Back to Work, Part 2
The one copy machine broke this morning. The on-the-spot revamp of my lesson plans added what feels like 2 hours to the day.
at which a mad black woman rants about New Orleans, insomnia, teaching, various -isms and anything else involving a bitch, a spot or the letter g
You must be kidding. This is sarcasm right? Let me see, a young white male whose target audience is Christians is judging the sentiments of a woman nearly old enough to be his mother who has clearly lived life. Yes, you are judging. I seem to recall your Christ in your Bible saying something to the effect of Judge Not, Lest You Yourself Be Judged. The Native Americans say a smiliar [sic] thing with a similar thread, Don't Pretend To Understand Me Until You Have Walked A Mile In My Moccasins. Being married to a woman who had an abortion before we met I have had a glimpse into the mind of a scared 18 year old whose male friend shared their fun then disappered emotionally when that yielded a fetus. I have seen a life that could have gone one way go another completely. To this day she is firmly pro-choice but I doubt would consider another abortion unless there was [sic] health risk involved. The emotional scars she carried from that have affected her sexuality and the rest of her self-esteem. It has taken literally decades to get to a sense of balance in her. She is now in her 50's so the decision to ever face again is soon moot. But, ask our two daughters if she made a mistake 35 plus years ago. My point is that there are women who are for abortion and those opposed. Men, who make the laws, execute the laws, for the most part, judge the propriety of the laws and run the religious institutions are in the weakest position to opine the merits of abortion. I find nothing in the Bible to support an anti-abortion stance, nor do I find anything to support the opposite. I find science which I believe to be God-given which says a fetus can no more exist outside the body than I can flap my arms and fly to the moon. So, to me, the fetus is an extension of the mother host and, if left to thrive, could one day BE a life when it can draw breath on its own and live outside the womb. I have had the opportunity to work with the poor in this country, with parents of children with mental illness, mental retardation, autism, birth defects galore. I have seen abandoned babies, crack babies, infants doomed to early death or lives of need that their families are unable to fill and the rest of us, through our government, unwilling to fill. I am not convinced that is better. I have many Christian friends who profess sorrow and compassion at such situations but oppose government spending because it requires their incomes to be taxed and minimizes what they can buy for themselves or for their own healthy children. I direct their thoughts to the Epistle of James and the difference between faith and works. I know it is unfair to use their precious Bible to call their attention to what their Christ says they ought to do as opposed to what they are doing but, really, Christians and the rest of the world would be better off if they actually tried to emulate the behaviors of Christ rather than use some of the words from the book as a bludgeon on those of us who don't measure up and as a wedge between factions of this society. So, I am decidedly pro-choice. But, that is the opinion of a Man and I have stated it is something to which I am entitled but not something which I carry the authority to complel any woman to believe or on which to make her own decision to let the fetus grow or to stop it. Neither do I feel I have the right to judge her decision when made. And, I certainly don't have the right to consider her outrage at the opinions of those of us who don't have those rights as a showing of intolerance. To say the concept of abortion, for her, is visceral is understatement at a cosmic level.Thanks, ReformedRepublican. I am sorry, though, that your wife comes from a generation that feels guilt about abortion. Men have always had the privilege to do what they "have to do" (read: whatever the fuck they feel like doing at the damn time). Women, who face real consequences and responsibilities and risks, make the really hard decisions.
Posted by: ReformedRepublican on February 19, 2006 at 07:45am
Having lived much of my life in the real Chocolate City, I find myself far more bothered by people who become irate at the impolite subtexts of those who haven't done as well as they in the American system, and who not only regard the suffering as inevitable but believe it should be endured with silence and gentility.
There is a curious connection between NOLA and DC. They are both cities that early had an unusual number of free blacks. Segregation operated under local ground rules, sometimes at odds with the larger southern standard. There were an atypical number of black Catholics. Class distinctions intermingled with - and sometimes surpassed - ethnic ones both within the black community and its relations with whites. There were an atypical number of whites who grew up with cross cultural experiences and an atypical number who found it part of the pleasure of the place.
Dan Baum, in his remarkable description of the New Orleans police in the New Yorker, writes:
"Everything is viewed through a racial lens in New Orleans, but it refracts differently there than elsewhere in the South. Louisiana was colonized first by the French, whose Code Noir encouraged intermarriage between whites and their black slaves to create a buffer class that might prevent insurrection; and briefly by the Spanish, whose custom of coartacion let slaves buy their freedom. By the time the United States took over, in 1803, the two customs had helped to create a large educated middle class of black freemen and black French Creoles that divided itself socially according to skin color. The Americans who poured into Louisiana made no such distinctions and generally treated all of them as inferiors, which rankled especially in New Orleans, where the most privileged blacks and Creoles lived."
The plagiarism aside, Nagin's comment seemed to me perfectly normal. It was the sort of thing I had heard in DC for years. And I didn't mind it because it was my Chocolate City too. It still seems odd to many whites, but you really don't have to be in the ethnic majority to love a place.
The whites who live in New Orleans proper, not the suburbs, love this city just like that, without having to be the majority and able to appreciate and mingle and second line and eat red beans on Monday and take down Christmas decorations on January 6 and only eat king cakes between King's Day and Mardi Gras. Few whites that I have talked to, who really love the city, who really live in the city, who really appreciate the city, took offense. Most nodded, many smiled and kept trudging through the New Normal. New Orleans IS different. That's why I moved back 9 years ago, that's why I came to Jazz Fest every year when I didn't live here, that's why I lived New Orleans even when I wasn't in New Orleans.
Instead of giving Nagin shit when he's trying to counteract some of the bullshit the New Orleans diaspora hears and trying to tell folks to come on home, it's still home, people need to ask the Red Cross where all that money they collected is, ask why Mississippi has gotten more money, trailers and insurance payouts than Louisiana, get the men in trucks back to work. No offense but people not from here who can't get with the program need to stay the fuck out.