I enjoy my work at the state legislature, but session is in full swing and my hours are long and busy. I spend my days reading and analyzing proposed legislation, and then writing a digest of each bill that I've reviewed for daily publication. When I get home, I don't have enough brain cells remaining to do anything that requires any thought.
I really appreciate the honest and thoughtful responses y'all have left regarding my last entry. I shared my personal journey publicly because I hope that maybe my story will help someone else who is in emotional pain, feeling suffocated by societal expectations and norms about appearance. I'm no expert on moving beyond the pain, but I've made some pretty big strides. I'm not done yet, I think that it's an ongoing journey.
There are many things to write about, but that's the problem. There's that dumb NY Post cartoon with the dead chimpanzee and the reference to the stimulus package. In the cartoon, a cop is holding a smoking gun and, with another officer, looking at a bullet-riddled body of a chimpanzee. The caption reads: They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.
My initial response was that the cartoon was racist. However, then I stepped back and I realized that the person who created the cartoon may not have been familiar with the history of race in this country. (For a good historical overview, click here.) May not have known that black people were commonly referred to as monkeys, apes, gorillas, and other members of the simian family as a form of insult in newspapers and magazines across the U.S., not just in southern publications. I've concluded that the cartoonist and the editorial staff of the Post that authorized the publication of the offensive cartoon were just insensitive, stupid, and ignorant of history, but not racist. Besides, President Obama didn't write the stimulus policy. I do wonder what the real-life shooting of the rabid monkey had to do with the stimulus package.
Then there was the Los Alamitos mayor that forwarded an email picturing the White House lawn covered with watermelons with the caption, No Easter egg hunt this year. I like watermelons. If President Obama and the First Lady invited me to the White House and served watermelon, I'd be pleased. However, I find it a bit disingenuous for the mayor to claim not to be aware that this image wasn't really about a love of watermelons but a commentary reinforcing a not very flattering stereotype of the happy Negro with his watermelon patch.
I really didn't plan to write a word about this nonsense, nor the fool Greenwich Village baker who made the offensive "Drunken Negro Face" cookies to honor President Obama (that's what he said), but I read one too many comments on these stories in which some white people asserted that black people were overly sensitive and that they were tired of us being so touchy. I thought about it and realized that perhaps, they had a point. So, for future reference, if you are one of those people who don't get why we would be upset with these racist stereotypes, here is something that you should know: most black people do not appreciate having stereotypical images of ourselves reinforced in the media or by elected officials. I would suggest that newspapers hire more reporters of color and run things by them before publishing anything that might be questionable. As for politicians, find yourself a person of color whom you can count on to be truthful and before you send out an email with potentially offensive material in it, ask that person if it's a good idea.
Well, I can't settle my mind on any one topic, so I'm fixin' to watch some more television.