Epiphanies of a Colored Person

By Patrick Hall

First, some semi-random thoughts! The iconoclast in me has never totally accepted the supposed difference between the politically correct term “Person of Color” as opposed to the older designation of referring to black folks as Colored People.  Over the last five decades, the term has been expanded to include other non-Caucasian groups. Yet, isn’t white color, pinkest white, brownish-white, or tannish-white?  Shouldn’t white people also be incorporated within the pseudo-racial taxonomy so dear to the woke-cultural-left or “real black people” like Ibram X. Kendi, Jim Clyburn(D-SC), Maxine Waters (D-C), Professor Cornel West, the Rev Al Sharpton, and other diversity industry tribalists?  But sometimes, I can’t help myself when I feel the urge to poke a stick-in-the-eye of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion crowd.

With that said, during my adolescent years, when my friends and I got into one of our occasional scraps, we would call each other Niggers, Dagos/Wops, Crackers, Beaners, Jungle bunnies, Spics, Japs, Ricans, dump-ass Polack, and a host of other colorful ethnic pejoratives. These same so-called “ethnic slurs” were often used as terms of endearment and a source of light-hearted ribbing or jokes. Of course, over the last four decades, we have been told by our intellectual betters and “culturally sensitive busybodies” that racial/ethnic jokes aren’t funny and are often hurtful.  I first became cognizant of this left-of-center virtual-signaling nonsense back in 1979 in Seattle, during what would be one-of-many employers-sponsored cultural sensitivity workshops.  

Nevertheless, in the obligatory tussles with our German friends over in St Boniface Parish, we always managed to do our very best Sergeant Saunders, calling them Krauts.  Those were the days before PC, Woke culture, and the pernicious chauvinism of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion alchemists, pushing identity politics. It preceded the rise of the racial entitlement state.  In retrospect, I must admit those weren’t the best moments as friends in the 1950s and 60s.  And, of course, the situation in the segregated South during this same period was an abomination too many of us. This was despite our less-than-perfect ethnic semantics. Yet a characteristic of how we interacted was that we remained best of friends even with these shortcomings, notwithstanding the occasional punch to the head.

 Looking back on it, we were left to work things out among ourselves. Everything didn’t become the stuff of an ACLU discrimination lawsuit, Civil Rights investigation, dubious if not “tiresome” accusations of racism, nor a BLM-Antifa “riot-protest.” My best friend’s father would often employ many ethnic and racial pejoratives as his favorite adjectives. However, knowing Mr. D most of my life didn’t make him Klan supporting white supremacists. Maybe a jerk at times, but hardly a Jim Crow supporting a racist. Mr. D would’ve been the first one to tear off the head of a Bull Conner white racist and crap down their throats to protect anyone in the neighborhood. My point here is that just because someone, say a relative, at your thanksgiving celebration table might use less than “racially sensitive” terminology, that hardly makes them a card-carrying member of the 1950s and 60s Klan. They might have been obtuse or doltish.  However, in Mr. D’s case, he didn’t give a rats-ass about somebodies’ feelings, especially if that individual seemed to live up to a stereotype.   But it hardly made him a “systemic- I’m-going-out-after-dinner-and-shoot-the-first-black-person-I-see-racist.”

  No one tried to mandate cultural sensitivity, which today’s pretentious diversity quacks don’t see as just another form of censorship and intimidation.  We all knew intuitively that shutting people up doesn’t build anything, much less authentic tolerance.  Their now almost Arthurian search for the Holy Grail of “micro racisms/bigotry/aggressions” wasn’t on our cultural radar. We didn’t make it a point of searching for nor ceasing upon any opportunity to feel grievously offended.  We didn’t go running to the Federal government for every redress.  

Yes, it was tough and not the method picked by contemporary purveyors of identity politics, racially sensitive Democrats and various species of “Identitarians.” But it worked!  Quite honestly, it is the single reason why today, in my 71st year, I tend to trust Conservatives or just plain PC/Woke adverse Americans. Conversely, I’m more cautious of your average culturally sensitive, pure of racial epitaphs liberal and too often Democrat.

I don’t trust liberals or most Democrats at all.  I probably need to work on my trust issues. Maybe?

 I have learned many Democrats and most liberals over the years, only like black people, Latinos, and other designated oppressed groups as “ideas.”  In most cases, these same liberals live as far away as possible from their supposed “beautiful diversity mosaic.”  They don’t have to send their children to inner-city schools, nor put up with the noise and inappropriate civic behavior, which is a permanent feature in less affluent urban areas.   Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it is a person’s right, plus a good thing to want to live in the best neighborhoods, where criminality is not so omnipresent. And indeed, all of us want to afford our children the best schools possible.  My problem with liberal Democrats is that they will quickly lecture you on cultural tolerance and speak about detrimental behaviors in many urban communities. However, they conveniently don’t live near the discord.  They adopt a peculiar Bonhoefferian “grace on the cheap” posture in their pontifications concerning race and cultural diversity (i.e., Tribalism or Balkanization with a Smiling Face).

From Calexico and Turlock, California, to Brownsville and Lubbock, Texas, places that I have lived and worked, the people who were the biggest supporters of open borders and illegal immigration were those who didn’t have to live with the results of their altruism. They were highly magnanimous because they cost them very little.

 In retrospect, this is one of the many reasons why so many of us voted for a non-politician like Donald Trump.  We were just fatigued with your typical say-everything-just-right politician infest both the Democrat and Republican Parties. The polite, risk-averse, and phony social filters weren’t there with Trump.  In short, Donald Trump reminds me a lot of the guys I grew up within the 1950s and 60s. Yes, he’s rough around the edges, in your face, and a somewhat chafing individual. I also must admit that he was a bit more plebeian in his polemics for a billionaire rich guy, especially when compared to the latent condescending patrician attitudes of Progressive Liberal Democrats. But Trump is not a racist. Nor is he a Hitler protégé because he dared use the phrase “law and order.”  To many Americans of the Democratic persuasion, Trump’s law and order comments made him a Nazi in training, or at the very least, an unabashed evangelist in the Church of White supremacy. At least, that is what Joe Biden was particularly anxious to point out during his inaugural address. Also, Biden’s rude remarks at Morehouse College a few weeks ago, when he inferred that those of us who opposed the so-called Voting Right legislation, were Bull Conner and white segregationist clones.  

Calling people, who you politically disagree with, a racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, transphobic, climate-denying-anti-science-Islamophobe, etc., are familiar tools within the Democrat political arsenal.  Expressing concern about the chaos at the Southern Border is not driven by racism or fear of the “Browning of America!” Many Hispanic Americans that I have gotten to know in places like Brownsville and Southern California share the same uneasiness.

I also find it more than ironic that Biden and many in the political class are more concerned about protecting the integrity and sovereignty of the Ukrainian border in the current news cycle. At the same time, ours is left wide-open to the world.

 These accusations by the cultural left, and many within the Democratic Party, say more about the impenetrable racial prism that they filter everything through. However, projection is a favorite, if not a belabored, device of the Progressives, Liberals, and the Democrat polity.
If everything and everyone is a racist or Hitler, a form of cultural anomie, if not an immedicable nihilism, will continue to fester.  Many on the cultural left, which includes the Pontiff of Subreption, Dissembling, projection and heart-warming Doublespeak, Barrack Hussein Obama, have drunk deeply from the well of identity politics. As a recovering Progressive Liberal Democrat now in my fifth decade of sobriety , it is sad to see that many well-meaning Americans have succumbed to this cultural toxin.

1. See., Offend me….. Please!
2. See., Boy, Pick that up
3. See.,  I haven’t been Black since 1972

[Patrick is a retired University Library Director. He is graduate of Canisius College and the University of Washington where he earned Masters Degrees in Religious Studies Education, Urban Anthropology and Library and Information Science.  Mr. Hall has also completed additional course work at the University of Buffalo, Seattle University and St. John Fishers College of Rochester New York. He has published in several national publications such as Commonweal, America, Conservative Review, Headway, National Catholic Reporter, and American Libraries. He has published in the peer reviewed publications, Journal of Academic Librarianship and the Internet Reference Services Quarterly. From 1997 until his retirement in January 2014 he served on the Advisory Board of Urban Library Journal, a CUNY Publication.]

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