Sunday Sermon [Prayer]

Hola Everybody,
Happy Sunday. I haven’t posted this in a while. It was inspired by someone who said similar words to me in an elevator, of all places. I don’t pray, nor do I like to chant, but here goes…

My Prayer for You

If I actually prayed, my prayer for you would be that you have the opportunity to live a life in which you would be able to discover and engage that which you are most passionate about — making it your life’s work. That you would able to reap the fruits of that passion and be filled with joy for that work. My prayer for you would be that what you love most would be the vehicle for your creative expression, for it is what you were born to do. This is what I would pray for you…

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Remaining Teachable [Blackbird]

Hola Everybody,
What did I learn today?

This is what I learned today. With all the shit that’s going down, perhaps this will put a song in your heart…
06-25-2020_ Remain Teachable [Blackbird].jpg
Are you familiar with the song “Blackbird” by The Beatles? Most of us are. I had no idea the meaning behind it. Did you? I will never listen to it the same way again.

“Paul McCartney was visiting America. It is said that he was sitting, resting, when he heard a woman screaming. He looked up to see a black woman being surrounded by the police. The police had her handcuffed, and were beating her. He thought the woman had committed a terrible crime. He found out the “crime” she committed was to sit in a section reserved for whites.
Paul was shocked. There was no segregation in England. But, here in America, the land of free, this is how blacks were being treated. McCartney and the Beatles went back home to England, but he would remember what he saw, how he felt, the unfairness of it all.

He also remembered watching television and following the news in America, the Black struggle for human rights and what was happening in Little Rock, Arkansas, what was going on in the Civil Rights movement. He saw the picture of 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford attempt to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School as a vicious mob followed her, yelling, “Drag her over this tree! Let’s take care of that n**ger!'” and “Lynch her! Lynch her!” “No n**ger b*tch is going to get in our school!”

McCartney couldn’t believe this was happening in America. He thought of these women being mistreated, simply because of the color of her skin and he sat down and started writing…

Last year at a concert, he would meet two of the women who inspired him to write one of his most memorable songs, Thelma Mothershed Wair and Elizabeth Eckford, members of the Little Rock Nine (pictured here).

McCartney would tell the audience he was inspired by the courage of these women: “Way back in the Sixties, there was a lot of trouble going on over civil rights, particularly in Little Rock. We would notice this on the news back in England, so it’s a really important place for us, because to me, this is where civil rights started. We would see what was going on and sympathize with the people going through those troubles, and it made me want to write a song that, if it ever got back to the people going through those troubles, it might just help them a little bit, and that’s this next one.”

He explained that when he started writing the song, he had in mind a black woman, but in England, girls were referred to as “birds.” And, so the song started:

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting
for this moment to arise.”

McCartney added that he and the Beatles cared passionately about the Civil Rights movement, “So this was really a song from me to a black woman, experiencing these problems in the States: ‘Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith, there is hope.’ ”

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting
for this moment to be free.”

Here’s my favorite version of Blackbird as interpreted by the great great Bobby McFerrin…

 

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Daily White Privilege Reminder [Possessive Investment in Whiteness]

Hola Everybody,
Years ago, I happened upon George Lipsitz’s book, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness and it opened my eyes to the many insidious ways in which white was maintained at the expense of Black and Latinx people. There are many eye-opening facts in this work, not the least of my discovery that there were by-laws expressly forbidding Blacks from housing in suburbs.

In this unwavering look at white supremacy, George Lipsitz argues that racism is a matter of interests as well as attitudes, a problem of property as well as melanin. Check it out…

06-23-2020_ White Privilege [Possessive Investment in Whiteness]

Transcending personal feelings and acts of individual prejudice, whiteness is a structured advantage that produced unfair gains and unearned rewards for whites while imposing impediments to asset accumulation, employment, housing, and health care for members of marginalized racial groups. Reaching beyond the black/ white binary, Lipsitz shows how whiteness works in respect to Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. Lipsitz delineates the weaknesses embedded in civil rights laws, the racialized dimensions of economic restructuring and deindustrialization, and the effects of environmental racism, job discrimination, and school segregation. He also analyzes the centrality of whiteness to U.S. culture, the racial appeals encoded within patriotic nationalism, commercialized leisure, and political advertising. Perhaps most important, he identifies the sustained and perceptive critique of white privilege embedded in the art and politics of the radical black tradition. This revised and expanded edition includes an essay about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on working class Blacks in New Orleans, whose perpetual struggle for dignity and self-determination has been obscured by the city’s image as a tourist party town.

