The Reluctant Raycist ...out of the mouths of babes

I wrote this 13 yrs ago, but sadly it's as poignant today as it was back then.

Fear mixed with hate, anger and an overwhelming sense of superiority and entitlement makes a toxic cocktail, don't drink it!

Dear Friend~

 

            Re: The Reluctant Raycist

 

            I started writing this in Jan/Feb 2007 as ‘The Reluctant Racist’, (I’ve altered the title as the attached is the Rayconfigured version) and recently I felt compelled to complete it, something of an obsession really.

 

            I usually try to write humor, straight up with a twist of wry.

 

            The subject matter here is far from funny altho I have used humor as a device to make something so appalling, a bit more appealing to absorb, but in NO way make light of.

 

            I have some trepidation about putting this out en masse for fear of getting lynched by somebody that misses the point, BUT, it is what it is.

 

            I’m sending you this as I value your opinion and aren’t afraid to call a spade a fucking shovel, so I’m hoping you’ll give me your feedback as well as to PLEASE do not forward this on; once I hear from you, I’ll decide what course I should take.

 

            Thanks for your time and remember ‘the love you take is equal to the Love you make’, isn’t that ‘Fab’?

 

                                                                                    Ray

 

                                                            Ray Ramsay: Wordsmith/Humoroid

 

                                                      Author of 'Things that go *POP* in my Head' (In Progress)
                                                         and 'I Hate My Life' (Deluxe Edition w Boardgame)

 

The Reluctant Raycist

The Reluctant Raycist by Ray Ramsay     Feb20/07(Updated July 27/12)

 

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo,

catch a n*gger by the toe,

if he hollers, let him go,

eeny, meeny, miny, mo.

 

…this was a playground rhyme from my childhood of the 1950’s; at that time, we thought nothing of it. Black people were called n*ggers and that’s all there was to it, the same as the Chinese were Ch*nks, Japanese were J*ps or N*ps, East Indians were r*g-heads, Jews were k*kes, Germans were kr*uts, Italians were w*ps and on th* sad parade goes.

 

          Apparently, the rhyme dates back to the early 1800’s and comes out of England.

 

          Satan, being evil, was thought to be colored Black because Evil is Black and one couldn’t pinch a cloven hoof and have him feel pain, but he might take a human form with Black skin so if you pinched a colored persons toe and he ‘Hollered’, he couldn’t be Satan so he would be released. Seems like a lot of work, couldn’t they just ask him?

 

   I don’t recall from those early days that we were corrected much, until much later.

 

   Children are basically blank pages or empty blotters, ready to absorb whatever they’re taught, more by our parents or elders than at school, and unless they are taught to correct their thinking where other nationalities and skin colors are concerned, will carry on with that thru their later life. As children, we didn’t think then that any of this was ‘bad’, it was just the way things were. I know of Chinese and Japanese children (in Steveston) calling themselves ‘Ch*nks’ and ‘J*ps’ and I was surprised one day to overhear our neighbors children playing in their wadey pool calling each other ‘dirty black n*ggers’; in retrospect, these kids probably were making light of other peoples prejudices and inuring themselves for the future. As neighbors, we all got along fine.

 

  A lot of what we absorbed came from the cinema, notably the American films that filled the neighborhood movie screens on a Saturday afternoon and later, our home TV screens…

   I learned that all white people were right (unless they were bog-trotting Irish or square-headed Germanics), that Native Americans/Indians or Injuns or red skins or red devils were murdering marauding savages intent on killing all the peaceful white settlers (that were actually stealing their land, killing the Buffalo and their way of life into the bargain), this is classic culture clash...Stone-age vs Industrial age. “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’ put an end to that thinking forever. Today, they are organized, educated in the White system and use of the finer points of the Legal system to their advantage. They have A.I.M. & Russell Means, and believe me, that’s a ‘means’ to an end in itself.

 

 

 

 

Walt Disney had me believing that Mexicans were lazy and indolent sneaky bandits that killed Davy Crocket at the Alamo along with about 250 others, many were Mexicans themselves. In Texas, which was at that time part of Mexico NOT the United States as it may have seemed, and Bowie, Travis and my hero, Crockett, were pro-Slavery! The part of Mexican Citizenship was NOT to own slaves (They managed to enslave their Indians, but under another name, so ‘Tomahto!), so, had the defenders of the Alamo prevailed, my hero may well have fought for the Pro-Slave South and Cessation: The Confederacy.

 

That Chinese were inscrutable and subservient to whites never mind the horror of the origin of the term ‘doesn’t stand a Chinamans chance’ some of whom were blown to pieces by High Explosives, in the name of white humor, while they helped build the railroads that united a continent.

 

   That black people from Africa, brought to these shores against their will and at the cost of many lives and much suffering were also subservient to whites and to some degree in some minds, still are to this day. ‘ ‘Black Like Me’ and ‘Roots’ helped change some thinking but not nearly enuff. ‘The Help’ bears out the continuance of cradle to the grave prejudice.

