It’s sad the last time I posted something with such a volatile title I lost “friends,” business opportunities, and had a slew of “progressive” writers write the most awful things assuming they knew who I was and what I was about. So why am I doing it again? … Because fuck you.
I was a kid sitting on the small bank of our catfish pond. Maybe I was just following the creek, hell I don’t remember it was so long ago but what I do remember is that is was summer and like any Southern summer it was hot as hell.
I looked across the road to see an old tractor had pull up with a black man driving it. He’d been bush hogging some fields in the area I guess. Always excited to see guests I ran across the way and introduced myself. He took his hat off, drenched in sweat, this man was hot. He asked for a drink of cold water. Sure I said and ran inside to get him one.
The water we drank was from a natural underground well. This wasn’t city water. It was fresh, cold and had something sweet about it we’d joke came from a dead animal’s carcass upstream at some point in the creek. It was good country water. I started to pour some in a big old plastic cup for him.
The my step grandmother snuck up behind me and slapped the cup out of my hand and growled, “don’t you give that nigger water out of a good cup. … Here! use this one,” she said handing me a paper dixie cup the size of a thimble. I was in shock. I’d never experience such ugliness firsthand.
That my friends is what it is to be a racist. That is what it is to hate blacks for no reason other than the color of their skin.
My first ten years were spent baking under the South Texas sun where there were more icebergs than black people. Shit, now that I think about it, the only white people down there were the “snowbirds,” who’d migrate down from the North during the winter. My first ten years I probably ran across two black people, maybe three. My only understanding of the black community was from what I saw on 1970 sitcoms like “The Jeffersons”, “What’s Happening”, and “Good Times.” I had no idea what the hell everyone had against them. … And then my mother met a country boy from Louisiana. After a divorce and a series of deaths on my mother’s side of the family she figured she had no reason to stay in my home state of Texas so hooking up with this country boy they moved my little brown ass deep into the Louisiana woods.
I remember the first time we drove to Louisiana from South Texas. Cutting through Houston I saw something that blew my mind. I saw a billboard with a brown family on it. “They looked like me!” I thought. Hell! The fact that I even had that thought blew my mind. You’ll almost never hear me reference Cornel West but it was much later I heard him say something to the effect that because of a predominantly white media minorities see the world through white people’s eyes. When I saw that billboard I believe that was the first time I saw the media giving a damn about seeing the world through my brown eyes. I didn’t even know I was capable of having these thoughts. I mattered enough to have a billboard with people who looked like me on it. Odd. Now before you go writing me off as some victim, I try not playing that card. Growing up in a place where just about everyone looks like me I had no reason to think of myself as anything other than … “normal” I guess. I never thought of myself as a minority or victim of some white boogeyman, but the thought that that experience hit me so hard in a visceral, deep seeded way … bothered me. There was something inside of me that I didn’t know was there. BUT THERE IT WAS!
At the time there were only two types of people in those woods, blacks and whites. Being Mexican or brown meant I wasn’t dark or light enough to be either so for the first time I found myself having to deal with both. I was shit out of luck, which reminds me, the next time you hear a black person tell you blacks can’t be prejudice tell them for me to go fuck themselves. I know better.
Our first home in Louisiana was this shitty single-wide trailer tucked half a mile in the woods behind the elementary school. The walk from school was down this brown dirt road flanked by dogwood trees, lush yellow, white and green patches of honeysuckle, and blackberry bushes. I remember me and my sister picking through them like we were bear cubs. But I’m straying from the point. The point was a black family tried moving near by at about the same time … but they didn’t last. A pack of racists had thrown rocks through their living room windows. I didn’t understand why we were allowed to stay. I guess we were just dark or light enough to for them to bare. Before anyone goes and does an exhaustive search through the public records to prove this story false just keep in mind that this is how a ten year old heard the story. So sorry if there wasn’t a police report filed by that black family.
“Nigger,” I always hated that word. In Louisiana people cracked that word like a whip and it stung my ear every time I heard it. I remember sheepishly asking people to not use it around me. A lot of good that did. For me it never completely lost it’s sting, but like a lot of words I came to understand it had it’s share of devices. After I’d joined the Marines I remember thinking it was one of the first twenty words I’d hear when I’d come home on leave. My step father called me “little nigger,” I called him “big nigger.” We were working class men and that was our way of owning our lot in life. My step father was a mechanic, I was a tanker in the Marine Corp.
