Before I get inundated by the questions of interested parties, no this is not what it is like when Saira hangs out with her friends. Saira is not the kind of person who generates satisfaction by belittling absent acquaintances with derogatory and hurtful criticisms. That is behavior that she strictly reserves for when she spends time with her family.
Racism is funny. Not funny as in ‘Should those circus clowns be walking into a bus station with assault rifles? Hmmm… That’s funny.” Rather it is funny in the way that it manages to milk a laugh from students of human nature. When one stands back from the hypnotically undulating noises of the grunting masses and surveys the bigger picture of the planet’s communities as a whole, the supposedly noble values of equality and humanity impressed upon we, the citizenry, by the world medias and our individual ruling classes actually works as a tool for categorizing and separating peoples, which in turn serves to feed the ravenous fear fueled beast known as provincialism. And that’s fucking hilarious to me.
Let me unfold the simple rudiments of fear that birth racism: If government of a society separates and categorizes the citizenship by race, then the citizenship will categorize themselves in the same way. It sounds like a no-shitter to most people, but this is a slippery fact that both the popular media and the crapulous leadership of my country have yet to lock down with a firm grip.
One of my favorite past times is monitoring the American media’s hot potato game of racial terminology. Back in the day, the news would often call black people ‘black people’, and apparently that made them assholes. Then they began calling the people formerly known as ‘black people’ ‘African-American people’, so then they weren’t assholes anymore. Someone eventually made the obvious connection that not all ‘African-American people’ were from Africa and people who say that they are were all assholes. Hell, some of them were from completely different parts of the world like the Middle East or India, you assholes. They couldn’t call the people from India ‘Indians’ since that was already reserved for another race. So the decision was made to change the label of the people formerly known as ‘Indians’ to ‘Native Americans’ and hand the term over to the people who’s country sounds like their label. Why didn’t they simply call ‘Native Americans’ the mare basic and truthful term ‘Americans’? Because they aren’t white, asshole. The documentation on the transfer is sparse.
These shifts lead to HUGE confusions for the type of person who would regularly concern themselves with not offending racially sensitive people. As you may or may not know, racially sensitive people often hunt for examples that justify their racism, so re-categorizing race labels is a wonderful motivation for people whose justification for outrage was fading. Good for them. It’s always nice to see people enjoy their hobbies.
Now, while I was in school I was taught that racism was bad. Being afraid of other races meant that you were a bad person. Being a racist was bad. Judging people on race was bad. Then they would shuffle and stack various standardized test into our purview. They would walk us through the first steps of our life long slavery to registrations and government forms. The third question that they always asked on every single government form was one of race. Just like racial terminology, the option for these sections has also evolved. When I could only write in youthful blocky print, the race question had four choices: ‘White’, ‘Black’, ‘Hispanic’, and ‘Other’. My mother’s family is full blooded Lebanese. My father is an American mutt whose bloodline is an amalgam of Irish, German, Texan, Baptist, Republican, modified food starch, salt, and sodium phosphate. My physical appearance seemed, to the casual observer, to be very honky. My young mind was stymied. So… was I supposed to check ‘Other’, which is what I actually was, or was I to check ‘White’, which is what I looked like. Since this is America and in America perception is more important that fact, I always checked ‘White’. I think that was a mistake, as the ‘Other’ box would probably have entitled me to a bunch of free shit.
By the time my handwriting had evolved from precise print into a messy looping cursive and pens replaced my pencils, the governmentally sanctioned racism had bloated. Years had added other options to the question of blood. ‘Middle Eastern’, ‘Indian/Asian’, and ‘Native American’ had been squeezed between ‘Hispanic’ and the cryptic ‘Other’. Heavy in the habit of repetition, I continued to claim Whitehood and never gave it a second thought. It wasn’t until much later that I asked the question of why a country whose main written guideline strictly forbids the formation of classes built on race would demand a close accounting of the ancestry of its children. The answer that they give to that question is as simple as it is retarded: They categorize by race to make sure that there isn’t any racism.
Your government at work, folks. The same country that myopically focuses it’s history classes strictly to the continent right of North America, North of Africa, and to the left of Russia and then audaciously labels it ‘World History’ makes you declare your race and affiliations in order to promote racial equality. Next, they’re going to make our children take knife fighting lessons in an effort to curb street violence. People often ask since I enjoy writing so much, why haven’t I tried to find employment with a newspaper or magazine? The reason is, amongst other factors, that I can imagine this type of discourse during a staff meeting leading to my arrest for assault:
“Ok… Mark. Is the woman in this news article brown? Shit, we can’t say ‘brown’ any more, can we? Can we still call them Mexicans? Why the hell not? Maybe her family IS from Mexico! Well, shit. Let’s call her Latino then. Why not? Fine, we’ll call her Latina. Whatever, it’s not a real word anyway. Wait, did someone already sue over that? No? It’s decided then. She’s Latina. You happy now? Wait… what? She’s from Lisbon? Well, where the fuck is THAT?”