or you know what. none of this means anything to you because your life pretty much flows like an episode of friends or sex and the city -- people of color are background talent in your (new york city!) life. occasionally, some negro walks through the frame on his way somewhere. or he makes you a latte, or a cocktail, or a sandwich. or he has sex with you. and that's about it.
the system that this country is based upon is designed to give me every disadvantage as a person of color. ignoring this simple fact about how america works doesn't mean that race is irrelevant. it means that you're deluding yourself. and that's fine, i suppose. apparently, you can afford to wear blinders. i can't.
help me, someone said to me recently -- a dirty white boy of epic proportions, a borderline hipster. smart, well-intentioned and lost, lost, lost. not surprisingly, he said it with feeling. he had just made a remark to a few of us that made one sister gasp involuntarily. i think he was genuinely embarassed.
i laughed in his face. save yourself, i said. but i find it difficult to ignore someone when they're drowning right in front of me, so i threw him a line and gave him a book to read.
i'll let you know how he's doing from time to time. until that next sunny dispatch, here's a glimpse of his required reading list.
- White Like Me: Reflections on Race From a Privileged Son by Tim Wise
- Toms, Coons, Mammies, Mulattoes and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Film by Donald Bogle
- When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America by Paula Giddings
- The Price of the Ticket by James Baldwin
- Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the America by Eduardo Bonillo-Silva