“All my skin folk ain’t all my kin folk”

Posted: September 3, 2008 in Commentary, Politics

From time to time my friend and neighbor calls me over to his house to hang for a while. If our other friend is in town or not busy, Brent (not his real name) will give Will (not his real name) a call so that we can just kick back and chill for the evening. Now I have been knowing these bruthas and their families for about a year now and have done all I could think of the welcome them into the neighborhood (my family was the first to arrive out of the three of us). I wouldn’t say that we’re tight, but we certainly have each other’s back if any of us needed something.

Typically when we get together, we talk about life, family, ol’ school music, the housing market, etc. Politics does come up, but I typically say nothing because I keep my political views under wraps when talking with neighbors.

Before I continue, let me tell you a little bit about me.

As I mentioned in a comment the other day, this website is really the only place I openly talk about politics (besides my wife and a couple of family members). Personally, I stay away from not just political shirts, but ANY message shirts. Why? Because when I enter into a place, I want to be taken at face value, not by the political or religious views I may hold. When I encounter folks who have no problem yappin’ about their political beliefs while assuming that you agree with them, I’m usually the one that keeps quiet and then try to move on to another subject when possible. So when it comes to my surrounding neighbors, I have made it a point to not discuss politics. After all, these are folks that I have to live near for a long time.

So anyway, I get a call the other night from Brent to come over to his house to talk about how wonderful and earth-moving Obama’s speech was that evening. I was not trying to go, but at the same time it was always good to hang out with the fellas after a long day.

For about the first half hour to 40 minutes, both of them were going on about the greatness of his speech while railing hard against every Republican/conservative that appeared on the screen (CNN was on at the time). Regardless of what the Republican or conservative talking heads had to say, these bruthas immediately dismissed them as a bunch of racists or faggots. Minutes later, Larry Elder showed up on the tube and Brent really went off calling him a “sellout” while Will assumed that he must be married to a White woman. Brent later chimed in again accusing him of being a White man in Black skin. At this point I actually hoping for an earthquake or something, because little did they know that I actually like a lot of what Larry Elder has to say. I just was not in the mood to go there with them that time of the evening. Now mind you, these bruthas did have a drink, but they were not drunk.

Needless to say, my earthquake didn’t come (at least in the way I hoped). So Brent then turns to me and asks “So what did you think of the speech?”

Dear Jesus!

So I then tell them that as I expected, he did a pretty good job even though the delivery did not match the hype, IMO.  Looking surprised as if I just called Obama a punk, I went on to explain that while Republicans have not done a good job reaching out to Blacks, the Democratic party has relied way too much on Black representation and not true accountability regarding their performance in mostly Black districts. In short, Obama is not saying anything new that hasn’t been said before. He is just another politician. Hey! They asked.

[Insert the song “You dropped a bomb on me”]

From that point on it was as if I had come out of the closet and asked the both of them to bend over. The next 40 minutes or so quickly became my personal hell night as I was peppered with “How could you” -type questions. The conversation at that point quickly escalated into yelling as I refuted their stated claim “Don’t you know Democrats have been good to Black people?” They simply could not accept the fact that I was neither a fan of Democrats or voting for Obama. To them, Bush was to blame for everything wrong with America. When I explained to them that local politicians have done more to screw us than anything Bush could have ever done, that was something they simply could not accept. When I explained to them that both the California Assembly and Senate have been controlled by Democrats for years and were a big part of why one of them is paying out of pocket to have his kid ride the school bus, A. They did not know that about California politics and B. It was still all Bush’s fault. My main point to them was that if you are going to blame Bush for everything, be sure to include the Democratically-controlled House and Senate that voted with him on most major issues–despite the fact they had the power to override his veto. Again, that did not matter to them.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t mind the debate at first. But then I got angry when I saw just how irate they became over my choice not to vote for Obama. For them, Obama was the litmus test for race loyalty and I failed miserably. When we eventually parted ways that evening, the anger between us was still there–something that giving each other a pound could not squelch.

