Thursday, October 04, 2007

Petey's Back!

I got stoned by black children during the first weeks of my attendance at Archbishop Carroll High. Terrible, scarring racial incident. I was progressive enough at that time to have chosen to go to Carroll (60-40 black at the time) from a predominantly white suburb. There were things I was not entirely ready for: like wearing the bottom hem of your pants five inches above the ankles would get you stoned in the parking lot (In the biblical sense, or perhaps the intifada sense). In class I asked my black classmates, who hadn't been stoners, "What's a Bama?" "A Bouma? (chuckling, given me a skeptical up and down appraisal). "Hey, Beetle, you got a ink pin you can borrow me till tomorrow? I swear I 'll pay you back." "I will give you the ink pin if you will tell me what a Bama is." "A Bouma" (archly) is somone who cain't dress. Where de flud, bro? Get you some new pants, sno cone, and my cousins won't throw rocks at you." I did, and they did. But when Petey in this classic footage "How to Eat A Watermelon" refers to "Two stone cold Bamas", I think I know who he's talking about. You see, old, traditionalst, very conservative Catholic black Washingtonions felt inundated by much poorer, less bourgeois blacks who were flooding into Washington in the 60's from the Gulf States. Most whites were clueless about these kinds of tensions, but I had been watching Petey Green and listening to WOL under the tutelage of my friend Lonnie Barksdale and my pals at school. Marion Barry was (I guess, is) the king of the Bamas. You see what I mean. Anyway, now Don Cheadle's got a movie out where he's playing Petey. I've liked Cheadle in everything I've seen, and this one sounds good. Probably everybody in America's seen it already. Well, here's Petey at his best, expanding on the subject "How To Eat A Watermelon."