03 October 2008

still catchin up; responding to racial foolishness...

i have had a really rough week. work on top of work on top of work. i think i might end up solving many of my financial woes due to a) the world's refusal to let the dollar fail [much in the same vein that the US congress is not going to let GM fail ] and b) the political shenanigans here in south africa. when i got to this place nearly 4 years ago, the exchange rate was flirting with R5.85 to the dollar. when i bought my house 2 years ago, it was roughly R6.25 to the dollar. at the moment, as in, as i've started this missive, it's 8.5 to the dollar. this means that selling my house is a bad idea at the moment, but it also means that i should be able to pay my mortgage. with my breakup, it's been hard to do over the past 12 months or so.

a lot of time i spend "working" i'm actually looking at a lot of other blogs, and making comment on various issues around the world as well as those pertaining to both south africa, and latin america. in fly brother's blog, i came across an answer in ernest's post that was so spectacularly full of fail i just sat and stared. i mean, this man was just full of the dumb if he believes what he has written. and if he really does believe what he has written then i can pretty much outline his family history without guessing all that hard. this guy, while a "black englishman" [which, by the way, in these parts is one of the greatest insults you can hurl at someone] has basically drank somebody's line that britain is all one good multi-culti kum-ba-ya. [or, if you like, hillary clinton's lambasting of obama's cheeriness -- i heard that obama himself was cracking up over that.]

it was a short response, but it was so full of fail that i just can't let it go. perhaps it's because, being a dark-skinned black person who actually likes to be around dark-skinned black people that i've gotten into a lot of SHIT while living in europe. since i'm harping on this dude's britishness, i'll talk about the UK. so, the first time i live there by myself, which is in the early 90s for about 8 months or so -- i went back for nearly 3 years later on -- i had just gotten out of uni, and a few weeks after i'd gotten there, i had a hot zambian boyfriend [who is still there and for some reason now sounds more english than the queen], and two really cool mates [one black and kenyan-born, french-raised british citizen, and the other a black nigeria born and raised british citizen] who ended up dating each other. i lived in a trendy flat that was practically in zone 1* at age 22. imagine. hell, all of us were 22 at the time. now we're all middle aged. blah.

so we're heading back to my krib from stoke newington where chukwu lived, we get pulled over by the entrance to the rotherhithe tunnel. chuki's tax disc had expired. the police took that moment to try to cause DRAMA. chuki and sanj were just sitting there, taking it. mwangi was in the country on fake papers so he wasn't saying shit. i was like, "blah, i had to put up with this shit in france and i have to do it here, too? um, no." i said to the officer in my best american accent, which is an effort when i've been drinking: "please don't tell me this is going to be another black boys on mopeds incident. because that would just not be cool" they turn paler than i thought possible [white people in the british isles are so translucent that even their halfies come out damn near white] get a *good* look at my passport and let us all go. i was furious. i hate having to go nuclear, but i only save it for the police.

[and believe it, my black ass did this like a champ in brazil, despite not needing subtitles to watch either cidade de deus or gabriela, cravo e canela. i *only* spoke to the police in english in brazil, even if they couldn't understand me. fuckers are still shooting brothers for sport. but this is about england, so i'll save that rant for later.]

anyhow, back to "i'm a black englishman". lolwut. now, okay, i know people who refer to themselves as such, but not in to the degree of pomposity that is so naked in his response. i mean, if he had said something analogous to the reason that why mark lewis-francis chose not to run for jamaica in the olympics [before he got injured], i could understand that. but there was none of that. [mark lews-francis is, like another one of my exes, from wolverhampton. jamaican while in the uk, british while outside of it. hm. i have another story to tell...]

i would have been willing to let "paul" off the hook, had he not continued with the stupidity. to wit:

Furthermore, the thought that hailing a taxi on a London street would be easier if I asked a white female companion to do it would be easier, seems preposterous to me. Maybe this says a great deal about the difference between African Americans and black British.

say what? you're kidding, right? my body cannot begin to contain the lolwuttery and general state of fail that you are presenting to me.

and, honestly this:

I just assume I will be charged more because I'm a European.

is "i speak spanish like a gallego." that is what it says to me. s00? ernie? folaji? que opinan? i mean, if you were a new yorker of colombian parentage or, as e-money did, faked the san andres funk, your accent would probably be much, much different. shit, you still could *fake* it. really. "my mother is colombian but my father is gallego," or the other way around. so yeah, it's a fair assumption to make. but, to be honest, and i hope you are really thinking about it -- because your whole demeanor in your post is totally giving off the "i'm a european, and i'm in a third world country; i'm better than them." it reminds me of this "brother" that i had to school when i was on holiday in gambia.

i could be wrong. but, like i said, your choice of words? i don't think i am.

i mean, either you're in denial or you were, how should i put this, not really raised around black folks in england -- which is fine, but like i said, i'm guessing the latter. from from what your response is giving me.

i mean, i've had more than a small number of incidents in england, france and spain over my black ass being in the "wrong" place or going to the "wrong" neighborhood. [i actually gave up my french passport, partially in protest. BIG MISTAKE, but anyway.]

but, the post that ernesto writes that inspired all of this? i can relate to it -- while living in england. in most of the jobs i had while i lived in the uk [or france. or south africa. or holland.], i was the only black male, if not the only black person, who was working in the building that was not CLEANING it. and in my first job there, there were just no other non-white "staff" -- now there were non-white faculty, and there's a reason that people called my place of employment "School of Patel" but negroes on the payroll? it was just me. hell, even when i worked in washington, dc, i was one of only two black males at my law firm that wasn't working in the mail room when i started -- and depending on the kind of day i was having, i would either politely or impolitely tell some dumb white person that, well, just because i'm in the mail room filling out a slip for some copies to be made does not mean that i work in the mail room. the mailroom guys ended up barring me from the place, for fear i would end up fired. people were wondering, especially in washington, why i would be so willingly underemployed for my education level. [the answer: legal secretaries with 10 yeas of experience at big law firms get paid more than college professors throughout the dc metro. i don't seek status; just show me the money.]

but, overall i was okay with workplace or academic situations of being the "only one", considering that for most of my life, i'd almost always been the only black male in my academic classes: a notable exception was my chemistry class in tenth grade, which had this guy in it -- but he was the only other black male in that any of my academic classes in three of my four years of high school, and he was the only black male in his graduating year who was college preparatory. university? no other black people in any of my non-gym classes until i was a SENIOR. but i grew up in a world [ie related to] of a lot of accomplished black people; seeing them when i got home for vacations or reunions was just as normal as not seeing another black face in my classes. [the first time in my life when i *didn't* have a black primary care physician was when i moved to cape town 4 years ago. go fig.]

so i'm not saying it's just a UK thing or a latin america thing. i'm kinda used to there being no other black people around in the intellectual circles that i ran in -- but my social circles more than made up for the lack of color. [which is where i think pablo -- or his parents -- has dropped the ball.]

oh, and to the people whose blogs i've been peeping lately... welcome. i'm not normally this militant. i'm usually worse. lol.

anyway. i think i'll stop there -- there is some work i want to crank out before i go to bed.

*thames tunnel mills. in the attached photo, that is the building on the right. second to right is the mayflower pub, which, as its name implies, is the original mooring for the mayflower. yes, that mayflower.

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