Monday, February 19, 2007


saturday we went to the african film festival at the pcc cascade campus. it's part of the black history here in good ol' portland. and by the way, why is black history relegated to just month? why can't it be included in history with ALL history, white and black? is february the only month white people will allow themselves to even think about the positive contributions black people gave? howcome the only history children learn about blacks is that we were slaves. poor, ignorant slaves. period.

anyways, i always enjoy going, and this year, just like every year, there were overabundance of white people. i actually sat near the front and turned around to count how many black people i saw. there were only a few. in about 150 people, probably 20 were black.

i know i could talk about why there were so few black people ( i've already gone there). but i think it's more interesting that there were SO MANY white people. i mean, it's nice that all these white people are so incredibly interested in the african films (during black history month! wow! ), but are those same people as interested in the black community here in Portland during the other 11 months of the year? i mean, there were a ton of white people. literally. it was funny, they were all the granola, crunchy, no-makeup-wearing, au natural type. i don't know what's up with that but, whatever.

as the white people poured in i couldn't help but wondering WHY they were there. were they subconsciously doing it in a condescending way? i mean, i'm sorry-but africa is the way it is-poor, underdeveloped, etc mainly because of white people stripping the land and it's resources. so it's a little ironic that they are SO interested in it. if africa was a wealthy, healthy nation would adopting african babies and watching african films still be so facinating?


Bense said...

You supposedly got an impression of what kinda dude I am. Anyways. I just put that in front of what I have to say b/c it might be misunderstood.

I see exactly the same point. Today we worship "Matin Luther King". Ha, tomorrow we don't, eh. Many folks have been b/s-ed into believing days like that, the black literature week and other awareness stuff like Kwanzaa have made people believe that this is common place. Who the heck is "celebrating diversity" in the first place? You see about 150 white people in a room made for 200, enlightening their conscience.

Now, if my black/brown friends - who are mostly christians or atheist, would celebrate "Kwanzaa", I'd declare them plainly nuts. This african heritage thing goes much to far for my taste. Trust me. The blacks we do have here are mostly black africans, and indeed, that's lightyears away from Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King or black awareness. They don't have any awareness week. They are Africans and Germany is a "set piece culture", foundations reach back 3000 years.

I still wonder why they do not tell the whole story about slavery then. Some of my african-germanic friends hold nothing but wrath for Africa. They were the ones telling me that these slaves would have never gone anywhere without the tribe and clan chiefs selling them. The Europeans didn't even wanted to recruit then in the first place, but the tribe leaders espacially in Western Africa "forced" those poor folks upon the colonialists because they couldn't feed them. The bad thing: The leaders there didn't think about was the Europeans were gonna colonialize the continent 150 years later. And since the Europeans got used to having blacks working for their well-being, they became greedy and took over everything.

Just get over that. For me as a foreigner to the US culture, it's odd to see these specialized black cultural topics. But get over that. Germans are - by figures - the biggest immigrant group in the US, by far.

The most white Americans descend from Germans and not from the Anglican Islanders. The biggest thing I can imagine about Germans is the Steuben parade in New York. No St. Patricks day, no Kwanzaa, no Hannuka, no nothing. Maybe these folks were the lessest self-important people. Maybe the reason was, they never needed to make up by PR stunts for any hinderances in politics as well. I mean - what were the English supposed to say. They are germanic people, descending from Germans. No argumentation about heritage superiority in that. And that's the point. Germans never had a hard time in the US. That's why nowadays, in our ultra-politically-correct time, they get the lessest attention because they are part of the established upper class.

Aly Cat 121 said...

"i mean, i'm sorry-but africa is the way it is-poor, underdeveloped, etc mainly because of white people stripping the land and it's resources."

All I can say to that is CHECK!!! Now I wonder why other folks can't see that? Well actually the imperialists do see it but most other common folks, who THINK they are included with the imperialists.

Anonymous said...

Maybe white people were there because they feel guily about what their ancestors did?

sh said...

