Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Fuckin RN

It's taken me a small chunk of time to arrive at this opening, but finally, I've taken time to sit down and lay foundation to my blog. There've been many times when I've engaged my One, into listening to one of my many musings…he always humors me. He's gonna be surprised at this. Not quite sure what format this is going to take or how it's going to turn out, but we'll see as we venture along and find out together.

I went to the West Indian Day Parade this past Monday and Jah know se me love mi people, but I usually don't like to go this jamboree. I love the celebration of life, spirit and culture that is the main essence of the parade, but there is always an element of…nigga-ism that surrounds and detracts attention from the original agenda. In any group of people you'll find your…undesirables, hence is the gamut that is humankind. When you bring together tens of thousands of people, throw in all the elements of a loud West Indian festival…spicy tongue-titillating samples of sustenance, hip-gyrating body bumping beats bombastically blasting from speakers the size of some mid-sized cars, liquor, not wine or spirits, but liquor carried in concealment by some and openly by others, but consumed in abundance by all. Add some jubilant dancers, dressed vibrantly from head to toe, all colors mixing like a canvas covered by accidental spillage. Floats and trucks carrying revelers and merrymakers alike, intoxicating the throngs of celebrators with an infectious concoction of joyous call and response.

Wave yo Flag!

Wave yo Flag!

And of course, there's the mind-expanding, mind-bending and sometimes mind-destroying herbal stimuli, wafting and marrying with the other fragrances of the day. All of these elements combine to make for a rip-roaring good time. However, as with anything in life, we indulge with a bit of moderation; it's when these indulgences over saturate our psyche that we lose control. Such was the case that upon reaching home and watching the news, I learned of two shootings at the parade; one critical and the other unfortunately fatal. I felt a taste of bitterness at the confirmation of my original apprehension for going. I sat and looked at my people and wondered "How did we get here?"

I was reminded of a previous conversation involving my One, and quite a few other people frankly…he's always up for a good verbal tango, but one segment of the three hour drama, involved a 20 yr old African-American male from Newark who fervently stated, in accordance with his opposition to the Administration now in power, that he does not vote because the government does not care about the hood or the projects…it's do or die. While I do now live in an urban environment as an adult, I was not raised in one as a child so I have not the life experience to first handedly speak on its effects. No, it was not the set of My Wife and Kids, but on the other hand I didn't have to sell drugs at ten to eat, that's his story, and not mine to tell. My quandary is with the living conditions that many people continue to live in. It used to be that as Africans in this country our children were born into slavery and forced to work and live on plantations. Now many of us are born into poverty and forced to live in the projects. Have we become complacent with our current state? Resigned in an attitude of "no way out", have we succumbed to a new slave mentality?

While at the parade, we posted up against an unassuming fence, determined to engulf ourselves in the wonder of the crowd. During an occasion of my One trying to engage passersby in conversation, as he is apt to do, we are introduced to The RN. She stood about five-six, her dark shoulder length press, with its streak of fire across the middle, was in need of a touch up. She needed something Just for Her. Dressed in a purple and white tube top to accentuate her assets ("and I've got these"), her pink purse dangling from her right wrist, which dangled the hand holding her food, she stopped with a start at his behest, almost spilling the two cups of Hennessy held in her left hand. Happily willing to engage in conversation, as most in a state of drunken highness have a tendancy to do, she jumped headlong and fullfledged into a diatribe explaination of her revelry. It was Labor Day and e'rbody suppossed to "get fucked up". I couldn't very well argue that point as I was a bit inebriated myself. She told us of her many family members who had come in from "The British". Her family...from "The British", must have been fucked up at this point too, although they were no where in sight at the moment, for she had spent $900 on all types of liqour just for that point. She didn't care about the money, she was a "fucking RN" and made $80,000.00 a year. But even in her merryment something was troubling her. Where was her car? Her 14 yr old son..."that little bitch", "that nigga", had taken her brand new 07, (the make and model elude me now) three days prior and was nowhere to be found. She just knew "that little bitch" was probably somewhere fucking in it right now. She wasn't ignorant to the fact that he was fucking, she didn't care, he could fuck whoever he wanted to..."as long as he wasn't gay". How absurd a scene? Now there are quite a few ponderings I could pose just on the preposterousness of this last line alone, but I'll leave that to you. My mental plight lies with the conditions we continue to live in and bequeath to our children.

