ウィントンの娘として、その言葉を聞く─2020年5月31日、あるトランペット奏者の発言 A

Just yesterday, I was walking with my 11-year-old daughter and she asked me, “Did you see the video of the man in Minneapolis?” “Yes” I said. I always talk to her about history and slavery and all kinds of stuff that she is not interested in - and probably overdo it for that reason. She asked, “Why did the man just kneel on him and kill him like that in front of everybody?“ Instead of answering I asked her a question back, ”If I went out of my way to squash something that was harmless to me, and stomped on it repeatedly and deliberately to make sure I had killed every drop of life in it, and then looked defiantly at you, as if triumphant. Why would I do that?” She said, “You hate bugs.” I laughed and said, “Let’s say it’s not necessarily a bug, just whatever I go out of my way to utterly destroy. Why would I?” She said, “Because you can.” “Yes,” and I further asked, “Why else?”


“Because you want to”, and then I said “Yes, but can you think of another more basic reason?” She thought for a while and just couldn’t come up with it. I kept it going saying and aggravating her,” It’s one of the most important ones.” After a few minutes she rolled her eyes and said, “Just tell me.” I debated with myself about telling her this last reason since it’s almost always left out of the national discussions when these types of repeated crimes by our peace officers are committed, but I figured, it’s never too early to consider the obvious. So, I said, “Because he enjoyed it. For him, and for many others, that type of thing is fun. Like them good ole boys in Georgia chasing that brother through the neighborhood to defend themselves.” It’s no more complex than that. She said,” hmmmmm....” unconvinced. And I said, “this type of fun is much older even than America itself.” I considered how different her understanding is of these things, if only just because of time, place and experience.


During my childhood, raw racism and pure absolute ignorance was just a fact, but so was enlightened protest and determined resistance. It was the times, the 60’s going into the 70’s. With our Afros and the consciousness music of James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, younger brothers were determined not to put up with any bullshit at all, unlike our ancestors, who we felt had willfully endured and accepted disrespect. And it was so easy to believe they were acquiescent in their own degradation because we didn’t know anything about the deep deep sorrow and pains of their lives, because they bore it all in silence and disquieting shame. Now, those old folks are long gone, and each passing day reveals the naïveté of our underestimation of the power and stubbornness of our opponent. Now, our ancestors loom much larger albeit as shadowy premonitions in the background of a blinding mirror that is exposing us all, black and white.


Racist mythology, social inequality, and economic exploitation used propaganda and physical lines of demarcation to create and enforce a state of mind. It was called segregation. Because my parents grew to adulthood in it and I was raised in it, I unknowingly believed in it, and even referred to myself as a minority. The late Albert Murray, my mentor and intellectual grandfather in Harlem, New York, dissuaded me from the segregated mindset with a penetrating question, “How are you going to accept being a minority in your own country? Is an Italian a minority in Italy?”


Well, let’s see. That’s a question our country has to ask itself. If we are plural so be it. But we aren’t. We are segregated in so many more ways than race and if we are to be integrated, a nasty question remains: whose genes will recede and whose will be dominant? Who is them and who is us? Mr. Murray once told me, “Racial conflict in America has always been black and white versus white.” We see that in the current riots that have sprung up around the country. There are all kinds of folks out there and always have been. Any cursory viewing of protests in the 60’s reveals Americans of all hues.

 さて考えてみましょう。これはわが国が、わが国に向かって問わねばならない問題なのです。私たちは多元性の中にある、というなら、そうあるべきでしょう。しかし、そうなってはいません。私たちは、人種の違いのみならず、あらゆる手段で分断されていて、もし私たちが統合されるべき存在なら、汚らわしい設問がまだ残っています。遺伝子的に誰が後退すべきで、誰が主流だというのか? 彼らは誰で、私たちは誰なのか? マレイ氏は、かつてこういいました。アメリカの人種紛争は、つねに黒人と白人とが、白人に対して行うものだったと。最近、国中でわきおこってきている抵抗運動にも、同じことを見いだすことができます。あらゆる種類の民衆が外に出ているし、これまでもそうでした。六〇年代の抵抗運動をざっと見わたすと、たいてい、あらゆる肌の色のアメリカ人がいたものです。

But when all is said and done, and all the videos and photos become just a part of a protester’s personal narrative kit to be pulled out for kids and grandkids as a testament of their youth. When the enormous collective wealth of America passes from one generation to the next, who of our white brothers and sisters now so chagrined will be out in the streets then? Playing loud defiant music in your bedroom means one thing at 15, but it’s very different when it’s your house. Who will be out there making sure that their darker-hued brother and sister in the struggle has enough opportunity to feed their family, and a good enough education to join the national debate to articulate an informed position in their fight for their rights and responsibilities and the financial security to enjoy older age with the comforts of health, home, and happiness?


If the 80’s Reagan revolution is any indication, don’t hold your breath for the “post racial America” that we were supposed to have achieved without having corrected or even acknowledged any of the real problems.


The whole construct of blackness and whiteness as identity is fake anyway. It is a labyrinth of bullshit designed to keep you lost and running around and around in search of a solution that can only be found outside of the game itself. Our form of Democracy affords us the opportunity to mine a collective intelligence, a collective creativity, and a collective human heritage. But the game keeps us focused on beating people we should be helping. And the more helpless the target, the more vicious the beating. Like I was trying to explain to my daughter, something just feels good about abusing another person when you feel bad about yourself.







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