Sunday, April 21, 2013

Strange Fruit Indeed

I can remember hearing those haunting tones of Billie Holiday ringing in my ears as a child. Her beautiful voice proclaims the southern trees bare strange fruit. Through the dusty speakers on my dresser plastered with bumper stickers, she sang that song over and over. It wasn't until many years later I learned that the fruit she was singing about was nothing close to what I thought she was singing. The audio has gotten better, the song is  remastered and in digital formats far removed from that 11 year old boy could have imagined was possible, but those words now have a much darker meaning. Those black bodies swinging are not so abstract and meaningless anymore.


I was a child of the 80s. There was lots of Michael Jackson, Prince, and Tina Turner. Music videos sparkled with lots of glitter. I had a great childhood. There was no struggle or strife, no real racial ah-ha moment. I look back believing that my life was never touched by racism or anything socially ugly. Still having tremendous faith in the human condition, I was naive and happy. Today's racism is not so obvious, but does that make it any better? People seen to think that just because the president is black that the struggle is over. They may not say that, but more or less behave as though it is. It's getting better. Though getting better means that congress is in eternal gridlock. Getting better means the Tea Party Republicans and other right wing groups have more clout than ever. We all know Obama was the first black president, but did we also know he'd be the first president to be called a liar at his State of the Union address? I truly believe there are bad actors in our very government that don't want him to succeed.

So how far are we from slavery and those strange fruit? Master is no more, but we are now seeing the last gasp of the former ruling class as they hide under pointless and senseless positions. On one hand yelling less government, and then trying to tell us what to do with our bodies. They call him the food stamp president, say he's giving out favors to his friends, accuse him of not being an American and somehow we're not supposed to say that's racist? Somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind, I want them to stand as a unified party and all in concert say, "Nigger, go home" and be done with it. Now decades removed from hearing that song, back when I didn't know the meaning until now, fully understanding it, I realized how much I've come to understand through living. Yes, racism exist and is alive and well. From slaves to presidents, we're getting there.




GREGORY DRAYTON
Male Media Mind