Thursday, March 20, 2008

Be more equal. NOW.


Wow, Obama’s not even the nominee and we already find ourselves hip-deep in some pretty tough muddles over the whole race thing.

It’s funny. Whenever people talk about “race,” the first thing I always think of is that it doesn’t exist. Scientifically, that is. I mean, strictly speaking, there are no such things as different “races” of humans. We are all the same underneath except for those teeny tiny little twists of our DNA that make us genetically disposed, as are others who share our genealogy, to a certain skin, eye, and hair color.

Did I say that was funny? I didn’t mean funny “ha-ha,” I meant funny “I am kind of embarrassed by the pretentiousness of my own inner dialogue sometimes.”

In fact, it is with severe trepidation that I venture into this issue at all. Hey, I learned my lesson in Junior High School, when I found out that going to the Snowball Dance (I swear, that’s what it was called) with a black dude in a small town in Indiana was A VERY BIG DEAL. In the wake of the harassment I received afterward, (he did not go to my school and so was spared harassment, at least as far as I knew) I resolved that I was going to singlehandedly solve the racial problems of my hometown. I was going to be the 15-year-old white girl version of MLK, y’all.

How was I going to accomplish this? Why, by using my superior powers of persuasion to make racist people see the errors of their ways, of course. In hindsight, there was only one problem with my plan:

I was a completely delusional dorkenheimer.

But I’ve changed! I have! I so rarely now even try to explain to racists how totally unfair slavery was!

Oh, who am I kidding? I still haven’t changed at all. Witness this blog, steeped as it is in that peculiarly adolescent mixture of earnestness and cynicism. No, I haven’t changed, and as embarrassing as it is to admit this, I think that the whole “growing out of the self-righteous dorkenheimer phase” ship has sailed, my friends. I fear that when I’m an old lady I will be embroidering peace signs on my colostomy bag – because it will make a difference!

Sooooo, before I slip into self-loathing portion of my adolescent spiral, I would just like to say that everyone is not equal yet.

We’re not equal yet. And when one group is not yet equal, in the collective eye, to another, then different behaviors are expected, maybe even called for, from those two groups. Someday it will be different, yes, but not today. And certainly not before November 4, 2008.

Look, do we really not understand this? I think we do. I think we practice this double-standard all the time, in a thousand different ways.

C’mon, we all know that, for instance, rich people making fun of poor people is mean, while poor people making fun of rich people is as American as apple pie!

Also, white people telling jokes about blacks = racist.

Whereas, black people telling jokes about whites = hilarious!

Men hating on women = creepy.

Women hating on men = Democrats!

Am I wrong, people? Is this not human nature, to root for those who have had it collectively rough, and to require those who are perceived as being of an advantaged group to take it on the chin every now and then from those less advantaged?

When I was a kid, my mom used to play cards with a woman who was pure white trash. She was white trash in the day when it wasn’t funny or cute or ironic to use that term, and you didn’t call people that to their face. This woman had several kids about the same age as my sister and me, and so sometimes we would have to go and play with them in the yard of their ramshackle little house while our mother sat at the woman’s kitchen table and played euchre and drank coffee.

One day, one of the girls admired a baby doll I had brought over with me. Overhearing this, my mother told me to give it to her. I did as I was told because my mother had that look on her face which meant not to argue with her in front of other people if I knew what was good for me, but when we got in the car to go home, I demanded justice.

“Why did I have to give her my doll?”

“Because.”

“Because why?”

“Because they do not have what we have. Her mother cannot afford to buy her that doll. You have so many nice things. I’m ashamed of you for not wanting to share with that little girl. You can always get another doll.”

“Well, can I have another doll, then?”

“No, we can’t afford it.”

And so it has ever been, yes?

I have to admit that people who rail on about things like affirmative action have always struck me as the same kind of people who complain about handicapped parking spaces. My position is that you should thank your lucky fucking stars that you don’t need it.

But you know, I feel kinda bad for Geraldine Ferraro. What she said should not have been said, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. If Obama were not exactly who he is, would he be getting the same amount of attention? I would say, probably not. But see, that doesn’t diminish him. Ferraro herself has said that she would never have been picked to be Mondale’s VP if she were not a woman. Nevertheless, Ferraro has just ventured into Jimmy the Greek land.

Remember Jimmy the Greek? An oddsmaker turned sports commentator, he was fired because he once remarked that black athletes were "bred to be the better athlete because, this goes all the way to the Civil War when ... the slave owner would breed his big woman so that he would have a big black kid."

Is it ouchy? Hells yeah. Is it untrue? Well? Is it?

As far as Obama’s Reverend Wright goes, it is sad, but hardly surprising, that he believes that black people have been the victims of a white conspiracy to inflict illegal drugs and deadly sickness upon their communities. It’s not like nothing like that has ever happened before.

Look, I lived in LA when OJ was acquitted. I was as astounded by the cheering that took place all around me as every other white person was. But you know what’s more astounding? The deep and completely justified mistrust of the LAPD by many black communities in this city. If the police in Los Angeles were distressed by that verdict, and the implication that OJ had been framed, they had no one to blame but themselves.

Or, to quote another man accused of some whitey-hating in his day, what we got here is some “chickens come home to roost.”



Have a good weekend, readers. Don't take any wooden bunnies.


8 comments:

kirby said...

Dang honey, what are you putting in your cereal these days? You're on fire!

dguzman said...

Roll on, overly earnest dorkenheimer. Your hope inspires us all.

Dad E said...

I keep learning little things I never heard about whilst you were growing up. And I don't even know who you are speaking about(white trash). And your date.

But I guess you turned out okay huh?

I will add something to think about. Black preachers--helpful or not?

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Well said.

Distributorcap said...

if you are a dorkenheimer, then what are we?

vikki - i couldnt have said it any better -- i dont know what to make of this whole race thing -- but somewhere in my dorkenheimer cobwebs i think it is the media that keeps whipping up the story. that they are encouraging the divisions and hateful language..and that most people really have gotten somewhat beyond this

but then again acc'd to morning Schmoe i am just a manhattan liberal elite (and dork)

Bro said...

All that hatred because of the amount of melanin in someone's skin.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Kirby: You suspect it might be the fiber content?

DGuz: I am so stealing "Overly Earnest Dorkenheimer."

DadE: What's interesting to me is that white people are so completely clueless about what goes on in churches like Wright's. Or are they just pretending to be clueless in order to more effectively simulate outrage?

Dr.MVM: Thanks. You know, your current avatar makes it a little difficult to concentrate on what you are SAYING. I hope this is the desired effect.

DC: Manhattan liberal elites are just dorkenheimers with better taste.

Bro: Ah, remember when he first entered the race, and he wasn't "black enough"? Those were the days!

Madam Z said...

Vikkitikki, I LOVE YOU! You are the Muhammed Ali of the blogosphere; you "dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee." You're funny, smart and fearless. And probably a lot of other good things too.