Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Love and Salad

Someone loves me.

Cougar: "Do you have any bagged salad?"
Me: "Yes. I'll grab some from the back"

After I return, bagged salad in hand:

Cougar: "Oh, thank you thank you thank you. I love you. Well, not really. I love my husband, and he'd kill you if he heard you if he heard me say that, so I don't really love you, but you know what I mean."
Me: "Yes I do. You're welcome. Can I help you with anything else?"
Cougar: "No, I have to go find my husband now. Thank you once again."

I'm still alive, so I don't think she told her husband that she loves me.

Well, she doesn't really love me. But she does love bagged salad.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is Negro a bad word?

I logged onto the interweb this morning and discovered that Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate Majority leader, had made some racist comments. He said that Obama could win because he was "lighted-skinned" and had "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

Naturally, Reid's opponents smell blood. They want to do everything to hurt him and cost him re-election, so pounding him over his poor choice of words makes sense. Anything that makes Reid's job more difficult is a good thing. And these quotes, taken out of context, make it easy to hammer Reid.

There's just one problem: I don't think that it's that serious. Until I read about about how insulting the term is (courtesy of Dr. Wik I. Pedia) I didn't know that it was insulting. That's news to me. I've used the term "Negro" with people who have dark-skin (and light-skin) and never had a problem. Maybe it's because I say "Negro," then everyone runs and hides and hopes I offer an apology. If anyone's still hiding, they aren't going to get an apology.

Reid's comments, though, do give us a window into what the US political establishment thinks: 1) your skin cannot be too dark; and 2) your voice cannot have an accent.

These two truths tell us much, much more about American culture than any of Reid's lone comments. First, the US is still racist. If Obama's skin had been too dark, he wouldn't have been elected. (Hillary Clinton would be the US President right now. I'm positive.) It goes like this: tanned skin is good; dark skin is bad.

Second, the US is xenophobic. Any voice that has a slightly different accent, anything different from the norm, is bad. A voice cannot have any ghetto slang or blah blah blah. Imagine if Barack Hussein Obama had an Arabic accent? He'd probably still be detained by airport security.

Being a politician, then, means that you fit a mold. Politicians may have surface differences, but they're still very similar. They tend to have similar upbringings, similar educations, and similar experiences, so they tend to think in the similar ways. And that's why politicians tend to stir up shit about things that people want to go away. They've got to set themselves apart somehow.

I think it'd be easier to tell jokes, but what do I know?