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Michelle Obama And Me: Variation On A Theme?
I am nothing unique in my perspective and viewpoints of the United States. In fact, I suspect that they are mutual to many of those that share my common ethnic denominator(s). Quite simply, there are Black People in the United States that are far from stupid and are not exhausted, but enraged by incessant insult. And, subsequent to drinking the Jim Jones Kool-Aid that is given to them by the United States and survived, will not drink it again. They will warn their neighbors not to drink it, their children not to drink it, their families and their friends not to drink it. As a matter of fact, they will warn their dogs not to drink it.
People like me have existed in the United States since the first enslaved Alkebulanian set foot in North America. They had names like Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey, Frederick Douglas, Malcolm X, Kwame Ture, Huey Newton, Bobby Seals, Angela Davis and a plethora of others. The vast majority of those reading this article are unaware that on Christmas Day 1521, in the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo, the first recorded slave revolt in the Americas occurred. A group of Alkebulanians (the European in their narrative power and control scheme renamed them “African”), likely Jolof, slaves came together with Original Americans (the European in their narrative power and control scheme renamed them “Indians”), led by the Taíno cacique Enriquillo to demand liberation.
There were many, many slave revolts; ask yourself why you are not told about them.
So, I am nothing new for the spirit that dwells within me is over five centuries old. Further, and frankly speaking, nothing I present, given prevailing circumstance, is new. Albeit brutally trite, there is nothing new under the sun. What makes me slightly unique is not what I present, but how I present it; at least that is what I am told by our readers.
They could of course be lying, but I doubt it.
It is hard for me to believe that it has been a decade and a half, 15 years, since Michelle Obama made a “controversial” remark while speaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The soon to be “first lady” said: “People in this country are ready for change and hungry for a different kind of politics and … for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” I distinctly remember the speech as I was listening to it live.
European-American “white folks” went berserk.
How dare she!, they said. In other words, that Niggress should be proud of genocide. That Niggress should be proud of her ancestors being kidnapped and enslaved. That Niggress should be proud of not knowing the language of her ancestors, not knowing her religions. That Niggress should be happy that we kick in doors in the still of the night and murder young women like her as they sleep. That Nigress ought to thank her lucky stars!
Think about how perverted and sick that is. Think about what type of supremacy syndrome, given the history of Black People in the United States, would cause a European-American to expect a Black Person in the United States to be proud of the United States. I did not state proud of our dominant heritage and who we really are, I said proud of the United States. When a single European-American can answer that question and tell me their frame of reference, their empirical experience, I promise to never speak nor write again.
Ever; and I’m saying it on the record and in public because my confidence is that damned supreme.
Oddly enough, at the moment she made the statement I, too, felt the same way. Though I am reluctant to call the United States “my” country for reasons too numerous to delve into here, I ephemerally shared her overall sentiment. Of course, this transient “pride” or euphoria would soon be annihilated by reality and I will forever feel foolish for it. It was my last drink of the Kool-Aid and it made me sick.
In the final analysis, the Obama presidency was the equivalent of political regifting. It was the same old gift, that the recipient did not want, with shiny new gift wrapping. Festooned and beribboned on the outside, with the same old shit on the inside.
That is my opinion and my assessment.
Nonetheless, the feeling that Michelle had reminds me of an experience I had in 1992 during the so-called “L.A. Riots.” Though it wasn’t just a matter of “pride,” it was similar in that it was a fleeting moment of liberation that is foreign to the Black Person in the United States. It was a thing that only we can understand. It was a variation on a theme.
Only my variation on said theme took place a decade and a half before Michelle’s being “proud” a decade and a half ago.
On April 29, 1992, I was sitting in my office in Anaheim, California. Southern California was tense. Black People in the United Sates that lived in Southern California were even more tense. Black People in the United States are always tense to one degree or another, whether they know it or not. Ergo “hypertension,” the so-called “silent killer” and number one cause of death for the demographic.
Southern California was on edge that day because verdicts were expected in the vicious beating by the uniformed, state sanctioned, badged sus domesticus known as the Los Angeles Police Department of a motorist named Rodney King. Black People in the United States that lived in Southern California were tense not only because of the anticipated aforementioned verdicts, but had been tense because of the brutal and cold blooded murder of a 15 year old Black Child in the United States named LaTasha Harlins just six weeks prior.
While, to this day, the media blames the “unrest” on the Rodney King verdicts, those of us from Los Angeles know that that is not true. Los Angeles had been simmering for over a month since Korean store owner Soon Ja Du blew the child’s brains out. She shot the child from behind as the child exited the store. I tell people all of the time, the King verdicts were the explosion, but LaTasha’s murder lit the fuse.
The Korean murderess, Soon Ja Du, was given a suspended sentence of five years probation, a five hundred dollar fine and ordered to 400 hours of “community service.” By an Anti-Blackist European-American female judge. She sent the same message to Black People in the United States that we are always sent and continue to be sent.
I will have more to say about the Koreans in Los Angeles during the “riots” in an upcoming article. There is much that the public does not know. Really weird stuff. There is a reason that it has never been discussed nor investigated.
LaTasha had a closed casket funeral.
