To start, does PREFERRING a particular ethnic group make one a racist? It probably should, to be fair to everyone. In fact, wouldn’t it really be gross prejudice if it didn’t?!
Of course the bigger question rests with why someone who’s so seemingly sensitive to racism (meaning me) is always writing Blah-ugh! entries about race-related stuff. I mean, what the hell’s my problem anyway?!
That said, I really like Indians—the ones from India I mean. Mind you, I have nothing against the indigenous kind—which I believe is where that word comes from, and its original meaning probably sweeps across continents—but today I want to focus on those beautiful nan-eating people we know so well from late-night technical support calls.
I’m not sure what prompted my ruminations for this particular Blah-ugh!, but I’ve always held a fondness for these lovely folks and thought it might be best to examine it in depth. (I mean, maybe I’m deluding myself, and need to break out of my infatuation. And what better time to do it than Valentine’s Day? After all, what have the Indians—or any other national group, for that matter—done for me lately? Plus, as a rule, I’ve never been that fond of people who often go about barefoot, even in summer, because I find feet so remarkably ugly.)
And now I can see I’m already off on the wrong foot, if you’ll forgive the pun, because I’ve just stereotyped Indian people as being barefoot, and I’m sure many are wearing shoes as we speak—my doctor, for instance, and that nice man at the restaurant from whom I buy my malai kofta. Nevertheless, you’re probably going to misunderstand—as you always tend to—because you don’t feel as strongly about feet as I do. Perhaps they don’t taint your outlook as much as they do mine. Well, then consider yourself lucky, for you’re not faced with this constant weighing in of feet and how—like a fungus—they manage to grow over your perceptions of what’s really going on above the ankles.
That said, it speaks highly of my experience with those of Indian descent that I hold them in such high favor, despite their feet (although I could only watch Ravi Shankar play for so long before I’d have to ask him to put some shoes on). With rare exception, all of my dealings with them—be they professional, social or arbitrary—have left me making some mental note about how wonderful people of Indian descent are, and how, given the chance, I would even go so far as to visit their country (should I ever be motivated to leave my town, street, couch or burrow).
Yet while I love the people, I’m not entirely so sure I’m drawn to the culture—or those cows I keep hearing about. In truth—and I can only base this on some old National Geographic articles, a few movies and some related songs, like the Doors’ Indian Summer—I suspect it’s a terribly hot place and I really have limited use for hot weather. I also don’t like the idea of walking around in a nightgown, which I think is very common for the men in places like Bombay and Jabooti, (which I think is in India, but may actually be in Arkansas).
Ultimately we all know I’m deluding myself on some level, even if this is all true. You see, isn’t this really about me projecting my own schema—based solely on my weird perceptions and experiences of life—upon some group or other?! And why would it even have to be a group? Couldn’t it be a musical instrument, or a number, or just about anything that my damaged brain has chosen to hold as favorable for some arbitrary reason?! In all likelihood, some scant past memory—and aren’t all memories really past memories, after all?—is providing just enough positive neural stimulation to prompt rose-colored glasses over my already unfocused eyes.
Therefore, by inverse logic, isn’t this all racism at its worst?! (Cheez, how can you people read this racist Blah-ugh! and still sleep at night?!!) Wouldn’t a fair-minded, healthy , mature individual—which we could all probably agree I’m not—hold no pre-judged perspectives on anyone for something other than their present being (and maybe the kind of car they drive). Hell, if this were Star Trek universe, or maybe San Francisco, I wouldn’t even be conscious of anyone’s ethnicity to catalogue any differences, even if they were positive. (I’d also probably be making it with green women, although this remains more rare in San Francisco.)
I don’t know. Now I’ve forgotten why I started this whole thing—my Blah-ugh! I mean, and not even this particular essay. Perhaps I’m just trying to make a point and, once again, like the quantum mosquito that passes off into future dimensions, it has escaped me.
All I know is I can’t speak to issues about Pakistan or Bangladesh, because I don’t understand them, but I like Indian people, and especially love their food, even though it always gives me fervent diarrhea.
What higher praise could I offer any people?!