Now the biggest question these bruthas have to deal with now is “Has this person who has constantly offered to watch their kids so that they can enjoy a quiet evening with their spouses, served as a one-man welcoming committee when they first moved to our neighborhood, checked in on their families when they were out of town on business–is this brutha now less of a “true brutha” (as one of them described me to his wife) just because I’m not voting for Obama and do not think highly of Democrats, or have I now become the White boy in Black skin (as they described Larry Elder)? Only time will tell.

From what I have noticed so far, the relationship has changed slightly. This is not the change I was expecting.

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Comments
  1. elderj says:

    but it is perhaps change you can believe in….
    seriously though, i appreciate your post and the position you find yourself in

  2. Well, you’re out of the frying pan now – sorry to hear it. Politics have become poisonously divided in the last few years, no doubt about that, but mixed in with the irrational motivations of “identity politics” they become rabid and incoherent. Hell, I can’t talk politics with most of my family, never mind my in-laws, and my conservatism is considered some kind of kinky weird fetish among my co-workers, most of whom can’t justify them with my far-from-conservative image. I never thought I’d say it, but the only time I feel comfortable nowadays is with people I know from church – if you’d told me that ten years ago I’d have slapped you in the face.

    I don’t know what’s going to end this – maybe a disastrous Obama presidency, but to be honest the kool-aid is so deeply drunk by now that folks will still be loving the man even if their taxes were tripled and subways and malls were blowing up every other month. And if McCain repealed income tax, made Al Sharpton ambassador to the UN and dragged Osama bin Laden personally out of a cave and beat him silly they’d still be mumbling about lynch mobs and police states. I just think we left the realm of logic and reason a long time ago.

  3. Wizz says:

    Sorry to hear that… That’s unfortunate. I think it is true about many people though.. I don’t talk politics either. 1) Most people just don’t get it or even care.. 2) The ones that do are pretty strongly set in their beliefs and not that interested in changing their beliefs. For a lot of people it is like their world will end if their beliefs change. So why even bother.

    House and Senate that voted with him on most major issues–despite the fact they had the power to override his veto.

    Off topic but you have said this a couple times and I don’t think it is true.. Certainly the Senate can not override anything. They barely have a majority. I’m not sure about the house.

  4. Give it a rest says:

    Duane,

    It is obvious that YOU like to think!

    Get over it, you will always be a wiredo in a world full of people that like to have thinking done for them by others.

    I grow up with an IBMer as a father so I had “THINK” sign liberally displayed around the house as a child. I was alway tought to “think about it”!

    Watching the Democratic Convention last week I almost got into with the Missus because I had the nerve to call it a bunch B.S. as the Dem paraded celebrity after celeb and than proceeded to give the stage to all the “failed dem leaders like Al Gore and crew. She has been drinking the “kool aide” and thought the whole extravaganza was wonderful!
    Calling it “smoke and mirrors” and “bread and circus” caused me to get hit with all the “closet republican jokes”.

    Why if I do not agree with the Dems must I be considered a GOP memeber?

    I also made mention of the fact that most of those Democrats that are promising to save you from those horrible republicans actually voted for Bush’s agenda thoughtout his eight years in office.

    Needless to say things were getting a little animated when we decided to cool it! ONe would think that I was questioning or mocking my wife’s believe in GOD the way you can upset her by pointing out any of Obama’s weaknesses.

    I asked her, all things being equal would she want a doctor to do surgery on her if he/she only had 3 years experience or would she choose one with 12 if she had the choice?

  5. wien1938 says:

    My dear fellow, there are many like you who do not subscribe to tribal identities. Keep being independently minded – being independent infuriates the Democrats and their far-left fellow travellers.
    Personally, I think Obama is an overblown windbag and not up to running a peanut shed and that I would like to see the McCain – Palin ticket succeed.
    It is my considered view that the Democrats need a good kicking to remind them that their ideology is not the driving force behind American politics but the American people are that force.

