Monday, March 28, 2016


Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree



Early in life society labeled me a “hood rat.” I didn't like it at first, but what neither society, nor I, knew at the time was that they were doing me a tremendous favor, the very same kind of favor they did for Frederick Douglass when they labeled him a slave. The anger and humiliation that was heaped upon him had the impact of a slingshot; instead of holding him back, it only served to hurl him forward, and the label, hood rat, had the exact same impact on me.
But I took a different tact than Douglass. While Douglass was determined to prove that he was nobody’s slave - and accomplished that mission with brilliant success - I fully embraced the term hood rat, because it's become my most fervent mission in life to rub it in their goddamn face.  I'll tell a bigot, “Yeah, I’m a hood rat. Now let’s discuss what that means regarding the relative value of you and I as individuals" - then it's show time.
So at this point, I not only take great pride in being born in Watts and raised in the Pueblos, but when people try to imply or suggest their superiority by looking down on my background and calling me a mere hood rat, I say, thank you. And then I  begin to lick my chops, because I know their presumptuous condescension is coming next, and then that very “hood rat” mentality that they intend to denigrate is gonna kick in and drag their silly asses through the mud.
You see, I’m not simply gonna sit back and allow a bigot to imply that he’s superior to me. The very background that he’s trying to look down upon is going to challenge him to prove that he’s superior, and I've made it a point my entire life to see to it that very few will be able to accomplish that - in fact, none of them have, because what they failed to realize is knowledge is free, so it's just as easily obtained in Watts as it is in Beverly Hills.

So what do I get out of this game?  I get a deep sense of satisfaction, and the opportunity  to educate the world, one bigot at a time, to the fact that they've created a monster; that the adversity that they've forced Black people to endure every day of our lives have cause us to develop an intellectual muscularity that they'll never be able to match. And there’s no satisfaction in the world more gratifying than looking into the eyes of a presumptuous bigot once he begins to recognize that he’s intellectually inferior to a “coon.” He begins to panic as he feels his delusions of grandeur begin to slip away, because  his entire sense of self-esteem is based upon the assumption that just being born White makes him special. So by busting that bubble, the impact on him is worse than if you stabbed him - and the best thing about it is, you don’t have to go to jail for it, and the idiot has to live with the wound forever. That’s why conservative bigots hate Barack Obama so intensely, because it’s clear that he has much more class, more intellect, and much more competence than they do, causing them to undergo a public, and transparent attack of cognitive dissonance. 
So yes, I love bragging about being a hood rat, because hood rat means something different to me than it does to most people. It means Bird, it means Miles, Trane, Dexter Gordon, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Ella, Sarah, and Barack Obama. Because the hood is not just a place, it's a state of mind. Thus, being a credentialed hood rat means that you’ve obtained a PhD in adversity and managed to survive. In turn, that means that you’re in possession of a source of knowledge that can’t be obtained at any university or place of higher learning anywhere in the world.  So that kind of knowledge shouldn’t be looked upon with shame. It should be developed, and embraced with an air of distinction, a sense of accomplishment, and with great honor. 
When I first met my woman she used to hate my bragging about being a hood rat. Then one night I sat down and wrote her the poem below to lay out my credentials. Now she loves it when I embrace who I am . . . The Hood Rat.
I’m sure you know that I love you.
You’re everything I need.
You fit the bill of all my desires,
a perfect match for all of my dreams.
From the moment I first laid eyes on you,
You were everything I craved -
that luscious vision
from across the tracks,
that delicate flower
beyond my blade.
But what you ask is foreign to me.
You need something that I’m not.
You said, just tweak my nature a little bit,
and you’ll give everything you’ve got.
But that "tweak" you need is who I am -
it’s my essence, can’t you see?
So how can you speak of loving my soul,
while denying the hood rat that makes me, me?
While "hood rat" may seem trite to you,
it’s the very essence of my being.
So forget about what other’s say,
here’s what it means to me:
I’ve been brutally dragged through the pits of hell,
yet, managed to survive,
well educated, and fully functional,
when I came out the other side.
I scrounged the lessons taught at Harvard -
because knowledge, I found, was free.
But they’ll never obtain the lessons I’ve learned -
or grasp my knowledge of adversity.
While the "elite" may have heard a mournful Trane,
or Miles muted on a Summer night,
not in the context of hunger and pain,
or hopelessness, hatred, and blight.
So while I've lived the life of a hood rat,
I’ve reaped a knowledge that money can't buy;
a knowledge passed on to my son and daughter,
which has greatly enhanced their lives.
So I wouldn't change a thing about my life -
I’ve faced hell and passed the test.
I have a PhD in adversity, and
it's made me much more,
rather than less.
So unlike the people at Harvard and Yale,
who try to buy intellectual clout,
they only listen to the genius of Miles and Trane,
while I'm who they’re playin' about.
So when snobs try to slur me as "just a hood rat,"
I say, "thank you," and don’t take offense.
I take great pride in surviving the pits of Hell -
That’s what gives me my confidence.
The Ivy League degrees of those of means
are only paper compared to mine;
they merely have a "receipt" for knowledge and learning,
while my knowledge is ETCHED within my mind.
I can TEACH philosophy to Aristotle and Plato
with the adversity that I’ve endured,
and any snob who seeks to match my wit,
will come up short, and that’s for sure.
Snobs walk about quoting Socrates and such,
due to their "education" they are prone;
but while they’re spewing the thoughts of various dead men,
I spend my time developing my own.
We should never give the thoughts of ANY man,
priority over our own;
collect the facts and think for yourself, that’s where
Harvard and Yale has gone wrong.
Thus, being seen as a hood rat has its advantages -
especially against racists of limited wit;
I simply quietly wait for their condescension,
then show ‘em that they ain’t shit.
God made birds to fly and fish to swim,
but man to think, and that's the key.
So any man who claims to be my superior
will have to PROVE he can out-think me.
Thus, knowledge is the key to set us free -
it doesn’t matter what the people say,
and there’s nothing more formidable than
a knowledgeable hood rat, and
that’s what you’re looking upon today.
Yet, these are the things you want me to purge -
you want me to spurn the life I’ve led.
Well, I’m sorry, my love,
as much as I adore you,
the soul of a hood rat is my edge.
Remember, street knowledge is exactly what Obama is using to drag the entire Republican Party through the mud. That's why they hate him so. They can't figure out what’s up with him. Have you noticed that he never argues with them? Regardless to what they say, he just smiles, like he's dealing with children. Watch him deal with Trump in the video below - and this is on the very same night that he got Osama Bin Laden using three helicopters, after Bush had spent trillions of dollars trying to get him. They didn't know it yet, but that's what he meant in the video by "What a week!" If Bush had gotten Osama Bin Laden, the Republicans would not only have still been bragging about it, but Bush’s image would be nearly completed on My Rushmore by now. But what did Obama do? He simply did what he was mandated to do, and then walked away.
America is gonna to miss that man when he’s gone, and it’s gonna be hard to find another like him, because he didn’t get that kind of character and class from Harvard. He got it from having to survive the adversity of the Black experience.

Eric L. Wattree
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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