ethnicity

“Racism Nearly Over,” Fox News says!

Are they right?

In an article published on foxnews.com, the confusingly named Juan Williams chided major newspapers for not publishing startling findings from the Pew Research Center for People and the Press that said that whites and blacks are existing in a blissful state of grey and that both camps feel that issues surrounding race are about to vanish.

Let’s take a look at some of his finer points:

JW writes:

“The poll by the respected Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 70 percent of white Americans and 60 percent of black Americans “believe values held by blacks and white have become more similar in the past decade.”

I agree. Sure, blacks and white do have the same values. Like I’m sure both sides value say, not murder and not being poor and finding love when they least expect it. Most people have similar values to other people. This doesn’t mean, however that they have similar ways of or equal access to pursuing those values.

For example, I value feeding my soul as well as my belly by having a relaxing, long lunch. So does my boss. We both can’t be out of the office for an extended period of time. Guess who wins.

JW continues:

“The poll also found that 65 percent of whites and 56 percent of blacks believe the gap between standards of living for the two races has narrowed over the last ten years. Even as incomes between the races have slightly widened during those ten years there is the feeling among both races that the level of comfort – living standard – is increasingly similar.”

Here, Williams admits that the gap has gotten bigger, but is happy that we’ve all been duped to believe otherwise.

And take a look at this gem…carefully:

“And in what I think is the most amazing finding of the new poll 52 percent of blacks said that black people who are not getting ahead today are “responsible for their own situation.” Only one-third of black Americans said racism is keeping down the black poor.

Fifteen years polls found the exact opposite with most black people pointing to racism as the major impediment to black people rising up the ladder of social and economic opportunity in the U.S.”

JW asserts that it’s a good thing that fewer blacks feel that racism is making life harder for them. That people are “responsible for their own situation.” This, just after he wrote that the economic gap between blacks and whites is widening. 

The inference that has to be drawn from these two statements is that the gap is widening because of something that blacks are doing wrong. Because if racism or historically disenfranchising systems aren’t the problem, then it has to be blacks themselves.

See why I’m trying to hard to escape my ethnicity!

But wait, there’s more!

JW says:

“But there is something else going on here. Since the intense years of civil rights activism in the 1950s and 1960s the rates of high school graduation, income and home ownership have all been climbing for black Americans. But despite those decades of change polls did not find any sudden rise in optimism among black people to match what this latest Pew poll has uncovered.

I think I know why.

Black Americans and especially black civil rights leaders did not want to acknowledge the progress being made on the race relations front. Blacks feared that white America — in the form of government, foundations, churches and educational institutions — might point to any admission of racial progress as evidence that there was no more work to be done to heal the damage done to contemporary American life by racism.”

I heart that he makes this grand and sweeping assertion without any quote or research to back up such a theory.

So is racism about to meet an untimely end? Based on recent films, Golden Globe winners and meetings I’ve had, likely not. But that issue is eclipsed by the best thing about this article and this writer…he’s of color. Were this article written by a non color Foxer, I’d be nonplussed, but it looks like JW is one of us. So I welcome his castigation of the working poor and un-backed up theories with open arms! Welcome aboard Juan.

But we are going to have to change that first name. We can talk about it over ‘tinis. See you at the club, Trevor!

We got another one!

What to do When They’re More Ethnic Than You

cocktail-whisky-sourSo Gatos suggested that we “kick it” again and offered to make arrangements.

Normally, keeping public company with a white person is golden. However, when that person evokes ethnicity, it counts for much less, can be seen as cheating and has the potential to destroy the hard work one has done to this point.

But, he offered to buy the drinks again; and accepting challenging social invitations from a paying companion is a decidedly Hamptonish thing to do, so I accepted.

But not without precautions. There are a few things to keep in mind when arranging such an arrangement.

Location, Location, Location

It’s an old adage, but it’s true. You definitely want to take care to choose the right spot for your outing. Being seen at the wrong movie, restaurant, piece of theater or side of town can ruin all of your efforts. So, after a Vespa tour around a winery, I felt comfortable with Gatos settling in for the hummus and grape leaf tasting that was to be part two of our afternoon.

Evoke Tough Love
You know how it is when you travel to Bath or Oxford, then spend the next two weeks trying to shake the vestiges of the Queen’s English from your vocabulary. You can’t help but through out a “mate,” “gov’nor,” or “right, yeah?” in your once normal conversation.

So is the case when you spend time with a light ethnic. After a couple of hours, I was horrified to notice that I let the word “dope” escape my lips. And I wasn’t talking about weed. I was describing something that I liked and used the offensive adjective to describe it.

And just like my friends put me back in my place when I slip into a bit of British vernacular, Gatos was there to correct me. I was embarrassed, sure. But the fact that he called me on it so that I refrained from such sloppy speech from then on was worth the flush I felt on my cheeks.

Proper Costuming
It doesn’t have to be fancy, but the flash of a tag from Talbots or Lily Pulitzer lets passersby know which side of the yacht your flag is raised. The right label on your lapel will help repel any lax labeling.

The Use of Key Words and Phrases
When strangers pass by you and your escort, thwart their assumptions by making sure that in a loud, clear voice, you utter phrases like: “Of course you find Fitzgerald insufferable, that’s the whole point” Or: “Oh, come on. You can’t blame Reaganomics. People have a certain amount of personal responsibility.” Or: “I thought AMT was unfair, until I learned two words: Intangible. Drilling.”

Never you mind if these seem like non-sequitors to your companion. He or she doesn’t even have to answer. And all you have to do is bask in the glory of the nods and smiles you will get from those around you as you shatter expectations.

Seriously, Have Them Buy You a Drink
When your mind is consumed with correcting and perfecting an image, it can be hard to actually enjoy what you’re doing. So appreciate a little free booze. Really helps take the edge off.