Friday, September 02, 2011

My points of reference: 1. Rosewood

I anticipate this entry to be the first of a thread that I'm calling "My points of reference". It was inspired by largely by my father. When I was a kid my father, bless his soul (makes him sound like he's passed, but no: bless his soul is cos he's crazy), would make reference to some character called Hess. He'd say things to me and siblings like, "You Hess's child!" and cackle with glee at his witticism. We had absolutely no fucking idea was he was on about, though we gathered it was not a rather good thing to be related to this Hess chap. Finally I asked my amah (cos you can get no coherent chat from me da - fact) who Hess was. "Oh," my mother said, with an indifference off-handedness that can only be obtained by being married to the same nutjob for an extended amount of time, "Just some guy he went to high school with."

This "My points of reference" thread has also been inspired by what happened today, and it serves as the basis for my first point of reference, of which I shall explain to you now. So I was happily tweeting my dear high school BF ATW when we happened upon talking about music. I explained that I was trying to take in more rap and expressed my love for the new Bad Meets Evil album (can I just put out there how much I love Eminem right now? Like he gets me going big time. Which is weird cos I never thought he was attractive before. Anyway, let me get back to the point, cos I'm getting hot to trot). ATW returned that she didn't like the "overuse of the n-word". In response, I called her cliched.

Now, let me back up just one minute here and give even more background. For some reason, I have been on the Guardian website recently, making comments on stories about rap and hip-hop music. I am by no means an expert or full-on connoisseur (yet), but, as was the case from lots of other comment-makers, I can't stand when people slag off rap so vehemently (glorifies criminality and sexism) and I feel I have to defend it. OK, you don't get rap - fine. So don't listen to it, simple as. I don't listen to country much for exactly the same reason. It's violent and denigrates women, but it gets a lot more cultural respect from people. Why? Well, I'll let you figure that out on your own, my little lambs.

Anyway, when I get round people having a go at hip-hop and rap, I just kinda lose it a bit, which I was reminded of when tweeting ATW. I always refer to me losing it when it comes to thinking about race issues as having a "Rosewood moment". Rosewood is the name of a John Singleton-directed film starring Ving Rhames, described in IMDb as a "dramatization of a 1923 horrific racist lynch mob attack on an African American community". Essentially, this white community goes all klan on a black community.

When my mother went to see this film, she said she left the cinema so angry that she just wanted to bust on any white person she encountered. Which is hilarious. Don't get me wrong: violence is not funny. But my ma contemplating violence is. This is a women who would never whack me or my siblings with her hands, because "hands are for loving". Which made for interesting times when my mother did want to pop us one, for she would rush off looking for something to do it with. Her hands loved us, but that spatula certainly didn't! Still can't look a most kitchen utensils without hysteria rising within me.

So basically when I talk about having a Rosewood moment, I'm referring to my amah's very funny response. It's my way of not letting it get to me, I guess. The citing of a "Rosewood moment" labels the issue for what it is, but it also helps to de-escalate and diffuse things by reminding me of how absurd a really angry response, which I am prone to have, would be.

Maybe I should actually get round to seeing this film that serves as such a significant point of reference.

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