Top Black Racists of 2020: The WAZ Awards
Without television, radio, cell phone, newspaper (except obituaries and the funnies three days a week), or social media, by the time what they call news in the Lower 48 percolates through more than twenty degrees of latitude to some of us here, whatever it is has usually gone by; like seeing light from a star that burned out a thousand years ago. In 2020 though, there were so many people yelling, swearing, pulling over statues on themselves, beating each other up, and smashing stuff during race riots down there in the U.S. that we at the Woodshed Autonomous Zone, being technically still part of America, held an emergency meeting in the command bunker, deep in the last great temperate rainforest, to sort it out for ourselves.
An investigative committee was formed with Roy Sequoia as Chairman. We picked Roy for his unusual ability to see what’s right in front of him before anyone else does. As it’s first order of business, the committee nominated and approved Old Fashioneds as their official truth serum. Double shots were recommended and well received. Heated discussion followed re: rye vs. single malt. By voice vote, a peaty 10-year-old Laphroig won the day with double shots to be rigidly enforced. Consternation arose when the Sergeant-At-Arms reported, “There’s no ice, man.” Snow was substituted by unanimous consent and the meeting got under way.
There was a lot to plow through. Skin bleaching to slavery, gun running to genocide, Lumumba to Lester Maddox, forced bussing to fried chicken,…we were all over the place. In the interest of getting somewhere by spring wood cutting season a motion was made to narrow the field. Since the core of things always came back to racism, the committee decided to get back on track by adopting a definition of racism.
Right out of the blocks we got sidetracked by Uncle Tim telling us white definitions of racism didn’t apply to black people because black people are incapable of racism. Tim’s a white guy himself. Went to college back east, so we excuse him the same as we would if he’d been scrambled in the head by a roadside bomb. When he starts popping off about how evil his own race is we call him Uncle Tim.
His argument went something like, a) Racism requires institutional power. b) Black people don’t have institutional power. c) Because black people don’t have institutional power black people can’t be racist.” “That means,” he told us in case we didn’t get the concept, “by definition, it’s impossible for black people to be racist.” “Look it up.” Tim said, “It’s on the internet.”
By agreement, there are no computers or cell phones at meetings but if it was on the internet we were sure it had to be true; until Nugene pointed out (there’s always one, isn’t there?) Tim’s was no definition at all. “Unproven premise supported by a circular argument.” he said. That kicked off a brief committee discussion as to how Gene is a pain in the ass. “Goddammit Gene, can’t you just accept something so obvious?” But no, he wouldn’t. “Get the dictionary.” He never went to college back east, but he’s a big believer in books, is Gene.
To shut him up Chairman Roy called for the Webster’s we keep in the bunker so we can look up scrabble words after the power goes down during the end-times. The committee was edified to read: racism: noun: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.
“There you go,” said Gene, “racism, by definition, is based on beliefs. It’s not limited to any particular race and it doesn’t need to be institutional in nature.”
That resolved, the night was getting along, and the committee getting buzzed. “Let’s vote on something,” they said.
Roy put forward a motion. “All in favor of accepting the dictionary definition for racism say, “Aye.”
“All opposed say, ‘Nay.’”
“Nay!” That was from Uncle Tim.
“The Ayes have it, with one vote against. Next vote will be:’ White people are capable of racism. All in favor say, ‘Aye.’”
“All opposed say, ‘Nay.’” That was redundant because everyone had said, ‘Aye,’ but Roy thought he was supposed to ask.
“The Ayes have it unanimously. Next vote: ‘Black people are capable of racism’. All in favor say, ‘Aye.’”
“All opposed say ‘Nay.’”
“Nay!” from Tim.
“The Aye’s have it, with one vote against. Next vote…”
“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I object!” Uncle Tim shouted. “Paper dictionaries are outdated. After all white people have done to black people you can’t accuse black people of racism! It’s not possible. We need to spend more time talking about this.”
Cosmo, the Sergeant at Arms said, “You’re out of order, man.”
Nugene rolled his eyes, “Must be handy to define a word however you want and have the internet repeat it until millions of people think that’s what it means.”
Cosmo clacked a couple pieces of firewood together. “Order, okay? You people should mellow out. Like the Buddhists, you know?”
Chairman Roy said, “Thank-you Sergeant. Mellow out all. Now, unless a certain member of this esteemed gathering wants to rewrite the dictionary, then the dictionary’s what we go with. Black people can be racist—relax Tim I’m not finished.—How about this? How about for now we adopt the premise ‘Black people can be racist.’ and do some research to see if it holds up against Tim’s internet definition. All in favor say Aye,”
“Nay! As if a bunch of old white guys can possibly understand white privilege.”
Roy said, “Let’s try to stay on topic. The question is, ‘Can black people be racist?’”
Tim: “White privilege is racism.”
Gene: “Hey Ivy League boy, when you’ve cleaned as many public toilets as I have come around and tell me about my white privilege.”
“Thanks for you input, gentlemen. Motion carried.”
That’s the short version of how The Woodshed Autonomous Zone Black Racist Awards (the WAZ) came into being. We old white guys had a great time with it. Learned a lot we wished we didn’t know. Heard a lot we wished we didn’t hear. Saw a lot we wished we hadn’t seen. Along the way, someone suggested we should make it a contest, give it a name, maybe prizes. That met with a, ’Well hey! Let’s do that.’ The committee narrowed the search to ten people or groups.
To be eligible for the WAZ, and satisfy Tim, contestants must:
1. be part of the power structure.
2. be celebrated for saying or doing racist things-in public-that would end their careers if they were white.
3. be held to a different standard of conduct than most of society.
4. be part of a higher social sphere.
4. be rich, or at least be able to raise a lot of money.
5. be perpetual victims no matter how much money, status, immunity, or power they enjoy.
6. In the event of a tie, extra points would be awarded for hypocrisy.
Criteria being settled, candidates settled, I stepped outside have a whizz. Which was a mistake. The night was clear, bitter cold, with big Orion to the south on his December march across the sky and the Geminid meteor shower shooting stars through the winter hexagon. An amazing show with a tinge of aurora to the north. I ended up being gone about twenty minutes and was about half frozen when Cosmo, who does not drink alcohol, came out just as a fiery comet chip blazed across the sky. He lit a joint and said, “Wooow. So profound, ain’t it? Makes you feel small. By the way, the committee is voting on who’s going to write up the research and publish it.”
I dove back in the bunker. Too late. They all thanked me for my service. “We’re behind you a hundred percent.” “Put a little of yourself in it.” “We’ll all do research,” “We’ll help with edits.”
You know as well as I do that they were going to dump it all on me, so I agreed to do it, but only on the condition that they’d each had to pick out one person or topic and bring what they found to the weekly meeting, give it to the group, then I’d write it up. They tried to weasel, but I did not budge.
And so, without further ado, here are the Woodshed Autonomous Zone’s picks for top black racists of 2020.
To Be Continued:
*Editor’s note: Names of, and interactions by, WAZ committee members have not been changed because they exist only in my head. DC