Court Jesterings: Racism is passé in a multi-racial society

Written by Harold Brown. Posted in Arts/Entertainment, Culture, Opinion, Politics

Published on March 17, 2008 with 1 Comment

h. brown

By h. brown

March 17, 2008

My grandson looks like Barack Obama. He really does (my grandson, that is). I was sitting and reading (what I do most of the time) and I came across a picture supplied by Barack’s half-sister (half-Indonesian) of their mom and Barack at around 2 years of age. I was struck by the similarities between Barack (taken some 44 years ago) and my grandson, Wesley who is at 2 years of age my oldest grandson next to my youngest grandson, Damian Ryder Brown (‘Doc’ – my son’s boy who’s the only Caucasian kid in the line) … multi-racial, the new Zeitgeist.

Barack Obama with his Mum, Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro.

Wesley (left, with sister Tandiwe) looks just like Barack Obama when he was a toddler.

Kamala Harris is multi-racial. Elaine Santore is multi-racial. My granddaughter, Tandiwe is. Tiger Woods is. Derek Jeter is. It shouldn’t be a big deal anymore, but it is.

I want my grandkids to spend the next 8 years of their development thinking that having a black President of the United States is the most natural thing in the world. I want my white grandson to think the same thing. I want America to think it too.

Obama’s mom reminds me so much of my own daughter. Barack’s mom joined the U.N. My daughter joined the Peace Corps. Neither ever worked anything but a life of service to America and the needy people of the world (my daughter went from Peace Corps to America Corps and then back to Peace Corps).

I thought these things as I hung out on my balcony (OK, it’s a Tenderloin fire escape) and watched the St. Patrick’s Day Parade go under my perch. The first ranks had the cops and an Asian woman of color at the head. The black cops walking with her seemed normal now because my grandkids are black and they are 50 percent Irish. I read a book once that said that 25 percent of American black folks have American Indian blood in them. We’re multi racial and should stop listening to the reactionary voices like Sen. Hillary Clinton and her supporters who think that any person of color who has a top job or candidacy is there due to some racial quota (thanks, Diaz).

“Superman never made any money, spent his life changing his clothes in dirty telephone booths.”
(From Superman’s funeral – Crash Test Dummies)

I’m probably one of the poorest people in town, money wise. But, I live like a king due to the kindness of my friends and the fact that I know when I’m in the best place I could possibly be at this point in my life, beyond anything I could have even imagined (especially, given my poverty).

National Open Container Day

So, I hang out over the 2008 San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade (I call it: ‘National Open Container Day) and look from the pictures of Obama and his sister on one wall and my grandchildren on another and of Kamala Harris in a campaign photo endorsing Chris Daly on another and Daly and wife, Sarah Low with best-looking-kid-in-town, young Jack Daly (my grandkids were gentrified to Fresno) and I am 2 blocks from City Hall and can see it and I realize how blessed I am.

Sarah, Chris and Jack Daly.

Here comes the Mayor! How I love a parade that comes to me (everything comes under my window in the second block of McAllister off Market – Gay Pride with 600,000, Critical Mass with 1,000 but making more noise … and on and on). I was set up with my computer hooks, having finished the morning paper and was listening to Crash Test Dummies. And, as I said, here came the Mayor.

Mayor Gavin Newsom with Patrick Murphy in tow.

Patrick Murphy was hanging to him like a dingle berry you just just can’t wipe away. Gavin was working the crowd. Out of his Prohibition Era open limo (I love those things, wonder what they get to a gallon?). Top adviser, Mike Farrah (now, head of Neighborhood Services) presaged Newsom and I screamed at Mike from the fire escape and pointed to my ‘Obama ‘08’ sign painted in my window (by me, Luke Thomas and Bob Brigham ‘through a cloud darkly’ as it were).

