29 April 2013

The Rest of the Day (a multi-media event)

I wrote here, earlier in the day (The Notice) and then went out for some errands piano work for a few hours. When I returned, I stopped by FaceBook to post a status update. It turned into a memorable exchange of comments with some Friends.


Alex Mercedes · 17 followers
5 hours ago · 
  • The theme from "Green Acres" is playing in my head (I'm singing Lisa's part): just picked up latticework for the wisteria from lumber supply and toted it home in the VW (sticking out of the sunroof by about 3 feet....just enough to catch wind and make me feel the car was about to take flight)....found a dead baby bird and a dead older bird in the yard and re-discovered the Sissy in me....and tripped over a new ankle-high mole hill in the front yard (wish I hadn't Googled 'moles' the other day...I do NOT think they're cute....). Looked around to see if anyone noticed and caught the eye of the neighbor's step-daughter. "Excuse me...this is the first time I've been able to catch you. Just want to apologize if my step-father has said anything offensive. He's just a mean good ole boy and set in his ways about colored. They took him to the hospital last night so he won't be around for awhile."
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    • L  likes this.
    • G  Welcome to the south. Home of humidity, Mosquitos, rolly pollys, moles, and some bugs you've never seen, and old school rednecks.
      5 hours ago via mobile · Unlike · 1
    • L  Hhhmmm sounds like something my maternal grandmother would have said. And this lady was afraid he said something offensive to you? Go figure. lol
    • Z  Wow that was a full day! My oh my!
      4 hours ago via mobile · Like
    • D  Did she really used the term "colored"?! How old is this child? Maybe that is her way of observing Confederate Memorial Day -- which many are doing today. You're welcome. 
      4 hours ago · Edited · Unlike · 3
    • D How do you feel about what your neighbor said, Alex?
      4 hours ago via mobile · Like
    • Z  It's like am exert from a Zora Neale Hurston novel; except in the present day!
      4 hours ago via mobile · Like
    • Alex Mercedes Oops! Thanks, @D , I did not know it was Confederate Memorial Day. And, yes, she used the term "colored". She looked to be about 40-something years old. Did I mention the 30-something year old who was moved to tears recently, telling me about what "they" did to Oxford (she was referencing the Civil War). @D  , I appreciated her trying, in her own way, to be neighborly. @Z , this was only part of it. Read about the rest of the day -- distributing flyers about the writers' group I'm trying to start -- at my blog.
    • T  I am old enough to remember standing up in class and reciting the pledge every morning (pre under God), standing facing east at 11:00 AM on 11/11 silently for a minute or so, and some sort of mention of Confederated Memorial Day. Enough of a mention that I still think, "Oh, it's CMD" when I write 4/26, however, I don't think it was celebrated separately from "Decoration Day" until DD became Memorial Day in the mid 1960s. (And we know what else happened in the 1960s.) I find it offensive that CMD is a state holiday in Mississippi. I would not feel offended by a neighbor saying colored, I think she was trying to use a "polite" term, and let you she didn't feel the same way her stepfather did. I have found a few people who aren't sure that using black isn't the same using negro.
    • D  It is incredible to hear behind the times the south is. And getting worked up about the Civil War? Geez. It seemed like your neighbor was trying in her own backwards way, but that doesn't mean she couldn't inadvertently be rude. That's why I wanted to get your take on it.
    • D  *how behind
    • Alex Mercedes Yeah, D , I caught your meaning. I live in MS now and, yes, it often feels like I've stepped into some other time zone. In a curious way, my concept of racism has been refined here. Probably a survival technique kicking in. I've come to see a difference between hate-based racism and ignorance-based racism. There's a lot of ignorance in MS; people just don't know things, haven't been exposed to ideas -- through music and art and fashion and education and travel and reading and... The culture is steeped in a romantic, Old South nostalgia. People can only know what they know; they can't strive for a dream they've never had. And there's a lot of weight in the culture against certain kinds of dreams. I don't rail against ignorance these days -- it's like flailing my arms in a hurricane. I hunker down and choose my battles and cut people some slack and stay focused on doing my work as a transformative artist and being the change I want to see.