That day, April 29, 1992 the European-American “white” people in my office building were very, very nervous. Anaheim, known for Disneyland, is in Orange County (no it is not named after Donald Trump). Orange County is notoriously racist and always has been. I, as usual, was the only Black Person in the United States in my office and most of the European-Americans could not look me in the eye that day. It was almost as though they knew what was about to occur.
I did, too.
At about noon, I left the office for a meeting with a client. I returned about three hours later and just as I pulled into my parking space, the verdicts came over the radio. By the time I took the elevator to the 11th floor, my European-American workmates were in a frenzy. The Operations V.P. had started to turn the lights out and came over the intercom to tell everyone to leave the premises “go home immediately!” he said. It was surreal.
For reasons that still escape me, I was very calm. In fact, glad to knock off early. I hopped on the 90 freeway heading west. It was about 1530 hours and I did notice that the eastbound traffic was heavy, but I shrugged it off as the usual “white flight” and kept moving. However, as I approached the 110 (aka “Harbor”) freeway, I could see plumes of black smoke everywhere. It was going down.
I lived in Culver City which is a semi-coastal community west of Los Angeles proper. Normally I would have taken the 90 freeway to the 405 (aka San Diego Freeway) and the 405 north. As I assessed the situation in real time, I decided that I would forego the 405 because it is always a disaster. Always, no matter the time of day or night. Plus, I knew all the scared white folks would be scurrying to their lily white beach communities and the 405 is the main thoroughfare. Street travel would likely be quicker.
I decided to go ahead and take the 110, which also runs north and south like the 405 but is much further east and traverses the “N-er” city (if you know what I mean). I got off on Florence Avenue which is not far from where I grew up. I made a left and headed west; the scene was apocalyptic. As I approached Normandie, I saw a red big rig at the intersection, there was no occupant and the rig had been pretty much destroyed. I would find out the significance of the truck in the days to come.
The anger was palpable; yet, not for one second did I feel threatened or endangered (other than from one of the many gas stations set ablaze and concern with explosion).
I finally made it home at about 1730 hours. My first wife and I had just separated and were in the process of divorce so the house was eerily quiet. I brought Odif in (my dog), locked doors and windows and loaded my guns placing them strategically in various rooms. I was in; and had no intention of leaving because I knew things were going to get way more intense.
I had plenty of rations, supplies and beer. Frankly, I was looking forward to resting and watching movies with Odif. Unfortunately, I didn’t watch any movies because I was transfixed by the images of what was occurring and the live on-scene reporting.
Around 1900 hours, a buddy of mine came by and he was in no shape to be driving. I mean he was lit up. He said “man, you gotta see this shit.” I told him I was looking at it on the television and he said “no man, you have to see this…the goddamn cops are scared they are running dude!” I refused but I was a bit curious, plus I did not want him driving. So, I said “okay, we’ll step out for a few minutes and then you are coming back here and sober your ass up.”
The fire, the destruction was massive. At one point, at Crenshaw and Slauson, the ARCO station was ablaze and the pumps had, obviously, not been shut off. We got caught at a red-light at the intersection and the heat from that gas station was so intense that it melted the molding on my passenger window. That is the only time I was concerned for my safety. Cops normally crawl around like roaches in that area; you could not find one. If you had an emergency (including fire) you were on your own.
We headed up towards Wilshire Boulevard and at that point I had seen enough. I wanted to go home, and we headed back. For the most part the LAPD had hidden like roaches when a light is turned on but there were a few checkpoints; especially where the white folks areas bordered Los Angeles proper. Culver City is kind of eclectic and there was, in fact, a checkpoint as we headed west on Slauson at Overhill Drive.
There were three patrol cars that formed a barrier where the two streets met. There were maybe half-dozen uniformed officers checking drivers and their vehicles. Four of the officers had automatic long guns. At some point, my vehicle came up in the queue. The young, very young, officer that asked me for my I.D and where I was going was a belligerent little fellow. I told him I was “going home” and he said “you live in Culver City?” as though that was impossible. I said to him “what do you see on the driver license?” For reasons I will never, ever, understand he raised his rifle. He did not point it at me, but he raised it.
I immediately opened my car door, exited my vehicle and got in his face. Stupid of me, but he had pissed me off and I could see he was scared to death, I could smell the fear on him (which made him even more dangerous). As I am reading him the “riot” act (couldn’t help it) out of what appeared to be nowhere were about 20 brothers that were behind us in the queue that had exited their vehicles. I mean they came out of nowhere.
They said to him “what motherfucker you gone kill all of us?” “Leave that man alone!” “get your bitch white ass the fuck out of here!” They had circled all of the cops. At some point a sergeant walked up to the officer and said to him: “you shoulder that goddamned weapon! Are you out of your mind! You are 10-7!” The sergeant apologized to me, all the brothers got back in their vehicles and he waved us all through.
In my rearview mirror I could see them dismantling the checkpoint.
That night, amidst all of that deadly chaos, I felt safe. I was “proud.” I imagine what I felt, despite its fleeting brevity, is what most European-Americans feel as a matter of course that they take for granted. I felt empowered; I felt unity. I felt what Michelle felt in a different way but that is merely a variation on a theme.
I hope to feel that way again.