          Unfortunately, in their home country of Africa today there are ‘Military’ groups or tribes of colored people that prey upon each other, some of the Militia are just kids, murdering and massacring the weak and unwary, then truss them up like so much Bush Meat and have them over for dinner, as the main course. Are there no McDonalds in Africa?

 

East Indians were subservient too tho more to the British and their Empire than to other Countries, at World War 2 and 1947 brought an end to the Empire if not the idea.

 

          One of America’s great writers and humorists, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) once wrote that there was’ nothing harder in the world than a n*ggers head’, and that time, was widely read and accepted.

 

 I tripped over that line when I read the book ‘Roughing’ It’ altho I enjoyed the rest of it as I did his novels Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn altho reflecting back as I write this, those novels were based in Cairo, Illinois and there was the matter of the slave, Jim. I don’t recall that Illinois was ever a Slave State altho that might have been prior to the Great Conflagration. I draw the line at changing Twains use of the word; it’s a period piece and a reflection of the state of mind at that time. Some people want to change these things but I think they are in denial of the past and what steps we took to get here now. Unlike many an Egyptian Pharaoh, you cannot rewrite History but take it for what it was and learn from it.

 

          The Union forces and citizenry of the Industrial North, during the American Civil War, were more than willing to beat the tar-baby out of the Agricultural and largely uneducated South, freeing the Slaves in the bargain, but they didn’t intend to free them to come NORTH, altho, thru the passage of time, the majority got over themselves; Time wounds all heels.

         

 

Nearly 85 years later, in Montgomery, Alabama; one day a Bus pulls up to a stop, a passenger got on and refused to give their seat to a white person and changed ‘Public’ transit forever, joining other like-minded stalwarts like Claudine Colvin, Irene Morgan & Sarah Key (insert Chorus of Beatles ‘Ticket To Ride’ here) God Bless Rosa Parks.

 

          Her act set the Righting of Civil Wrongs in motion, pulling the Hood off an ugly truth (insert Billy Holidays ‘Strange Fruit’ here).

 

          And speaking of Rosa, I can’t not mention the man that rose above all adversity, Barack Obama. I am pleased to have lived to see this and even more thrilled (as is he, I’m certain) that some Ring-Ass Red-Neck didn’t shoot him because of it, I thought they would and spoil a magnificent achievement.

 

          Closer to home, I must also mention Vancouver’s own Joe Fortes, a fixture of early 1900’s around English Bay, who devoted his time to teaching children to swim and saving over 30 lives from drowning and was affectionately (?) known to the white public as ‘Old Black Joe’ in a mastery of understatement of the obvious. You just can’t fool some people.

 

          And who could forget Hitler’s Black eye, Jesse Owens.

 

Another famous American, George Armstrong Custer had a very contradictory nature and worked tirelessly against what he called ‘The Indian Ring’ and President Grants own brothers involvement in particular as to their profiteering and ill treatment of the Indians through them and their agents in the reservation system.

It would seem Custer wasn’t so much against their ill treatment of ‘Lo’ than their ability to make massive personal fortunes from their situation. Too bad he didn’t care as much for the Natives themselves that Sunday on the Little Big Horn as he rode to a perceived certain victory (the Indians being subservient to him) and a run at the White House itself instead of dying alone with the other 200 men he ordered into certain death and defeat at the hands of people who were merely practicing ‘Homeland Security’; I wonder if he was wearing an Arrow shirt at the time.

 

          As a schoolboy I recall seeing metal lunchboxes with the image of Custer and his soldiers being ‘massacred’ by the Indians which brought a lot of bad feeling to the white kids to the Indians, when in fact it was arrogance and Washington’s Indian Policy (To quote President Grant himself…’The only ‘good’ Indians I ever saw were dead’…verrry Proactive) that caused the mass suicide. The final score: Custer-Zip, Indians-200.

 

          In the following century, Adolf Hitler expressed surprised at the Americans reaction to his treatment of the Jews after they themselves had, to him, blatantly practiced genocide on the entire Indian race.

 

          Movies also taught me that in the events leading up to World War 2, the Germans were evil incarnate, the ones in the Government and Armed forces at least and that may not have too far off the mark (altho History is always written by the Victors), the Japanese were as purely evil as they were taught that our people were, in that particular case it was another culture clash of ideals. In war, men are given to do any manner of things to survive, altho annihilating an entire race of humans is indefensible.

 

MisConfections~  

          How many times did I go to the corner or candy store and buy ‘N*gger toes’ (nuts) or ‘N*gger Babies’ (Licorice).

 

          What about ‘Little Black Sambo’ and his Tiger Butter something that was a staple on Waffle and Pancake Restaurant menus? As there are no Tigers in Africa, it’s likely the name wasn’t Sambo, as Tigers are native to China and India (in this case) then possibly the name was Sabu? The proof is in the pudding but it doesn’t make the Butter any better.

 

          In the pre and post war eras (World Wars 1&2) the Salmon canneries on the West Coast used much Oriental labor, a lot of it was Japanese (the woman worked the cannery while the men caught the fish, prior to having their property seized and being bundled off to POW camps far from their homes), to make the canneries more efficient, machines were installed for processing the fish, some of these were called ‘Iron Chinks’, nice. And what other indignities did the Chinese have to suffer beside Head Tax? Silly children’s rhymes like ‘Chinky, Chinky Chinaman, went Downtown, turned ‘round the corner and his pants fell down’ devoid of humor and thoroughly demeaning.

