Saturday, June 7, 2008

Darkies Only Bring Pain and Suffering

If Chicken Little had been a racist his catchphrase wouldn't have been "The sky is falling" it would have been "The niggers are coming."

Seriously, if there is one thing that scares the bejesus out of white folks with racism lodged in their hearts, it's the idea of black folks invading their neighborhoods. That fear, which has provoked riots, lynchings and all manner of non-violent discrimination, pays no respect to the the class, education or predilection towards violence of black folks.

It only cares about skin color.

Here is the latest manifestation of that irrational fear. Hat tip to the lovely ladies at Racialicious for hipping me to the newest saga in the fight against white fear.

As the article states, Lola, a new restaurant that caters to black folks with disposable income and a love of baked chicken and overpriced drinks, is trying to open up in a part of New York that has typically been fairly vanilla in flavor. In order to continue helping educated black folks drink away the sorrows they've accrued after a day on the plantation, the restaurant is trying to get a liquor license.

And white folks ain't having it.

The Village Voice article talks about the totality of the issue (although they couldn't resist making a snarky comment about claims of racism), but I'd like to focus on one fine gentleman who makes his presence felt the moment he's introduced to us. Sean Sweeney doesn't want Lola on his block if it's going to be blasting jungle music and attracting the "wrong sort of people." Sweeney makes his objections known in no uncertain terms.

"I don't think you need a martini to go with chitlins and collard greens. What wine goes with jambalaya? I can't think of one," he says, ridiculing Lola's need for a license. "There is a place right next to them that sells empaƱadas, and they don't serve liquor. You don't really need liquor if you are a good restaurant to stay in business. Liquor is like cream."

Did that motherfucker just pull out the chitlins and collard greens card?

"I am not racist. [Gayle Patrick-Odeen] is from Barbados. She's a British subject; she's not African-American. She didn't suffer Jim Crow, Reconstruction, lynching. . . . For her to exploit the true sufferings of African-Americans is disgraceful," says Sweeney.


As I've said many times, nobody in America is a racist if you let them tell it. In most people's minds, nothing they ever do is racist and there is nothing any minority can say to convince them otherwise. Period.

Truthfully, this angry cat amused me more than he angered me. If you read the article, despite his racism denials, Sweeney makes it pretty clear where he stands on the issue. It's the other folks quoted, the ones who try to hide behind other lame ass justifications for opposing Lola's liquor license that really piss me off. Sweeney doesn't pretend that race isn't an issue, he's just certain that he's no racist. Those other folks want to pretend like race has nothing to do with their decisions and that's much more egregious.

It's a damn shame that black skin equals evil in so many white people's minds, but I could deal with it a little better if they would admit that this plays a role in their thinking. It's okay to admit that you've fallen victim to society's brainwashing, it's really not your fault. Shoot, black people are still making babies to get good hair, so we really can't point any fingers if white folks admit that they've had their minds warped by the media and their parents.

But, white folks just won't do it. They cling to their stereotypes in the deepest parts of their minds and try their hardest to deny that those stereotypes exist. It's as if admitting the fallacies in their world views would somehow cause them intense physical pain.

Anyway, the black folks who go to Lola's are understandably upset that white people don't want them drinking and dancing down the street from their antique shops. As one sister put it, these are Superlative Negroes and the white folks have nothing to be afraid of.

"We love this place, and the people are wrong," said a woman at the party named Sharun, speaking of Lola's opposition. "This neighborhood thinks because of Lola, there are going to be fights on the street. But the people who come here are TV anchors, lawyers, doctors, businessmen."


Gye Greene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gye Greene said...

Big Man,

You always find thought-provoking articles and happenings; I'm glad I found your blog -- it's opening my narrow little mind.

You actually went in a different direction to where I thought you were going with white folk getting freaked about about black folks invading their neighborhood: slightly off-topic, but in Sociology there's a concept of "tipping point", where a certain percentage of AfrAms moving into the neighborhood triggers "white flight" -- which thus indicates that in the U.S. you can never have a truly "integrated" neighborhood.

I did a quick Google search on those terms, and got this:


The foundational work in this field was done in the early seventies by the economist Thomas Schelling, then at Harvard University, who argued that "white flight" was a tipping-point phenomenon. Since that time, sociologists have actually gone to specific neighborhoods and figured out what the local tipping point is. A racist white neighborhood, for example, might empty out when blacks reach five per cent of the population. A liberal white neighborhood, on the other hand, might not tip until blacks make up forty or fifty per cent. George Galster, of the Urban Institute, in Washington, [...says...] "You get nothing until you reach the threshold," he says, "then you get boom."


Fantastically Misunderstood Me said...

I now feel like I understand where you got your blog title from because if I stumbled upon have the racist drivel you do, I'd be a lunatic too. Chitlins, collard greens and jambalaya? I just can't... But riddle me this, does he think that racism is only inflicted upon blacks of the American persuasion? As if racists stop you on the street and ask for your passport?

Fantastically Misunderstood Me said...


Deacon Blue said...

Shit, it's the white people who scare me when they get liquored up...especially the skinny blondes and the young frat boys. I've seen more trouble from those two groups than any other. Certain of my brethren truly scare me in the bars, and I get far from them when they start tipping back a few too many.

Oaktown Girl said...

They cling to their stereotypes in the deepest parts of their minds and try their hardest to deny that those stereotypes exist. It's as if admitting the fallacies in their world views would somehow cause them intense physical pain.

Word. But I think it's the psychological pain that scares them the most. When confronted with the truth, no matter how gently and logically it's presented to them, too many White "liberals" just lose their fucking minds. And I mean Exorcist-style head-spinning-all-the-way-around lose their minds. They just can't handle any upset in their comfortable world view. And I'm fucking sick of it.

Imhotep said...

Mr. sweeney 's paternalistic attitude that he knows what's best for Black folks, is all too common with white america. This mothafuka have the audacity to tell black folks what type of beverage to have with their meals. Why should he care?

Why should he care if I have a Mickeys Big Mouth malt liquor with my chitlins? Or if I have a Australian shiraz with my jambalaya, why should he care?

I would be curious top see if he interfered with any Italian, Greek or Irish restaurants from getting their liquor license.

And why does someone have to justify to this racist pig the type of clientele (lawyers, doctors, tv anchors) why should that matter? we should never have to satisfy this white mothafuka's anxieties. Seems like there is a restraint of trade lawsuit waiting to happen.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

i aint mad at the business approach
but more the consumer behavior

WNG said...

Sometimes I can't even work up the energy to get pissed anymore - it just makes me sad and disgusted. Especially ish like this that I see as so blatant and so many others see in shades of grey. It makes me sick - can we at least have some HONESTY?
Before I turn into a raving lunatic myself, I remind myself that the fight is worth winning and has to be fought.
Make it through another day in America.

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

This is a good article keeps me grounded in the struggle. I really don’t think it matters if the clientele is educated or not and am sad to see that quote. The fact is about equality. They should be allowed to have a liquor license if the meet the requirements weather they are serving thugs or Thurgoods. I can’t even summon up the energy to discuss the white reaction other than to say typical… oh so typical.


dp said...

Last I checked Martinis are made mostly with Gin or Vodka. So I guess if you change the glass it magically becomes a classy drink. Give me a break. I would just like him to say somthing like black people sniff up all the white man's air or a black restaurant will devalue other businesses or divert traffic flow.

I like the way the piece points out class of the restaurant patrons and calls them "Urban Professionals". But to some white folks were just niggers in suits.

Big Man said...

The last comment, the one by the sister, was almost worth an entire blog post in it's own right. As a friend of mine pointed out, the sister thought that if you're a certain type of black person than these types of things don't happen to you.

That is a big problem I've found in the our community. We seem to think that if we achieve enough we can somehow force racists to treat us as if we are fully human. That's not going to happen no matter how high you rise as the campaign of Barack Obama has demonstrated in certain ways. No matter how you present yourself, there is a "tipping point" where many white people will revert back to the racism that has been ingrained in them since birth. Once you understand this you can prepare for it and hope to change it, but first you have to come to that realization.

shon said...

Big Man,

Excellent post and it is indeed this type of under the surface racism that bothers me most. There is really no doubt in my mind that this guy does not think he is racist.

And the "tipping point" you speak of is very real. You are never not black even though so many of the lawyers and doctors I know seem to think they have transcended their skin.

Raving Black Lunatic