Brazilian Holocaust Carnival Float. Same Old Shit Different Day

So a coupla’ weeks back, one of the big stories in the news was the condemnation of this Brazilian Samba team that had this Carnival float all decked out in a Holocaust theme. People found out about it and flipped out, called theme insensitive and an assortment of other names. But it reminded me of another story. See, blatant anti-Semitism doesn’t really catch my ear like weird anti-Semitism. Now I’m not going to comment on the Brazil thing, the photo below will link you to a story about the guy who created the float, and you can read his own words about what he was trying to do.

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But like I said this story reminded me of another story. And I hadn’t realized how LONG ago I’d heard the story until I started looking for some trace of it on the internet and I couldn’t find anything. I mean I looked and looked and at first I couldn’t find a damn thing. Then I found some articles , but I couldn’t find any pictures. And the whole crux of the story was the images. So I looked and looked some more and then I found the controversial pictures in a controversial place. (Wow, I feel like an episode of Lost by being so cryptic and not revealing anything). OK, OK, I’ll get to the point. It happened in January 1995 a Japanese fashion designer named Rie Kawakubo working for Comme des Garcons presented her Fall line for men called “Sleep.” The models were, thin, had shaved heads, drab striped clothes, and numbers on the clothes, and I almost forgot-bootprints. Is this ringing any bells? Well it rung a LOT of bells with Jews around the world. See now, she was trying to make a few bucks off the Holocaust-despite claiming the designs “had no meaning.” To me, THAT is a particular kind of weirdness, that’s actually different from the weirdness of the Brazilians.

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So I mentioned another controversy. It’s actually pretty minor so I wont spend a lot of time on it, but it’s Google Book Search Library Project . They’ve decided to put all these books online. Of course book publishers are freaked out because with the internet perched to take over people’s main resource for information, with Google adding books it looks like a monopoly move. The irony of course is the Google is currently fighting Microsoft’s attempts to buy Yahoo because THEY see it as a monopoly move to control people resource for information. Pot calling the kettle black. Hey speaking of black.

I’m not a Jew, I’m a Black/Jew mix so…well I don’t really live as a Jewish guy, but as you might expect I’ve spent a lot of time around Jewish people and I’m familiar with their history, culture, etc., So I really don’t feel it’s my place to take up their battles or anything. But like I said, because I have a personal relation with them (at least on a genetic level) I do kinda keep an ear out for weird news. Ok, so if you came by just to read another “Man those Jews just can’t catch a break” article then you’re done. Because I’m about to go off on a tangent, a Black tangent. And EVERYBODY has a little more room in their stomach for hearing about wrongs against Jews but finds themselves mysteriously full when it comes to hearing about Black issues. EVEN during Black History Month. So, you’re excused from here on out.

Right. Let’s get down to business! One of reasons that Brazilian thing really caught me attention was because it reminded me of watching TV a few years ago. I was living in LA watching Spanish language TV (as is prone to happen out there more often than you’d think) and one channel was running Carnival in its entirety from Brazil. So I must have watched 2 or 3 hours, because I don’t know, I guess I feel some weird attachment to the place. Ever since my trip to Venezuela I’ve been aware of how much I LOOK like the people in South America, especially Brazil. Most people don’t know that South America got WAY more African slaves than North America, BUT the racial mixing down there is far more aggressive. And basically the reason for that is because the British were in control up here and the Spaniards and Portuguese were in control down there. And the Brits were more conscience of racial separation but the Spaniards and Portuguese were more conscience of religions separation and once you were converted you were considered “ok” in their books.

ANNNYYWAYY, I was watching this Carnival parade and this float came up. It was a giant float of an African slave in chains I think he was attached to a giant ship, and there dozens and dozens of dancers on the ground dressed as slaves in stylized tattered clothing with sacks of cotton on their backs. Dancing around! Now at first I was like, “what the fuck am I looking at? Are you kidding me?” And I watched this for like 5 minutes as the commentators talked in Spanish about the thing. But I just sat there thinking. Thinking, “Do I like this? Or do I hate this?” Ultimately I decided I DID like it. I’ll tell you why. They acknowledge it. They are saying; yes that happened here. Slavery happened here, and we recognize it has a PART of our history. We are not ashamed about it, and we have accepted so TRUTHFULLY as a part our history that we’re willing do a Samba dance about it.

Not us. No US, and by US I mean the United States. Not by a long shot. We STILL have not dealt with it. Listen as Black people we have to put up with every NON-Black person feeling like we should just “get over it.” And each individual White person telling us “Well I didn’t do anything to you.” But it doesn’t work like that. Imagine if I took my 230 pounds and started stomping all over your feet and then not only didn’t apologize, but looked you dead in the face and said deal with it. Would you harbor any resentment? Now magnify that by 10,000 degrees. So we as a people have bad feelings.So expect to get treated like shit by Black people at the DMV or by airport security from here on out. We never got anything. We took some shit. A lot of shit. But we never got the 40 acres, we never got a national museum, we never got the apology, we never got financial compensation, we never got our freedom. We TOOK our freedom. We FOUGHT for civil rights. We found a way to make money selling rhythmic beats and comedy that the country just couldn’t live without. But there’s no testament to what happened to us. In fact, except for short references in history books, it’s almost like it never happened. How we got here, I mean. And the HOW explains WHY of our slow assimilation.

I mentioned how I’m a product of mixed heritage, but I’m from 60’s dude. Jews and Blacks did that back then. Not any more. Despite logic telling you intermarriage rates should be increasing every year between those two groups, that’s not the case. You’re not stupid; you know why. Jews ARE still trying to intermingle, but today it’s all about assimilation with White people. It’s like Asian women-they’re efforts are so intense it’s almost comical. And every year Black male college rates get lower and lower. And just like the world’s sympathy for America dried up after Bush made so many wrong decisions. America’s sympathy for Black American’s has dried up because of OUR lack of direction. But to explain that would take a REALLY long blog piece.

Maybe you don’t like the thing I said about Asian American women. I don’t give a shit. I. Do. Not. Give. A. Shit. Because it’s not my facts, it’s THEIR facts. You KNOW that if you see a car pull up at a restaurant and an Asian woman steps out and the car pulls off to go park you KNOW in 20 seconds a White dude is gonna come leaping out of that car to catch up with her. You KNOW this. Dude I’ve got three Asian American male friends who LITERALLY ended up going to Asia to get a woman to marry because the outlook wasn’t so good here with the homegrown women. Get yourself a copy of the Statistical Abstract of the US, and you’ll see. We say one thing, and we DO another. Bottom line; the only issue that matters is, how much power is attached to the toes that get stepped on.

Dave in South America, next to Orinoco River