  6. LeGioNofZioN says:

    Duane I feel your pain. In fact I think a lot of people who read the post will agree. In a world where the liberal point of view dominates most subjects, and colours so much of what we see and do, straying from that accepted “wisdom” is often more sinful and sacriligious than anything you can speak of biblically. While this is evident in black communities it persists in others as well. My family is multi racial with blacks and whites making up 85% of the family. I find, on a personal level, my interactions with whites where my politics come up far more uncomfortable. What I am trying to say is you are not alone, and that there are other independant thinkers out there that share your fellings of alienation.

    some of my preferred sites are hiphoprepublican.com and nationalconversation.typepad.com …. best luck moving forward.
    Nicolai

  7. Wizz says:

    Come on guys… seriously… The republican point of view has dominated the culture for at LEAST the better part of a decade or more. Even the Democrats that were successful (i.e. Clinton) had to be republican light… And during this time the republicans gained controlled of every aspect of government.. Including federal and supreme court appointments.. If the conservative way is the best way then they had every opportunity to implement it. So now that the pendulum is beginning to swing the other way don’t try to act like martyrs… And don’t act like dems are the only ones who drink Kool-aid… How’s that Bush kool-aid tasting right about now?.. And don’t act like you weren’t drinking it.

    Here come the cries of “liberal” media.. Yea right.. The media is dominated by money.. Period.

  8. Richard Froggatt says:

    I agree with Wizz that the Republican POV has been dominate. However, speaking from personal experience it seems that the left makes it more difficult/uneasy to disagree. look at the demonstrations taking place outside of the Republican National Convention; has anything like that taken place in Denver? Maybe it has and I just wasn’t paying attention (which is possible).

    I drank the Bush Kool-Aid, and I probably would again; maybe he wasn’t the best choice (hindsight is 20/20) but for all his perceived failures I believe he’s honest.

    The one thing I learned is to pay closer attention to whom I’m giving my vote; if I’d have given McCain a chance the last time I may have voted for him.

  9. heather says:

    One of my friends is a quiet non-political lady, a Native Canadian person who watches TV late at night because there is nothing else to do. She is definitely NOT political, and she doesn’t read the stuff I read, that is for sure.

    However, she said, out of the blue, that Obama, when he talks, uses a lot of “ummm” and “uhhhh”. She has no idea that he is supposed to be the greatest speakers since Diogenes.

    I think that is VERY interest, don’t you?

  10. LeGioNofZioN says:

    I disagree that the republican view has dominated. here is why. A majority of people in the states was brought up on the conservative line of thinking, it is a part of the story of your country, so it resonates with many, but in terms of education, and TV, and from pop culture, to actual culture, most of these have been decidedly anti conservative and anti republican since the 70’s. kids movies and kids books have had a liberal / socialist leaning for as long. so kids born in the 70’s and 80’s see the elder part of society and culture as conservative propgandists and backwards. After all these children, now adults, have never had the conservative view point as a part of their cultural story. Its easy to spot conservative line of thought when it is not yours by any stretch. Likewise, if one is brought up with, or investigates conservative thought it is just as easy to see the liberal bias or viewpoint. not trying to play moral equivalensce with this but it really just seems that way to me. My dad came from the west indies in the 70’s and rebelled against liberal thought after nohting happened, he was lied to and promised things that never came. and when it came time to be accountable the Canadian liberals at the time knew how to blame others and never accept responsibility. as a result when I started to question my liberal view point by having to defend it against my father I came to see the inconsistancies and hypocrisy in what I associated myself with. over time I came to self identify as a conservative, and I am sure many others have similar stories out there.

    This anecdote serves to illustrate that both conservative and liberal biases have existed and been promoted simultaneously but by different parties/organizations/people. It all depends on which side you fall on as to how angry the other side makes you.

  11. David says:

    I am not an American, but I can empathise with you Black Informant. Here in Europe a very large percentage of the populace think that Obama is the most wonderful thing to have happened to the world. I basically think he is a lightweight that talks well.

    When the discussion turns to US politics I usually just stay quiet because I know that here too questioning Obama is likely to lead to shock and horror amongst the others present.

