Saturday, July 23, 2011

On Honour and Sacrifice

We're staying in a great hotel in the city we're visiting. The staff here is great - really, really great; we have a view and we have a dog with us, thanks to the pet-friendly nature of this main-drag hotel. Pretty perfect. None of what follows here has anything to do with the staff, except the resolution, which was fast and effective.

This morning, at about 2:15, seven very drunk young men decided to continue their party in the room facing ours.

Two interventions and an equal number of threats from Woody (who owns that name, being inflexible in his expectations that they either shut the fuck up or leave) did nothing to quiet them down, so it wasn't long until my temper got the better of me and my palm hit their door, loudly, a couple times.

I tried to get my 'mommy' out on them but, beyond their surprise at an older women up in their respective grills, none of them was man enough to say sorry. Not even my boiling and mostly undressed spouse looming above them (he's 6' 4" tall) convinced them they had seriously crossed the line. Assholes, all.

A real man NEVER forgets himself; he never imposes himself on others and he never, ever forgets that he is not alone on the planet; he never forgets that his behaviour and the things he says are a reflection of his character.

Suffice to say, seven young men seriously compromised their honour this morning and that sacrifice not only caused them to be evicted from this facility a mere seven hours after their arrival, it cost them their room charges AND ours.

What are these? These are HUMANS of the ONE human race. 

The detail that rankles me the most, the detail that will sit with me and the thing that tore my soul, however, was not so much their sacrificed honour as it was one young man's final, desperate attempt to regain control - but an attempt that cost him, his friends and me everything. Everything.

He refused to acknowledge that none of what ensued would have, had he and his pals heeded the doorman's advice to be quie; simply be quiet and go to bed. It was 2:30 a.m. after all....

He said we were pressing on him because he is brown. He said a brown man cannot get a fair shake and that we were attacking him because we were racists.

Several weeks ago, I had a serious falling out with someone who had been my friend for more than 20 years. This person also alleged racism in my direction. My comments to him - which he has not had the decency to respond to - and to this young man are these:

1. "Race" is a political construct; there is one human race, which comes in many, many colours:
2. "Race" has been institutionalised as a weapon by which people avoid responsibility, much in the manner the young man from this altercation used it.

The young man in question knew he was wrong; he knew he would be evicted and so he invoked the most hurtful, false and damaging thing he could. He alleged that he was innocent and that I was attacking him for no other reason than the colour of a body organ.

What this young man - and my was-friend, who is also black - did not realise is the immense damage he did to himself, me and his group of friends, all of whom have, save for one man, deeper skin tones than I.

I am disgusted by drunks. I am disgusted by people who will sacrifice their dignity and their honour to impress their friends; but nothing - NOTHING - can ever disgust me more than a man who is willing to use the colour of his largest body organ as a weapon by which to avoid responsibility for acts that he, himself, is responsible for.

The damage this young man and my ex-friend did by their allegations is immeasurable, not to mention that they both perpetuated a lie; and by doing so allowed that lie a continued strangle-hold on WE.

We humans.

We who share this planet and have no means or options for not sharing this planet.

Using the colour of skin as a weapon is abhorrent in any context and for any reason. It is skin. It's colour is nothing more than an adaptive feature that references a person's genetic history. Beyond that, the colour of a body organ has NO bearing on anything. Those who attempt to falsify a bearing  are thieves, rogues and are morally bereft. This goes for unknown young men, advertising executives and presidents.

If you seek to avoid responsibility or you seek to silence others by means of invoking something that is NOT REAL (race), you are bereft of honour in a profound way.

Thou shalt NOT attempt to escape thy responsibilities by invoking a false paradigm that injures EVERYONE. Doing so makes one a scourge upon all humans.