Reversal of “Amado ’08” to “Obama ’08”

Farrah waved and laughed and returned a thumbs-up. His boss has endorsed Hillary as I’m sure has he, but you don’t have to be enemies just because you disagree on things like candidates or issues or the environment or class warfare or religion or color or hygiene or … where was I going with this?

Functional alcoholic

Gavin didn’t look up and I didn’t yell at him. I make it a practice to keep my criticisms of him electronic. I know how hard it is to be a functional alcoholic on St. Patrick’s Day. The Mayor stopped to sign an autograph and get his picture taken with one of my neighbors here, Walter Paulson. Walter sings at Public Comment and doesn’t have a mean bone in his body and is probably the last person in the world who still has film for a Polaroid camera he uses.

Walter Paulson

Then came the supervisors

Ross Mirkarimi led and had a nice black car that he didn’t ride in. The guy really and truly enjoys his job. He’s happiest out shaking hands and baratoning in public gatherings and I can’t argue with the man’s voting record for his first 4 years. He’s a shoo-in for a second term in District 5.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi

Sean Elsbernd followed and he’s up for re-election too. The pure Irishman following Mirk’s ethnic Persian-Jew glamour was even more gregarious. He was out of his car too and this was, after all, a day for the Irish and Sean and Gavin are nothing if not Irish. I called out to him and he laughed and responded. I called out to thank him for voting to have renters privy to a reading of their rights when buildings change hands (legislation passed 3-11-08) and he waved off the praise.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd

Carmen Chu was just behind Elsbernd and she’s running for election to the seat that Newsom appointed her to (District 4) … the seat Newsom apppinted her to when Ed Jew failed his Bonnie and Clyde test. I yelled to thank her for her surprising vote in favor of the tenants but she just gave me a dirty look and turned away. She’s the female equivalent of Aaron Peskin on this Board without the fake Progressive credentials. She’s read what I’ve said about her and knows I’ll never endorse her (for political reasons only) in her run.

Supervisor Carmen Chu

I thought Aaron Peskin was there but I put on my glasses and realized I was actually looking at the South end of a Northbound member of the SFPFD Equine Corps. I should really get off Peskin, huh? If he’d only stop … enough.

There were a couple of dozen Wolfhounds and 30 or so horses at the end (afraid of ‘road apples’?) and two perfectly tuned and coifed marching corps of the Falon O’Gong sect. Let me leave you with a little horror.

SF workers to sign Loyalty Oath

You think Bush is bad? Well, you’re right there but our own SF Mayor, Gavin Newsom sat in a Disaster Council meeting this past Tuesday (3-11-08) and nodded in agreement as new Human Resources Director, Micki Callahan explained to all that from now on in order to be a part of the SF response team in the event of a disaster, that employees would be required to sign a “Loyalty Oath”. I wondered to whom it was that they must promise loyalty? Team Newsom, perhaps?

John Diaz wrote a great piece in yesterday’s Chron about: ‘The Politics of ‘isms’’ with which I heartily agree. Last week I pushed him to pitch Chron funding of an h. brown caravan to the Denver Convention. He said ‘no’ and I tossed it at Bronstein.

No response.

I think I’m gonna go to the Denver convention. I really don’t need the Chron. I was just screwing with them. Major SF dailies used to send people like Hunter Thompson and Warren Hinckle and even Phil Bronstein to cover important political events from a ‘different’ perspective, but that ain’t happening now. We’ll see how this race shakes down but I have a big stake in it (refer back to my grandchildren) and whatever happens, I need to be there.

A vote for Obama makes friends for America.

Joe Nation in State Senate 3

Mark Sanchez in City Supe #9 (til Krissy Keefer enters)

Eric Mar in City Supe #1

John Avalos in City Supe #11

h. brown in City Supe #3


Harold Brown

h. brown is a 62 year-old keeper of, an eclectic site featuring a half dozen City Hall denizens. h is a former sailor, firefighter, teacher, nightclub owner, and a hard-living satirical muckraker. His other FCJ articles can be found here. here.

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  1. I call it “Drunk Pride Day”, myself.