Corrosion of Hate

Still so fascinated by Dreams of My Father:  A Story of Race and Inheritance, by President Obama.

The man writes beautifully.  His book appeared when he was the U.S. senator-elect from Illinois.  It is not co-authored.

It keeps her engrossed until very late.  Then she falls into Advil-PM induced sleep.

The section she has just finished reading is Chapter Four (bloody great chapter).

Towards the end of the Chapter, Obama’s (white) grandparents have an argument about an incident involving the grandmother at a bus stop.  Obama’s grandmother was accosted by a belligerent man, and now wants her husband to drive her to work so that similar incidents do not occur.  Eventually it comes out that the belligerent man was black, a detail that sends Obama reeling.  He copes by driving to the house of Frank, an African American man who’s a friend of Obama’s grandfather.  The “Stan” mentioned in the passage is Obama’s grandfather :

“You can’t blame Stan for what he is,” Frank said quietly.  He’s basically a good man.  But he doesn’t know me.  Any more than he knew that girl that looked after your mother.  He can’t know me, not the way I know him.  Maybe some of these Hawaiians can, or the Indians on the reservation.  They’ve seen their fathers humiliated.  Their mothers desecrated.  But your grandfather will never know what that feels like.  That’s why he can come over here and drink my whiskey and fall asleep in that chair you’re sitting in right now.  Sleep like a baby.  See, that’s something I can never do in his house.  Never.  Doesn’t matter how tired I get, I still have to watch myself.  I have to be vigilant, for my own survival.

Frank opened his eyes.  “What I’m trying to tell you is, your grandma’s right to be scared.  She’s at least as right as Stanley is.  She understands that black people have a reason to hate.  That’s just how it is.  For your sake, I wish it were otherwise.  But it’s not.  So you might as well get used to it.”

Frank closed his eyes again.  His breathing slowed until he seemed to be asleep.  I thought about waking him, then decided against it and walked back to the car.  The earth shook under my feet, ready to crack open at any moment.  I stopped, trying to steady myself, and knew for the first time that I was utterly alone.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

More Pics of Masskara 2012

You have to be out there, on the street. You can’t experience Masskara from the safety of a car or from behind the windows of a restaurant.

At some point, you just think:  Wild!  Go wild!  Go!

Thank goodness for the Bacolod cousin who knew just where to go to catch a piece of the action.

Doesn’t this remind you of an outfit worn by Katy Perry to a recent awards show?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Pics of Masskara 2012

With apologies for the blurriness, dear blog readers.  The dancers were moving so fast that all self could hope for was a glimpse, a flash, to capture with her poky, 2006 Nikon Coolpix camera.

So many times self simply pointed, pressed, pointed, pressed.  And here are some of the results :

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Indonesia & Bacolod: Parallels

Self has been greatly enjoying Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father:  A Story of Race and Inheritance.  It is so poignant and at the same time so clear-eyed about race, class, and power.

In the excerpt below, Obama describes his mother’s impressions of Indonesia shortly after the family moved there to join Obama’s stepfather.

She saw a woman in bare feet and a tattered shawl wandering through an open gate and up the driveway, where a group of men were washing a fleet of Mercedes-Benzes and Land Rovers.  One of the men shouted at the woman to leave, but the woman stood where she was, a bony arm stretched out before her, her face shrouded in shadow.  Another man finally dug in his pocket and threw out a handful of coins.  The woman ran after the coins with terrible speed, checking the road suspiciously as she gathered them into her bosom.

Power.  The word fixed in my mother’s mind like a curse.  In America, it had generally remained hidden from view until you dug beneath the surface of things; until you visited an Indian reservation or spoke to a black person whose trust you had earned.  But here power was undisguised, indiscriminate, naked, always fresh in the memory.  Power had taken Lolo and yanked him back into line just when he thought he’d escaped, making him feel its weight, letting him know that his life wasn’t his own.  That’s how things were; you couldn’t change it, you could just live by the rules, so simple once you learned them.  And so Lolo had made his peace with power, learned the wisdom of forgetting . . .

“Guilt,” Obama quotes his stepfather as saying, “is a luxury only foreigners can afford.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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