Saturday, June 20, 2020


The thing about being 82 is you have grandchildren. The thing about being 82 and semi-affluent is that most likely those grandchildren are fairly well educated. They can be very bright, and even more disconcerting, they can be assertive.

For them, now in their teens, mid-twenties and early thirties, the world is at a crossroads. They are not alone. I want to be with them. Really. Even at 82, I get it. Black lives DO matter, the constitution of the United States is under siege and the inequality that exits in America socially, economically, and in education, is not only unfair…it is dangerous. But I am 82…and feeling every hour of it.

I wrote about some of this in my last Blog…I know, I know, I promised to go back to being “entertaining”… and I meant it, but then I got this missive from my middle granddaughter about my last posting. She wrote (in part):

…it might be interesting to reflect on the fact that your stories, the ones you have “so many of,” could also be critiqued for their own respective lack of Black voices. All the names you listed were white. An investigation into this and further self-reflection about this, might be worthwhile, or at least might be worth a follow up blog post. How much of this pre-amble is really needed? Does it centralize yourself more than the information that needs to be spread?

Ouch. Not to be too defensive, but…well, there are certainly Black people in my life. One of my very closest of friends can attest to that, but then I harken back to the old saw of my youth, and the disclaimer one heard all too often, “…oh, but some of my best friends are Jewish.” Still, I could have mentioned, but failed to, that I have had productive and friendly relationships with actors Rosie Greer, Yaphet Kotto, Merry Clayton, Georg Stanford Brown, Carl Lumbly, Kathryne Brown, Jonelle Allen and Don Pedro Colley…but I failed to do that. I also worked with Black directors…the aforementioned Georg Brown, as well as Helaine Head and Bill Duke. There was also writer Samm-Art Williams. Sadly, none of them made the cut either… or, even worse, only a few got close to my “social circle.”

I have often imagined what Georg Stanford Brown felt, when at a post-EMMY party at my home he would be the only person of color in my crowded living room. I am then reminded of the days when my one-time spouse, Barbara Corday, an executive at first ABC and then at Columbia Pictures Corporation, was often the only woman in the room. I remember her trying to explain her feelings about that to her would-be feminist husband. To label her sense of those meetings as often uncomfortable and awkward would have to come under the heading of understatement.

My number two granddaughter called me out on all of it. Why was it left to her and not another of the three grandkids? Well, number one is too busy occupying Oakland as we speak, and number three? I think I was afraid to consult with her. She is not only super bright…she is 15. If that explanation is not sufficient, clearly there are no teenagers in your immediate sphere.

Number two had the temerity (with ease, I might add) to point out...well, here it what she wrote:

Speaking of Blackness---this might also be an interesting time to address the working class of Fisher Island being predominantly Black, and what this means and represents on a larger scale for your readers, as something too on which to reflect.

Oh my. I know I don’t even have to ask if once having Ophra Winfrey as a Fisher Island neighbor counts. It’s sorta cool to say it, but I know it doesn’t really belong in this discussion. Far be it from me to even bring it up.

In the original draft of the Blog I previewed with Greer (there… she has a name), my granddaughter
called me out on a joke I had written. It wasn’t much of a joke, so I cut it. It had to do with climate being important to me so I would be postponing any protest move to Canada until the Canadians conquered an Island in the Caribbean. Back came this from granddaughter number two.

Also, the bit about Canada colonizing a Caribbean Island---I see the joke you’re trying to make here, but at its core it represents colonialism/colonization of indigenous (Black) people by a white nation. I’d think about rewording this, or maybe just taking it out.

I took it out.

What’s a grandpa to do?

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