Are You Obsessed With Being Oppressed? Hands off Charlie Brown!
So I guess when I think about it I may be one of “those people”. You know, the person who finds socio-political under/over tones in most things. The party-pooper who can’t just enjoy a movie or walk through the mall without being set off by what I’m seeing or everyone’s gross mundane march into a consumerist sugarcoated hell! Ahem, wait… sorry- see, there I go again…
But sometimes even I have to laugh at the things my A-alikes take issue with. I remember a couple years back the whole “planking” thing was a craze. If you don’t know, planking is when you randomly lay across something stiff as a board (or plank) and have your picture taken. And I’ll tell you- what planking is hilarious! It’s hard to explain why it’s so funny, but it must unlock some biological nerve in funny bones cause it was cracking me up!
Then, somebody in the crowd starts posting on Facebook and blogs some crap about "The first people to plank were African Slaves walking the plank during the middle passage to the western world, casted into the ocean to die."
Damnit! I never knew laying your baby across an appliance or you yourself laying across a statue was connected to slavery… Wait, you know why I never knew that? Because it isn’t! GTFOOH! (This is an acronym for Get The “F” Out of Here, not Government Trying to Feed Our Offspring Heroin…)
So yesterday, right after I admittedly went on an internet rant of my own online about how ridiculous “Black Friday” is, I see people taking shots at Charlie Brown, saying the homie was racist! Say it ain’t so Charlie! The accusation is that Charlie, Patti, Linus, Lucy, Macy, and even Snoop Dog (The original) were racist and during the 1973 Thanksgiving special they practiced segregation at the dinner table (pictured above). That they made Franklin, also known as Franky Black back in his neighborhood, sit all alone on the opposite side of the table during Thanksgiving dinner.
However, after close examination, I’ve found a different way of seeing this, you see. Observe the photo… First of all, Franklin is sitting in a striped beach chair, lounging to the fullest while everyone else is sitting on hard wood or metal chairs! And he’s owning the meal portions son! He’s the only one with two bowls of popcorn, two pink ice cream majiggys, and even an extra orange coney thingy to the right if he’d like seconds! He’s the only one with a fork! The only one! The other kids are about to eat with their hands, but not cool ass Franklin! And look at his clothes baby! Is that a blue cashmere turtle neck you’re rocking Franky B?! Yes it is!
You see, Franklin brought style and class to the Peanuts crew and they respected him enough to give him some space while they caught up to his level. Look at poor Peppermint Patti… She’s about to eat with her hands next to a dog with a piece of trash on his head!
What about Pig-Pen? They didn’t even let his dusty ass have a seat at the table! You don’t hear all the dirty people of the world complaining about that!
Now, for the record- this Thanksgiving special, though charming- is utter bull crap. The way the story of the Pilgrim/Native epic is presented is typically laughable and irresponsible.
But I want to caution all us valid party poopers out there to be careful about the micro uproars we start. It adds to the eye rolling from the puzzled folks we’re trying to share loving information with and deludes our larger causes. Its gotten so bad that I could probably tweet right now that toilets are white because the government is trying to remind us that the white man owns our insides and we must sit and bow daily and people would actually be like, “Yeah! That’s right!”
Ise Lyfe is a Spoken Word Hip-Hop Theater Artist, author and educator. As a nationally renowned artist, justice advocate, businessman, and social architect from Oakland, CA- this young man has a decade of experience in performance and education that includes HBO Def Poetry Jam and residencies and lectures at over 300 universities including Yale and Princeton. Ise Lyfe is simply a unique and powerful asset to the artistic and human rights world.
*In 2012, Ise Lyfe’s hometown of Oakland, CA awarded him with one of it’s highest honors by dedicating his birthday, December 28th, as ’Ise Lyfe Day’ in the City of Oakland.