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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 169
             thirty-two per cent male unemployment rate, subhuman housing, and
             vice and crime (all restricted in one neighborhood tighter than any zoning
             commission ever dreamed) are not symptoms of a ghetto existence.
                One can prove anything by selecting examples, and in my first week
             in the area I could have verified any of the worst stories anyone has ever
             heard about slums and sin and other human beings. I could have lined
             them up: the junkies, the prostitutes, the alcoholics, the deviates, and the
             good people sunk despairingly deep in the vicious circle of their circum-
                A walk down any street, a climb up any stairwell proves that we
             have not abolished slavery. We have perfected it. Before, a master at least
             had to feed and house his slave to protect his initial investment. Since
             Emancipation there is no purchasing, no investment to guard, and the
             master-society has been free to hire and fire, to use and abuse according to
             its own whim, and the needs of the “slave” be hanged. So what if he gets
             sick, killed, is ignorant and discriminated against. There’s always more
             where he came from.
                And precisely because there are more where he came from, the Negro
             in 1964 has reached at least a landing lit by outside legal light on his way
             up the cellar steps. But he started on that climb long before this mid-
             decade. The Negro has worked for freedom since the very first day of his
             captivity. Passive resistance is as old as the Plantation.
                And by your mint julep if you don’t think breakin’ massa’s new plow,
             forgettin’ how to ruin massa’s cotton gin, and havin’ some ol’ kind of mys-
             terious misery every time massa needed something pronto wasn’t passive
             resistance in its most primitive form, then think again.
                But this resistance historically got bad publicity. It birthed, nursed,
             and weaned the full blown Negro stereotype that today is thankfully
             being laid to rest. My whole time on the South Side I did not hear one
             single wide-eyed chorus of “Summertime” or see one tap dancing boot-
             black or eat any Aunt Jemima pancakes. Instead, I saw individuals, people
             who basically were no different from the white society in which I had
             always lived. People who would have been the same were it not for dis-
             crimination and its ugly brood of children.
                If I say Negroes are like this or like that, someone will always say,
             “Well I know one that isn’t.” Then let me say that Americans are like this
             or Catholics are like that and everyone knows I don’t mean each and every
             American or Catholic, but rather the majority.
                In the course of our work in Chicago’s Woodlawn, we sixteen semi-
             narians met and talked to more than a great majority of the forty thou-
             sand people in the neighborhood. We found the sensational all right: the

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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