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Saturday, November 29, 2003

Bamboozled 

I just saw this Spike Lee creation for the first time tonight.

I needed that.

I get caught up sometimes...I think we all do. I allow myself to forget things. What did I say awhile ago about classism being "the new racism"? What did I THINK about that?

Where was I this weekend? At the Houston Country Club at a debutante ball? I didn't even know places like that existed. Right there in the middle of the city. Less than a mile from where people lay homeless in the street...

Who was there with me? The door man was there with me, the black guy who opened the door. Who else was there? The debs, one of whom is a good friend and an even better person. The people to whom she was "presented", the white people in tuxedos and ball gowns. Who else? The latino men who cleared a stage right beside me and before I knew it there was a table, where I could eat free food. Do I need free food? I grew up a few miles from there, and never wanted for a thing. Who else was there with me on Wednesday night? The all-white band covering Earth, Wind, and Fire terribly. That's who was there. What did I do? I ate the free food...drank the free booze...and watched all the other people drinking the free booze around me so they didn't notice that the only black man there was opening the door. I talked to him for a bit. If I'd sat next to him on a bus, I bet we could have found some common ground...but not there.

Then I looked at myself and realized I had almost fallen for it. I made a comment to friends...good people with good hearts...that in aikido you use the enemy's momentum against him, and that we were sitting amongst momentum. Money...power. We were also sitting amongst hate...and oppression poorly masked to appear as tradition. I almost fell for it.

Revolutionary change may have to happen in baby steps. But I almost babystepped off track. I almost forgot why I came to law school. Not to make a comfortable living. To make some baby steps.

I hate white guilt. That's why I try to laugh it off when my grandfather describes how much he likes his car by exclaiming, "I wouldn't trade it for a gold nigger". That's another thing I did while at home this Thanksgiving. I told myself, "It's not worth it...I can't change him...he's old...he didn't have the same perspective that I do."

Did I THINK that?

Postmodern cynicism is all well and good...until someone ends up starving on the street a mile from the country club.

I'll forget again. I just hope there's another reminder.

It's not all about race or class or religion or any other one thing or another. It's all those things and more. The systemic nature of injustice is complicated, and I don't pretend to have it figured out anymore than I pretend like I know what's going to happen to me when I die. I just know I have to live in it, and so do the people around me...every one of them from here back to here again.

I have to study now...so I can get a good grade...so I can get a degree...so I can get a good job...so I can...

UPDATE: Patrick brings to my attention that I come off as generalizing. This was a rambling after watching an intense flick, and not a statement of my social or political views in sum. I don't think I could ever distill my worldview down to a blog post, and I don't intend to ever try. That there are some "journal entry" posts on this thing, though rare, will continue. Perhaps I'll make the switch from asserting to musing with a bit more clarity from now on.

Further UPDATE: Just to assuage my...what's that thing that makes you feel bad? Ah forget it...point is I didn't mean to attack anyone and if it came off that way I apologize. I'm don't hate people in country clubs. I don't think people in country clubs are necessarily hateful. I hate that country clubs exist (and what that entails)...the situation, not the people stuck in it regardless of where in it they are stuck.

I give up.

AFTER GIVING UP UPDATE THE NEXT DAY: Even Jess, my girlfriend, misinterpreted this post. If she couldn't get it, knowing me as she does, then nobody possibly could. I'm not going to take this one down...and this might make me shy away from philosophical/ethical musings in the future on the blog...but prolly not, and I'll prolly stick my blog in my mouth again...c'est la vie.

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