Yo Da Man

“Hey you know something people
I’m not black
But there’s a whole lots a times
I wish I could say I’m not white.”

I have lived by these words from the Mothers of Invention’s FREAK OUT LP, which I stole that record from Zayre discount store in 1969. I was working at the same store. I took the LP as a goof along with Wes Montgomery’s DAY IN THE LIFE. My crime was witnessed by the skinny assistant manager. Mitch didn’t like me. The girl at the cosmetic counter was sweet on me. Sookie and I made out at the store’s Xmas party. She liked outlaws and boosting that album felt like a crime until Mitch called my father.

“Pay for the music.”

I obeyed my father. Charges were dropped by the store. Mitch fired me. Sookie and I had a thing. Those were good times.

Occasionally I play TROUBLE EVERYDAY to hear those infamous words. “But there’s a whole lots a times I wish I could say I’m not white.”

I cheered the Panthers, the SLA, Tommie Smith’s clinched fist. I’ve danced in Harlem. I played basketball on West 4th Street. I smoked crack with dealers on Avenue C. I was no whitey, but my non-whitey status was only in my mind for blacks saw me for who I was.

An ofay honkie wanting to pass.

It took a long time to realize that I was not alone in wanting to burn my race card.

Whites wanting to be black and blacks wanting to be white and that goes for the poor wanting to be rich.

Few rich want to be poor, because as Karl Marx said, “Money’s properties are my – the possessor’s – properties and essential powers. Thus, what I am and am capable of is by no means determined by my individuality. I am ugly, but I can buy for myself the most beautiful of women. Therefore I am not ugly, for the effect of ugliness – its deterrent power – is nullified by money. I, according to my individual characteristics, am lame, but money furnishes me with twenty-four feet. Therefore I am not lame. I am bad, dishonest, unscrupulous, stupid; but money is honored, and hence its possessor. Money is the supreme good, therefore its possessor is good. Money, besides, saves me the trouble of being dishonest: I am therefore presumed honest. I am brainless, but money is the real brain of all things and how then should its possessor be brainless? Besides, he can buy clever people for himself, and is he who has power over the clever not more clever than the clever? Do not I, who thanks to money am capable of all that the human heart longs for, possess all human capacities? Does not my money, therefore, transform all my incapacities into their contrary?”

You da man, Karl.

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can rent it and if the OJ trial proved anything, it was that even a black man can buy justice in America if he has enough money.

Let’s all go fishing.

Ice Ice baby.

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