshit rhetoric. I’ve nearly popped popcorn on a few occasions.

Nothing says “Sunday Funday” like heated discussions about sensitive subjects!

Where do I fit into this story? Every now and again, I’ll jump in and interject a little humor to the battles while also sharing my point of view at the same time. Talib’s liked a few of them, I’ve had a few really good conversations because of it, and I’ve gained a handful of new followers to boot. That’s about it, nothing major, nothing crazy, just goofing off and trying to lighten the mood a little while also being a part of the dialogue. Issues like racism are hugely important to me and I think we should all be talking more about it so we can get fucking rid of it. I figure the worst thing that’ll happen is someone will tell me to fuck off, but so far it’s been MOSTLY positive…til the other day.

The conversation took a slight turn. Or a hard fucking left.

I’m still on my first morning energy drink (Rockstar Zero Carb FOR LIFE) so excuse me if I gloss over some finer details, but basically it went like this. Talib was having an exchange with someone who was accusing Talib’s followers of being a bunch of clueless white people who had no business having opinions about things like race, reparations, etc. and as per usual is was getting heated. Me being me, I figured the logical thing to do would be to interject a joke so that’s precisely what I did. I jokingly said that I was a middle-aged white woman from Minnesota and that everyone should be included in the conversation about reparations and race, because it’s fucking true. I also made the point that this is how it should be because we are SUPPOSED to be one world family, helping each other rise above all the ignorance, instead of fighting hate with MORE hate. I’m thinking the joke (and my actual opinion) didn’t land with the guy because he jumped on me pretty hard, luckily I have thick skin and also don’t give a fuck so it’s not the attack that phased me- it’s the rhetoric behind it that’s the problem.

Essentially, the guy was saying that white people had no business being a part of the dialogue around shit like race and reparations, and that my entire existence was clouded by white privilege, and that basically all white people are shitty because of what our PIECE OF SHIT ancestors did. The thing is, this wasn’t a dialogue, a two-way conversation. This was fucking racist, and it was gross. It was ugly, it was ignorant, and it had no basis in any reality I care to live in. Plus, there are SO many reasons why it’s laughable to assume I’m walking around with a bunch of silver spoons coming out of my ass cause of my whiteness, I couldn’t even begin to count. I shall try though, cause that’s why we’re here.

Me + “white privilege” = bullshit.

Look, I fucking get it. White people did some awful shit, pretty much the majority of awful shit throughout history. White people have raped, killed, and enslaved (the “lather, rinse, repeat” of atrocity) people with different skin, beliefs, or both for thousands of years. In America, the worst of the worst have been given a louder voice than ever the past few years and it’s clear to see that we’re a fucking nation, and world, divided.

It’s fucking disgusting to me that it’s 2019 and we’re STILL dealing with this shit, and it’s fucking disgusting to me that someone would throw fucking racism at me when I’m trying to say that we should all share the conversation and be one people, together and equal. Again, I don’t give one single FUCK about that asshole’s opinion but I can’t pretend it didn’t get my blood boiling a little. Thing is- I’M NOT FUCKING RACIST. My wife isn’t racist, my kids aren’t racist, and we don’t fuckin’ know anyone who’s racist either. If we did, they’d be written off faster than republican travel expenses. PERIOD. Not now, not before, not ever. Hate has no place in our life and we’re tasing our kids that way too.

Even funnier, is the thought that my “white privilege” has somehow affected my life experiences, thus rendering me ill-equipped to be a part of any conversation about race and the issues that surround it. Here’s the thing, I can’t fucking help how I was born. I wasn’t even SUPPOSED to be born, I was an accident baby. it didn’t end well either, my father left BECAUSE I was born and I’ve dealt with the emotional wreckage in some way for my entire fucking life. I grew up with a shitty stepdad who verbally abused me, when he finally disappeared my mom busted her ass to support us by cleaning apartments, working in a lunchroom, and cleaning more apartments so you can FUCK RIGHT OFF with the privilege shit on that front. I was bullied throughout my school years and I even got my ass kicked for BEING WHITE on multiple occasions. Didn’t sway my fucking opinions though, ignorance is ignorance. The person perpetuating it is just the SYMPTOM, the problem isn’t race itself but the ignorance. The ignorance is the fucking problem, so I didn’t blame black people cause I got beat up for my race, I blamed the ignorance itself. I got beaten up for plenty of other shit too, I was called gay, I was called a freak, you name it- I have had a fist in my fucking face for it. None of it was true, but ignorant people like to hit you if you’re smarter than them, or different in any way, so it happened nonetheless.

My butler doesn’t hit me.

I’ve been harassed by cops, I’ve been discriminated against countless times because of my appearance, or my opinions, or just being “not like everyone else”, and I have had to fight and claw my way to some kind of life where I’m not getting the shit beat out of me on a daily basis so again- anyone thinking my “white privilege” has affected my life in ANY tangible way can shove it determinedly up their ass. If I’ve been handed a stacked deck nobody fucking told ME about it, so at the end of the day this shit was just straight up racism. I know that the conversation about reparations and such is TOUCHY AS FUCK, and it should be- but telling me I can’t be a part of the dialogue because we’re all a bunch of shitty white people is just flat out wrong. White people have perpetuated atrocities beyond comprehension, but I didn’t do SHIT.

