The Black White Man
by Dr. M
Dr. M returned to his outdoor classroom at Oakland's 14th and Broadway. It was a cloudy day and rain was on the way. He set up his table to sell his books. Then decided to give 14th and Broadway people a little drama. Reaching in his bag, he pulled out is white makeup and dabbled it on his face, looking into a broken mirror. The passerby began to question him. Was he sick? A street brother who often assists Dr. M for a few dollars saw his white face and was upset. Why do you have that white stuff on your face, you are not white, you are black, you should have black paint on your face! M nodded, the man's friend came up to M and told him the guy just didn't understand, but he would explain the meaning of his white persona. Matter of fact, the guy said, he would like to come and join Dr. M by putting on a white face as well, since he understood what he was doing.
All of this occurred while Dr. M was chatting with a childhood friend and his wife who stopped by to chat, actually to invite Dr. M to speak at a show to stop the violence in Oakland. His friend, Johnny Mack, told of how he was being blocked by city officials as he organized his Stop the Violence Day. Dr. M referred him to his parable of Black Man and Block Man and Johnny picked up the book which contains the parable IN THE CRAZY HOUSE CALLED AMERICA.
M reminded Johnny that they grew up in Fresno in the projects and Johnny's parents used to ring the neck of chickens in the backyard which adjoined M's grandmother's house. Johnny shocked M by telling how his preacher father moved to a white area in the country. At school one day, the white children grabbed Johnny, beat him to the ground and tied a rope around his neck, then dragged him across the school grounds while teachers stood watching. Johnny said he has been terrified of white people ever since. Johnny said he might join Dr. M and dawn a white face.
A man passed the table and seeing the title of M's book HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE ADDICTION TO WHITE SUPREMACY, A PAN AFRICAN 12 STEP MODEL, said he only needed one step, Jesus. M said that is only the first step, there are 12 more. Johnny concurred that Jesus wasn't enough, the man needed to look at the man in the mirror to discover he was Jesus. His wife concurred. M said, "Johnny, I didn't know you knew that you were Jesus." His wife said, "If he didn't know that, I wouldn't be with him."
Johnny disclosed to M that he was a preacher at nine years old, but broke away from his father's church because his dad took all the collection plate. On his death bed his dad apologized to God for believing Jesus was God and misleading the people.
It began to rain so M packed his books and left for a meeting with another childhood friend from Oakland, Leon Teasley. As Leon parked beside him in the parking lot, M was removing the make up. Leon was shocked at seeing his Cub Scout buddy in white face, but he was cool as he has been throughout his life--they call him Cool T. What's up with the makeup, he wanted to know. M told him he was a black white man. Cool T said there are many white black men with no makeup. You know I like drama, he told Cool T, and they were off to have lunch and talk about old times. As they sat eating spring rolls and drinking Thai tea, T pulled out his archival material on his buddy, including a copy of M's autobiography SOMETHIN PROPER, his first book of poems FLY TO ALLAH, 1969, and another volume of poems CONFESSION OF A WIFE BEATER, 1981. T gave him the copy of his autobiography which was in mint condition. He retained the volumes of poetry but offered to help reprint them. And so it was, a rainy day in hell with the black white man and his childhood friends.