My Politics

“These neighborhoods are still poor” I said “because when affirmative action came into play and people from here started to get jobs they didn’t reinvest in their communities. They didn’t build this place up, they moved out.” I wasn’t really voicing my own thoughts, it was something that I had read in a book and had sounded good at the time. The subject of the book had been race and poverty.

“Can’t blame them” the other guy said. “I wouldn’t stay here if I had the chance to leave.”

He’s missing my point, I thought. “What I’m saying is that what they did is no better than the white flight that happened when minorities first moved here. Only this time it was minorities moving away from minorities. They forgot where they came from.” Now along with paraphrasing a book I was tossing in hood terminology.

“Just because you’re from here means you have to stay here your whole life? You can’t want anything better for yourself? That doesn’t make sense.”

I hadn’t expected this line of reasoning and it was making me uncomfortable. I was trying to argue on the side of what was good and right. This guy was turning the argument around and making me look like I was placing limitations on people for extraneous reasons. That was usually what I accused the other side of.

“How are we ever gonna improve” I changed course “if we don’t look out for each other?”

“So if I’m a white guy,” my friend says “I’m allowed to look out for myself and place my own interests first, but if I’m a minority I have to put the group first? I don’t buy that. If I get out of here I’m not thinking about the group, I’m thinking about my kids. I don’t want them here going to these schools where they have to worry about getting jumped by these thuggish kids around here. My first responsibility is to me and my kids, damn everybody else out here. They have to look out for themselves just like I’m looking out for me.”

That was the beginning of the end of what had been my group mentality focus on politics. I no longer think or act as a member of a group unless I’m talking about people I know and am down with. I don’t say hey me and that guy are in the same tax bracket, therefore we are part of the same group. Or because we’re from the same neighborhood, race, or school. I stopped thinking like a member of a group because I realized that when I thought hey you can’t move out of this neighborhood and into a nice one because you have a responsibility to us because of your race, then that made me the racist. And I could not be down with that. That would make me just like my enemies.

Collectivist thought can even result in pronouncements that are just plain absurd, like the rapper Nas calling Tiger Woods a coon in his latest rap because Woods identifies as a human being rather than being black or Asian or whatever. Earth to Nas, Tiger is not even from your same background so what gives you the grounds to criticize him for defying your group that he was never in? This whole thing makes Nas just as fucked up for Tiger to deal with as Fuzzy Zoeller. Hey, maybe Nas and Fuzzy out to form their own group. They can be called the idiots!

One Response to “My Politics”

  1. Citizen Quasar says:

    In a broader sense, the phrase “When the chickens come home to roost” comes to mind.