Thursday, December 15, 2005
Fighting The Odds; A Black Man's Discovery Of Humor
Delapitated tenement housing, run-down schools, teachers and parents that didn't care. There were gangs running the streets and drug dealers working the corners. Through it all Alphose Qwombi stayed a strong black man. He fought the system, the man, the gangs, the cops, the pusher man, and crabs all by himself. A one man war, a beacon of light and strength in a time of darkness. He struck out against those who hurt him the most, leaving both his aggressors and his soul bleeding and broken. It was around 1974 when Qwombi began to wonder if there was more to the world than his own fight for black power. These feelings of curiousity came upon him gradually, the way genital herpes appears as just one insignificant bump, its simplicity masking the undeniable outcome. The true defining moment of discover and breakthrough for Qwombi occurred at the most unique place. It was during an evening visit to his sister's home. Shamika had married a white man, clearly the devil, and had been living in the suburbs for several years. Everything about the home screamed 'white people' and 'keep the black man down' and the African art placed around the living room by his sister only seemed to accentuate this glaring reality. Scanning the bookshelves for anti-black literature while his sister and brother (yeah right)-in-law were preparing appetizers, Qwombi was struck by the apparent lack of racist pamphlets. Upon the couple's return to the room, Qwombi snatched a book from the shelf at random, hoping to deflect any attention to himself that his search may have caused. That far into whiteman territory he could be lynched at any time. Only later did Qwombi discover the book he had selected was a book entitled Jokes and contained nothing but that. Jokes. Not even racist jokes. Turning to the first page he expected to see something like "Why do niggers stink? So blind people can hate them too!" written across the pages in glaring anti-black letters. Instead the jokes were pleasant, childish even, and he found himself chuckling in spite of the presence of a white man. Qwombi did not change the routine of his life at the discovery of humor and jokes, but he worked hard to include them into his daily life. He began making his own racist jokes and they were very popular with his friends. His best joke he delivered in March 1981, which was, "How long does it take for a white women to take a crap? 9 months!" He contracted a strange new disease later that year, which was called GRIDS by the doctors, and died three months later. Despite his best efforts, he couldn't laugh his way out of that one.