I don’t know a lot about my ancestors, my family has been super small my whole life and nobody tells me shit. The one bit of facts I DO know mostly come from my mother. My mother was born in France, got shipped off to England to essentially grow up in Catholic boarding schools, and then made her way stateside in the 60’s. HER mother was born in Poland, and ended up living and dying there too. She died in 2000 and I never got to meet her, but she always sent letters and pictures, mores when I was younger but she still did it every now and again up until she passed. I always noticed that in some of the pictures of her she was missing her front teeth. Some years ago I asked my mom about it and she told me that my grandmother had been in a Nazi prison camp during WWII. It wasn’t one of the “worst” camps, it was more like a work farm vs. something like Auschwitz. Not that there’s any room for distinction but that’s what my mom always told me. It was a slightly-less awful awful place. Anyway, it was found out that she was also a member of the French Resistance which was a group that would help to usher Jews out of the country to safety- essentially an Underground Railroad but for Jews in Poland. Her punishment at the time was getting punched in the face with brass knuckles by a Nazi officer and that’s how she lost her front teeth. I’m proud to know that even though I have very little knowledge of my family history, THAT is the one thing I do know.

Revolution is in my fucking blood.

Now, it wouldn’t be a very good look if the grandson of a freedom-fighter was a racist fucker would it? Nope, it wouldn’t, and I’m not, so the whole thing is fucking ridiculous. I know that the person in question doesn’t know me personally and I didn’t take it that way either, but it’s genuinely disturbing to get hit with racism like that because I’m not one of the bad guys. The assumption that we’re ALL a little bit “the bad guys” is dangerous because it’s just replacing racism with MORE FUCKING RACISM. Sure, a heated argument about reparations probably wasn’t the IDEAL place to try to interject humor but I DID also espouse a message of equality, and unity, and what I got was the good ole’ “white devil” shit thrown in my fucking face. If you go around cancelling all of us white people out of the conversation, calling us “crackers” (dude used that one in the conversation too), and telling us that we’re shitty because some of our great-great-grandparents were shitty I’m sorry, but FUCK you.

I wish we lived in a world where slavery never happened. I wish I was raising my children in a world that didn’t see color, or gender, or economic status. I wish we could all allow one another to be equal, and happy, and free- but we fucking don’t seem to be able to do that. Everyone seems hell-bent on beating someone else down, and if we can’t talk about this shit together and break down those walls, we will NEVER overcome it.

Our division will be our ruin, if we let it.

I’m not here for sympathy, I’m not complaining, I’m simply trying to make the point that racism has NO PLACE in this world, and that we should ALL share the work of getting rid of it for good. I didn’t choose my color and I also refuse to apologize for it. Nobody chooses their color and NOBODY SHOULD APOLOGIZE FOR IT. Our parents fuck and that’s it, the genetic dice are rolled and our color isn’t up for discussion. We might be a boy, we might be a girl, but we’re gonna be whatever our parents are in the skin department. Who gives a fuck? IT’S SKIN. God, why do we have to KEEP DEALING WITH THIS SHIT?

Here’s where I stand, now and forever, and if you don’t like it the door is to your right: I don’t give a fuck WHAT color you are. I don’t give a fuck WHAT gender you are. I don’t give a fuck WHAT sexual orientation you were born with. I don’t give a fuck where you work, how much money you make, or where you live. I give a very BIG fuck about WHO YOU ARE as a person. That’s it. There’s good people of all shapes, sizes, and colors. There’s bad people of all shapes, sizes, and colors too and that’s where we’re missing the fucking point. There’s shitty versions of everything in this world, and ignorance comes from ALL sides. Our fucking ignorance might actually be one of the few things we share which is pathetic and sad in equal measure. The problem is not our differences, but the FEAR OF our differences. Ignorance comes from fear and you should know where I stand on fear by now too- FUCK FEAR. Life is short, fear holds us down, and if there’s a devil out there, it’s fucking fear. I choose not to be afraid of our differences, and I choose not to judge people by them either.

Didn’t someone say something about “the content of your character”?

So I got smacked in the fucking face with racism, and it didn’t piss me off because I felt personally attacked, I’m pissed because it’s just fucking untrue. That’s not who I am, that’s not what I believe, and fuck anyone who wants to say otherwise. I’m gonna leave this here now, cause I’m gonna end up writing a dissertation and all I really wanted to do was show that this shit needs to stop. I’m white, you’re black, the sky is blue, and who fucking cares. Rise above and be BIGGER than the hate, or we’ll be stuck with this shit forever. And don’t EVER accuse me of being unworthy to be a part of the conversation, because I am and EVERYONE else is too. For the record, I think this world owes its black and brown people a hell of a lot more than some money for reparations, but it’s a good place to start. I’d even be happy for my tax dollars to be a part of it, might as well do something good with them besides funding Presidential golf trips.

To Talib Kweli– I’m consistently amazed at how willing you are to go toe-to-toe with this ignorance, and how willing THEY are to engage with one of the most intelligent and well-read artists and humans of our time. I have nothing but the utmost respect for you, I appreciate you, and I hope the new album is kicking as much ass as it deserves to.

You guys can argue with Talib here, or just tell him to make another Black Star album. 🙂

AJH

A brand new blog/website where this happily married, 30-something father of 2 little minions rants, raves, and speaks in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together!http://theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration

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