Four years at Camp Pendleton came and went … I stayed in California. A lot of people come to Los Angeles to get famous. I stayed for the weather. I didn’t give it much thought at first but I also stayed for the safety. A lot of people might think it’s strange to say that I felt safe in Los Angeles. One of the first things people ask me is how I manage to not get killed in such a dangerous city, but that’s not the kind of ‘safe’ I’m talking about. Here no one called me a “wetback,” a “spick,” or “beaner.” They did in the Louisiana … but not here. Outside of calling my step father “Big Nigger” I had no call to use that word, it repulsed me, and in LA I never heard it. After awhile it just became understood that that word had no place here, unless of course you want to get your ass beat, killed, or ostracized.
That’s probably the number one reason I love LA, because there’s everything out here, brown, white, black, yellow, Russian, European, Indian, Muslim, name it, you’ll find it. In my mind at least everyone just kind of melts in, the way I grew up thinking the ideal America should be. The minute I walk into a room I don’t start counting how many of what kind of people are in the room. This is LA, it’s not an issue out here and I love that about this place.
But lets get back to this word everyone loves to hate.
I remember the first time I heard a grown man use the term, “the N word.” Now don’t get me wrong I get that it’s a disgusting word but what are we twelve? Ok, I remember when a kid would snitch on their older brother by telling mom, ‘Joey used the “f” word. or the “s” word.’ And for those of you who don’t remember, the “s’ word was “shit.” Behind our parents backs you knew damn well we all used those words, but not in front of them! We were kids. So now here we are, we adopted our childish tactics to yet another word and everyone’s embracing it. From here on out it’s “the N word.” … … … unless you use an “a” instead of “er” at the end of the word. Then it’s ok … but only if you’re black.
It seems some grand counsel representing the black community met in secret one evening to lay down a few ground rules and forgot to invite the rest of us. The first rule being you can say the word “nigga” with an “a” but not “nigger,” with an “er” because using it with an “a” is somehow a term of endearment while using it with an “er” is a slur, … … however there was a caveat, you can only use this term of endearment if you’re black or Eminem. … All these rules. I’m so confused. WELL FUCK THAT! That’s not how I see it.
When I was twelve people fed, clothed, and sheltered me. I had to abid by my parent’s rules. Considering I do all that shit on my own these days, they can take their pre-pubescent bullshit and shove it up their butts. All these “rules” were asinine. Example, take the word, “ask.” I’m being general here so forgive me, just follow. Most or many black folks will pronounce this word “axe” as in the tool a lumber jack would use. No grand counsel from the black community met to determine they would pronounce that word that way. That’s just how it comes out of their mouths. Same is true with the word “nigger.” Now can they comfortably say it with an “er” at the end instead of an “a” … probably … but much like the word “ask” it just comes out a certain way and that way is with an “a” at the end. So when you hear a black person say the word “nigga,” you’re just going to have to trust me on this one, they mean “nigger.” It just comes out sounding different. As I stated above, there are many devices by which this word can be used, … some positive, some negative. Much the way me and my father referred to each other as “Big Nigger” and “Little Nigger.” There was no hate being spoken and that’s how it came out of our mouths.
The election of the first black president promised peace, proof prejudice was dead. Look world, America is clean, good, no bigots here … … … and then the videos started popping up. Packs of young black kids videoing themselves beating the hell out of white people. “The Knockout Game” became a hit. They would laugh. Had you told me two decades ago I’d be seeing a video of any teenager from any community punching the shit out of an old lady square in the face I’d of blown you off thinking it was some over the top horror script that completely jumped the shark. It could never happen, NEVER! But there it was. It wasn’t just happening, it was happening a lot. Laughing, dancing over the bodies. Did it even occur to them that they could have killed this person? Did they even care? If there ever were people in the black community who fitted the bill placed on them by a klansman these were indeed “niggers.” I don’t even cringe calling them that. These are niggers. And I will not spend one second of my time making excuses for them. That’s for a democrat to do.
