When people say they want a “dialog about race”, what they really mean is “let’s have a monologue where I talk and you listen”.
Now, I don’t talk much about race. As a matter of fact, I do think listening is a better approach on the subject – and while I’m the only person I can speak for, it’s advice I think pretty much everyone in the world should follow anyway. Even you, Al Sharpton.
But I saw this video – from a group called “Kids of Ferguson”, which is plausible if you assume the Kids of Ferguson are world-class videographers and editors.
And this is what our “dialog” is?
“Hey, white people!”.
Apparently, my skin color is my only defining feature.
(By the way – the kids’ t-shirts say “Racism’s not over, but I’m over racism”? I’m gonna guess if I said exactly that, I would be told I can’t be “over racism” because…I’m Caucasian? How does that work?)
Let’s pretend for a moment that “dialog” is what anyone’s looking for. Here’s my side of it – just three points, really, not that anyone cares:
People Are People – And That’s A Bad Thing: Everyone, of all skin tones – white, black, brown – is equally worthless. No, seriously – that’s part of the Christian creation story. Mankind is fallen. People, as groups, are pretty much always awful – collections of stereotypes and group dogmas, pretty much. Ick.
People Are Individuals, If You Let Them: If you’d like to try and get to know me as an individual, I’ll return the favor. There’s more to you than your skin color, you say? (You do say that, don’t you? Martin Luther King did, anyway) Anyway – bully for you! Me too! I mean, come on – “white?” Any label that includes Swedes and Italians and pre-Arab North Africans, or Icelanders and Hungarians and Armenians, is meaningless anyway – just like any term that includes Bantus, Tutsis and Ethiopians. Anyway – Martin Luther King once said he dreamed people would one day judge his children by the contents of their hearts rather than the color of their skin. I’m the last guy to try to speak for Dr. King, but that video has got to have him puking in his grave.
People Are Also Trash, If You Let Them: Let’s take a test. You see a group of drunk, aggressive teenagers coming down the street. You can’t make out their skin tone yet – it’s dark – but what do you do? ”Take precautions, because drunk teenagers are just about the worst plague in the world, whatever their hue?” You win the freaking cookie. Here’s the deal; you wanna treat me like an individual human person, I’ll return the favor with interest. I’m less worried about the color of your skin than your attitude. You wanna talk? We’ll talk. You wanna be a dink? I’ll ignore you. You present me a threat of death or great bodily harm? That’d be a bad decision.
Everything in between is negotiable.
You want a “conversation about race?” Talk to me. Not to the stereotype you’ve been told you’re talking to. And I’ll try to do the same.
Problem is, I don’t think the “Kids of Ferguson” are being taught any such thing.