Yesterday’s conversation between seven-and-a-half month old Elijah and Grandpa while Grandpa was oohing-and-awing reading aloud “The Lowest White Man” (Charles M. Blow, NYT, Jan. 11, 2018) in Elijah’s presence. This was before the evening news of the President calling African nations ‘sh**hole nations’.
Grandpa, we’re right, right?
About what, Elijah? Right can mean lots of things.
It can mean ‘correct’. Right can be a direction, like “turn right” instead of left. In politics right means the opposite of left, like the alt-Right. There’s an old saying that Might makes right, but it doesn’t, Elijah.
Yeah. But we’re right, right?
Sometimes we are. Sometimes we aren’t. And when we aren’t we need to change.
Change what? Mom changes my diapers. Change what? What do you mean ‘we’? Who’s ‘we’?
Well, you heard what Charles M. Blow just said, and Charles Blow wasn’t blowing smoke, Elijah. He spoke the truth, like W.E.B. Dubois and President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Yeah, we’re white, right? That makes us right!
No, you’re not white. You’re like President Obama. You weren’t listening to Charles. Listen again:
As President Lyndon B. Johnson said in the 1960s to a young Bill Moyers: “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
Trump’s supporters are saying to us, screaming to us, that although he may be the “lowest white man,” he is still better than Barack Obama, the “best colored man.”
(Charles M. Blow, ‘The Lowest White Man’ NYT)
Wow! White doesn’t make right! What’s a colored man, Grandpa?
- Gordon C. Stewart (Grandpa Gordon), Chaska, MN, January 12, 2018.