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Don't Judge

BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO RIGHT, unless you are a real Judge. I have no right and this is not about black and white. It’s about wrong and right (and yes again, I am a poet and I know it).

I’ve been thinking about judging for most of my life., Thanks to LITTLE HOWY and now BIG JIM for bringing the issue to the computer. There’s power in numbers.

I was reminded, as I was writing this, that any person who insults another person or culture, doesn’t care. The perpetrator knows his or her words are wrong and hateful, but the thrill is getting the insult out there to appease their loser friends and family. Have fun, pay later or let the victims eat cake. The people who rant racist stuff on camera need that 15 minutes of fame too. Toss a coin with an insult and who cares where it lands. It's fun for us losers. Losers are willing to accept the consequences, if in fact there are any.

I was a first grader on a class field trip to a New Jersey dairy farm. I wondered WHY little Howy Bender wouldn’t hold my hand, like everybody else. Howy told Ms. Rhodes that he didn’t want to hold a “nigger’s hand”. At six years old, I didn’t care who held my hand so Howy became a moot factor when Ms. Rhodes took my hand and Howy walked alone. If Howy grew up judging based on what he was obviously taught and if he is still alive, Howy is a rickety old 72 year old today. I know because I still have his 6 year old picture. He was funny looking then. I am a long way from rickety Howy, but I still have no right to judge you and I won’t. As I wrote in my last blog, my first rodeo with systemic racism came long before any adult encounters. It started with little you, Howy Bender, so thanks for the fact that I can put this terrorism to bed some 66 years later.

I also want to thank Elaine Pizzano, my heroine and no terrorism there, seriously. Elaine lived up the street next door to her grandmother’s store. I loved Elaine. I wanted to be Elaine because she was beautiful. Elaine often walked me to school and home. Elaine told me not to worry because she would hold my hand and she did. I haven’t seen Elaine since I was in the 8th grade, but the memory and impact of her caring is always felt. Thank you Elaine.

My husband doesn’t understand why I will not sit at a bar, even in a posh place. Drunks with no inhibitions are not my thing. There won’t be a next time for a drunk white guy to shout something ethnic across the bar because they are surprised we are there in the first place. You won’t get another opportunity to make me strike back at you where it really hurts. You people, including some in our lives, just don't care.

The next time a white guy says people are too sensitive if they have an aneurysm over Archie Bunker or Sanford and Sons, the white guy needs to take several seats and listen carefully, before it’s too late. If it was funny to you, then it's got to be funny to everyone. If it doesn't insult you, then what is wrong with those black people? Maybe you were taught that ethnic stereotypes are ok. Maybe you were taught that if it doesn’t offend you, to hell with everybody else. If you don’t get an aneurysm over that, maybe we can find one for you.

We could tell people you look years older than you are and you wear dungarees and a tie with cheap sneakers. Never mind...that would be judging. Maybe if I write “Oh golly gee whiz guy”, we would laugh at the perception you are that corny. You probably wouldn’t find it an insult because you don’t know what it’s like to be consistently poked at, made fun of, laughed at or banned altogether. In addition, golly gee whiz guy is probably part of YOUR real vocabulary and you don’t see the humor.

No, my people didn’t get an aneurysm over Archie Bunker because we encounter him daily, including when we listen to and look at you. No, my people didn’t get aneurysms over Fred Sanford because we knew it was a white man’s made up version of black lives that made white people laugh. We know the perpetuation of seeing a junky house, a cluttered yard, poor ignorant but comedic friends and at least one evil black woman on tv, makes ignorant people laugh because they want to believe it, even though they know better. If it makes you happy to believe “those” types really exist, but they exist way over there, knock yourself out. In fact, take that to your grave and enjoy it there.

Perhaps if the little guy who told me he had an afro “like your people” had stopped to think before talking stupid, he would have realized he was about to disrespect his own people by actually calling his past hairdo a “Jewfro”. That wasn’t funny. One of my closest friends as a high schooler was an Orthodox Jewish girl. We worked together, had lunch together and shopped together often. She invited me to her home to experience cultural aspects of her engagement and I drove to Brooklyn one night to attend her Orthodox wedding. I was insulted by your remark.

All the memes and cartoons during our lifetime and before that insult African Americans, such as images with big red lips, serve no purpose other than to give you that moment of superior satisfaction. Believe me, we could produce a show based on things we could make fun of folks about, but again, we have bigger fish to fry. Nobody is perfect.

Why don’t you have something to say about kneeling on the football field? Give us your personal opinion on that. We can’t wait for it, Not! Whatever you think now, here’s something new for you to consider. If it’s good enough for Tim Tebow to kneel and still be loved, it’s even better for Colin Kaepernick. If you can’t realize that, then for you it’s not about the knee, it’s about the reason for the knee. It’s not about the game for you, it’s about the body language during the song before the game. Cut it out and grow up. If you really love football, you are too old to still be back in the dark ages.

To maintain a level playing ground, this also applies to African Americans who think they have the right to judge. We have extended family who will never have a major impact on our lives again. There is the one who judged me to the point that she really thought I had abandoned black life for the life of a Park Avenue television anchor. While explaining her hairdo to me over the telephone, she actually said: “Do you know what dreadlocks are?” I should have answered by saying: “Is that like dreading being locked into this phone conversation with you?”

There’s another extended family branch that visited us several times, always ate and slept well, treated at restaurants by us and always left with a gift. We visited the same family member three times and never again. Each time, there was nothing for us to eat or drink after a long drive, we paid for all restaurant trips or we wouldn’t have eaten and the accommodations were worse than Motel 0. Their improper judging came from the fact that they think we have it all, therefore we owe them.

How about the extended family member who asked for my financial experience to help her retrieve a small inheritance from a brokerage firm. I picked her up and drove to the bank where she was told it would take 10-15 days to get the money. After one week, she called to accuse me of lying to her. I was perceived to be so Wall Street experienced that I somehow re-routed the money to me, despite what the financial advisor said. Her money arrived within days. No apology for the accusation.

So back to big Jim. You and your like minded friends and family say things based on your limited experiences and expect us to take it as if we had the same limited experience in life. If you anoint yourself a judge and jury, you open the door for us to return the insults by reminding you that you actually look like Archie Bunker, which is no compliment. Keep trying to impress your low grade friends by saying things like: “Say Whaaat?” & see if it was all worth it when it's time for you to drop the mike. You live with that disrespectful remark that you think is completely acceptable. We’re moving on to higher grounds and, by the way, what makes you think I say that or know the inference?

To the little guy who said: “Jewfro”. All I can say is “OMG, find some new jokes because you are so last century racist”.