Old Photo Seen, Umbrage Ensues
January 30, 2019
Via Darleen in the comments, a tale of coal dust and woe:
A few weeks ago, I attended a holiday party at a downtown Phoenix restaurant. I walked around to view the photographs on the wall. Then a photograph caught my attention.
This one here, since you ask.
Friends said, “It’s coal miners at a pub after work.” It was a photograph of coal miners with blackened faces. I asked a Latinx and white woman for their opinion. They said it looked like coal miners at a pub after work. Then they stepped back, frowned and said it’s men in blackface.
The author, incidentally, a “poet and essayist” named Rashaad Thomas, seems determined to racially categorise every person who features in his tiny drama. And so, we’re informed, pointedly, that this person is white, and this other person is not.
I spoke with a white restaurant owner. I explained to him why the photograph was offensive.
He was white, you see. Be careful not to trip over the implications.
Yet the photograph remained on the wall.
Feel his pain, you heathens.
My concern that the photograph of men in blackface was a threat to me and my face and voice were [sic] ignored.
For once, rather surprisingly, the world did not bend to the demands of a whiny, racially neurotic narcissist.
A business’ photograph of men with blackened faces culturally says to me, “Whites Only.” It says people like me are not welcome.
If we peel away the affectations of racial victimhood, clung to so tightly, and instead take “people like me” to denote something more specific – say, a poet of limited talent whose every other tweet mentions race, who refers, seemingly without irony, to “Amer’KKKa,” and who claims that an old photo of coal miners drinking beer threatens his wellbeing - then Mr Thomas may be onto something.