 

          Then there are the coy Psychopaths that like to kill their own while changing partners on the dance floor of death, like Joseph Stalin who went from enemy to ally before slamming the Cold War door on his erstwhile Allies, all the while murdering MILLIONS of his own countrymen in an effort to remain in power. The Allies used to call him ‘Uncle Joe’ which is like calling the Devil ‘Uncle Satan’. The pity is he died peacefully in his sleep, I can just hear him meeting his Maker..’It was Trotsky! Honest!

 

          Where DO they all come from?

 

Putting the sandal on another foot; we now have the Radical Islam element (Islamatics) crashing planes into tall building, blowing themselves up (many are mere youths) to Allah knows where (I’m not certain ‘Smithereens’ is an actual geographical location), beheading people and videotaping it, and wanting the entire Christian race as well as the Jews eliminated from the face of the Earth, all in the name of…what?

 

          History doesn’t just repeat itself, it also moves around.

 

          Liberal-minded Canada has its own History of intolerance, some of it even good, such as kicking the Americans OUT of our Country THREE times (some people just can’t take a hint!) We resisted their first overture in 1775 at the beginning of the American Revolution, but apparently, as we shall see, this was only foreplay as they tried twice more. There was the War of 1812 (which pulled Canadians together as a Country and a force to be reckoned with), and again at the end of the American Civil War in 1866 because we were, well…uncivil to the idea of invasion.

         

 

 

Point of interest, the REAL Uncle Tom’s Cabin (from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel of the same name) is located in Dresden, Ontario, the FAR end of the American ‘Underground Railway’. It should be noted that Abe Lincoln’s idea of Equality wasn’t limited to Black/White relations but to Men and Women as when he met Harriet Beecher Stowe he opined..’So you’re the young Lady that started this war!’

 

          In 1867, in what is now Manitoba, the Métis people of Canada (White French & Scottish half Natives) felt at risk of losing their rights, culture and tenuous recognition as Canadian people with the Unification of the Western areas of what is now the Dominion of Canada, into Confederation. Rights given freely to Quebec along with a TON of other thing$, or else….

          Their Leader was Louis Riel & after the unpleasantries of the Duck Lake uprising with Canadian Government forces The Northwest Mounted Police, once the smoke cleared enough for the Government to hang him, they did.

          Since then, the Métis Culture has been assimilated into the greater Canadian fabric (they knew it all along!), and Louis Riel? 200+ years later, he’s been pardoned. I bet he feels better now.

 

          In 1914, the Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver Harbor from Hong Kong, China with 376 East Indians (British Subjects all) on board as a  direct challenge to our (then) Immigration Policies. They were stopped dead in the water, for two months.

          In 1907 we allowed over 900 East Indians into Vancouver and a race riot ensued, they weren’t going to have THAT again.

          Offloading a select few from the ‘Maru, the rest on board were sent away, escorted by a Navy ship, a classic example of Gunboat diplomacy.

          It’s interesting to note that the Komagata Maru was a JAPANESE ship, the MARU designation basically meaning it was not a Warship-(I’m not armed, Maru?)

          So the Japanese ship which sailed to Canada from China was being sent to India with its human cargo. Upon reaching India’s waters it was intercepted by a British Gunboat then turned over to the British Army in port who held the passengers against their will, Shanghaied as it were, and shot some, to death. It’s somewhat ironic that the ‘Maru’ designation is represented by a Circle and this was something of a round trip with a sharp end.

 

          Feel free to stop me if it sounds like we haven’t learned anything….

 

          On ANOTHER Voyage of the Damned, in June 1939, prior to Canada’s entry into the war (in September of that year), the Vessel ‘St. Louis’ sailed from Germany with 907 Jews aboard trying to escape Nazi oppression. To that point the Nazi’s protested they were merely a Choral group until the British started pushing them around.

          The St. Louis sailed to several countries, Canada included and was unanimously refused sanctuary…Sorry, we don’t want any Jews today thank you!

          The ship was forced to sail BACK to Germany, MUCH to Hitler’s delight, and persecution, and ultimately a Final Solution, a fact borne out in April 1945 when the Allies opened the gates to the camps. The point was missed, and all was lost, through intolerance into the Holocaust.

 

You Can Play Together But You Can’t STAY Together…..

 

          Just to prove how fair, if intolerant Canadians could be, I’m reminded of the time the Famous American Comedian Jack Benny and his African-American co-star ‘Rochester’ came to Vancouver to perform.

          Because Benny was White he wasn’t allowed to stay in the same hotel as Rochester, he had to stay in another more expensive hotel, something irksome to Benny who was known as being closer to his money than two coats of paint.

 

          Maybe the next time someone, not the same as you, makes you mad, vent and tell them what they are for what they did not WHO they are. It’s easier to take it out on a ‘Body Part’ than to hate the whole body.

 

          What’s that song….’Teach, your children well….’

 

 

                                                Ray Ramsay