Man, this version of Just Callin' It Like You See It is boggling my mind.

There are moments when i find your insights pretty interesting (most of us are not unaware that pdx is is the Great White Populace and it's instructive to hear another voice or voices). There're other moments when it's obvious that your own personal insecurities cloud the quality of thought, but it's your blog (hell yeah it is) so go for it on the merely-32-inch-tv and the afraid-to-meet-the-woman-on-the-phone threads. But something about this post is just so out there, so cynical and ill-toned, that I had to wonder if you ever read your own blog.

Lady, half of your posts revolve around perception and presumption and how puzzling and cruel they can be. Yet here you are dissing a room fulla whites because they had the wherewithall to attend a Black History Mo. screening. These people were interested enough to get their asses up to PCC for a screening and you're instantly dismissing them as granola-eating, White Guilt laden black history dilettantes who're watching whatever movie as a collective act of...condescension? This particular musing is generalizing in exactly the style that you accuse or document various whites of doing, and it's no prettier from your pen than it is when you journal the behaviors of others.

You imply that white people everywhere only allow themselves to think positively about blacks once a year (do you really truly think this?); you state that the scholastic portrait of blacks is limited to poverty and ignorance (i can only attest to the california public school system on this, but i sure as hell didn't wander around the elementary school yard thinking blacks were stupid and poor); you sarcastically chide the attendees of this event for coming to an African film during Black History Month, because you apparently can tell that they're not interested in the black community beyond this 90 minute reel; then you wag your blogging finger in the face of this nameless, generalized audience in Portland because Africa's been historically exploited by whites um, not in Portland?

I think you can see that this line of thought doesn't make a helluva lot of sense. Perhaps you're resentful of the whites in that room at PCC for whatever reason. Okay, that's cool, if that's where you're at and you're honest about it. But weaving a poorly-constructed and mean-spirited narrative around people that did nothing but show up to a movie is a cheap, cheap shot, no matter the cheerleading that occurs in the comments section.

Natalie said...

I have been attending many August Wilson plays over the past year or so and am always amazed at how white the audience is. They often seem to be looking at these plays to "understand" black life and seem oblivious that they are slices from the lives of a few people at a few paricular times. They always seem so proud of themselves for being there. I realize I am generalizing because there are plenty of white people who this doesn't apply to. I just found it very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Bense, you don't understand Black American culture and you seem to not even want to. I will continue to celebrate Black American cultural events, and I will not just give up my culture and assimilate the way you think blacks should. If you think that's "nuts" then you're just ignorant.


D said...

Condescending, probably not.

White people who go to a black-oriented event might be:

1) well-meaning (most of the crunchy granola types fall into this category)

2) curious and voyeuristic, like a cultural peeping tom (some of the older people who never really interacted with other races probably fall into this category)

3) trying to be "down" with the hip-hop culture - i.e. the hip-hop culture is one of the most pervasive forces in our country right now - especially as it has to do with the attitudes of young people of all races.

4) or none of the above - who knows there weird and wacky reasons we do things.

That doesn't mean that there aren't some racist white people who are condescending about Black History Month and those type of events - but they probably won't be at the events, they'll just complain about it to their racist friends if they hear about it.

But your cynicism is feeding the cycle of separation, whether you like it or not : ( : )

We can't "sit down at the table of brotherhood" unless... we sit down at the table of brotherhood. Without second guessing each other's motives.

Anonymous said...

Hello! wake up lady!! Africa is the way it is for a number of reasons beyond the white mans involvment try reasearching the "Hutu and Tutsi" may have been started by the Dutch, but they cetainley arent finishing it!! The African government are allowing their people to be slaughtered! check it out research this! I know more whites who know about African american History than some blacks! Lets be real when you go to vote, do you see a long line of blacks waiting to vote, or do you see that one black person on the news saying that they are not going to vote? I understand that this is therapy for you and I respect your thoughts, heck, most of your thoughts are mine, but still attacking whites for observing black history is weird!! how about attacking the blacks that dont recognize it at all.