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Sun May 6, 2018, 12:03 PM

Flowers & Race

The Cold Within
Six humans trapped by happenstance
In bleak and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood
Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs
The first man held his back
For of the faces round the fire
He noticed one was black.

The next man looking ‘cross the way
Saw one not of his church
And couldn’t bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes.
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight.
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.

The last man of this forlorn group
Did nought except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

Their logs held tight in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.
--James Kinney


I've been reading the various OP/threads about white people here on DU:GD over the past couple of days. As my late friend Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was born on this day, some 81 years ago, I thought I'd add one of his favorite poems to the conversation. Anyone who had the pleasure of listening to Rubin's public addresses in the last year of his life will remember the passion in his voice while he recited the verses.

I heard that same passion upon answering the telephone late one night (for Rubin's calls were almost always placed around 3 am/est): “Pat! You've gotta get up here! You won't believe how beautiful my flower garden is!” I asked what type of flowers were blooming? “Oh, all different colors,” he said, before listing an array of shades. I asked the names of the flowers? “Just like you, Pat,” he replied, laughing. “I don't call them 'Caucasians' or 'Negroes.' They are just flowers!”

It's curious for me to think back upon my 40+ year friendship with Rubin. It started when a white kid from rural, upstate New York wrote to a wrongly incarcerated, black middleweight prize fighter. It ended up two old men discussing flower gardens in the middle of the night. We had some adventures in between!

Christopher Hitchens used to recommend that everyone take the National Geographic DNA test. That is a good idea. I've taken it, as well as another. I suspect that the amazing amount of information that one can learn from these wonderful scientific tests helps to create the foundation necessary for a meaningful discussion on topics of “race.”

Peace,
H2O Man

42 replies, 2328 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 42 replies Author Time Post
Reply Flowers & Race (Original post)
H2O Man May 2018 OP
Kirk Lover May 2018 #1
H2O Man May 2018 #3
sagetea May 2018 #14
OneGrassRoot May 2018 #2
H2O Man May 2018 #4
Hortensis May 2018 #5
H2O Man May 2018 #6
lark May 2018 #7
H2O Man May 2018 #8
malaise May 2018 #9
Hortensis May 2018 #11
malaise May 2018 #19
Hortensis May 2018 #25
malaise May 2018 #26
H2O Man May 2018 #17
malaise May 2018 #18
H2O Man May 2018 #22
malaise May 2018 #24
H2O Man May 2018 #31
malaise May 2018 #35
H2O Man May 2018 #36
malaise May 2018 #38
coeur_de_lion May 2018 #10
H2O Man May 2018 #20
coeur_de_lion May 2018 #40
lunatica May 2018 #12
H2O Man May 2018 #21
saidsimplesimon May 2018 #13
malaise May 2018 #16
H2O Man May 2018 #30
sagetea May 2018 #15
H2O Man May 2018 #32
Uncle Joe May 2018 #23
malaise May 2018 #27
Uncle Joe May 2018 #28
H2O Man May 2018 #33
Uncle Joe May 2018 #42
elleng May 2018 #29
H2O Man May 2018 #34
kentuck May 2018 #37
H2O Man May 2018 #39
Heartstrings May 2018 #41

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2018, 12:07 PM

1. I like this! One of my standard lines is....If you go back far enough in the human family tree we

 

are all one color and we are all related. The true story of Eve.

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Response to Kirk Lover (Reply #1)

Sun May 6, 2018, 12:17 PM

3. Right!

As the old saying goes, there is only one race -- the human race. The variety of colors and ethnic groups presents for a wide range of human experiences, that if we are wise and open-minded, allow us to learn about and appreciate those different from our own. And, at the same time, if we are foolish and ignorant, these differences result negative energy. That choice belongs to each of us.

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Response to Kirk Lover (Reply #1)

Sun May 6, 2018, 03:11 PM

14. That was mine as well!!!

n/t

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2018, 12:08 PM

2. K&R and...

a big, big hug for you, dear friend...



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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #2)

Sun May 6, 2018, 12:18 PM

4. Well, thank you!

I hope that all is well your way!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2018, 12:52 PM

5. There's an obvious attempt to sow racial division among Democrats

happening in print and social media, but, hey, we knew it would be revved up. Just as black leaders are all too aware that our enemies are attempting to break their powerful, monolithic alliance of liberal and conservative factions, secular and religious, rural and urban. There is a huge battle for power raging between liberalism and religious and socioeconomic conservatism, and because we have the vote we are each of us both warriors and ground to be taken.

So best we use these discussions to affirm what unites us instead, to turn these weapons back on our enemies.

