Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Race Cards: Know When To Hold 'Em, Know When To Fold 'Em

Kenny Rogers fan or not you've most likely heard this card-playing metaphor about knowing when to hold on and when to quit. Today though we're not talking poker, spades, blackjack, or UNO. Frankly, your boy C4 ain't that great at real card games. LeFleur witnessed me lose the quickest C-note he's ever seen at a blackjack table. But I am an expert advisor on the use and overuse of the Race Card. As we get further into the 21st century we minorities need to become much more careful about playing it, cuz it's getting out of hand. I'll use the song as my guide.

I work with kids a lot when I'm not getting artistic work (so often, lsoiwc {laughing so I won't cry}), and I'm alarmed really at how much they relate everything back to race. I wonder if it's because of NYC diversity and that's the first thing everyone notices about each other or something deeper, by that's a whole other post. The convos Go something like this.

C4: Ricardo, turn that music off.
Ricardo: Why, cuz I'm Puerto Rican?
C4: No cuz no one else wants to hear Bruno Mars playing off your phone.

C4: Paola your shoe's untied.
Paola: Oh cuz I'm Dominican right?
C4: makes no sense.

C4: LaCraig, do your homework.
LaCraig: always gotta call out the black man.
C4: nigga do your fucking homework!

That's not including how they're always going on about this or that being "ghetto," or the dangerous substitution for anything black-related to be classified as ghetto. Of course I use kind of silly examples but they're close enough to the truth that I actually posed this theory to Ricardo and he was like "yeah that's what I would've said." And that's why I get worried when people react like that.

1) you're relating everything you do back to some uncontrollable racial reason, which is perversely exactly what actual racists think of you.

2) you're desensitizing yourself and those around you to the idea of racial discrimination based on trivial things, leaving you a little less discerning to actual racism.

3) you become the "nigger who cried wolf" because one day you'll catch actual discrimination but no one will believe you cuz you blow up Al Sharpton's cell phone every time a white person looks at you funny.




"But C4, how do I know how to proceed when I'm not quite sure?"

Calm your needy impatient ass down, dear reader. C4 and Kenny Rogers (unknowingly) are about to learn ya some thangs...

Know When To Hold Em

You can play the race card when:

-you're the only black person/group in an establishment and it is clear that no one is trying to serve you

-cabs consistently pass you to pick up the white people behind you (a whole other post)

-in order to benefit from affirmative action at school and in the workplace. Hard for a black/Latino man to catch a break. Take it when you get one.

-when a white friend/associate comes out of pocket on some bullshit (i.e. drops the N-bomb in your presence, or invokes Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly in conversation)

-whenever the police decide to fuck with you. I know this may seem like a blanket statement to some, but based on the way the police get away with all kinds of atrocities committed against minorities (blacks in particular) with apparent immunity (to this day!), I'm all for putting the pigs on their toes. (sorry Joey and Betty)

-When the racist comment or action is simply indefensible or attributable to some other reason, like when some idiot tries to tell you that Barack Obama is either a Muslim or not American. There's no logical way to defend that as not racist. Thinly veiled innuendo is fair game, so long as you can tell the difference between that and what happens in the next section.

-when it works to your advantage romantically. I mean you have accurately located someone of the opposite sex with a fetish for whatever makes you "exotic," and you wanna fuck that person. Yeah I know you just like black guys, or Asian chicks, or whatever, but I'm not fucking your belief system.

And that's how Tako was born...

Know When To Fold Em

You should fall back and chill when:

-your concern is most likely due to something else. Maybe you're the loud douche bag in the movie theater and you simply need to shut the fuck up. No matter what you think, "loud" is not a proud point of heritage. Resilience and creativity are points of pride, "loud" is just obnoxious.

-it is fairly reasonable that your concern is due to something else. Is the restaurant particularly busy tonight? Are you simply always late to work, and that's why your boss doesn't like you? Yes, I know you're the only black guy in your department. That's what makes it obvious when you don't show up on time. Don't give people a reason. You don't give people a reason to mess with you that is legitimate, you can be sure that a legitimate reason isn't the source of concern.

Know When To Walk Away

-You should just leave the area when you think the next thing you do in response to whatever racial or ethnic slight you have been dealt may land you in jail. Regardless of whether or not that redneck called you a jungle bunny, if you stomp him into the dirt you will go to jail...a jail run by white people, where Jesse Jackson can't save you.

-You realize that you are trying to mentally engage someone too ignorant to process what you're trying to tell them, and thereby cannot possibly change that person's mind. Stop wasting your breath and go the other way. Put away the anger and have pity for him.

If you're offended by this you're overreacting. This is art, not blackface. BUT...

If you don't think this is racist, you might be dumb enough... let this fuckery slide.

Know When To Run

Run the fuck away if:

-you are Mexican in Arizona
-you are Arab outside of major cities
-you are black in the rural south
-you're at a KKK hangout spot and you're not Bux <---LINK

I hope I have provided some clarity, or at least something to think about.

Once more 2 ya door,



mandy ;) said...

great post! i loved it... "Resilience and creativity are points of pride, "loud" is just obnoxious".

im stealin that one ;)

La Rubia said... C4 is a teacher sometimes.'s a question: I know a half whitey/half hispanic boy who loves basketball tells me he's going to be in the NBA someday, he doesn't care what anyone says...I tell him that's going to involve hard work and he'll have to eventually play against some black kids from the "hood" to see how his game REALLY measures up. I'm not going to take away his dream, he's 12, but I can throw in some reality, right? He tells ME that I'm being racist by making that comment...was I being racist or realistic? We're talking the NBA here (I know there was a post about this somewhere on this sight that I read) I think the hypersensetivity is creating dynamic where people are afraid to acknowledge race at all...