Footprints

I’ve been away from the blog for a bit. Family affairs. The untimely death of one of my brothers followed by the untimely mental disintegration of another put me in a state where I shouldn’t have had my hands on a gun or a keyboard. 

I’ve been away but I’ve been watching. I have some thoughts on the most recent batch of American cultural inanity which I express below. I’ll warm up to more coherent writing later. 

Thank you for sticking with me. 

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On Kara Walker: Kara Walker is one of my favorite artists. There is a playfulness in her social pyromania that I find endearing. She puts her finger right on the sore spot – but gently. She comes across as possibly deranged but also trustworthy. She is one of  the most dangerous artists America has produced. If the gulags are ever opened in the United States during Kara Walker’s lifetime she will be one of the first 50 people to go. The woman is unpredictable and ideologically suspect from all perspectives. 

I was watching a video Mrs. Walker narrated this week (sponsored by Hyundai!) in which she went through the common denunciations of the West, Great Britain, America, and capitalism (sponsored Hyundai!). It was the usual tactic employed by the dominant Leftwing narrative casting itself as the oppressed outsider. But, in true Kara Walker fashion, she threw a couple of wicked curveballs that left the viewer with a bit of doubt as to what Walker is really communicating. 

First, she says of herself “I’m an unreliable narrator.” Okay, thank you, Kara, for telling us that at the beginning of your narration. 

Later she says of slavery that “everyone is culpable”.  Everyone? Really? Even the Africans who sold us over here? Why, yes, she more than strongly implies 

One of the main themes of Walker’s work is the black body. She’s not a gnostic. The body is a real concern for her. The social implications of what is done to the body or what the body is made to endure in despotic rule is the chain that binds all of her work. Walker’s Sugar Baby is the apotheosis of that exploration (in my humble, unschooled opinion). The bodies of African slave women gave quite a bit to America – from the cotton field to the bedroom. That abuse produced abundant wealth for the United States and not a few mulatto children. Her work asks two questions: Where’s our cut of the cash? Whose babies are these? 

In other words, are you – America –  going to take responsibility for all these kids you fathered and the bodies and souls you have broken? The daddy issues of black America go much deeper than how many of Keisha’s boys are making trouble in the ghetto.

The figures Walker builds are outrageous and comical. You don’t know if the glint in her eye or the whimsy in her style is the product of homicidal insanity or winking jocularity. 

As with many black radicals, from James Baldwin to Lori Lightfoot, Kara Walker is in a committed relationship (married, in her case) to a white American – not that there is anything wrong with that! I find it interesting that many of the loudest voices denouncing white supremacy often make a life and share intimacy with white people. Maybe this country isn’t as bad as they claim. As Kara said, she is an unreliable narrator. 

On Kyrie Irving: Kyrie Irving wants you to know that Kyrie Irving knows if your booing of his play is racially motivated booing or just run of the mill booing. Kyrie’s racism detector is so honed that even during the swirling cauldron of competition that is professional basketball it can detect the true intention in the heart of people of he has never met seated yards away. 

Kyrie’s latest silly outburst made me think the NBA should go back to playing in empty gyms. Better yet, it should make prospective ticket purchasers pass an ideological test before being allowed in the arena. 

Will you support BLM and its leadership with your time, talent, and resources?

Do you renounce the United States – its deeds and flag – fully and forever?

Kyrie Irving is done with basketball and has been for some time. I think he’d like to walk away from the game but teams keep offering him $140M contracts. He’s confused but not stupid. 

Earlier this season Kyrie took exception to a black German player – Dennis Schroder – calling him a nigger during a game. You could see that Schroder was confused by Kyrie’s hostile reaction to the word. Aren’t you supposed to call black Americans nigger Schroder was probably wondering That’s what he learned in Germany from American pop culture. 

Kyrie was right to throw an elbow at the German menace. I’ve long complained about that word and how it has metastasized into a global cancer. Now, Kyrie, please think about who it is in this country that benefits from the proliferation of that word and which organizations infantilize your people based on the antebellum caricatures that word carries with it. HInt: it ain’t the liquoured up guy in the 20th row screaming for you to airball your next free throw. 

On Black Wall Street: Firstly, “Black Wall Street” was in Durham, North Carolina not Tulsa, Oklahoma. Secondly, it went under during the Great Depression because the banks and insurance companies were over leveraged and under capitalized. Lastly, stop conflating the Tulsa race riots with Black Wall Street. 

NBA player George Hill’s lament about black kids not being taught about the massacre was amplified by an ESPN writer on Twitter this week. Yeah, it’s a shame, George. A bigger shame, George, is that black kids (or any kids) aren’t given accurate history and your public ignorance only contributes to that problem. 

Durham was described by black historian/sociologist, E. Franklin Frazier, as the “capital of the black middle class”. I think it would benefit black kids more to learn about how black people overcame long odds and state enforced bigotry to establish banks, insurance companies, and thriving businesses in all fields. I think it would it be inspiring. I think studying how it went wrong would be wise but all we get from well off blacks in positions of influence are misguided calls for more trauma porn. 

Presenting people with only the negative part of a story distorts their perception of what is possible in this country. It is a pernicious bias that coats black communities with alienation and violence. George, don’t you want better for your people than that? I’m sure you do. 

My grandfather started a rib joint in the Greenwood section of Tulsa after the riots. It got him a wife and three sons. Those sons gave him 11 grandchildren. Speaking for the grandkids, we have our foibles and heartbreaks but we’re doing okay and our kids are outdoing us by orders of magnitude. It’s possible for life to blossom after the fires. 

Black people excel in the ashes. Tell that story.