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murphblog: Wednesday, July 2, 2008

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Tonight at the liquor store on Franklin Ave. and Eastern Parkway (it was a bad day at work and I needed some fortification) the man in front of me, after buying a bottle of white rum (he said he wasn't prejudice) started going off about Obama and why he wasn't supporting him. The man was black and, I assume, had already consumed a bit of alcohol, and claimed to have voted for Hillary in the primaries. He said Obama was being used by ... the media, the party, the man ... and I have to admit I sort of agree with him. He then reiterated the meme about "Clinton was the first black president," that is stuck in the craw of so many political black men I've met, and how it wasn't true.

That viral meme is very strong in the black community and if I remember it was based on the fact Clinton played the sax and, basically, had a "black" childhood, meaning he came from a "broken home" and was raised by a single mother. And that meme shouldn't be dismissed. It's important that Clinton's blackness is now being called into question as a workaround to attacking Hillary's uppityness. In my workshops at BMTC I was often the only white person, certainly the only old (elderly) white guy, and it was generally agreed that I was black, too. Why else was I there? I obviously had been abandoned by the white world.

I had a single mother. My dad died when I was twelve and she raised me while working in a department store as a cashier and I have close relatives in prison for, among other things, murder and arson. I was consdered what they now call "at risk" as a teenager and was embraced by a liberal arm of the Catholic Church and so here I am, living in a room in what black people call Bed-Stuy but the real estate market calls either Crown Heights or Prospect Heights. One very political client at BMTC said he wished I was running for president since I knew what they went through -- more so than Obama. And that's true. I do know a lot more about being black in America today than I did a year-and-a helf ago. So I understand the dilema of rejecting the Clinton meme and not trusting Obama. Beyond that, don't look to me to give you answers.

As for food, I discovered there is a bus that goes directly to Seventh Avenue in Park Slope aright around the corner so I now have a direct link to an area that serves "my food" meaning a good meatball parm sub and a Starbucks. But I'm working on finding a place to eat closer in the nabe. The bus, unfortunately, stops running at 9:00 pm, which makes me think it is basically to bring people from Bed-Stuy to work as domestics in Park Slope.

I did find a dry cleaner, who I abandoned my Armani jacket to the other day with the hope I can pick it up tomorrow. We'll see. The laundry uses some detergent that makes my clothes smell nice so maybe the dry cleaner will make my jacket look new again. I bought it for $40 at the Chelsea Housing Works second hand store and though it's out of fashion and boxy (very eighties) I think it gives me the Jesuit look that fits me.