This morning's Comment from Joared, lively responder in Elderblogland.
"is anyone writing about New Orleans? .... it would be quite challenging to capture everything that needs to be said. Wonder if August Wilson, whose plays are so well written, would have undertaken such a script?"
Tapped into my guilty feelings: need to post something besides this one. Could I lay off some guilt on viewers; only response to it came from knitting friend Njoyia of the Harlem Knitting Circle. Do only black Americans continue to feel the pain? Do those who are not black really understand the pain of racism?
Not according to Brian Copeland, whose powerful one-man show, Not a Genuine Black Man, we saw last night. He brings humor to his terrible, personal story. Not what we've seen in Richard Pryor: this is more about us, the white Americans who think we get it but never can. Because there are not enough of us trying to make a difference. Sorry, readers, but it is Sunday and you have happened upon my soapbox, a little red hen.
Let me make it more personal. It is 1969. Ron and I have already lived with, as Jews, housing discrimination as others in two places outside New York City-- Oberlin, Ohio and Baltimore. We'd observed the "illness" of racism and its impact on African-Americans and on us. My hair is very long, Ron has almost as much on top and a bushy beard. We sit at the after-dinner table in suburban St. Louis with my father and his wife, longtime civil rights activists around school integration. I asked, "Wouldn't it have been a better strategy to go for housing integration right after WWII...when everyone was feeling positive about "the other"? They were incensed; I was their hippish, smartass child who thought open classrooms would be a good idea for my child.
Look at Brian Copeland's website. Look at the video clip from his hometown, San Leandro, California, a 1971 CBS-TV special. This was not the South. How he survived is a very powerful story. But at what cost to him--and to us? If you're in New York, the show is on till July 16. Or, you can buy his just-released book, "Not a Genuine Black Man."
By the way, Eleanor Roosevelt also believed that housing integration was the place to begin. I'm honored to be in her company. New Orleans? Send a check to Common Ground or one of the black colleges, Xavier University of Louisianna.