Readability

Glorious

by baldilocks

Rawl­ins: And what are you? So full of hate you want to go out and fight every­body! Because you’ve been whipped and chased by hounds. Well that might not be liv­ing, but it sure as hell ain’t dying. And dying’s been what these white boys have been doing for going on three years now! Dying by the thou­sands! Dying for *you*, fool! I know, ’cause I dug the graves. And all this time I keep askin’ myself, when, O Lord, when it’s gonna be our time? Gonna come a time when we all gonna hafta ante up. Ante up and kick in like men. LIKE MEN!

Glory, 1989

Glory–a fic­tion­al­iza­tion of the Union Army’s all-​black 54th Mass­a­chu­setts Reg­i­ment, lead by a white offi­cer, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw – is one of my favorite movies for a lot of rea­sons, but, in par­tic­u­lar, the last three sen­tences of the above mono­logue by Rawl­ins (played by Mor­gan Free­man) have stayed with me.

The spirit of that movie–that his­tory–was evoked this week in Fer­gu­son, MO by another set of men.

A group of black Fer­gu­son res­i­dents armed with high-​powered rifles stood out­side a white-​owned busi­ness in the city dur­ing recent riots, pro­tect­ing it from riot­ers that looted and burned other businesses.

After a grand jury returned no indict­ment against Dar­ren Wil­son, the Fer­gu­son police offi­cer who shot and killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown, pro­test­ers took to the streets and the demon­stra­tions quickly turned into riot­ing. Sev­eral build­ings were set ablaze, but a group of heav­ily armed black men stood out­side a Conoco gas station.

One of the res­i­dents, a 6-​foot-​8 man named Der­rick John­son, held an AR-​15 assault [sic] rifle as he stood in a pickup truck near that store’s entrance. Three other black Fer­gu­son res­i­dents joined John­son in front of the store, each of them armed with pistols.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_59980” align=“alignright” width=“150”]2013-09-15 17.41.07 Robert Gould Shaw and his men…and another Pres­ence – no, not the horse[/caption]

Like men. Not like black men, or like white men – or like pul­ing infants in the bod­ies of men – but men.

Sure, they liked the owner – who had given them employ­ment over the years, but so what? (Side note: lately I’ve been say­ing to all who won’t cover their ears that free per­sons cre­ate their own jobs.) One good turn is often rec­i­p­ro­cated by a stab in the back. It has hap­pened to me more than once.

But that’s not what hap­pened in this case.

Do either of these sets of men owe any­thing to the other for doing right? I say no. Any other atti­tude smacks of patronage.

Doing what’s right is often its own reward and, some­times, there is only one Observer. And the rip­ples are seem­ingly invis­i­ble. But they exist.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2009; the sec­ond edi­tion in 2012. Her sec­ond novel, ten­ta­tively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2015.

Please con­tribute to Juliette’s Projects: Her new novel, her blog, her Inter­net to keep the lat­ter going and COF­FEE to keep her going!

Or con­tribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Inde­pen­dent Journalism — -»»

baldilocks

by baldilocks

Rawlins: And what are you? So full of hate you want to go out and fight everybody! Because you’ve been whipped and chased by hounds. Well that might not be living, but it sure as hell ain’t dying. And dying’s been what these white boys have been doing for going on three years now! Dying by the thousands! Dying for *you*, fool! I know, ’cause I dug the graves. And all this time I keep askin’ myself, when, O Lord, when it’s gonna be our time? Gonna come a time when we all gonna hafta ante up. Ante up and kick in like men. LIKE MEN!

Glory, 1989

Glory–a fictionalization of the Union Army’s all-black 54th Massachusetts Regiment, lead by a white officer, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw–is one of my favorite movies for a lot of reasons, but, in particular, the last three sentences of the above monologue by Rawlins (played by Morgan Freeman) have stayed with me.

The spirit of that movie–that history–was evoked this week in Ferguson, MO by another set of men.

A group of black Ferguson residents armed with high-powered rifles stood outside a white-owned business in the city during recent riots, protecting it from rioters that looted and burned other businesses.

After a grand jury returned no indictment against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown, protesters took to the streets and the demonstrations quickly turned into rioting. Several buildings were set ablaze, but a group of heavily armed black men stood outside a Conoco gas station.

One of the residents, a 6-foot-8 man named Derrick Johnson, held an AR-15 assault [sic] rifle as he stood in a pickup truck near that store’s entrance. Three other black Ferguson residents joined Johnson in front of the store, each of them armed with pistols.

2013-09-15 17.41.07
Robert Gould Shaw and his men…and another Presence–no, not the horse

Like men. Not like black men, or like white men–or like puling infants in the bodies of men–but men.

Sure, they liked the owner–who had given them employment over the years, but so what? (Side note: lately I’ve been saying to all who won’t cover their ears that free persons create their own jobs.) One good turn is often reciprocated by a stab in the back. It has happened to me more than once.

But that’s not what happened in this case.

Do either of these sets of men owe anything to the other for doing right? I say no. Any other attitude smacks of patronage.

Doing what’s right is often its own reward and, sometimes, there is only one Observer. And the ripples are seemingly invisible. But they exist.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2015.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects: Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

 

Or contribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

 baldilocks