Askia MuhammadColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: No Black Privileges Respected by Whites

Regardless of what happens in the upcoming elections, the outcome has already been decided. The White supremacists now in power will be the losers, even if they get the electoral victories they want.

The will, the mood of the people has shifted. “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, moves on: Nor all your Piety nor Wit. Shall lure it back to cancel half a line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it,” wrote Omar Khayyam in “The Rubaiyat” 1,000 years ago, and it’s still true today, only White Americans don’t believe it … they believe they’re exceptional. Therein is their ruin.

Donald J. Trump has lowered the standard for political decency so low that other despots around the world are mimicking the guy, trying to duplicate his success. In this country, even the lowliest White person thinks he/she is greater than every Black person who ever lived. Thanks to The Donald and the resurgence in White Tribalism, White folks think they don’t need to live in harmony with anyone except their own White selves.

I am no way a grand person, but I felt this White rage myself recently. I too was simply “breathing while Black.” My train was five hours late arriving at Union Station in D.C., so I was in a grumpy mood. Then, my trusty cane walked off the train without me, so I had to limp for a while until I could buy myself a new one.

Next, I made my way to the taxi queue. I was first in line. The first two cabs in line were small vehicles with awkward legroom in the back. The dispatcher told me to get in the first, tiny cab. I said no, I wanted more legroom. He said wait. I said OK.

Passengers eventually came for the small cars, and as I walked toward the van-sized vehicle now next, a White dude rushed to get in front of me. Oh, no.

I said, “Excuse me sir, I’ve been waiting for this cab,” and I put my cane in front of him, waist high or lower.

He said, “Why are you being so rude?”

Rude? I said, “No sir. I said excuse me, I’m next.”

He said, “No. You put your cane in my face!”

Never wanting to waste an opportunity to sharpen my street-debate skills, I jumped right in, “If your face is where I put my cane, you’ve got a pretty filthy mouth.” (rim shot!)

Verbally I had bettered him. Both he and I knew it. But the African cab driver jumped out and grabbed Mr. Trumpista’s bag and put him in the car. I complained rather loudly, “So you gonna take the White man, huh?”

By this time, another White guy walked up and defended me. “He was first. He was next,” he said about me. And he offered to help with my bags when another cab, with ample legroom came up for me.

But it wasn’t until I got home and replayed the scenario in my head that I saw what the truly civilized outcome should have been — certainly it would have been if a person of any age (especially someone older than me), or of any ethnicity or gender put a cane in front of ME and said, “Excuse me I’m next,” I’d like to think I would always say, “Go right ahead. I’ll get the next taxi.”

But this particular White dude (and probably the vast majority of White males as well as females, in this new Trump environment, I reckon) would never surrender so much as a spot in a taxi queue, with dozens of cabs waiting for passengers, to a n-gger like me. Dude didn’t use that word, but I could see the contempt in his blue eyes.

Sadly, that is the state of race relations as I see it today. If White folks can’t show gratitude to Blacks who worked for free for hundreds of years, making this country wealthy, then they are already lost. Lost.

I have been forewarned. I will now guard my future conduct. Some of these White folks today are on hair-trigger impulse, waiting for an excuse to go caveman on some innocent Black person. So never mind me thinking that I might qualify for an “Oldish Negrino” privilege, or even an “Old Dude on a Cane” privilege. I’ve got no privilege, not insofar as White folks are concerned. And neither does any Black person.

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Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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