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Mixed-bred Dogs

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From http://www.flickr.com/photos/41000732@N04/7200958304/: No Dogs-Negroes-Mexicans - Racist Sign from Deep South - National Civil Rights Museum - Downtown Memphis - Tennessee - USA
No Dogs-Negroes-Mexicans - Racist Sign from Deep South - National Civil Rights Museum - Downtown Memphis - Tennessee - USA
(Image by Adam Jones, Ph.D. - Global Photo Archive)
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Judging from the content of the emails I receive from my conservative friends (dyed-in-the-wool tea-party,) it seems their objection in-part to The Affordable Care Act is that some ne'er-do-well may get a free ride. I ran across an email I had received from one of them a while back that expressed their feelings with a quaint "dog" picture showing half-dozen mixed-bred dogs accompanied by the following text:

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        This morning I went to sign my Dogs up for welfare. At first the

        lady said, "Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare". So I explained

        to her that my Dogs are mixed in color so could not speak English

        and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are. They expect me 

        to feed them, provide them with housing and medical care, and feel

        guilty because they are dogs. So she looked in her policy book to

        see what it takes to qualify. My Dogs get their first checks Friday.

        Damn, this is a great country.


So, in response to the caption I answered this way... Gee, if they had human faces, two arms and two legs they would look like me, my wife and two kids, mixed in color, tending toward the browns for those of you who may have an artistic flare. Although we are proud to say we are not usually unemployed, not now at least, (although one of us was when after 18 years a pink slip came in the wake of the Bush/Wall Street financial tsunami.) We mixed people don't always speak English or speak it well. My European born grandparents spoke broken English. My father-in-law, born in this country spoke nearly no English, as did his parents and his ancestors for as far back as humanoids inhabited North America.   


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But, unlike the mixed-dogs or the abstraction of the people the email-writer claims to know, my family and most families in America regardless of their plight (over-Jordan, Atlantic via-slave ships or third-class steerage, Native), probably had a clue who their daddies were, and although they probably did not know their great . . . great granddaddies, we can assume that there were a few hitches in the tribes over time, otherwise we'd still be in East Africa hanging around the birthplace of our first ancestral home. Of course, a lot of what some refer to as African Americans minorities today, cannot say with certitude who their dear great . . . great grandfathers were since they were raped, at least in North America, by white slave holders, for about 200 years, (who incidentally did not acknowledge the babies of their own blood, and left their sons and daughters to guess who these reprobates were.)


The email-writer will be happy to hear that my mixed-in-color family doesn't expect anyone to feed us. But, we might look for some medical help from time-to-time. We've paid faithfully into a system of social security, which renders medical care, if we become disabled or reach 62. When my father got sick the government put him into the VA, until he died (you might say Uncle Sam picked up the tab,) but of course he earned it as a combat soldier in WWII, and although we mixed males in our family have all served in Uncle Sam's Army, we hopefully will not need the VA, after all, in today's climate that might be seen as un-American.   


And oh yes, let me confess that my Mother god rest her soul (skin as white as snow) died in a retirement home that was paid for by the government after she gave back her retirement to "you guessed it" Uncle Sam. She earned her retirement as a nurse for the state working ironically in an old folk's home for almost 30 years.


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Let me not talk anymore about me and turn my attention to the question, "What people are we referring to in the category of lazy?" Yes, we can all agree there are people in every society that prey on people and look for handouts, white, black, brown and olive-green.


I saw some homeless vets on the street the other day, what an embarrassment. They should have stayed home instead of going to war. But, who else do we mean? How about the several million by conservative estimates who are mentally ill and wander from corner to corner in a daze? Or maybe it is closer to home, my god, my wife who stayed home and raised the kids--would that qualify as not working. Maybe it's the mixed colors that seem to be chronically unemployed, I am told twenty to thirty percent by some estimates. Why is that? Is it because they are just lazy or because there is something we don't know about nature, like color equates to or is correlated to laziness? If anyone has any information on this we might be able to spin it into a Nobel Prize.


Years ago I worked in the middle of an Indian reservation on an Anglo farm/ranch. There were hundreds of these and few employed Native Americans. Years later I went back and worked close the reservation, but not on it. There was one major company (Fortune 500) within a hundred miles and the situation had not changed. It hired practically no Native Americans. I thought the company played a role in the underemployment of the Native Americans, but maybe it was because they had according to the sights of some, a sort of a red color to them.


Help me out here, so much is implied in one's color, I think we are missing out on what the German's could not prove about this idea of "race." What are we talking about here? Maybe my email-writer, if he/she reads this, can be a little more specific, like what colors are we referring to, the "black black," sort of black, or black, red and brown combined, maybe it's my color, the color that caused some people to refer to me as a "dago," when I was out west serving in the Air Force.


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Joe Carvalko is an American author and lawyer born in Bridgeport, CT. His recent novel, We Were Beautiful Once, Chapters from a Cold War (Sunbury Press, 2013) was inspired by a trial he conducted that was featured in a 2004 documentary Missing, (more...)

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