The Familiar Look of Racism

It starts with a look.

It’s a silent gaze that screams from yesteryear the same way its daddy and granddaddy screamed: What are you doing here? Where do you live? Why are you in my store? Doesn’t take much to recognize it. I’m watching you. The scream is voiceless but it is immediately understood. It’s an uncomfortable feeling. Hard to describe especially in the middle of knowing exactly what “the look” is really about and from whence it comes. It’s really undeniable. It truly is. It can be deadly. I’ve felt it too many times to count. The awareness of that scream envelopes me with a mix of anger, frustration, helplessness, and a few more ingredients that unless you’ve been the recipient of that discriminatory, racist stare, you will not understand. Not that I don’t want you to understand, it’s just that you won’t.

Jermaine Massey was kicked out of a DoubleTree Hotel in Portland, Oregon, this week after making a call in the hotel’s lobby. He was deemed a safety threat and accused of trespassing…in the hotel where he had a room…that he paid for…in the lobby that is open to guests…where guests are allowed to be. There’s got to be more to the story some might say. Oh, yes, indeed – there’s more to the story, alright. There’s a whole history lesson involved. But on the surface, nah. I know what it is. You do, too. His account of the incident reads like a familiar book to me. Continue reading “The Familiar Look of Racism”

An Emperor, Shakespeare, and Forrest Gump Walk Into a Bar…

I swear I get the best inspiration from Facebook comments.

A guy who worked under my charge in the Marine Corps was at it again yesterday. As a matter of fact, from here on out, I’ll contradictorily refer to him as – Buddy. I posted an article about supporting Black businesses and the fella had a meltdown. In real time. With each passing statement, Buddy made sure to put on public display his lack of knowledge and inability to comprehend the simplest of concepts as if ignorance coupled with being unread were a badge of honor. The tragedy of his crash and burn was Shakespearean in a theatrical sense, only because his slow demise was of his own doing. The nobility associated with characters such as Hamlet, Julius Caesar, or Macbeth would have to be omitted.

He might not appreciate being compared to Othello, either.

 

However…

I know of another noble comparison that’s right down his alley.

“Many years ago there lived an emperor who loved beautiful new clothes…,” so the story begins. Continue reading “An Emperor, Shakespeare, and Forrest Gump Walk Into a Bar…”