Framed of Ebon and Ivory
- by Rodney Foxworth
"To say that black people feel uncomfortable in the white world would be to say that black people feel uncomfortable in America. You don't have to be among white people to be in a world dominated by Anglo-Saxon Christian culture." - Walter Mosley
"You have a mandate with one vote, and he [George W. Bush] treated it that way in his first term, and that's the way the system works."- William Safire
"...the Kurds will be firmly in charge of northern Iraq. And look, you've got two-to-one, three-to-one majority of Shia over Sunnis, and they're going to run Iraq. And the Sunnis, who live in the middle, not with the northern oil fields or the southern oil fields, are going to have to live with it and come to grips with it."- William Safire
How and why I would juxtapose these seemingly dissimilar quotes from acclaimed writers representing opposing ideologies in the so-called political spectrum is a legitimate question. If I were the dishonest and arrogant type, I might suggest it's because of my unbridled brilliance. Because my friends and family know this not to be true and honesty is said to be the best policy, I'll profess that I can make a connection because of equal amounts of blackness, cynicism, bitterness, and political incorrectness.
The second day of the new year fell on a Sunday, and having decided to be, well, undecided about my New Year's resolutions, the first Sunday of the new year went about as it normally would: me peeling myself from the bed, exhausted and crusty-eyed, limping slowly into the kitchen so that I might microwave leftover breakfast -- eggs, bacon and pancakes. But my Sunday doesn't really start until the airing of Meet the Press: only a handful of people nerdish enough care to tune in for the program and find it entertaining, and sadly, I'm one of them.
But I like Meet the Press -- you get to see our world leaders stuff their mouths full of foot, without Joe American taking notice, or the mainstream press creating stupid sound bytes of our most reputable politicians. I'm talking truly hypocritical and unintelligent stuff: I'm talking about our President, George W. Bush, saying he was against the Vietnam War because he felt "it was a politicians' war," or a certain prominent politico proclaiming his belief that college kids selling drugs in college dorms should be treated differently than those dealing in the streets, on the corners.
Now, I'm not going to put my head on the chopping block and suggest "Operation Iraqi Freedom" is the New Vietnam (there are enough people in America and abroad suggesting that) but we all know what kind of kids are "slinging rock" and prescription drugs in college dorms, and let me tell you, for the most part, they don't look like me. But alas, I've shot myself in the foot, and as soon as I'm done writing this piece, I'm going to dig myself into a ditch and hide out from the federal government, who will assume in about, oh, one second that I'm a terrorist (though the word insurgent sounds less scary doesn't it?). Fear not though, if the once opulent Saddam Hussein can manage to survive in a hole while avoiding the U.S. of A, this black boy from Baltimore certainly can do it as well.
Let's get back to the topic at hand. Safire, the recently retired, longtime conservative New York Times columnist who brought us "opinionated reporting," and a guest on the January 2nd edition of Meet the Press, succinctly described the white conservative position on our much maligned political system and minority oppression when he said, "live with it and come to grips with it," essentially saying, deal with it. So here we have Safire, a proponent of conservatism, and a staunch defender of the Iraq "war" since its inception, advising the Iraqi minority group to simply deal with the domination of the majority group. Of course, the Sunnis have little choice in the matter when Uncle Sam is implementing the evil step-sister of American democracy and government in Iraq. How this leads to freedom (it is called Operation Iraqi Freedom after all) befuddles me, but that's just how the system works, and I must thank Safire for noting that.
None of this surprises me: I am black and have at least half a brain. If you're unable to make the connection between past, present, and future America and a democratic Iraq, than reading this won't do you any good. You see, the system allows Bush the second to scream mandate, despite the fact that fully seventy percent of all non-whites voted against Dubya (including eighty-eight percent of all blacks): not that the black and non-white opinion has ever mattered, we are always outnumbered, always outgunned, and as Walter Mosley alluded, America is the white world; the non-majority are simply sharecroppers, not landowners.
So yes, the president and his folk are right; they did indeed receive a mandate from America. Now, those poor Sunnis, members of the Muslim world, and many of which have probably never seen a real-life white person who wasn't armed and dressed in fatigues, are about to experience the imperialism of Anglo-Saxon Christian culture, its ideology and its indifference. And they don't have much choice but to live with it, so if they want to know how to properly live with it, they can just email a black American (using a broadband service concocted by Verizon or one of their American competitors no doubt), all of us veterans in dealing with subjugation in a democratic society. Oh, we made some noise during the Civil Rights Movement (and it took many lost lives and years for that to occur) but the volume has been turned down in the years since.
Maybe it's because we simply came to grips with it: it being oppression, it meaning outnumbered.
Rodney Foxworth, 20, attends CCBC-Catonsville in Maryland and is a registered Green. He can be reached at email@example.com.