Let's remember Robert Mueller's warning to us all: "The Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy."

And then remember that Russia's tactic is merely to augment the poisons and divisions our domestic enemies are already spreading. Our biggest enemies are right here, working mainly around and through the Republican Party, but they are all working together to break apart and conquer the people who make up the Democratic Party.

That is the one currently huge, existential problem for equality because our own liberal-dominated party is the force fighting to preserve and advance the equality our nation was founded on. We used to be able to make alliances with some Republican factions, but no more.

We're it.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #5)

Sun May 6, 2018, 01:05 PM

6. Well said.

Extraordinarily well said, in fact. And very much appreciated.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2018, 01:24 PM

7. Thank you.

Excellent poem, too damn true.

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Response to lark (Reply #7)

Sun May 6, 2018, 01:27 PM

8. Thank you!

I loved watching Rubin recite it in his speeches. Seemed appropriate for today on DU.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2018, 01:52 PM

9. That poem speaks volumes

The definition of racism that I used in graduate school was borrowed from others. In summary we saw
racism as an ideologically constructed view that the white race is physically, morally, intellectually and culturally superior to other races. But it is the race relations established and promoted at the superstructural level (at home and abroad) that reinforces racism. If the system prevents me from participating because of my race, it is racist.

If anyone doesn't want her/his son to marry someone from another race, that person is displaying prejudice or discrimination, but not racism. And the truth is there is way less prejudice and discrimination today. On the other hand, if anyone deprives another of employment, education, opportunity/access, etc., based on race or ethnicity, then it is racism.

In reality many many folks are not racist, but global foreign policy is racist to the core and so is domestic policy in many countries. To change thinking will require fundamental changes in both foreign policy and domestic policy across the globe. This means fundamental changes in how we exchange goods and relate to other countries/peoples. Until we destroy and abandon the old racist imperialist approach to development, our planet will remain in deep trouble.

Selassie was right

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Haile_Selassie%27s_address_to_the_United_Nations,_1963
<snip>
The goal of the equality of man which we seek is the antithesis of the exploitation of one people by another with which the pages of history and in particular those written of the African and Asian continents, speak at such length. Exploitation, thus viewed, has many faces. But whatever guise it assumes, this evil is to be shunned where it does not exist and crushed where it does. It is the sacred duty of this Organization to ensure that the dream of equality is finally realized for all men to whom it is still denied, to guarantee that exploitation is not reincarnated in other forms in places whence it has already been banished.

As a free Africa has emerged during the past decade, a fresh attack has been launched against exploitation, wherever it still exists. And in that interaction so common to history, this in turn, has stimulated and encouraged the remaining dependent peoples to renewed efforts to throw off the yoke which has oppressed them and its claim as their birthright the twin ideals of liberty and equality. This very struggle is a struggle to establish peace, and until victory is assured, that brotherhood and understanding which nourish and give life to peace can be but partial and incomplete.

In the United States of America, the administration of President Kennedy is leading a vigorous attack to eradicate the remaining vestige of racial discrimination from this country. We know that this conflict will be won and that right will triumph. In this time of trial, these efforts should be encouraged and assisted, and we should lend our sympathy and support to the American Government today.

Last May, in Addis Ababa, I convened a meeting of Heads of African States and Governments. In three days, the thirty-two nations represented at that Conference demonstrated to the world that when the will and the determination exist, nations and peoples of diverse backgrounds can and will work together. in unity, to the achievement of common goals and the assurance of that equality and brotherhood which we desire.

On the question of racial discrimination, the Addis Ababa Conference taught, to those who will learn, this further lesson:

that until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned;

that until there are no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation;

that until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes;

that until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race;

that until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained.

And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed;

until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will;

until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all men, as they are in the eyes of Heaven;

until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight, if necessary, and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil.

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Response to malaise (Reply #9)

Sun May 6, 2018, 02:18 PM

11. Good speech. Of course winning onto a new course after 20,000 years

(and much more) is taking a while. What's surprising, and thrilling when you think of it, is that such amazing advances have been made so quickly since the Industrial Revolution and others that came after, not that we have not yet triumphed over age-old evil.

Sigh. Climate change is an enormous, unfolding tragedy in so many, many ways. It's too huge not to slow our remarkable pace on this front down, at least in many hard-hit places.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #11)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:18 PM

19. What hurts is the attempt to turn back all the gains we have made as human beings

We have to win this moment

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Response to malaise (Reply #19)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:30 PM

25. Yes, but those are normal. It has to be that way

because people are people. And that's part of why the progress we have made in 250 years, far more than in the preceding 20,000, and especially accelerating in the last 50 years, is so incredibly remarkable. The knuckledraggers can and do slow and set us back, often very hurtfully, but their record overall is of continual huge losses. They're on the wrong side of human progression.

But, yes, this is the part we're living, and I agree we must win this moment or live bitterly with our losses until the next chance to throw them off and make things right comes.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #25)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:34 PM

26. +1,000

Sometimes we want things to move faster than is possible. You are right - we've made incredible gains and life is constant struggle.

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Response to malaise (Reply #9)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:14 PM

17. Beautiful!

And I loved when the prophet Bob Marley put those words into song.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #17)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:17 PM

18. Many many people believed those were Bob's words

He did a great job with War

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Response to malaise (Reply #18)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:21 PM

22. Right!

(Likewise, Peter wrote the lyrics to "Get Up, Stand Up," while Bob made the tune.)

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #22)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:25 PM

24. I was just listening to a son of one of the Windrush Generation in England

talking about his generation's failure to Get Up, Stand Up and get involved in local and national politics as part of the reason why their parents have been treated so badly by the British government.
Tosh was the most political of the trio.

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Response to malaise (Reply #24)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:58 PM

31. I have a lot

of his music; he was my favorite of the group. Years ago, in LA, there was a music store with a great variety of Peter Tosh music. Luckily, I had a handful of money!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #31)

Sun May 6, 2018, 08:03 PM

35. In terms of beautiful haunting music and message this is my favorite Tosh

Fools die (for want of wisdom). I don't agree with all the lyrics about wealth in holy places but there's a lot of truth here.

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Response to malaise (Reply #35)

Sun May 6, 2018, 08:12 PM

36. It's beautiful.

I also like "Downpressor Man." My older son has an acoustic version of "Get Up, Stand Up," that is probably my favorite.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #36)

Sun May 6, 2018, 08:19 PM

38. Yes that's a classic

with great lyrics

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2018, 01:53 PM

10. I'm seeing a lot of posts

that look like they are trying to divide us by race. Wypipo in the title.

I belonged to a FB Women's activist group that disbanded due to divisiveness like this.

Russian trolls probably.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #10)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:18 PM

20. Interesting.

I tend to see "energy" -- be it good or bad -- as creating ripples upon the surface of a pool of water. And so it really requires very few instigators to start a wave of acrimony on an internet discussion site: they toss in a single divisive comment, and it too often creates an argument. That's a shame.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #20)

Sun May 6, 2018, 10:21 PM

40. Looking back

it should have been obvious to me that several people were trying hard to disrupt the group.

Instead of investigating I just opted out.

Hmmmm.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2018, 02:36 PM

12. The brilliance of genius tempered by compassion

He must have been inspiring even in quiet moments.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #12)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:19 PM

21. He sure was.

I spent a lot of time just sitting quietly on the mountain's side with him. I was honored to know him.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2018, 02:44 PM

13. Simple science

We ALL have one genetic mother. An African American, science be damned in the age of insanity based on fiction?

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Response to saidsimplesimon (Reply #13)

Sun May 6, 2018, 03:15 PM

16. If you confuse science with mumbo jumbo

You can divide and rule

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Response to saidsimplesimon (Reply #13)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:53 PM

30. Thanks!

It is both simple and profound .....as science so often is.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2018, 03:14 PM

15. what a perfect time to share this!!

Enjoy reading your posts always...and forever! too shy to post, but, this made me write and tell you thank you for sharing this wonderful piece and you own thoughts as well!

Ho`
sage

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Response to sagetea (Reply #15)

Sun May 6, 2018, 08:00 PM

32. Thank you, sagetea!

I am glad that you did comment here. Made my day!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:23 PM

23. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, H2O Man.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #23)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:35 PM

27. Where have you been Uncle Joe?

I missed you

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Response to malaise (Reply #27)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:38 PM

28. ...

I missed you too malaise.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #23)

Sun May 6, 2018, 08:00 PM

33. Thanks!

Good to see you!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #33)

Sun May 6, 2018, 11:06 PM

42. It's good to see you as well H2O Man!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2018, 07:41 PM

29. Their logs held tight in death's still hands Was proof of human sin.

They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.

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Response to elleng (Reply #29)

Sun May 6, 2018, 08:02 PM

34. It's a powerful verse.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2018, 08:17 PM

37. Wonderful poem.

Timely.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #37)

Sun May 6, 2018, 08:21 PM

39. Thanks, kentuck!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2018, 10:37 PM

41. Needed those words tonight....

Thanks, H2O Man....

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