Fleeing from a Truth Too Deep

My ex-husband and I once had the occasion to rush our then four-year old to the emergency room for treatment of a deep gash in his forehead. Although the wound was cavernous, and watching the technician place the stitches was practically un bearable, an abomination of another kind occurred while at the hospital.

Since the accident happened so quickly, and we were terrified that the injury could have resulted in long-term residuals, we scooped our son up and rushed him to the emergency room. In doing so, obviously neither my ex or I took time to put on ‘the Costume.’

You know…the makeup, suit, heels and hair that supposedly mark our membership in the professional ranks and make us immune from the disses, slights and insults tossed our way like so many chewed bits of gum. All in my mind, you say? Let me recount the story and you be the judge.

As we arrived at the hospital holding bloody towel to the forehead of a limp toddler, an emergency worker yelled at us to enter through another door: “This entrance is for emergency personnel only!!” He bellowed. In my natural plus-size lawyer Barbie mode, I’d have taken him out in one breath, given that I’m not one to back away from anyone’s mistreatment. In my fear, however, I just ran down the walkway and went through the other door.

Once inside, given the circumstances, the usual triage protocol was expedited, and my son was immediately taken to an emergency bed. That should have been the end of the story, but that’s where the real atrocity began.

The emergency room physician introduced himself and the suture technician. I found his relatively matter-of-fact demeanor reassuring.

As he described the procedure to close the wound and the lack of findings on the x-ray, I felt more comfortable that my beautiful baby boy would not be physiologically impaired or horribly scarred by his accident. When he asked if we had questions, I asked: “Will the wound granulate up from the muscle tissue, or will it close from the skin down?”. He looked at me, took a breath, and asked: “How do YOU know that word?”

I explained that I was a medical malpractice attorney at one time, and that I spent many years working as a disability attorney. He then launched into a lecture about how they disliked treating the children of attorneys, and how hard trial attorneys made it for them. I stayed nice and calm, and explained that I was only there in my capacity as a Mom.

I understand that the average urban hospital ER physician meets dozens and dozens of people who may have little or no exposure to medical terms or concepts, and that with curlers, dirty t shirt and shorts, I surely wasn’t wearing the usual symbols of my profession.

That said, what would have happened if I’d taken offense at his question, instead of internalizing the pain that it caused? What was the implication to be taken from his question? That someone who looks like me is so inherently ignorant that I should be patently unable to comprehend anything he had to say? Was I rendered unworthy of a straight answer because I hadn’t had time to put on the ‘face’ that morning? The little indignities that we hurl at one another all add up to a monstrous truth: We make assumptions about each other based on superficial factors, then back up those assumptions with hurtful or harmful actions. Because America’s social hierarchy still clings to the value system that places people of African descent at the bottom, we continually inflict harm or suffer. When will it stop? When can people connect to each other spiritually without regard to race or class? I have no answer, and since this is not a polemic challenge to the system we live in, I’m posing these questions simply because our survival as a species depends on our ability to take stock of our collective pain, get past these issues, and develop more compassionate, loving ways of dealing with each other.

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Really Rush?

Rush, we know you’re appealing to the right wing fringe, and that you long ago opted out of the ranks of the objective and the credible, but your hysterical, desperate rant laying the mortagage and financial crisis at the feet of Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers and ACORN is incendiary and irresponsible.

You seem to believe that the Black community focuses on hating this country. The Black community is diverse, and contains as many apologists, sellouts and appeasers as it has revolutionary militants. Barack Obama is no revolutionary militant. Having taught Constitutional Law at one of the nation’s most conservative universities, the University of Chicago, Barack Obama has trained legions of lawyers to uphold the law, not overthrow it. Additionally, Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, made from the sanctity of the pulpit, have been twisted to smear and distort. Why? The truth of America’s history and the reactions of people and nations around it are self-evident. The emotional outcroppings left from the enslavement of Africans are part of our heritage, and you will never know the burden of teaching a child to proceed through life with dignity in spite of that horrific legacy.

The Black community, and our children are a vibrant and unique part of the American collective. Our future is inextricably intertwined with America’s destiny. Perhaps your rhetoric is aimed at a final solution, Rush. Perhaps, like Adolph Hitler in the 1930’s, you would have America believe that the current financial crisis is the result of a vast Black conspiracy to reap what we have not worked for and take from “good, hard-working” Americans (thanks Hillary).

…And to think, all these years that Black mothers have been cooking, cleaning, helping children with homework, earning money, supporting their husbands, getting their own educations and careers off the ground…that we have all been party to the secret underground Black Hate Network. All of the social, scientific, military, intellectual and cultural contributions made to America by African-Americans were really just a cover. Our real purpose has been to promote, with Christopher Dodd, Barney Frank, and cadres of Black Liberation theologists, an anti-american, anti-capitalist movement. Really? Wow!

In spite of the hurtful legacy of slavery, people of African descent have stood firm and resolute on this continent. We have fought with valor, we live and raise families, and we educate and love our children, just like you. Consistent attacks on Black people based on their race are demeaning to all Americans, and they threaten to unravel any gains we make on the international stage. Does your hate run so deep that you seek to undermine the stature of the entire country rather than see an African American President? What makes you hate that deeply Rush?

The dysfunctional aspects of the Black community, like those of any other group, are reflective of social ills that affect everyone. It is true that the social engineering efforts of the 1960’s had a disastrous effect on the Black family. Poverty has a disastrous effect on the Black family. The lynchings of the period between 1870-1920 had a disastrous effect on the Black family; job displacement and illegal immigration have had a disastrous effect on the Black family. The point is, in spite of our history, no one has trained Black children to: “Hate, Hate, Hate this country”. Black kids play in little league, go to Halloween parties and proms, and have the same abilities, goals and dreams that White kids have. Its only when power hungry hatemongerers lie to misinform the public that people become alarmed. Charles Manson sought to incite a race war by the Sharon Tate/ LoBianco killings. You know good and well that corporate mismanagement is at the root of the current global financial crisis. Rush, would you really have your lie be the cause of anyone’s pain? Really?