Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Snapshot From the 50th Wedding Anniversary Party

My uncle, the filthy rich republican, throws a hell of a party. Nearly 200, mostly family, but many close friends, folks gathered at
Tom Ham's Lighthouse on Harbor Island (not really an island, but then that didn't even slow Coronado down either).

The food was great. The drinkers had an open bar. Even my family behaved themselves, well, mostly behaved themselves. I had forgotten about one little incident until tata whose regular emails are a source of both great amusement and often inspiration sent me this. . .

link to a post on "i blame the patriarchy"

Which I will confess is not one of my regular reads. They have too many rules and shit. Usually when I'm making comments or writing emails I do away with capitalization. Part of it's because I dig e.e. cummings poetry, part of it's because I'm fucking lazy about stuff in general.

Also, most of the "politically correct" folks give me hives. Anytime you encounter them I give you permission to run away screaming and not be ashamed in the slightest.

If you've read the post and the comment thread then the rest of my post will make sense. If you haven't read it, either read it, or move on because the rest of this only makes sense in reference to the post and the comments.

I grew up with racism all my life. Both from redskins, and rednecks. Arizona is about as segregated a state as you can ask for. In the fifties, well, let me just say, "Fuck me running." Even now, the segregation and the boundries are as drastic and clear as if they were engraved in stone, or plastered on billboards. Everybody is supposed to know their place and fucking stay there. So, I didn't get all worked up when I read the Okie redneck's comments. I will even allow that he probably does love his wife, at least as much as a god deluded redneck racist motherfucker who most likely couldn't pass the exit test for junior high is capable of loving anything that isn't white, a gun, or a dog.

I still get all kinds of unconscious stuff from people. Some of it is actually pretty well intentioned. Offensive, but that's not how it is meant.

Usually it's stuff like when people find out about my being half Apache they launch into poetic "noble savage" bullshit, or they, and this one cracks me the fuck up, go into Lakotah phrases that they picked up from a Kevin Costner movie.

Apache ain't Lakotah, which ain't Chippewah, which ain't Piaute (who are Apache cousins) which ain't Comanche (more fucking cousins). There really isn't any such thing as a native american issue, or even native americans who get along all that well. You wouldn't hear about somebody being from Germany and immediately start in on how much you love the Flemish painters now would you?

Hell, the Apache don't get along all that well among themselves. That doesn't even bring in the traditional contempt and emnity for the To'hono O'Odam and other Arizona nations.

So, back to the party and shit.

My cousin, the brilliant attorney, and I are out front of the restaurant. We are both dressed to the nines appropriate to the occaision. We are wearing wickedly tailored suits. We both have eagle feathers in our hair. Mine is a feather combination of golden eagle, bald eagle, red tail hawk tail feathers, with Raven feathers to identify me as a truth teller, a traveler, a warrior, and a Raven Soldier. These fit into a turquoise jeweled silver clip. With my long grey hair in a pony tail it looks fucking fierce, and hot. My cousin has two golden eagle feathers that are in a silver/turquoise sleeve that he clips onto the end of a small side braid that goes from his temple down the side of his face. He's wearing a three piece navy blue Armani suit and a white broadcloth shirt. He looks stylishly ferocious too.

We're taking in the cool sea air, minding our own business, talking to each other and somebody from the restaurant's regular business area comes out. It's a middle aged white guy and his middle aged white woman companion. She sees my cousin and I and how we are dressed, especially the feathers. She decides that she is entitled to explanations so she asks:

Are you Indians?

Us: Yes we are.

Now, she launches into a monologue designed to let us know that she knows exactly who we are, and that she's OK with that. She goes straight into that whole "Stewards of the Earth" rant that is dearly treasured by white folks. We stand there politely.

She goes on, and on, and on about how our ancestors lived in beautiful harmony with nature. (which tells me she knows right around jack fucking shit about the desert)

She pauses for a breath. Normally, especially if we were in Arizona, I would invite her to come out to the Superstition Mountains to see where my greenpeace loving, tree hugging, earth's true children ancestors hunted buffalo by driving entire herds off of cliffs. I decide that this is neither the time, nor the place for that, so I instead point to my cousin and say:

He's not only an Indian, he's an attorney, and gay.

Her face goes blank. Her mouth opens, then closes without a single sound. The white guy takes her away.

When they are out of sight and sound we fall against each other laughing.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

y'all indins got a wicked sense of humor.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous tata said...

That story wrecks me. I'm wrecked!

Oooh, so much for mascara...

2:15 PM  
Anonymous oddjob said...

Her face goes blank. Her mouth opens, then closes without a single sound. The white guy takes her away.


2:20 PM  
Blogger seventh sister said...

Sometimes I just can't get over how we insist on catagorizing each other and ourselves. White,female, middle aged, middle class, mother, daughter, sister, friend, bitch, nice person.....I am any and all of these depending on who is catagorizing me at the time. I have certainly felt less than fuly respected at times because of my gender and nowadays, because of my age. I am equally certain that I have unfairly catagorized people before even though now I try to be aware of it and look at the person rather than the 'catagory'. I doubt that there are very many people who can honestly say that they are not prejudice, even though we would like to think we are not.
Still, if you had really wanted to mess with that woman, you could have admitted being a musician.

3:46 PM  
Blogger BadTux said...

I especially love the "harmony with nature" bit. The Hohokam turned the Salt River valley into a desolate salt flat with no tools other than stone adzes and sticks, via years of irrigating their fields with the slightly-salty waters of the Salt River, thereby causing their culture to disintegrate. That's real "harmony", yessiree!

- Badtux the Anthropology Penguin

4:03 PM  
Anonymous tata said...

Next time, avert your eyes, grab at your cousin's arm urgently and stage whisper, "DON'T MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH IT. THE DEMON WILL REMEMBER YOU!"

5:22 PM  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Precious. I love concision.

Some dreams die hard.


8:29 PM  
Blogger konagod said...

I loved this! It's funny how people want to get into personal questions to demonstrate how "open" they are only to find out that open only goes so far.

If you want to ask questions and probe, be prepared for any and all answers.

6:39 AM  
Blogger seventh sister said...

'With my long grey hair in a pony tail it looks fucking fierce, and hot. '

I am glad that you said this about yourself, especially after the remarks in a previous post about thinking you had to be a kickass musician to be attractive. This sounds a lot healthier.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

geez,2 things. i'll bet you both looked wonderfully fierce and hot
and 2. boy and i glad i borrowed this computer time long enough to read this!!!

damn i wish i could have been there , a teent fly on the wall, to watch that!!!

you are just way too much fun!

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't SWP say the silliest things?

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indans wearin' Armani ...proceed with caution .......LOL!

5:24 AM  
Blogger litbrit said...

I love it.

And I totally relate to the probing question thing. People look at Robert, who's a dark-tanned Sicilian with long black hair, and say things like, Wow, your kids are!

I mean, fer Chrissakes.

Full-blooded Mexican women have said this to me, too, so I guess racism and colorism and pigeonholing goes on in every group of people, and will likely continue until all human beings have crossbred enough times to result in everyone being a light tan color with green eyes and (hopefully) possessed of plenty of good hybrid vigor.

Hey, this Nordic mother of hybrid kids is doing her part. ;)

11:57 AM  
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Try going to

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9:09 PM  
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7:42 PM  

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