Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's all Oliver Cromwell's fault.

There are in the world today these people called the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. If you're living in Southern California, they would be the annoying racist assholes that question your right to breathe. We deal with them every day, and we might as well find out who they are.

Where to start? Let's see. OK.

It all goes back to King Charles the first.

But let me back-track a bit. The other day I called a cab, a taxi. Taxis and their significance are different in the east coast as opposed to the west coast. For one thing, in the east coast, you hail a cab; on the west coast you have to call them. But there are many other differences between the coasts. All of that for later, maybe.

The cab company I dialed is owned by an Armenian. Not quite an "oligarch," but he certainly gets everything he can out his cabbies, who, in my case, was, predictably, an Armenian, too. It was around rush hour, and we got stuck in traffic, right around the 210's Lake exit. We were talking the whole way.

He was a cool guy; we talked about many things on the way. It turned out that he was supporting a wife and two children on his "salary," driving a cab from anywhere between 12-18 hours every day. He said that he's been in the US for six years. He brought his family over three years ago. His English was horrible; we spoke in Armenian. He seemed very clean cut: he didn't look like he drank or smoked much, just moderately. He was around my age, his mid-late 30's, and he seemed like he was devoted to his family, his kids. Family is what he lived for, and family life was sustaining him. I suggested that he get one of those cassette-tape language instruction courses in English; he thought that was a good idea.

So we are driving and talking, driving and talking. Everything is normal, until he bursts out:

"Black people and Mexicans, I get along with, but white people, they are totally racist jerks. The other day, there was a white guy in my cab, and he asked me, 'Why are you here?' And I said, 'What do you mean?' And he said, 'Why are you in my country?' And I said, 'What the fuck do mean 'Your country'? This is the land of Indians. You killed them. This is not 'your country' and if you fuck with me, I'll kick your fucking ass.'"

Which brings us to Oliver Cromwell.

We go back a few hundred years. Charles the First, 1636:

More later.

2 comments:

parisan said...

Good story.

I've always felt the same as your taxi driver whenever I heard some people from the USA complain about the new emigrants or the so-called "illegal aliens" who are crossing the border? Aren't all Americans illegal aliens some way or another?

There is a matter of perspective. I'm not saying "it is a matter of perspective" but there is, there are different perspective. The country that was taken from the Natives is not the same as the one the red necks associate with, which is, probably is, could be, "the country their forefathers built" -- if that means anything, and also leaving aside the question of just who actually built it, the country. The black Africans? The Chinese? The white explorers? The recent emigrants? All of them?

The funny thing is that living in Armenia for nine years I've heard the same question almost every day: Why are you here?" The meaning was the same, perhaps: "Why are you here, because you shouldn't be here" but with a different twist. Armenians usually ask that question when they hope to leave Armenia or because they were Diaspora Armenians who can't understand that a non-Armenian xould want to live in Armenia for more than a few days.

Perhaps even you will be wondering why I lived in Armenia for so long!

emma said...

Please, don't be too late with the continuation.