So he can use it.
It has been a couple interesting weeks as we dipped into the race pool for a few moments. I haven't thought about it for a couple days, especially after my great day with my son at the Long Beach Grand Prix - another one of those things that are supposed to be impossible for black men to enjoy.
But it occurred to me today that I may have witnessed over that period another instance of a specific kind of black on black criticism, which I've been getting since day one of outing myself. It's the somewhat reasonable and somewhat paranoid inquiry into the question of whether or not I'm an idiot or have lost my moral compass (as a black man). With the subtext of Conservatism, the foreground of Republican and the obsession over the press double whammy over Tea Party activism and Confederate history, the subject of the actual racist history of Conservatism got lost. What I started off as an investigation of history ended up as an investigation of me. That is, of course, the very stuff of bigotry, but since I'm a hardcase, it doesn't bother me much. It's not about me, even when it somehow becomes about me. And so much for that.
Still, one has to recognize that despite my temptation to put 'black' in quotes, there are some fairly hard social constructions we all have to deal with. And since I come from one of those crazy families full of non-dysfunction and genuine authenticalness I take it upon myself to suggest that we're all Bowen first, and black somewhere down the line, whatever black means in the end. But I think I'm not stretching the definition too much when I suggest that if we took a poll, most Americans would find the picture below roughly impossible. It is the picture of a black man who has been given a .50 caliber rifle by the LAPD so he can get good at shooting it. That black man is my brother Doc, that's Officer Bowen to you, the pictures you don't see are him with the AR and the 308. But all that's rather redundant, and I think you get my point.
Now I really want you to check yourself, honestly. Does it freak you out somewhere in the back of your mind when you put black man and LAPD together? Are you tempted to draw inferences from the positions of the white hands in the photo? Are you thinking maybe Doc isn't what you really mean by black? Or can you just take the picture at face value?
He's just another American who refuses to be disarmed, and he's me brudda!