    About 5 years ago some people were having a discussion at lunchtime in my workplace about who was the best US President of the 20th Century. They were divided between FDR and JFK, so they aske me my opinion. Innocently I told them my real view and said Reagan. There was then this terrible stunned silence, similar to the reaction there might have been if I had squatted on the table and dropped a turd into the salad bowl.

    This taught me to keep my views to myself. 🙂

  12. Peg says:

    Duane – try being a woman of Jewish heritage with a number of conservative views living in a sea of liberal Jews! Actually – our positions sound rather similar.

    I always try to be respectful and explain why I believe what I believe. The “explaining” part never quite seems to get across, however…

    Seems when a minority group believes something almost “en masse” – it is tough to get them to analyze and ponder it in depth. Hey; tough to get them to look at it even briefly!

  13. Duane says:

    Off topic but you have said this a couple times and I don’t think it is true.. Certainly the Senate can not override anything. They barely have a majority. I’m not sure about the house.

    Sorry it took me this long to respond to this. It slipped my mind.

    Harry Reid is the majority leader of the Senate
    Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House

  14. Wizz says:

    Harry Reid is the majority leader of the Senate
    Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House

    I know this… You said they have the power to override Bush vetos. They need 3/4ths of BOTH house and senate to do this. I know for a fact they do not have 3/4ths of the senate… Still not sure about the house.

  15. Duane says:

    Pelosi led the charge to override the veto on the water projects bill last year. They also did the same for the medicare payment bill this year. The Senate followed suit.

    So again, they can flex their power when they want to.

  16. Natasha Torres says:

    Duane
    in my earlier years I tried to avoid political conversations @ age 60 the heck with what others think. Try being a Latina Jew with some conservative ideas?

  17. Ron Miller says:

    Duane, I am there with you! It’s the emotion and refusal to consider any arguments whatsoever, no matter how rationally presented, that frustrates me. The lack of critical thinking and healthy skepticism is why one party takes us for granted and the other writes us off.

  18. Solacious says:

    Its been a long time since I posted because I haven’t read your posts in such a long time, since our last episode when you refused to be honest with yourself…. blah, blah, blah! Maybe you picked the wrong time to declare your anti-Obama-ism! The night of a historical event and his speech, um probably not a good time. Maybe, you should’ve spoken up all those previous times that you were there when your neighbors were discussing their own political beliefs. But instead, your silence was an invocation of your approval…..and then you dropped the bomb! Yeah, those relationships are going to be strained because you weren’t exposing your full and true self and now they know more than what you previously let on, so its your fault! Don’t blame them. The foundations of true friendship is honesty and by giving your “silent agreement” to previous discussions, means you were being dishonest. I guess they’re wondering now, “What else do we NOT know about this guy?” I have lots of friends, and I do call them friends, with various backgrounds and views, and we speak and debate about them often, and we maintain the same respect for each other, because we know upfront how and what we believe! Next time, don’t be a coward and express yourself. 😉 That gives people a chance to understand you.

  19. Duane says:

    Its been a long time since I posted because I haven’t read your posts in such a long time, since our last episode when you refused to be honest with yourself….

    That’s funny.

    Maybe you picked the wrong time to declare your anti-Obama-ism! The night of a historical event and his speech, um probably not a good time. Maybe, you should’ve spoken up all those previous times that you were there when your neighbors were discussing their own political beliefs.

    They asked me a question, I gave them an answer. Something I have done since I was a child. Timing was on them.

    Next time, don’t be a coward and express yourself. 😉 That gives people a chance to understand you.

    Wow! That’s…uh…great advice coming from someone who uses the name “Solacious” instead of their real name.
    Funny. You claim to “understand me” based on a few exchanges online.

    Respect is a two-way street. Assuming that someone agrees with you just because you are passionate about a POV is wrong–period. These guys assumed too much and when they finally asked me what I thought, I gave them an answer they didn’t like. As a result, OVER POLITICS the relationship has changed on their side. I have many friends with many differences between us. We assume very little of each other and polite enough to ask each other for our POV. These two guys were the exception of what I have experienced in my life.

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