Coming soon to a street near you…


Reading, as I do, blogs,  online newspapers, comment columns and opinion pieces from the world over; I really feel that this 24/7/365 world has hardly been explored, and sometimes I just wish that I hadn’t picked up that piece of information, but instead let it lie in the gutter from whence it came.

I recently had the wonderful  experience of re-visiting one of the all-time great television series, produced in America by the PBS; namely ‘I’ll Fly Away’, starring Regina Taylor and a youngish Sam Waterston. I acquired the full series, and have played it, and enjoyed every minute.

It was that very rare item, an American Story made with integrity about two families, one Black, one White, as America stumbled and struggled towards equal rights for all, especially in the Southern States of 1955-70.  If I could encapsulate the forty-odd episodes in a sentence, the best I could say would be that not once was I left mentally arguing how a scene came to pass, or how one of the main actors gave his or her part a depth which was less than full!

Sam Waterston played the District Attorney in a Southern town, and Regina Taylor took the part of the maid who looked after his home and his family, as his wife was confined to an asylum.

The final episode shows the leading lady, the black actress Regina Taylor, musing on how the struggle for simple acceptance had progressed, and wondering what could be achieved in the future.

And then I read of how a Black man was arrested in Memphis on a rape charge. He ran away when the police spotted him, but he was slowed down several times by the fact that his ‘saggy pants,’ worn so the belt was below his buttocks, kept falling below his knees and tripping him up. The ‘saggy pants’ has in fact become a ’cause celebre’, with young black men adopting the style as a fashion statement, and Town Councils pondering how to stop the influx of half-exposed men onto their streets without generating a conflict with the Constitution.

I also read on a blog which was discussing this strange manner of dress that ‘This is why such laws banning baggy pants must be overturned. Wearing baggy pants is a fine demarcation between the law-abiding and the law-breaking class. The only people who wear baggy pants are Black thugs, Black gang-bangers (or Hispanic) or wiggers.’ So the general population could indeed take comfort in the fact that there was advanced warning of criminals, because of an influx of ‘saggy-pants’ wearing African-Americans! It is indeed a strange, strange world!

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