Saturday, May 22, 2010

From: Cafe au Lait

(Full disclosure: I am an olive-skinned Turkish-American, unforunately the census bureau keeps categorizing me as white.)

I hear more than a few African-Americans these days saying that all the socio-economic proplems of African-Americans in the US today is a result of slavery in pre-1965 America.

I sort of understand. I spent many years angry as a young boy and man because I was born poor, my father split from the house (leavinga piles of debts) when I was twelve, people made fun of me because I was fat, at sixteen I had rampant acne, no mopney to go to a skin dictor, I developed huge purple whelts on my face, causing me to hide my face when I met girls, finally had the pus and blood drained at nineteen only to leave scars on my face that have lasted a lifetime...etc., etc., etc.

Then one day I counted my blessings (i.e., my profits: revenue minus costs: after all, life is nothing if it is not a product of a cost benefit analysis)...being born in prosperous America (my father was an Turkish immigrant, and Turkey was not exactly a rich country to be poor in after the Ottoman Empire's disaster in WWI), inheriting a brain that got me A's in high sahool, being big enough to play football, getting a scholarship to college...eventually meeting a girl who didn't mind my scars, got a job acting where I turned lemons into lemonade: being heavy made me seem funny in comedy and scars were a plus in playing mean characters, parlayed those roles into a lifetime of nice living...etc., etc., etc.

A hypothetical thought enters my mind. Let's take all the descendants of slaves alive and well in America today; then measure their total socio-sconomic status against the living descendents of the Africans who came from the same class of people but weren't caught by slaver-traders and shipped to the US, those who successfully ran away and created thes modern-day African descendants; and then ask today's African-Americans: who is better off today--on average? The decendants of those who came to America as slaves, or the decendants of those who remained in Africa? Now I'm not saying that the slave-traders did the cauught slaves a favor by bringing them to America--many slaves died en route and suffered under the horrendous institution of slavery; the dead and enslaved--if they could be heard from the grave--have a legitimate, horrific and angering grievance--but I am addressing the present day descenants of slaves, and asking the question: which group living today has it better: the descendants of the slaves caught, or the descendants of those Africans who ran away and were left behind in Africa?

Look too strongly at yesterday, you run the risk of tripping over today, and you undermine tomorrow.


Blogger Ziyah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:14 AM  
Blogger Ziyah said...

It seems unless you're black (in this country) you're considered to be white. What the hell is that? People call me white, I'm NOT a white girl. I'm Apache (and Italian on my mom's side). I think it primarily comes from African Americans. I say that b/c my close friend, a light skinned Black man (we're exactly the same color) called me white. I was stunned by that. His words were "To the world, you're WHITE, unless you're black, period!" Yet any ammount, even a trace of "black blood" in you and you're considered to be black. (In this country)WTF?

5:31 AM  
Blogger Cliff Osmond said...

I finally understand what WTF means. Thank you.

6:36 PM  

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