Had you asked me a year ago if I was a bigot or prejudice I’d of told you without question no, but being an apostle of intellectual honesty, or at least faking it, I had to reevaluate this question. A tortured benefit of being born in South Texas, being dragged into the woods of Louisiana, eventually finding myself in the city of Los Angeles I can say that I’ve met a good swatch of people and I’m very comfortable in saying we all have a hint of prejudice in all of us. I’ve met black bigots, brown bigots, and lord knows I’ve met asian bigots. Get a Persian drunk enough it wouldn’t be long before they’re telling you how they are decedents of the true superior Arian race. I’ve met Mexican landlords who only rent to Mexicans, I’ve met blacks who hate whites with every fiber of their being. I’ve worked with asians who look down at Mexicans the way a fucked up person looks down at a dog. And yes, I’ve met white bigots. Even here in Los Angeles, in my safe space I’ve met bigots. They tend to keep it to themselves but pour enough drink down anyone’s throat and it comes out. We’re all a little bigoted in one way or the other. The whole idea of minorities not being able to be bigoted because bigotry requires power is bullshit. Power over another person can take many forms.
YOU CAN’T GO HOME
A decade later I returned home, South Texas, drinking with cousins in a back ally. We’re all brown. Night after night, week after week, year after year, the same shit. Drinking in the back ally perched around the bed of someone’s pickup truck talking shit about what I couldn’t understand because they never did anything. How involved could the stories be when all they ever do is stand in the same place day after night and drink. When they get close to their last beer, like a bird, one of them flies off and returns with a fresh six pack. Where’d they get the money from? None of them worked. There mom’s I guess, who the fuck knows. Either way I found myself telling them that they should do whatever they had to to get the hell out of the ally. It’s a big world out there. It’s not all good I explained but it’s not all bad either. So many different kinds of people to meet. This ally is like a bubble to them, a microcosmic they should break free of. They looked at me like I had two heads. My cousin said to me, “What’s this microcosm chit, why ju talking all scientific and chit? Ju don’t understand, ju not like us anymore, ju don’t belong here anymore.” That hurt. … I looked at my cousin and said, “I understand, I understand you’re all a bunch of idiots,” and I left. I never returned. I wasn’t white, I wasn’t black, I sure as hell wasn’t asian, … and it seemed I was no longer brown enough either.
Racism will never cease to exist and I’ll tell you why.
So long as you have a favorite football team, so long as you have a favorite pastime, so long as you find a tribe of people who enjoy doing or thinking the same way you do there will be tribalism. Not to mention the democrats are pros at this. They’ve mastered breaking us down in little groups, blacks vs whites, rich vs poor, old vs young, man vs woman, straight vs gay, fat vs thin, cool vs uncool, democrats vs republicans … Just wait until the first Martian is born. Someone’s going to hate that poor bastard, or he’s going to hate us. :/
SO WHERE ARE WE NOW?
My step father has since passed, I still live in Los Angeles where I’m a political artist. I still think the word “nigger” is a repugnant word, even if now I believe there are some who’ve earned being called that. As an artist I reserve the right to use whatever word I feel is appropriate to the project. If Chris Rock, Tarantino, and every hip hop artist alive can use it then so can I, fuck you.
Anyone is welcomed to pick out a piece that I’ve created or statement that I’ve made and ask me about the context. … Not that I would expect a “Progressive” to afford me that luxury. “Progressives” are evil shits that will go down in history as such. Their focus is not clarity, rather it’s to destroy those who don’t tow their line of bullshit, because God forbid there are people who breathe their air who don’t share their views or worse challenge them. This Epsilon Minus type, I, must be destroyed! What better way to destroy me than to pilfer through my portfolio, find that I’ve used naughty words, and beat me over the head with them? This to label me a racist and shut me down.
It’s strange that I have more sympathy for the black community that the Latin one. I know this because growing up I wasn’t conditioned to see a bigot behind every bush, I never saw myself as a victim. I did however feel many blacks in the South were victims to some degree and I felt for them.
3am I find myself working on posters in town, I step over a young black man. He looks fit as fuck, like he was born in the gym. Then he looks at me with these blood red eye, a rat’s nest for hair, he’s not there, no ones home, his body crumpled in a dirty corner. My blood boils, I seeth inside. The democrats did this, hip hop did this, the drug culture did this, all the shit that’s been poured into this poor kids head from Hollywood did this. I seeth. No matter what anyone thinks about me I know there is a huge spot in my heart for the black community. I want to see it get better, but that wont happen until first it divorces itself from a political party who’s hell bent on creating people who are dependent on them.
Yours most honestly
Somewhere out there a social justice warrior is taking screen shots of this story to end my career and ruin my life. … Like I need their help to do that. 😉