Thursday, April 3, 2008

Chauncey's World of Ghetto Nerds: Solomon Grundy is Very Very Angry! or Why the Hell does the TSA Mess with Respectable Negroes?

When I get pissed off I channel either the Incredible Hulk or Solomon Grundy. A few months back when that knucklehead staged his own noose incident I got Incredible Hulk angry:

Yesterday, I was far more upset and I became Solomon Grundy angry. The latter is more of a personal rage, while the former is more of a you deserve to get hit upside the head with a sock full of quarters angry:

The source of my Solomon Grundy rage was the 2 rather unpleasant encounters I had with Transportation Safety Administration staff while traveling from my current headquarters back to my ancestral home.

During the first leg of my trip I was profiled. Yes, profiled. Now, folks who read this site and know me personally, know that I don't throw around such language easily or without care. Here, I fit a profile, a brown guy, with a one way ticket, traveling from the Midwest to the East Coast. I humored the brother interrogating me. He asked dumb questions but I smiled and answered them. Yes, I was tempted to tell the TSA officer that he was following a script and that these anti-terrorist measures are a joke that don't actually make us safer, but I let him earn his 13 dollars an hour without my intervention. I smiled, he defended democracy and felt good about himself, I didn't tell him how a smart person would actually bring a plane down, and I went along with my business.

Now folks, the story gets interesting. On the second leg of my trip, I flew out of a PWT airport--PWT meaning poor white trash where the TSA staff are happy to have benefits and are pleased to be one step above the "rest of us." Frankly, these are the same folks who often become police officers so that they can harass people and be the bullies they were in High School.

I got to the lane and of course I was in the middle of a conversation I would rather be apart from--an argument about race and history. I asked myself, "why? why God do I have to be around these people. Why do I have to hear these conversations?" An old, angry, balding white man was quite hostile and lecturing a black woman, his coworker, about race--I bit my tongue. He continued to tell her that, "race doesn't matter, race doesn't matter to me, get over it," and in that moment I had a list of books and research to share with him, but I knew it would not matter. I watched. I don't begrudge people being idiots. And frankly, I don't believe in mass democracy or the wisdom of the masses. I wanted to lecture him on white privilege and history, but realized it wouldn't matter. I even whispered to the sister that "he will never understand, so please stop trying." It fell on deaf ears as she ignored me.

Then it happened, I had my Solomon Grundy moment--the white ign't--yes, there are white ignt's--decided to tell a story about Rodney King, and that the cops did the right thing and that it wasn't racial. Damn, Damn, Damn..yes in capital letters, I became Solomon Grundy!

I called over the manager and I wanted names. Do you understand my rage? I don't care about ideological purity, or even that folks should agree with my politics. What enraged me was that a person with petty power, here meaning the power in that moment to determine who would get checked, who would be detained and their person inspected, and that would hold such retrograde attitudes could hurt the public, really sickened me. For the record, I think Rodney King was an asshole who deserved to get his ass kicked, but I am not a police officer, and I don't have rules to abide by. Moreover, that ign't had surrendered and any fair minded person would have to admit the show was over and that King was done with:

Ultimately, from my perspective, someone who couldn't see that fact shouldn't be in TSA, and he certainly shouldn't have that level of power or public trust.

Am I a bad person? Am I unreasonable because I am calling in favors to get him fired? Am I a hostile, mean person because I have called my congressman and senator and told them a person with this little level of discretion shouldn't be a TSA officer because they can't be trusted? Is it unfair that I believe that someone who is so indiscreet, and holds a prior that black people are criminals, shouldn't work for TSA,? Help a brother out, am I that wrong?

My respectable negro friends, white, black, brown, or other, please share some of your unfair, unreasonable, TSA moments, so we can heal together.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You were damn right! I'm in college right now and have a US History that still uses the word discovered for the genocide of the native peoples of this nation, I mean Jesus! I wanna kick his ass, or bring a tape recorder to one of his classes and get him to call me a nigger, cause I can tell he doesn't like Black people