(source: Nielsen Book Data)

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Daily White Privilege Reminder [Spic]

Hola Everybody,
Everydy, I am reminded that, by far, white people are in complete denial of racism. When they do acknowledge it, they make it about their feelings. I am so tired…

The following is true — all of it. And it’s not even scratching the surface.

Spic

06-22-20_ White Privilege [Spic]

I still remember that day very clearly. I was in the second grade at a time when classes were tracked in NYC. So, if you were in class 2-1 that meant you were the cream of the crop. On the flip side, if you were in class 2-6, say, then everybody took you as a dummy. Though I lived in the Lower East Side with a majority being Puerto Rican, class 2-1was full of white (mostly Jewish) kids.

We fought all the time. The Jewish kids were some bigoted muthafuckas…

I was academically gifted and my father taught to me how to read before I went to kindergarten. My father always had a library in our home and we would read together. Reading in our home was expected. It was part of the culture.

So, in the second grade, lorded over by a nasty piece of work, Mrs. Finerman (I’ll never forget her name), though my reading score was high, she sent me to something I can only call a special needs class whenever reading time came. We would do jack shit during this time. Some white lady would give me some crayons and shit and tell me to color.

But I was too smart and whenever Mrs. Finerman would call on me to read, I read better than her precious white kids. I was too young to understand, but I felt in my body that something was wrong. I couldn’t name it — I was in the fuckin’ second grade! — but I knew I was being singled out and I knew Mr. Finerman took some pleasure whenever I didn’t know the answer to a question or if I slipped somehow.

Eventually, I began to become passive. I began to recede in the hopes of escaping her notice. I didn’t like the way I felt in her class, and I didn’t feel safe, or valued and, as a result, my grades began to suffer. Now, fuckin’ up in school was a major no-no in our home, so I was getting it on one side from Mrs. Finerman and on the other side from my strict parents.

I didn’t know what to do because Mrs. Finerman was a teacher and my parents demanded that I respect my teachers. Yet, while I didn’t have the psychological awareness to name what Mrs. Finerman was doing, I felt it was wrong.

One day, I got tired of all the bullshit and I was determined to answer a question and I raised my hand even though Mrs. Finerman always ignored me. So, I blurted out the answer even though she didn’t call on me and she became infuriated. She turned red in the face and spittle coming out her mouth, she yelled out, “YOU SPIC! WHO TOLD YOU TO ANSWER THE QUESTION?! GO TO THE CORNER!”

A hush settled over the class for a moment before the class erupted in laughter. I didn’t even know what “spic” meant. I mean, I had heard the merchants on Orchard St. use the term, and I knew it wasn’t a nice term, but I had no clue. What I knew was that I felt utterly humiliated. My ears burned with shame, and tears came from my eyes unbidden. My stomach clenched and I felt sick. Some of my classmates took up the refrain, “Spic! Spic! Spic!” until Mrs. Finerman hushed the class and then she took me roughly by the hand and sat me in the corner. I can still see her smirk as she walked away, saying, “You’re going to have to learn your place, boy.”

I remember punching Butch in the nose (and breaking it) after school when he came to tease me once the bell rang. He ran screaming to his house and his mother, the loudest bitch on our block, came to complain to my father.

Think about it: an academically gifted young boy, not even seven year’s old, falling from grace as a result of emotional and psychological abuse from an authority figure. My life was taking a bad turn and I was only seven years old.

My father, who was very loving but strict when it came to education, asked me what was wrong. Why was I failing at school and becoming violent and just plain fucking up? I didn’t know what to say. I thought, what if I told him about Mrs. Finerman and that got me in worse trouble? My father saw the fear in my eyes and very gently asked me, “It’s OK, tell me what’s going on.”

And I told him — everything. I was so scared! I thought for sure I would be punished forever. My father simply held me to his chest and, soothing me, he kept saying, “It will be OK.” After a bit, he smiled and asked me if I wanted to go to the store with him to get some ice cream. Then he told me the one thing I’ll never forget, “There’s nothing wrong with you, my son. I will protect you and we will fix this and everything will be fine, OK?”

And it was. Unbeknownst to me, my father paid a visit to the school and from that time, Mrs. Finerman, who was made to apologize to me in front of the class, couldn’t have been nicer to me for the next two months. I couldn’t stand her and I knew she was a fake.

So, I guess white privilege is never having to worry that what happened to me would ever happen to your child or someone you love. And, believe it or not, this happens everyday in almost every school across the land. In one way or another, it happens.

You’re welcome.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…