The recent events in Ferguson, Missouri got me to thinking. Thinking about one summer day when I was 11 years old and invited a walking-by 12 year old black boy, the son of Nativity Elementary school’s maintenance man, to join in and even out a pick up football game in the school yard. I thought about how my mother at the time asked me if I ought to think about doing that again with all the trouble going on at the time with the Biloxi “Wade-In,” a bloody racially opposed encounter involving chains, billy clubs, and gunfire. Led by black physician and civil rights leader, Dr. Gilbert Mason, it was an attempt to desegregate the beaches. But ours was just a game. And we had fun.
I thought about how in 1963 as a member of the state champ Little League team, headed to the Norfolk, Virginia Regionals, that our parents had to sign waivers so we could play and dorm with black players on the Kentucky team. We played and lost. But we had lots of fun, and made an indelible memory.
I thought about how as a teenager I followed the work orders under the supervision of black laborers, working with bricklayers, and then seeing them in our home each Christmas season, having been invited by my father, himself a bricklayer who also worked side by side on scaffolds with Mr. Grady, a black bricklayer. I recall the joy and camaraderie of these blue-collar workers.
I thought about my junior year at Biloxi High School, freshly integrated, how we had two black male students in the band and how band director Prof Marion Carpenter, who taught students one on one, also taught these black students likewise. Our band was the best around.
I thought about how in college I worked part-time in the kitchen alongside blacks and whites, as well as being managed by black and white adults. And how the world did not come crashing down.
I now look around, with others, and see black and white children going to school together, playing sports together, and at each others birthday parties. How blacks and whites together own and invest in business, share civic duties, worship together, employ and are employed by each other, and are even in each other’s weddings.
I doubt my experience is an isolated one. For whites, or blacks. In fact I know it’s not.
To hear it from the news outlets though you’d think the country was roiling in a new civil war. They revel in presenting the “them and us” paradigm, the dark side, the disputation to that which unifies. The open wound is what interests them. Social binding is not their gig though they feign it to be; the inflamed and open wound, with its purulent discharge -- the boil that oozes -- this seems to be, more often than not, what makes them tick.
There’s really not a cat’s hair difference between CNN, MSNBC, and FOX and the spin each puts on the news. In my opinion, the real minority here are the owners of the media outlets and their automatons that spew forth the spun product. But having to watch them anyway, asses they are with their penchant for strife, conflict, and disunity, we know them at least for who and what they are and what they do. They pimp the news.
It defies the rational mind to believe a trained officer of any color, with an impeccable work record would ignore foresight and consequences, and as they’ve alleged and said, “shoot the nigga six times in cold blood” with his hands held up. It is indeed, in the realm of possibilities possible. But it‘s also possible he might be a well-trained officer exercising measured restraint and only after trying to avoid bloodshed defended himself from harm. An unjust killing should indeed be punished severely, if the evidence should so determine. But conviction should come by evidence, not by the raw emotion inflamed, swept and molded by the owners of media outlets.
There’s an interesting concept in psychology called “transference,” in which the patient (the one needing help) “transfers” their emotions from a previous ill-fated relationship upon the therapist (the one helping). Transference can be positive, or more commonly negative, in which anger, hostility, and violence are heaped (transferred) onto the therapist/helper. It seems to me there’s a lot of collective transference going on in Ferguson regardless of what the eventual facts may tell us. I could be wrong.
There are both blacks and whites who are perceptive and imperceptive, and who are understanding as well as misunderstood. While we all know things can always be better, we also know it’s really not the civil war these mouthpieces would have us believe. We see it for what it is, the broad brush they take a hankering to in slinging, hysterical and orgasmic-like, their criticism and blame. I have a sneaky suspicion that, with respect to this issue, the Credibility Hammer is fixing to come down on their pompous heads.
It seems to me that we should think twice before reaching for the Criticism or Blame Brush, and that it might be more prudent to use a rather smaller one. Because otherwise you may end up painting someone who doesn’t need painting, or worse yet, paint someone the wrong color.