Friday, February 10, 2006

We Are All People of Color ... Even Michael Jackson!

Last week we were riding somewhere in our car and listening to a show on KTRU, the sometimes-too-hip-for-its-own-good radio station at Rice University. It was called The Soul and Funk Hour (or maybe The Funk and Soul Hour) and was hosted by a deejay who sounded decidedly un-funky and un-soulful. He was touting a movie called Afro Punk that was to be shown that night at a local lounge (we think). The lad explained that the movie was about
what it’s like to be a, um … colored per…. uh … colored person … in the punk scene, which of course is mostly Caucasian …
Colored person? It’s probably been 30 years since we’d heard a white person use that term in coversation, and longer than that, or maybe never, on the radio. When we were growing up “colored people” (or “the coloreds,” as Archie Bunker used to say) were the people who lived in what white folks called “Colored Town” (or Coloredtown.)

The deejay hesitated a bit before he fully enunciated, so maybe he meant to say “person of color” but couldn’t bring that socially acceptable term trippingly off his tongue. Or maybe “colored person” has been adopted by and deemed suitable by African Americans, the same way “queer” has been neutralized by our gay brethren, and we missed the memo. Or maybe this guy is just young and ignorant! (This is the station where we’ve heard deejays, on two occasions years apart, announce that they had just played cuts by the great accordionist Clifton shin-NAY (we think they meant Clifton Chenier, as in Clifton shi-NEAR.)

But that’s OK by us. We certainly won’t be turning this young feller into the Cultural Coach for a re-education session. He immediately got back into our good graces by spinning a very soulful and funky remix of one of our favorite songs of all time, I Want You Back, by that noted band of colored people from the early 1970s, the Jackson 5.

No comments: