Written & Performed by Lee Moyer 2/1/2002www.leemoyer.com
Are you like me?
Pale, Pasty or Doughy?
Do you have Light Eyes? White Eyes? Yellow Hair?
Are you Jakes, Howli, or Paleface?
Have you been called Buckra? Honky? Whitey? Cracker? Massa? White Trash?
Are you melanin-challenged?
Are you- to call a non-spade a non-spade- white like me?
Ive spent years being young, gifted and white.
Ive tried to dance the white guilt away. But I cant.
Ive called many a kettle black, with impunity.
Ive shouldered the white mans burden.
Ive sold out and gone to work for the man who I related to!
Ive seen the revolution. It was televised.
I was not born a poor black child.
"But what does Lees pathetic whiteness mean to me?" I hear you cry. "Im white, but so what? I mean whats the big deal."
Well, the big deal is this- its Black History Month Brothers- NOT White History Month (thats the other eleven in case you were napping- not "nappy", "napping").
Im here to tell you (to testify, if you will) that we dont have to sit this month out. We can participate brothers.
Let me remind you of something that happened in this very room a few weeks ago- something that changed my life. Clinton Johnston changed my life. And- he the man, in the vernacular of our people.
Yes brothers, I say our people.
For while I was not born a poor black child, in the short time Ive been here in Charlottesville, Ive had both poorness and blackness thrust upon me. Clinton looked all of us in our white eyes, and declared us to be black. He gave us hope, and a useful set of guidelines
Now, at last, Ive got my groove. I havent got it back, like Stella, cause I never had one to begin with. Im more like the cartoon llama in that respect. And I owe it all to Clinton.
Now I can stand in front of a room of strangers and quote the hardest workin man in show business without shame. I can say. "Fellas- Im about ready to do MY thing. You know. Like a like a sex machine, man. You know, Movin, Doin it. Can I count it off one time now.?"
I used to use black slang terms to get an easy laugh. I could say "you go girl" or "the bomb diggety" or "I pity the fool" or "Whatchu talkin bout Willis?" or "Thugskully" or "Who da Man?" for the satisfaction of making people look at me askance. I could only use those phrases in jest then... As irony
But now thanks to Clinton Johnston, the brothers have to respect my "bad self". I can get down with that aforementioned self anytime I want. I can "case a joint" for "bootie". I can "shake my groove thing". I can really scare "whitey" now. I might even "kill my landlord". Yes, thats right I can "C. I. L. L. my landlord". I can quote black comedy. I can understand black poetry. I can have a struggle! And I can finally, after 37 years of privation, use the word "Nigger". I can even cop an attitude, like those "Niggers with Attitudes". I can finally be cool.
I can tell jokes about welfare moms, parole hearings and alcoholism that I could never tell before.
Well, actually, I dissemble slightly there. Of course I could have told those jokes before now, but Id have to have become a white Republican for that- and lets face it, miraculous as it is, the chances of me becoming black were far greater than that
Ive tried to adhere to the rules Clinton so neatly outlined for my behavior:
Ive talked to the brothers on the street. Half the "peeps" in my "hood" now think Im "one crazy nigger". Oh, they wont come near me now- when they see me on the street, they cross to the other side to get out of my way.
Im not even a majority when Im alone now. I like the peace and quiet, its a nice change...
I spent a couple days fiddling with my antenna, but couldnt get that Star Trek program. And then I remembered that Clinton said it was just him that had to watch all that Star Trek. What a relief
Ive been dancin up a storm, but folks who see me seem to put that in the "Crazy Nigger" category too
I wrote a piece for No Shame Theatre last week -making fun of the scared white kids at the drive through who think that black neighborhoods are scary. Some people thought that Clinton had written it. I was so proud.
But for all my successes, I still had qualms.
Maybe I couldnt really be black. Maybe I wasnt up to the challenge.
I got the feeling that somehow, something must be wrong. I just couldnt shake that feeling. It was a feeling Id never really had before. Then, I realized that it was ok. That the paranoia I felt was just part of my new racial categorization.
I had- dare I say it- the blues!
I was even more proud. Blue, but proud.
Then I had a sudden epiphany. I looked out on the patio and saw all my laundry (and I mean all of it! Weeks and weeks worth!) drying in the unusually warm January sun. As I cast an eye over the drying clothes; the shirts, the socks, the underwear, the pants- I realized the truth in a sudden flash.
Of course I was black. I was black down to a molecular level. It was more than just a state of mind, I was really black. All my jeans are black. Think of it. I have only black jeans.
Im so very, very proud.
[blackout]"Black Enough?" IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE DOWNLOADED, TRANSMITTED, PRINTED OR PERFORMED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR
"Black Enough?" debuted February 1, 2002, performed by Lee Moyer.