(OR: To the Woman Who Cannot Come To Terms With Her Past –A Response to A. Lichtenberg Who Tried to Write About Her Great Grandfather Being a Blackface Performer)
At first my knee-jerk reaction — laden with a slew of significance — if not, perhaps, just another symbol of my “over-sensitivity” (don’t you love when the oppressors or at least those with a fistful of dollars label your insight as “over-sensitive”? Only one cut from the cloth of the great Dutch Masters–I’m not talking about Rembrandt here–could say such a thing…could you imagine: hundreds of bodies beneath you cramped together in stinking shit shame and profound trauma while above a couple have a cup of tea on the upper decks?)
but here is no such thing as: Emotion Vs Rationale.
One who can’t think can’t feel.
You can’t feel, then you can’t think.
There is no enigma here.
But I digress as I often do, trembling just a little on the
cause I don’t see
And as if to excuse this she explains he was a “Jew.”
Because the Jews, as we all know, were not forced into ovens — they were forced…to debilitate and make money off of the Blacks. Yes, guns were held to their heads and they had to make a choice.
(Sophie’s Choice: could you see old Meryl being forced to choose between “blackening” up and make fun of the Negroes or burning to death if she refused? Neither could I)
Well, I wanted to ask you, gentle writer:
“What would the difference be between Nazi ‘Shylock’ noses humiliating a Jewish Man and the surreal Jewish Immigrant in the good old USA who blackened his face to dehumanize and contort
the North American African Man?”
Well, I could not have another argument and implore her to see some Spike Lee film or try to prove my point. Even Scientists know: you don’t convert your opponents. You simply wait for them to die.
As the night wore on we spoke of many things, but my table kept coming back to your profound resistance,
who your great grandfather was:
a man who made his living denigrating the existence of my grandfather.
I believe in forgiveness, but I don’t believe in praying for an amnesia.
So your great grandfather was just another
stopping the clock
mopping the docks
getting paid to mock
you maligned in ghettos
you fled Hitler’s.