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I had a vision, a shimmering image which came to me in the twilight of my waking hours. As Saint James Brown departed us, he sent a messenger. I did not know HIS name, but his energy was powerful--yet it possessed a great sadness. HE, the great White ambassador, spoke to me and the Earth shook. This messenger sent by Saint James communicated in the most clear and melodic voice: What of your White allies? What of the White masses? We too have great guilt...especially the most "liberal" and "progressive" of us. You, Chauncey, must build us a temple, a place where we can confess our guilt and shame. I looked to Brother James and he said go forth and help our White allies, for it is the special burden We Respectable Negroes must at times suffer as an act of love.
I awoke. I went to class and encountered a young white student who was emphatically recounting the events of the previous weekend to his friend. Curious, I listened. It seems that this young, naive, white soul had loaned his cell phone to a stranger in need. This stranger was black. They were on "the wrong side of town." Our naive white liberal did not want to "prejudge" this "homeless" and "rough" looking black man. "That would be wrong," he told his sympathetic friend. The black stranger implored to our white liberal student of kind comportment that he needed to "borrow" the phone, in order to call some friends so that he could find shelter for the evening.
As I heard this story, I shook my head--we respectable negroes all know how this story ends.
In great shock and pain our young white friend explained how the black lumpen walked off with his cell phone. Our young white liberal ran after the brigand. The black tough then told our progressive young friend, that "the phone is mine." Our noble youth further protested at which point the black ign't threatened to shoot him. So sad, so very sad.
Our pink cheeked, ivory hued protagonist shrugged his shoulders and told his friend, "I didn't want to fight him or complain because given that I am white in a black neighborhood somehow it would be my fault if something went wrong."
Come one, come all, be you either anonymous White folk or our white allies. Unburden yourselves, share your pain.
Do you pretend to like rap music because you don't want to be perceived as "racist?" All the while hating it?
Do you pretend to like "ethnic food" because you want to look tolerant, but you really can't stomach it?"
Do you not lock your doors in high crime areas as a "progressive" act against racism because the 'hood happens to be predominantly black and brown?
Did you pretend to support Barack Obama when in fact you actually find his politics deeply troubling, yet, you wanted to do the "right" thing?
When in line at the ATM do you tell yourself that it is wrong to be scared when the hard looking brother, with the prison muscles and tattoos, who is also wearing a hoodie with a scarf wrapped around his face, is standing behind you at 3am?
Come to us, one an all...share your secret White liberal shames--those hidden thoughts--for you will find salvation here.
And let it never be said that We Respectable Negroes are guilty of reverse discrimination! As we gave gifts to the parishioners of the Church of James Brown, we shall give the best 2 confessionals in the Church of White Liberal Guilt a free copy of Ta-Nehisi Coates's great book, The Beautiful Struggle, courtesy of Spiegel & Grau publishers. Do you have the courage to lay bare your souls?
***Come forth my White folks! The shimmering spirit has come to me again--this time with a musical accompaniment that HE tells me will encourage all you to come forth. HE calls it "blue eyed soul." What is this that HE speaks of? I don't understand its mysteries, but I do think I understand its power***: