#NowPlaying “Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto” by James Brown from “Santa Claus… Go Straight to the Ghetto,” I really feel Mr. Brown on this one. Not because I experienced holidays marked by privation, but because for the generation that produced me and my generation, they certainly did feel the sting of lack, especially in the rural south. There, in the south, for children of my parent’s generation, privation was not abstract, but a hard cold reality. They grew up often hungry, lacked regular medical attention, using outhouses, some, like my Dad, slept in the barn because there was not enough room in the house, they tread roads filled with waste deep water in spring flood seasons… and still went to school. How many of our uncles had a touch of polio and spent a few weeks paralyzed? You would be surprised if you took the time to ask. Many of them were not expected to finish school because as big kids, they were elected to work on the farm, some white man’s tobacco plantation or to pick cotton. I asked my Aunt Kitty in L.A. about her hands and she rubbed them as if the thorns just scratched her. Even I remember the trucks coming around our North Santee community after the school year to take my peers to “summer camp” which basically meant a tobacco farm. I feel James because the Gordian knot of racism in America remains unraveled and uncut. Therefore, too many children in this world experience poverty and are exploited just because they are Black. Now, back to grading these papers!

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