I went to the White Horse, a bar off of East 7th street. Very country western with the typical mixed group of people. By “mixed” I mean, people from all walks of life and all ages. My friends and I grab a table and begin to drink our beers and whiskey, and talk about whatever come to mind. You know what I mean. Anything and everything that comes to mind is out on the table and up for conversation. My guy friend, Will**, excuses himself, and goes to the restroom. A middle aged man with a vest made entirely of Christmas lights, has been circulating throughout the bar, dancing with random women and drunkenly makes conversation with strangers. He also goes to the restroom (coincidentally) behind Will.
Will returns to the table:
Will: What do you think of the guy with the Christmas vest?
The Table: I dunno… drunk and middle aged…drunk
Will: He came into the bathroom after me and said, ” Damn… Its packed in here like Amistad!! Hahahah”
The Table: What the fuck?!
Me: Oh hell no! I got somethin’ for his ass!
Will: C,don’t say anything! Don’t cause a scene. He’s drunk that’s all.
Me: He’s not that damn drunk. Who the fuck knows about Amistad?!
Will: Yeah I was the only Black man in there…. I said to him ” Really Man, Amistad?!” And he just kept laughing.
Are we fighting a losing battle? Or better yet, how many times do people who have been at the receiving end of an idiotic joke, just shrug their shoulders and say, ” Oh they’re just drunk.” How many times and for how long? I want a number. I want to know for how long am I supposed to ignore when I am offended. How long am I supposed to ignore when my friend is offended for taking a piss in a restroom?! How long? Can somebody, anybody, give me a number? In this “post-racial” society, can somebody give me a time frame and a number?
Are we fighting a losing battle? Plenty of artists, curators and historians are tackling race, gender and politics. We all have similar ideas to “dismantle the Master’s House” (Lorde 1984) however I wonder, are we really doing it? Or is it like Kerry James Marshall once said in a lecture,I’m paraphrasing, The cannon was established before we [Black people] arrived on the scene and it will not be undone in my lifetime or the next.
Ah. And around Christmas time… yet another made up holiday to celebrate “Jesus’ birth” in actuality is derived from Pagan ideologies… Just sayin’.
Damn, the future is bleak…Or is it?
Throughout the rest of the night, I thought about the man in the lit up vest. I should’ve given him a piece of my mind. Or better yet, I could’ve copied down Adrian Piper’s “Calling Cards” of the 1980s and made his drunk ass read it and realize that no matter how drunk you are, that is not an excuse to be a racist asshole with ridiculous jokes. AND that will be THE LAST, THE LAST THE LAST, time I don’t stand up for what I believe in because we are not losing the battle… I don’t think we are at all. But Every once in a while we all have to be reminded that the fight isn’t over. We have to be reminded that when we have children, cousin and nephews of color come into this world, we have to educate them on this world. We have to educate them on racism, hatred, segregation, just like we teach them their ABCs. This is not a post racial society. If anything its just post-modern.