Who Stole My Race Card?
The tale of a changing country
For over 40 years it was securely placed in the third compartment of my black snake skin wallet. Rarely used but of tremendous value. Actually, thinking back it got a pretty good working during my younger years, flashing it whenever I was pulled over for that invisible traffic violation or during those strolls through department stores being shadowed by security. Somehow over the years I unconsciously learned to limit its use, to sparingly exercise its tremendous strength.
Very few people know its date of origination or the manner by which it was dispensed amongst the black population, but I do know the background of its creation. I have personal insider information that it happened like this. On a hot steamy Georgia afternoon, In a secret location somewhere in Atlanta, (probably in Sweet Auburn) a meeting between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X resulted in this master approach to bringing recognition to injustice. This method of voicing displeasure would be used by the non-violent movement of King and the aggressively demanding in your face approach of Malcolm. A stroke of genius they would both acknowledge as they committed to continuing their battles utilizing this new tool. What should we call it, said King? Malcolm replies let’s call it the ‘Black Card’. Martin sat back in his chair to ponder the name of this magnificent strategy. I have a better Idea Martin replied, the ‘Race Card’ - it’s inclusive and exclusive at the same time. It is also transportable, usable by other ethnic groups. Excellent point, replied Malcolm, the ‘Race Card’ it is, so how should we role this out? Martin stares into space for just a moment, and then starts to smile from ear to ear. ‘I have just the person for the job. A young brash minister on my staff by the name of Jesse, he is a perfect fit, and I will get him on it immediately. Jesse is a great communicator, although I can’t quite understand his need to rhyme his speeches as though they were songs, but the young people seem to like it.’ Martin rose from his chair to bid Malcolm goodbye, ‘I have business in Selma that I must attend to, as always I’ll leave through the back door.’ The two bid goodbye and Martin begins his journey to the back of the house. ‘By the way, don’t forget to throw a little criticism my way every now and again’; said King, ‘you know how they like it when we fight’.
Yes, this was the birth of the ‘Race Card’ and unless my account is disputed by Jesse Jackson or Andrew Young, I’m sticking with it.
Now let’s get back to the problem at hand (my missing race card). The last time I recall seeing it was prior to the Presidential elections. I remember because I reached for it several times after Palin began campaigning as Vice President. So I had to backtrack to that point to identify when and where I may have lost it. Trying to recount every move I’ve made since then was a task of tremendous proportion and just when I was about to give up, I found it. I was sitting on my sofa catching up with world events when during a CNN broadcast I saw it on television. My race card, bound tightly in the hands of one Rush Limbaugh. How he came to possess it is beyond me, but yes, I would know that race card anywhere. But why, is the question I asked myself over and over again. Who could Rush be using the race card on? What injustice was he trying to draw attention to and what level of empathy was he trying to solicit? After all its founding fathers (Martin and Malcolm) did intend it to be transportable (though I doubt this is what they had in mind) and useful in addressing any race related injustices. I sat on the edge of my seat with excitement and anticipation, waiting to hear the details behind the use of my invaluable life-long possession. I started to feel a sense of pride rise within me, to think that my race card had been used not only to address the racial disparities of African Americans, but it was now about to address the racial disparity felt by such a grand personality as Rush. After all, justice is justice regardless of my feeling for Rush; the entire premise behind the race card is justice.It worked marvelously for the New Haven firefighters, bringing justice to a unjust situation.
I thought, what a proud moment in time - my card and Rush Limbaugh doing battle against injustice. Then it happened. I sat in complete awe when I heard that the injustice my race card was being applied to was not an injustice at all. It turned out that Rush was upset by the fact that a conservative NFL ownership rejected his bid to be a major owner of a NFL franchise. His response was to pull my race card and flash it in defense of his past actions. But who could he possibly blame for such a racist act? Well according to Rush the NFL Players Union got together to block his bid. Not once did he consider that NFL ownership was smart enough to realize that a Rush Limbaugh owned team would not only hurt the image of the NFL (translation; hurt them in the pocketbook) but a St. Louis franchise that consisted of four African American players (there are always a few) would never be able to fill a stadium. The RACE CARD, my RACE CARD, abused and misused in such a fashion started to turn the very lining of my stomach. I leaped to the floor in anger and disapproval, yelling at the TV as though Rush could hear or would respond to me. All I could see was my race card being misused, manipulated, and exploited. The sorrow I felt was beyond explanation.
I implore all African Americans to check their wallet, purse, or safe because I have a sneaky suspicion that my card isn’t the only one missing. After hearing the rhetoric sprouted by the right since the election of President Barack Obama, I have come to the conclusion that Glen Beck and the birthers have all gotten their hands on the all valuable race card. Therefore I have come up with a solution to this unnerving problem. On January 18th 2010, all African Americans will be required to destroy any and all race cards in the possession and as his last public act Louis Farrakhan will issue the new and improved ‘Black Card’. These cards will be issued one per person by NOI members along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., (no city needed). They will be neatly tucked inside a bag of fresh fruit and distributed with a free copy of the Final Call.
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