I love watching PBS’s Antiques Roadshow. I started watching in undergrad when I lived in the dorm without cable. Saturday mornings were filled with this guy and the antiques roadshow.
So if you’ve never seen the show, here’s a re-cap: people bring what they believe are valuable antiques to be appraised by experts. Sometimes they are pleasantly surprised when they find out they have a treasure. Sometimes they come on the show looking like they are up to their eyeballs in debt and someone said, “hey, let’s take this old lamp to the roadshow that’s comin to town and see how much it’s worth.” Oh they look so sad when they learn the truth: it ain’t worth much.
So basically people acquire their “antiques” two ways. One: They happened to be at someone’s antique store, thrift shop or yard sale and they picked up this curious item at a low, low price. Two: The item has been in the family for generations, something great, great, great ancestor brought with them from the old country or from a foreign trip to the Far East or some other place that seemed exotic in 1722; and the item has been passed on from generation to generation, sometimes with the history or even historical documents accompanying the treasure. Oh the things that people have brought to this show! Jewelry from the original Cartier in France, pottery from the Ming dynasty, art work from renowned painters…
Yeah, so I watch this show and I love this show but it also makes me mad. Why? Cause I never see any Black people on there. That’s right, we don’t have “antiques”. Slavery anyone? We (and obviously I’m making generalizations here) don’t have shit passed from generation to generation since 1762. Except maybe some soul food recipes, grandmama’s thighs and a serious pathology we’re still trying to overcome to this day. All we get passed down to us from our folk is oral history (valuable I know). And now we’re barely getting that. And all we got from our white ancestors was straight hair and lighter skin. And if we do have anything, it’s a kettle that our ancestor cooked on for massa or something massa gave his help after 40 years of service.
Sigh. Yet another reason for reparations. Raises fist in the air and shakes it!
I know that life isn’t fair. I know that we carry a heavy load. I know that I’m stating the obvious by pointing out that slavery left us at a disadvantage (in more serious areas than not having antiques). Besides me hating that slavery robbed us from the possibility of so much and that no one wants to talk about it. Oh just sweep that slavery thing under the rug. Didn’t it happen sooo long ago? Nothing from back then affects y’all today… But like Amaretto & I were talking bout the other day, I hate that the treasures we do have may just be valuable in our community, like an original JET with photos of Emmitt Till's body (shout out to Dark & Stormy's mama) or the tin can of tobacco my mom has that belonged to her favorite uncle who fought in World War I, and provides sentimental value but we wouldn't dare try to take it on the antiques road show. So, we may have things of value, but would they be considered valuable to the mainstream? You know since they decide what's valuable. But that's a post for a whole 'nother day...I also hate that so many of us still don’t have the means to acquire antiques, to have things that are assets and appreciate in value. Sometimes I just look at all that we have and I smile. But then I look at all that we don’t have and I know that we still have such a long way to go.
So, I guess it’s up to me to make sure I get some antiques in the family. I’m thinking I could do this two ways: I could travel to some nice antique shops around the state and could slowly start my collection. Or I could do some research, find my white ancestors, knock on their door, and tell them to let me get one of them vases!
That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!
SO LONG, FAREWELL...
The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot