Skip to main content

Screwin' The Pooch . . . On The Cover Of The Rolling Stone

Wanna see my picture on the cover
Gonna buy five copies for my mother!
Wanna see my smilin' face
On the cover of the Rolling Stone . . .

- with apologies to Dr. Hook

Okay, I'll be the first to admit it: I enjoyed watching General Stanley McChrystal get fired. In the parlance of our nation's military, he "screwed the pooch." Big time. On the cover of the Rolling Stone, no less.

But I didn't enjoy watching him get b-slapped for the heck of it. No, it was a kind of vicarious joy for every time I was underestimated because of my race and unable to respond. Most African Americans of my generation who have achieved some modicum of responsibility or success in the workplace have at one time had their abilities questioned or underestimated for reasons unrelated to performance. Many times, people of other races have pegged us as unqualified affirmative action beneficiaries no matter how stellar our credentials or past accomplishments. The only weapon at our disposal, more often than not, has been to work harder and prove them wrong -- the old "twice as good to be half as good" that our Civil Rights Movement parents taught us. But, man, does that get old. I've often argued that we will have achieved equality when black mediocrity is not tied to blackness but to humanity, period. But we're not there yet.

So, you can imagine the joy I had when I read McChrystal's remarks about the President and wondered if he would have been so bold were the President not black. Regardless, he screwed the pooch, or, as they say on East 14th in Oakland, he got "out of pocket." And this time, regardless of the source of his animus -- off his meds, angry, race, whatever -- even the conservative pundits had to fall in line and agree that this kind of behavior was unacceptable from a general serving the Commander-in-Chief. It was with great fun that I watched the ever Obama-critical George Will have to reach the same unavoidable conclusion: McChrystal had to go. Yes, even George Will had no choice but to agree with President Obama this time.

I enjoyed hearing that the President made General McChrystal endure the military brass' version of a perp walk: Going to various high-ranking officials and apologizing in person before getting his head handed to him in the Oval Office. Had McChrystal had any honor, he would have resigned long before stepping foot on American soil. He definitely is not samurai material.

Although I know the President likes to keep issues of race out of politics, I must say that, for every post-Civil Rights era African American who has endured having their abilities questioned or underestimated for reasons unrelated to performance or ability, it was a small, silent victory for us that the President won't admit. I'm okay with that. It was just nice to see us on the powerful end of the equation, if just this once.

And in my fantasy as to how this all played out, the President leaned over his desk, accepted General McChrystal's resignation, and whispered in his ear: "How ya like me now?"

Comments

Anonymous said…
White men are BORN into affirmative action. They're the only ones who actually get affirmation on whatever they want to do. All kinds of people help them be/do. Then they turn around and make those dirty words for the rest of us.
I think it's hard for whites, especially white men, to realize their privilege because if you've always been in the majority, what other experience of non-privilege do you have in order to know that what you experience is not the norm for others? It's like being born wealthy -- if you've never been poor, would you really see all the ways your wealth gives you privilege? I don't think they can help it.

Popular posts from this blog

When You Leave The Ghetto, Don't Bring It With You

NBA player Gilbert Arenas brings a gun to an NBA locker room. NBA player Ron Artest lets his pit bulls run wild and free in Loomis, California while playing for the Sacramento Kings. NFL player Michael Vick did time for fighting dogs. And NFL player Plaxico Burress is doing time for shooting his damn self.

What do all these men have in common? BMNB would say an inability to make a profound paradigm shift. I’m less eloquent than BMNB is, so I’ll say it differently: The inability to leave the ghetto behind.

Yes, call me saditty, bourgie, elitist, stuck-up, whatever. I don’t care. Until you’ve had a tweaker ruin your Thanksgiving turkey, you don’t even know (more on that later), and I’m not trying to hear you.

Living in Western Placer County, my husband and I continue to hear stories from folks like us who had to flee “those who can’t leave the ghetto behind.” You know these people, and they come in all races. In our case, we had returned to Sacramento in 2004 and 2005, respective…

Black Woman Blogging's Gun Control Proposal

Thanks to a relative who sent me death threats, I became a gun owner. Reluctantly.  What can I say.  You don't choose your family.

That said, I'm for gun control.

As far as I'm concerned, America lost its moral compass when we didn't do squat after Sandy Hook.  If you can allow a madman to murder children and not be moved to do nothing, you have no moral compass.  Period.

Now that we've broken an unfortunate record for the number of people killed in a mass shooting, perhaps we as a country are ready to get our minds right about gun control.  Perhaps.  So in that spirit, I offer my gun control proposal.

First, we need to agree on some real (not alternative) facts and principles:

1.  There is no such thing as an unlimited right.  Yes, people, there are no unlimited rights protected under the Constitution.  Your right to free speech?  Well, not all speech is protected under the First Amendment and even protected speech can be limited by time, place and manner.  Your…

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…