After the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and the period known as Reconstruction, 1866-1877, many former slaves, grandfathers and their grandchildren sat alongside one another in classrooms eager to gain the tools of freedom: Knowledge. However with the onslaught of resentment from former slave owners who were now forced to live alongside their former slaves as "equals", there came violent retaliations directed at Blacks in the South. Because of this and the prospects of greater opportunities elsewhere, the US saw a great migration of Blacks out of the South to Northern and Western states. With this migration there came an influx of towns and developments founded by a majority black population. However with the barage of racism faced by them a great number of these towns dwindled and the black settlers once again migrated away. After years of struggle, the "failure" of Reconstruction, war and the Great Depression many cities saw a boom in tent villages and slums spring up in their outlying areas. With this came the Housing Act of 1937, designed to clean up the slums and redevelop them into low cost housing. The large-scale projects that we've come to know today came later during the 60's and the civil rights era. Housing projects were never designed to be a permanent status for a people, but were a means and medium in helping those in need to lift themselves out of their current circumstances, with some government subsidiary. All of this being contingent on the choices people made. However, with poverty, drugs and crime some became lost in this new world and the original agenda of the Housing Act of 1937 gave way to the new, larger-scale slums, overrun by crime and desperation.

In one situation you have a mother who chose crack over her children, forcing her ten year old son to sell drugs to feed himself and his younger siblings. But miraculously he survived and is now putting himself through college. In the other situation there's the mother who has achieved economic stability and is able to provide for her son as well as her family from "The British", but doesn't know where he is, that he's probably getting dicked down in the backseat of her 07 or that word is Britain. Both from the projects, both with choices that have led to their current state. So how did we get here?

8 comments:

bLaQ~n~MiLD said...

I'll first say welcome. You touched upon a lot.

You know what the problem of and the cure to humanity is...? 'Choice'. We all have choices to make. The problem is not everyone is satisfied with the choices they make. The smart people then go ahead and make another choice while others just linger.

Spencer Grant said...

I like PAPA. I'm happy you are here. After a year of me in your damn ear! yea Linton, do the damn thing.

Karla said...

Wow Linton... this was so powerful! I think you should send this out to different newspapers and magazines... like seriously. You have a gift with your writing.

But getting back to the issues on hand... I completely and utterly feel you on this point. We experience the same things as Latinos, those who want to get ahead, and those that are content blaming the world for their troubles. You're friend below me is right, its all about choice. We as people have a choice, do we go to school and better our education or do we drop out to work at walmart or whatever. I think people focus too much on the right now as opposed to the future. Yes, right now making 5 bucks an hour for someone who makes nothing sounds good, or even making more than that by selling drugs. But again, thats in the now... what happens 10-15 years from now? People don't realize that their decisions today affect their tomorrows. And is it our job as parents, teachers, role models to show them that? If it isn't, it should be. But then you have mothers like the RN who calls her son names... if she's ok with calling him those names in front of strangers, I'm sure she has no qualms in calling him those names to his face. How can we expect our children to rise up, if we only push them down?

Aaron said...

Wow... great entry for your first blog. I miss the wild, raw energy of the W.I. Day parade. I went every year while I lived in NYC and the following years after I left the city. It's main purpose is still there- unfortunately, there are way too many people out there who want to make it something that it's not. That's where the problems arise.




... did you say thong?

ooooh, that was throng- my bad!

Jersey Brotha said...

Welcome brotha. Very nice and thought-provoking first entry! And yes, that "RN nurse" was an absolute mess! But you forgot to mention that she stated she had her son when she was 14, and the son is 14 now. But that may be a separate issue in and of itself.

Alejandro7 said...

PURPOSE... if you have a destination, The Creator will always give you a plan. As a people, we lack vision. As a race we lack drive, and as a community we lack unity. During the Civil Rights Movement we had a united front that streched beyond our slums and petty ideologies. Rosa Parks wasnt the only one, yet she is Known for setting it off. It always starts with ONE. We are all pieces to a bigger puzzle; included is the 14 year old boy, his mom, etc. Familial and communal relations have gone out the window. Replaced for instant satisfaction; whether it be liquor, dead end jobs or promiscuity. Where is the dialogue between Mother and Son? Where was it when the Mother was 14? Its refreshing to know that your eyes are open and you are sharing your observations and thoughts. the only real freedom we have is freeom of intellect. These are NOT new occurences. Its just they have a become all too familiar. It also helps that you're an eloquent wordsmyth. Continue to be the change YOU want to see in the world. You are not alone. Thanx again Linton. I look forward to reading more of your Work.

ShawnQt said...

a personal life experience turned into a history story/social commentary/wake up call to everyone who reads it!

I like.

Keep doing what you do, I will keep reading!

professor79 said...

There are a lot of essential questions/situation you present in your blog. It is quite perplexing and troubling. I am currently in the educational system teaching 10th Grade Literature/Composition at my alma mater. It's been a challenge and will continue to be one as I tackle the attitudes of indifference in many of the students.