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Monday, February 7, 2011

Racitry vs. Bigotism: Which Makes Me Look Worse?

February 7, 2011: A lot of people don't know this about me, but I have no use for African art. In these awkward modern times we live in, of course, I hesitate to mention it because one will automatically assume I'm being racist, but here at the Blah-ugh! we strive for honesty, and though there is no bigotry in operation -- for God's sake, some of my best friends are (or at least have been) black -- I hope my intelligent, liberal-minded and breathtakingly virile readers won't misinterpret my artwork opinions for broad hatred.

This, of course, begs the question of what exactly constitutes racism. (And I could even add a question mark there, but I'm choosing not to.) Is racial awareness -- noticing differences that are race-related -- racism? Obviously there's a dictionary definition out there to settle such a question, but I'm not really in the mood to look it up right now (and, frankly, I don't see you getting off your ass to do it!).

In "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" (which I actually read twice to prove I wasn't a racist -- once wearing a Pendleton shirt) the author (and, see, while it's billed as an "autobiography," it's kind of a pretend one, if we're going to be technical; I just don't want to later be accused of bending over backwards to appear non-racist by omitting such a detail, you see!) ... Hmmm. Now where was I? ... Oh yes! The author points out a very interesting second tier of racism, wherein the White Man (if you'll forgive the expression) constantly differentiates between the races, i.e., "My black friend" or "There's this black guy in my reading club," but for no other descriptive purpose. It's an interesting distinction, for really, in a perfect world, shouldn't we not even notice if people are a different color, like on Star Trek?

It goes farther, of course, because many people aren't even aware of doing it. I've long marveled at the politicians and Right-wing liberals (yes, I've just created such an anomalie) who extole the virtues of colored folk with references to their being so "articulate" (as if it's some marvel) and "dignified" (as if it's a surprise), and of course the capper -- forever referring to a black guy as being a "gentleman" (I guess because it's patronizingly safe) ...

But, hell, I'm no better (except in most other ways). I'm can't deny that the differences stand out to me. Sometimes I wish they didn't, but then I wouldn't have as much material to write about.

(Of course there's the opposite side to this coin, wherein if one more black guy calls me "Sir" -- which I always feel is sarcastic -- I'm gonna start smashing my Sam Cooke records ... No, I'd never do that!)

Anyway, I think you get my point. And interestingly, I really have no use for Native American art either, although I like their casinos.

1 comment:

  1. i always notice the guys wearing red suits in Star Trek, because they're the ones who aren't going to live through the episode.