Here’s where you are going to learn a bit more about who I am and why. Obviously part of the “why” answer is “because that’s the way G-d made me”. To leave it like that would be unfair though because WHY did He do that! Of course, there is no chance we could understand the infinite wisdom of The Supernal Being, but perhaps the answer can be surmised by what my inner voice tells me.
I don’t consider myself very photogenic and rather shy away from photo shoots. But now and then I get caught.
Looked like a nerd next to my Pop!
Anyway, the late 60’s and 70’s were pretty outrageous. Actually, it was much more outrageous before then – I just didn’t have to live it! I couldn’t understand why a large number of “white” folk hated me, without even knowing anything about me other than the color of my skin. That unfortunately was all that too many of them took time to know . . . Like “sight” hounds – Bling there’s the prey right there. Let’s get it! Kinda makes me wonder if my dad felt he had a tough challenge ahead with me. I wasn’t exactly looking like “Bond” material . . . a double 0 no seven. Then again, you can’t judge a book by its “cover”!
Anyway, too many times in my youthful after school excursions I found myself in a dilemma where it became critical for me to suddenly need to escape from racially motivated pursuit . . . in ways that didn’t lead directly to my home . . . jumping fences at times between neighbors that didn’t have dogs . . . Frightening moments for sure. My question was, “what did I do besides walk through the neighborhood?”
To be fair, it wasn’t so hot strollin’ through the “black” neighborhood either. Some jealousy issues perhaps. As it turned, my parents managed to succeed in their selected professions (Dad was a teacher of industrial arts and my Mom was a registered nurse) and we were privileged to live in a private house, among Italians and Jews . . . much more desirable than life in “the projects”. The first “black” family our new neighborhood. What a treat! Got to work a lot on my strength of character. Managed to prove I wasn’t a “chimp”. Had some really nice friends on the block too. We got along quite nicely and spent a lot of time playing all sorts of kids games that these days you don’t see much. Games like “kick the can” and “ring-o-livio” besides catch, touch football and even racing each other between sewer caps or the electric poles. Nowadays most activity is smartphone or computer centered. Eyes glazed social, if you know what I mean.
It was out of “my neighborhood” that for me sometimes turned out quite intense. Adrenalin and fast-twitch muscle flowing and tingling wildly inside … Like the time when I happened to be returning on foot from the Bronx Zoo and upon passing through a neighborhood of Italians on my way home, someone threw a quarter stick of dynamite in my direction! Damn near hit me. The blast was terrifyingly terrific and even though I was in sprint mode, I felt its awesome power. BOOM! Deeeep deafening repercussion . . . Had they succeeded in hitting me with that thing, for sure some physical part of me would be mangled or missing.
Then there was the time my close buddy Stephen S. Cohen and I walked to a swamp about a mile away from our homes (he lived across the street from me) to collect some of its water to examine in my microscope. Young scientists at work. Within five minutes or so two kids stopped by us and saw us with our test tubes in hand and felt our mere presence was an affront to their pride in keeping “black” folk out and told us to leave. Mind you, all of the houses were further away and we were in no way a threat. Five minutes later, to our chagrin, a mob of that neighborhoods Italian youth rolled out upon us. After an attempt to outrun mini bikes on a stretch I found myself surrounded by at least nine of the punks, the leader of which (Foster Zee I found out later on) threatening to stabbing me – because “nig–rs” weren’t allowed to be in their neighborhood. Apparently being Jewish wasn’t anywhere near as much a problem for them as my having brown skin. My buddy (having run in a different direction which I thought provided less chance of an escape) was able to summon help from a family nearby . . . Saved, we were driven out with a warning to “be more careful”.
Thank G-d for getting me out of that madness unscathed! Needless to say, I sure wanted some sort of revenge after both those occurrences. Somehow though I just let them go. Better to let G-d deal with them as He saw fit. There are Laws you know. So called “Mother Nature” is implanted with “divine mechanisms”. I imagine their karma has since run over their dogma! I’ve moved on and am better.
There’s way too much to be told and I’m not about to rant it all out. The important thing to make real in life is progress in positive directions. All throughout life. I don’t consider myself “black”. That classification for me has a negative connotation. It seems to portray the quality or type of soul one has being devoid of “light”, when in reality it’s just a tag given by people who don’t know any better. It’s rather funny that so called “black people” are said to have soul – referring to a groovy depth and natural rhythm. Yet what I’m referring to the inspiration that the body receives from The Almighty Creator. The life force – that element within that is the reason the body is alive. The breath spark that lit the whole clump of clay from the git go. Let there be . . . and it still is . . . I’m a man of light, not darkness! In fact ideally none of us should be “dark”! Inside, we possess G-d’s image and it should be the driving force of our outward expression. Not “niggardliness”. I’m sorry if someone gets offended by what I have to say in this regard but opinions do vary.
Dark skinned folk are no less nor more than their lighter skinned brethren. We live in an illusion where certain things are made to look different but in reality it all stems from the same source and purely manifests itself as separate. In unity there is oneness. It’s a good thing that the times have changed and I can fear less when so called “white” people interact with me. You see, light is a feature of the very first act of creation. But the light most people see is not the true light in the sense of what was created. It was immediately hidden right after it was created and is said to be able to be seen only by the righteous among people. Beings which know how to capture glimpses of that light within the magic of life itself. It is expressed by allowing The Creator to maintain Its Work without one blocking the channels of heaven to earth enrichment. The creation is a work in progress; but mankind, made in the “image” of G-d, has power to re-create without restraint. Unfortunately, man-kinds re-creation has a way of destroying what should be like the Garden of Eden.
The point is, by our actions and responses to the stimuli of our environments, we either broadcast a positive or negative return to our moments. Building karma based on our dogma . . . Being . . . for better or for worse. Those of us who have learned to “glow” and make our world smile are living a more humane way of being. People respond better to someone who broadcasts dignity, honor and respect for his relations. It just comes back. The cycle is mirrored and re-cycles. When you make people smile and laugh, and keep doing that consistently to all but your enemy, not only do you feel good within but it becomes contagious and others begin to do it too … At least at those moments anyway. Instinctual natures can be tough to override.