wait wait wait… I mean:
There was a time where I didn’t know how to express myself very well. It was back in middle school, and I was awkward. Poetry gave me wings.
Lao Tzu (Laozi) was a philosopher during the Zhou Dynasty. This was approximately 6th century BCE. While some give him this form, a common thought is that Lao Tzu was not truly a man, but an idea that sowed the seed of T(d)aoism. He is often given many names as well, creating a sense of power and mysticism behind his teachings.
Who cares? Apparently Paul Beatty did. In his novel, the White Boy Shuffle (1996), Beatty uses a lost black soul to encapsulate the ideas that he wished could be more well known.
Although often confused with Sun Tzu, Lao Tzu has forever been considered a legend in ancient Chinese culture. There are stories upon stories about the Daoist master, and he was often revered as a god in the Han dynasty. Much like the traditional Christian bible was thought to be the word of God, Lao Tzu was said to have written the Daodejing; however, just as with the Bible, there are those who debate the true origin of the teachings in the Daodejing.
Beatty wanted to give the reader an understanding of what the protagonist, Gunnar Kaufman, knew about the world. Beatty wanted people to understand that black people can be both educated and athletically gifted. He wanted to reflect the poetry of the writings of Daoism in the intricacies of Gunnar. All of the cursing was simply a reflection of the poetry of today’s society. Beatty showed the difference between acting like you know everything and knowing the things that you need to know.
“I don’t know, the cool tantric type. Shaolin monk style. Lao Tsu, but with rhythm.” (Beatty, 79)
Beatty gave us a Black Jesus.
It’s true. Looking into the White Boy Shuffle more and more, I continuously see the signs. The sacrifices, people willing to die for him, die for the cause. Beatty pulled a fast one on all of us and through all of the vulgarity and hypocrisy outlined all of the culture in one man.
The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Well “F” You Tzu! by Lee Hopcraft is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.