Anybody who knows me well knows that I don’t like talking about race, and that I Iook at human beings as all the product of God, and whatever little prejudices that I may have, I pretty much keep them to myself, and besides, they’re not the kind of prejudices, if any, that you would think that an American black person classically has.
I totally loved Judy Garland in the “Wizard of Oz.” My boyhood idol, circa 1962, was singer Paul Anka, and he was one of the reasons why I went out of my way to go to the Avalon Theater in Detroit, by myself, at 8 years old, to see “The Longest Day.” I think my mom got tired of me bugging her about getting the latest Paul Anka record (this was the really young Anka, when he was just getting started in the music business). I also liked Will Hutchins from the “Sugarfoot” cowboy TV show, and Pernell Roberts from “Bonanza.” I tried my best not to miss an episode of Sugarfoot and Bonanza, mostly because of those idols (I liked a lot of the cowboy shows, including “Gunsmoke”).
When “How Much Is That Doggie In the Window” became a hit song in the early 60s* (see post-script), I fell in love with that song and the voice of the female singer, I didn’t care what color she was (she was white), I just liked the great song and her voice, it made me feel good as a kid, and put a bounce in my step. I didn’t care one whit that there was rarely a black actor in any of these shows, and when they did start popping up on TV and movies more often in the late 60s, I usually didn’t like the shows they were in, by and large, not because they were black, but I just didn’t like the shows…period. I wasn’t going to watch a show just because a black person was in it; I had to like the show or have some interest in the movie, such as Sidney Portier in the “Lilies of the Field,” which I happened to like.
Why am I bringing all this up? What does this have to do with politics? Well, some people do care about race more than others. People like Jim Ferrell, Bob Roegner and the Municipal League of King County. I wrote about Ferrell’s phoniness on this blog before, before I switched that essay to my education website. Ferrell is one of those people that may honestly like certain people if they come over here from Africa on an airline, but a little more stiff-armed about those home-grown blacks whose ancestors came over here on boats hundreds of years ago (as explained in the essay).
For years, I wondered why the ramshackle Municipal League of King County didn’t publish the questionnaires of their 2015 interviewees, an anamoly if there ever was one (maybe the only time they didn’t publish questionnaires, but I don’t know that), then, one day, it dawned on me, “Oh, it would have made them look bad if they had published the questionnaire of the “home-grown” black along side the questionnaire of the African, the immigrant (who they really, really, really wanted to win), and, accordingly, gave their respective ‘unqualified’ and ‘good’ ratings to.”
As for Roegner, who was on the Board of the Municipal League in 2015, and may still be for all I know (has it gone out of business, yet?), he’s one of those people who remind you of those “methinks, the ‘individual’ doth protest too much” kind of phonies when it comes to his great all-worldly “compassion” that he displays so frequently in his articles, and appears to be a lot like Ferrell in his preferences. By the way, none of this is accusing anybody of anything (before anybody distorts this essay), but their preferences tell you a lot, if not everything you need to know.
Post-script: *Okay, so now I’m seeing that “How Much Is That Doggie In the Window,” sung by Patti Page, actually became a hit in the early 50s, specifically the year I was born, 1953, not the early 60s. I don’t dispute that, but they sure played it on the radio a lot in the early 60s (I have an unusually good memory), so that’s why I thought it started then.
P.P.S.: As long as I’m doing post-scripts, I just want to say that any re-telling, since the, I believe 1939, Judy Garland version of “The Wizard of Oz,” is a joke (including “The Jacksons,'” were there any others)? Someday in the future, someone might make one as good as the Judy Garland version, but I doubt it very seriously. That one will be pretty much impossible to top. Judy Garland will be remembered forever because of that movie.